18 November 2010 (Thursday) - This and That...

This morning I received a very complimentary comment on yesterday’s blog post. “Good work! Your post is an excellent example of why I keep comming back to read your excellent quality content that is forever updated. Thank you! armani watches for men”. And the chap then went on to add a link to a web site where he is selling watches. They could be good watches; they could be rubbish. I neither know nor care. All I know is that I’m not going to advertise his tat for him.
You’d think he’d get the message; after all he’s posted the same comment (complete with spelling mistake) to several of my blog posts over the last week and followed each one up with a link to websites selling either watches or handbags.
It’s a shame that the software doesn’t seem to have a “report spammer” option. Oh well, if the nuisance posts continue I’ll just tweak up the settings on exactly who can make comments. Or specifically who can’t.

From email to snail mail. My post piles up so quickly. And it’s mostly all rubbish. I’m sure I don’t ask for these people to write to me,
Two magazines from the scout association. It’s now over two years since I packed up with the cubs, and still they send me their literature.
A letter about an ISA. I’ve absolutely no idea what that is all about, but it says about large sums of money. I shall keep that letter. The mortgage endowment is finishing within the next year, and far from being the moneyspinner that our financial advisor (father in law!) claimed it would be, it’s actually been money down the toilet. This ISA might help cover the shortfall.
BT again offered me their Broadband cheaply and Aviva again offered to insure my motorbike (eight years after I last rode one). WyeVale wrote to apologize to me that I’ve not spent enough with them recently (i.e. anything at all) to warrant getting any money-off vouchers this quarter. Bovvered?
The mobile phone people wrote to confirm the agreement under which I’ve got my new mobile with them. Apparently part of the package is something called “top shelf”. No one mentioned that before. “Top shelf” sounds a bit dubious. Free smut? I phoned them up to find out about this. Apparently I can use my phone to download filth. That’s nice (!)
Regular readers based in the UK may recall a news article about British Gas putting up their gas prices. The power company have written to me with the payment plan for the next year. Based on my usage over the last year, next year my gas bill is being reduced by thirteen quid each month. That’s a result. And when you consider my new boiler which (from what I’ve heard) has halved other people’s gas usage, I might be looking to get even more savings.
I found an envelope full of screen protectors for my new phone. I’d bought them on eBay and forgotten all about them.
And I found an invitation to take part in the KM charity walk which took place on Sunday June 13 this year. I couldn’t have gone anyway (I was in Teston), but where had that letter been all these months?

I was on a late start this morning, so with the house to myself I watched a DVD. A couple of weeks ago I went to the CEX shop in town and bought some DVDs. One of them was the first season of “Gavin and Stacey”. Over the last few months various people had commented that they thought I’d like it - I can’t believe I’d never seen it before. I finished watching the DVD today. It was brilliant. I actually blubbed when they got married. I think I might just put the complete DVD set onto my Xmas list. You never know your luck.

And then I had what I can only describe as a “Brown Trousers” moment. Having watched all the devastation in Cornwall caused by the recent flooding I got a text alert on my mobile. It was an automated notification from the government’s flood warning system. I’ve never had one of those before. But twenty years ago the Stour did burst its banks and there are pictures on the Internet of floods in my road. Once my heart stopped pounding I actually opened the text message. Expecting the worst, I was so relieved to see that they were merely telling me that they were updating their website.

And I’ll end with a little bit of politics. In my thirty years in the NHS I’ve seen some changes. The way the NHS is run changes all the time. The latest plan is to re-organise so that the entire NHS is commanded by the GPs. But this isn’t a new idea - am I the only one who can remember that this has already been tried. Does the phrase “GP Fundholders” ring any bells?
Did it work when it was introduced in 1991?
I don’t know. It’s been shown that there was absolutely no evidence as to whether it might have worked or not. Instead the decisions to implement the scheme and the decision (under a different government seven years later) to abolish it were taken purely on political and ideological grounds.
It’s rather strange that if I want to make the slightest change to how I perform my professional duties I have to fulfil a myriad of regulations to prove beyond any doubt that the proposed change is for the better. If researchers have ideas for new treatments, these must be radically tested to destruction before they can even reach the clinical trials stage. But the entire structure of the NHS can be reformed on the whim of current political opinion with no evidence whatsoever as to whether or not the idea is good, bad or just plain stupid…

How many other decisions in government are made this way? How are the police, the armed forces, schools, the nation’s transport infrastructure organised? Are they subject to sensible management? Are they run on sound financial principals? Or are they run at the whim of political ideology too…?

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