Why the NHS is no longer fit for purpose!

I was reading something in the Guardian entitled I loved being a midwife but bullying, stress and fear made me resign and what started out as a quick agreement grew.

It’s not just midwives but all levels of the NHS, right down to the caterers, porters and cleaners (most of whom are now outsourced to the cheapest subcontractor). Once the envy of the world, gone now are the ward matrons that kept the ship running tightly, replaced instead with an bloated army of box-ticking managers, accountants and bureaucrats for the sake of bureaucracy, their wages sucking the money out of trusts that should be spend on nurses and doctors.

Equally too – and disgustingly so – are gone nurses that care and this is desanitation by bureaucracy of the worst kind. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of great nurses and doctors, but for every good one another 5 are lost because nurse training now isn’t about patient care, it’s about getting a degree. Thus many that would make fantastic NURSES are excluded simply because empathy is neither required nor wanted in a written assignment. And again, for every good nurse and every 5 that WOULD make good nurses are those that aren’t ‘nurses’. This of course is why you often see filthy wards, stinking of urine and faeces, pots left accumulating under beds, bedding soiled. This new breed of “nurses” think such things are beneath them. That’s not what they are training for, apparently!

Gone now are the ancilliaries, the SEN’s, the SRN’s, replaced by an army of youths that – seeing the lifelong debt of student loans for regular degrees – take the easy choice of a paid, vocational qualification. Many will, of course, leave the NHS on graduation, short of laws saying they have to pay the cost back if they do. Similarly for doctors, the focus is on leaving hospitals and getting a lucrative private practice with as many patients as possible (preferably healthy ones they don’t have to see!)

It’s not that the NHS’s initial ideal failed, it’s that successive governments have used it as a political weapon, strangling it in red-tape and targets. It’s no longer about how many patient were ‘cured’ but about how many were ‘seen‘ – not whether they were treated effectively, compassionately or even treated at all. It’s no longer treatment with due care, but dispassionate, unfeeling due process. The NHS is being dismantled by spreadsheets and statistics!

This from the NHS says it all, really :
To work as a nurse in the NHS, you must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which means you’ll need a degree in nursing. Diploma courses are no longer available. You can use our course finder to find nursing degrees.

Funny, the dictionary definition says “a person trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital.” I see no mention of care in the NHS entry.

Note that I do not work in the NHS, but my mother did (as a midwifery sister). I have, however, spent a lot of time in hospitals over the years and have witnessed first-hand the rise in statistics and box-ticking over actual patient care.

Also of possible interest :

Official complaint to the Ann Marr, Chief Executive of Whiston Hospital

Comments on their reply : Reminding hospitals about patient care.

And their – eventual – apology: Official apology from Whiston Hospital for lack of patient care

Checking your heart age

Just read an interesting if a tad morbid article in the Telegraph about an NHS calculator that predicts when you will have a heart attack! Curious to note their use of ‘will’ as opposed to ‘may’.

It does ask for details like your current blood pressure and cholesterol levels, height, weight, whether you smoke and about specific health problems like kidney failure. Doesn’t seem to care how much alcohol you consume though, or much else, though I guess the cholestrol and BP are a rough enough guide IF you know them. As it pointed out in the article I read:

"Dr Malhotra said he was concerned that the new NHS tool does not take account of basic lifestyle factors – such as the type of diet people ate, and how much exercise they took."

For me it cheerily spits out that I have a heart age of 65, a 12.2% chance of a heart attack or stroke in the next decade and that On average, someone like you can expect to live to the age of 71 without having a heart attack or stroke.

Without knackered kidneys and other problems that play havoc with your blood pressure the best I could get – e.g. perfect health – is a heart age of 47 and a 2.8% chance of a heart attack in the next decade and tells me someone like you can expect to live to the age of 81 without having a heart attack or stroke. Read like that, everyone who does the test, regardless of age, gender, race or fitness is in line for a heart attack at some point! What are they trying to peddle?

It does advice that "Your heart age is an estimate because you don’t know all your numbers. We’ve based your result on the national average. If you have high cholesterol, your heart age could be as high as 76, but if it is healthy it could be as low as 57".

