Posts Tagged ‘ NHS ’

#ranthill: gone but not forgotten

i’m aware that

this story has already been reported in several places, but i feel like i should swell those ranks – partly because there might be some readers who missed it, and partly in order to record it in the RQT annuls so i never forget that it happened.

several of you will have noticed that on Friday an Olympiad started, and, as is traditional, the ceremonial opening of the games was instantiated in an opening ceremony. that ceremony was orchestrated by film director Danny Boyle (Sunshine, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later) and took the form of a retelling of modern British history themed around the poem ‘And did those feet in ancient time’ by William Blake.

i, along with what seems to me from the response i’ve seen like the majority of people, very much enjoyed both Boyle’s take on Blake and history and the spectacle by which it was communicated. it was no surprise, however, given his well publicised decision to make the NHS central to his (nuanced, and, in places, dark) celebration of modern Britain, that the right-wing press would be displeased by the ceremony – the exact nature of the displeasure expressed in The Daily Mail, however, exceeded my expectations.

while predictably anti-NHS rhetoric set the context for a piece written for the Mail Online by regular contributor Rick Dewsbury, that proved merely the oversized side-salad to a dish of cold, seasoned racism. it’s not at all out of character for the Mail to crowbar in a few comments about ‘fawning’ race-equality the ‘creeping’ multi-cultural agenda and/or ‘worrying’ immigration, or even to use a ‘bait-and-switch’ approach, but this, well this was something else.

the relevant section of the article read:

And how long did this shameful propaganda last for? A whole 15 minutes at the top of proceedings before viewers dozed off to the procession of banana republics and far-flung destinations nobody has ever heard of or even cares for.

That such a politically divisive subject was included at all is utterly shocking. Not least because it glossed over the cracks in a system that is creaking at its seams – crying out for urgent reform …

The NHS segment came after a mildly moving rendition of Jerusalem (though this will move any patriot) and a play depicting the industrial revolution tearing up Blake’s ‘green and pleasant land’ …

But it was the absurdly unrealistic scene – and indeed one that would spring from the kind of nonsensical targets and equality quotas we see in the NHS – showing a mixed-race middle-class family in a detached new-build suburban home, which was most symptomatic of the politically correct agenda in modern Britain.

This was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up.

Almost, if not every, shot in the next sequence included an ethnic minority performer. The BBC presenter Hazel Irvine gushed about the importance of grime music (a form of awful electronic music popular among black youths) to east London.

This multicultural equality agenda was so staged it was painful to watch.”

i’m not going to deign this incongruent, ill-founded and hateful muck with analysis or further comment, but i hope the fact that such a sentiment was ever published on the site of a major newspaper is as shocking to you as it is to me.

like several others who read this article on Saturday morning, i was initially stunned, then, having thought about it for a few minutes, lodged a complaint on the PPC website. then, after having made the complaint, i went back to the site to find that the article had been redacted (without acknowledgement). and the most hateful paragraph now read:

This was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but such set-ups are simply not the ‘norm’ in any part of the country. So why was it portrayed like this and given such prominence? If it was intended to be something that we can celebrate, that two people with different colour skin and different cultural heritages can live harmoniously together, then it deserves praise. But what will be disturbing to many people is top-down political manipulation – whether consciously or unthinkingly – at a major sporting event.

who knows whether Dewsbury was made to write this u-turn himself, but it’s interesting to know that someone in authority decided that what was originally there was too much, even for the Mail.

… then … shortly after the redaction was made, the post was pulled altogether and has not resurfaced since.

#tirednewsflash: medicine 101


the lead Tory government has today been subject to intense criticism and continuing contemptuous hatred following new revelations regarding the future of the NHS Direct telephone service.

under new plans drawn up by Health Secretary Angela Lansbury MP, the service is to be quickly allowed to naturally stop being operative very much of its own accord, and then replaced by a different and if not worse system, called Medicine 101.

instead of being staffed by nurses and backed up by doctors, as is the NHS Direct service is currently is, Medicine 101 will employ cheaper phone operators equipped not necessarily with knowledge but with a database allowing them unprecedented access to hundreds of hours of footage from the UK and US’s most popular medical shows.

the first phase of what the Department of Health is calling ‘the 101 working scenario’ is instigated when someone worried about a health issue dials 101 into a telephone, mobile telephone, Skype handset or WiFi enabled scientific calculator. shortly after this, they are connected to the Medicine 101 Hub.

meanwhile, at the Hub, upon on learning of the details of a complaint from a caller, a crypto-highly qualified Medicine 101 Diagnosis and Treatment Delivery Operative will search the database using a certain number of keywords/phrases: e.g. ‘stab’, ‘cancerous’, ‘vacuum seal’, ‘weepy’ or ‘engorged’.

subsequent to entering the appropriate keywords/phrases, the Operative will, as immediately as possible, be then presented with a list of episodes from popular and semi-popular hospital-based dramas, comedies or documentary series in which patients with similar symptoms have featured. they will then be able to access a list of the treatments offered in the various shows, as well as the medical, dramatic or comedic consequences (for both the patient, the wider cast and in terms of the overarching narrative arc).

patients will then be texted or Tweeted any information that could be found in the database relating to their symptoms or condition, any advice on successful treatments thrown-up by the search and detailed information on the source from which the information has been gleaned. e.g. ‘9yr old boy with bleeding ears, ruptured subdural haematoma, long needle to head (Casualty; 16th July ’93, 8:00pm), died. WARNING: sad, parents sad, staff sad. possibly contributed to continued decline of programme.’

“It’s an really ingenious system when you think about it”, design team Paul Robinson-nobbert and his designer half-Scottish son Andrew Robinson-nobbert Jr., both insisted. “there is such a repository of clinical wisdom in these often thoroughly researched and realistic shows which is otherwise mostly being ignored,”

Operatives can already see data from shows as diverse and enjoyble as E.R., Grey’s Anatomy, House, M*A*S*H, Scrubs, Casualty, Jimmy’s, Surgical Spirit, 999, One Born Every Minute, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Only When I Laugh, Doogie Howser M.D., Doctors, Young Doctors, The Flying Doctors and All Creatures Great and Small.

whatismore, the NHS is in personal negotiations with Channel 4 over Sirens, Embarrassing Bodies, No Angels and Green Wing, with ITV over Doc Martin and the UK rights to either Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman or a compendium of medical bits from McGyver, and with the BBC over Holby City, Dr. Finlay’s Casebook, Rolf’s Animal Hospital, Nurse Jackie and the one with Jo Brand in.

the Shadow(y) H(st)ealth Secret(ary), Andy Burnham was clear that he and his kind are fully opposed to the measure, describing it as “utterly crass and almost certainly not going to improve things.” “It’s such an obvious vote-pandering exercise” he later remarked in the same interview, “some bright spark intern in the Department of Health has decided that people love and trust TV more than real healthcare professionals. I, however, think that that fact is irrelevant, and what is most important is combatting this government’s total lack of regard for working people, the elderly, the Scottish and its obsession with tax cuts for big business.”

when we called, no-one from the Department of Health was available to officially respond to Mr Burnham’s accusations. however, we were told that similar slurs featuring in episodes of The Thick of It, Spitting Image and Yes Prime Minister all proved woefully ineffective.