Monday, 29 August 2011

Do not disturb

I have just been listening to Stephen Nolan's "fierce and feisty topical phone-in debate" on Radio 5 Live. The topic was how some nurses were wearing red tabards bearing the words "Drug round in progress. Please do not disturb", and the debate was fierce and feisty. On the one hand we had commentators telling us about the importance of getting the medications right. Consequences of error could be highly significant. On the other hand, and Stephen himself was in this camp, patients were being told not to speak with nurses and this may be really significant in their care.

There are those who deny the benefits of medical intervention, including the use of drugs, but let's put those arguments to one side and say that getting the right medicine is really important. Nurses have to concentrate and should be allowed to do so. On the other hand the interruptions may be seen as a waste of the nurses time. Whether it really is a waste of time could be debated fiercely. It may be that chit-chat should be avoided but one person's banter is another person's absolute need for reassurance.

I am biased. I know of the importance of not disturbing a nurse giving out medications. However I was visiting a friend in hospital when she wanted to go to the toilet. She said she needed to go fairly urgently and the only nurse on the ward was giving out medication. The nurse asked me to find another nurse. I searched the whole ward and had to go back to her. She told me where the staff room was and I eventually found another nurse who was on a break.

The answer is really simple. If we don't want medication errors then we make sure that staffing levels are appropriate.

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Friday, 26 August 2011

Who Pays for CRB Checks?

Isn't the internet wonderful! All I have to do to look at my previous blogs on any subject is to put in a few words into a search engine. I have written before about CRB checks and how the Soham murders were involved in the move towards greater checks, and how, ironically, they would not have prevented these murders. I have now reminded myself of what I have already written. For the record you can see blog entries on 13th October and the 16th December 2009 and 8th February 2011.

However I haven't commented on who should pay for these checks. Should it be the employer, the employee or the state? Well all of society will benefit if less crime is committed so let's go for the state. On the other hand why should I have to subsidise companies who have to ensure their workforce is compliant with the law? Let those companies pay. However I have been reading that east Lancashire NHS workers (I used to be one of them) have to pay for their own checks. What's wrong with that? Isn't it just like professional fees that have to be paid by the individual?

Well no. It is simply a cost-cutting measure by the NHS trust

If you have read my previous blogs you will know that I am not a great fan of these moves which try to protect the most vulnerable in society. If you are a criminal but don't get caught then the check is irrelevant. If you are a criminal but have slipped through the net then you will be identified and will face the consequences. If you have never been caught for anything then what have you to fear? The answer may be the CRB fee. You have to pay with the money you get from your employer after you have paid tax on it.

If you had to devise a complicated system to raise more revenue for the state then this could be the answer.

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Friday, 12 August 2011

I may have been misled

It is easy to forget last week's trigger for the riots in London and elsewhere. Businesses have been closed some have been destroyed by fire. It is not just business that has been affected and one of the lasting memories will be the personal attack on the Malaysian victim. Even worse, people have died. Most of the violence has been criminal, or at least mindless rather than a calculated response to injustice. The trigger is almost a sideline but remains significant, especially to the family and friends of Mark Duggan, the man who was shot dead by the police.

The Police watchdog, The Independent Police Complaints Commission has admitted that it may have misled journalists into believing that Mark Duggan may have fired on the police. We were told initially that there was an exchange of shots but both were fired by the police.

What struck me was the phrase "may have misled journalists". What does this mean? This is spin at its best (I would say worst). Which journalists were not misled? Can you talk of misleading information and then expect some listeners not to believe it? The only journalists who would not have been misled are those who are cynical of any press release by the police.

"May have been misled" strikes me as signifying that I should not believe anything this commission tells me.

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Thursday, 11 August 2011

After the riots

I was interested at one comment from Nick Robinson in The Daily Politics show today. He did not intend to show cynicism but purely as an observation he told us that the people involved in the riots and the people I was talking about yesterday do not tend to vote. If this causes them to be ignored, and it does, then their agenda will never be the same as the politicians' agenda.

Labour has moved to the centre. New Labour is a shadow of Old Labour. As for the Tories, I don't think Lord Ashcroft's money was used to support possible rioters who tend to live in Labour strongholds.

Before the election we were told about "broken Britain" but we hadn't seen London burning. David Cameron admits that parts of Britain are not only broken but sick but I am sure that he will tell ust that responsibility remains with the previous government. Yesterday I concluded that it was time to call for peace but in the immediate aftermath of the riots it is also time to punish looters and rioters. There are already calls to limit cuts on the police, to stop closures of prisons and to reverse softer sentencing plans. However, maybe in the near future the politicians could look at our political system as part of the malaise in society. One small change to AV didn't go too well so I won't hold my breath.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A time for peace

If our youth are "seen as scum then they act like scum". This was one forthright explanation for the recent riots by a Salford mother. This was certainly one of the explanations for the misbehaviour of football fans in the 1970s and there may be something in it. This may not be a popular view and it is much more likely that you hear about criminals on the street. However the lady on the news was overheard by a gentleman who felt that just because the local youth have nothing, "it doesn't give them the right to smash things up". I am sure that there is a lot of support for this view but not from the lady who was being interviewed. He also felt that "young kids who are unemployed and have nothing to do so let's go and smash some shops up". The lady was angry and felt that it was this man's "ignorance that makes kids do what they do".

Another lady was even more angry at those who had blamed parents. She claimed there were 10,000 people in that area on the previous night and they were not kids. She was interrupted by a supporter of riots shouting "let's have a riot" It seems that he can't get a job because foreigners are coming in to do the jobs that he could do. I wonder if there are any other explanations. The reporter responded by saying that nobody would invest in areas where riots take place to which he replied "that's up to them isn't it".

There may have been a genuine cause for concern that started the riots. If there was then it has long been forgotten. It is obvious that we have people rioting because they are criminals. Less obvious is the motive of those who are rioting for other political reasons. This is not the time to question motives. This is not the time to interpret the role of parents or investigate whether portions of our society view themselves as "scum". It is certainly not the time to wonder if our collective ignorance (not that of one man in Salford) causes the riots. It is time to condemn the riots and to call for peace.

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