Twenty year difference. OK, high cholesterol is probably not a good thing. Just as well I eat healthily. Less healthy eaters might want to know that even without addition problems or inherent risks if I said I smoked 20 a day and was a chunky 24 stone the risk goes up from 3% to 20% and the heart age jumps up from 50 to 92. Probably the point it’s trying to get across, hmm.

NHS Check your heart age

Bet insurance companies would love to hoover up this sort of data to calculate premiums!


Telegraph article: NHS calculator predicts when you will have a heart attack

NHS : Check your heart age

Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Aiming for grammatical balance.

My grammar and general literacy skills aren’t as great as that of some of my friends, nor am I always as thorough in the proof-reading, but they do tend towards warm fuzzy feelings when I actually find a new or unfamiliar word in a book and have to look up. That’s after mentally ringing the typos and printing errors in the same book, or at the very least mentally disagreeing with the author as to whether a hyphen goes in A level/A-level, or not. It can be subjective and does depend on the sentence but as I hope even Lynne Truss would agree with me, there’s a a difference between the following:

I got A level (A level in what, a game? Should I be impressed?)
I got A-level (Implies a reply to a question, such as "How did you do in English?", and begs the question of what grade they achieved. (I only got an ‘E’, I must admit!))

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

Needless to say the mutilation of English language in on-line games and social media sites like Facebook can drive me to distraction as I fight the (ir)rational urge to correct everyone!

So, after wandering into the front room and finding me happily reading a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Lynne Truss) and asking How is that going to help your OCD?, my daughter sent me the following link and message:

found you a site youll connect with http://www.apostrophecatastrophes.com/ notice that theres no full stop at the end off this

She is quite pleased with herself; she packed so many errors into the sentence that I missed one at first. In my defense I’d just glanced at the message, shuddered, and followed the link. I made it part way down the page of captured design and editorial howlers at Apostrophe Catastrophes before retreating in shock. Didn’t help that the web site – deliberately – added more of their own (to the subtitle).

Anyhow, if you want to know what an Oxford comma is, the difference between a hyphen and a dash, or simply read a refreshingly interesting book on grammar that can casually drop words like solecism1, logorrhoeic2 and onomatopoeias3, give Eats, Shoots and Leaves a try.

1 A grammatical error in in speech or writing that changes the sentence, a gaffe.
2 Undue wordiness, basically verbal diarrhea!
3 Words that sound like the thing, e.g. buzz, hiss, cuckoo.

If you like that book, you might also like My Grammar and I (Or Should That Be ‘Me’?): Old-School Ways to Sharpen Your English by Caroline Taggart, J A Wines. You can’t curl up on the couch in the same way but it is an easy read for a grammar book and does give some very good examples.

Web designers and bloggers that like grammatical precision and dislike having their marks, characters and symbols removed, altered or changed by language settings and browser peculiarities might find this page helpful : HTML Character codes: Symbols

How much common sense do you have?

I got Perfect common sense!!

You have an abundance of common sense! You ranked in the 90%th percentile, which means that you are able to answer difficult questions correctly that the average person would not be able to. You analyze problems literally, and are able to see past trickery or distractions to come to solutions more easily than normal people. You have a mind for science and math, and intricate problem solving. Well done!

Personally though, I don’t think the last question is correct in its choice of answers:


Options are:
West, onto the ground, the tree doesn’t have leaves, or east.

Think about it for a minute. The logical answer, even if it’s referring specifically to the evergreen tree, is ‘onto the ground’. It can’t be ‘the tree doesn’t have leaves’ because evergreen trees DO have leaves, they just doesn’t shred a lot. You can’t say east or west as there’s no direction given for the wind; equally without knowing the strength of the great gust you can’t definitively say no leaves were torn off. Only answer is onto the ground.

So, the quiz options should have offered ‘not enough information to go on’.

(As Wikipedia points out: Evergreen trees do lose leaves, but each tree loses its leaves gradually and not all at once

What Kind Of Grammar Nerd Are You?

See how you fair. I got:

I got : The Enlightened Grammarian
You know your stuff when it comes to proper English grammar and writing, but you’re not overly traditional. Language does evolve, after all! Chances are high that you’re fascinated, rather than put off by, the verbing of nouns or the disappearing “whom.” You have balanced the standardization of language with the practical usage.

Grammarly Grammar Nerd Quiz Feature Image