Monday, 13 October 2014

Ebola travel ban: Imagine it's your friend or relative

Here is an interesting photo from Facebook. At first glance it makes sense that Ebola should not be helped to spread around the world. Let's think about it a bit more. Closing borders for any reason means border checks. We can't check for Ebola in other countries so the checks have to be done here and then we have to make sure it isn't cholera or malaria or lots of other diseases.

We have to be prepared to fly patients back to where they came from so we would have to protect the airplane staff. We have seen the extensive personal protective equipment that is needed for this and it would make for a strange extra flight because I wouldn't book a seat on that one.

Then we have to turn away British subjects returning with the disease. Where do they go? Back to where they came in order to die? Imagine that is your friend or relative. Do you still want to share this photo?

Disease doesn't stop at national borders. Do we stop flights from particular areas? What about the possibility that a sick person has taken two flights to get to Britain. Do we want to stop all border movement?

My first thought was that if my relative was coming back to the country and was ill then I want them to receive care. This photo tells us to let them die. It's not a nice photo and it's not nice to share.

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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Selling Out The Staff

I had a conversation today with someone whose relation works in the courts. She was given a 12-month contract and then had to apply for her job again and she was successful, if that is the right word. She received another contract for three months with £100 less pay per month. Her new employer was an agency, so the courts were paying more for the same person who had to be re-employed. I believe it when I am told that all the other staff tell her she is doing a good job and want her on a permanent contract and she couldn't have a mortgage on this contract even if the government built thousands of 'affordable' housing.

Competitive tendering in the NHS means keeping the internal markets efficient and effective, or so they tell us. I know someone who was a manager in the laundry. He was doing his job efficiently and effectively but another company tendered for this role and won. He lost his job and left the NHS. He lost it because time and motion people had come in from outside companies and laid down the plans to give employees worse terms and conditions and to offer a cheaper service - I use the term cheaper in the financial and the quality sense.

I have worked in the NHS when governments of different colours, including red were selling it off. I use the phrase 'selling it off' because this is what Labour banners now tell us they don't want. It is hard to believe them. We do want an efficient and effective service. We don't want chopping and changing for the sake of worsening terms and conditions, for that is what it amounts to. Mostly, we don't want to see an apathetic workforce caused by political whim. 

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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Who Is This We Exactly?

Yesterday's party political broadcast by the Conservative Party reminds us of the 13 years of Labour government and how it felt to see businesses close and (other) people lose their jobs. Britain was down, but "we rolled up our sleeves" and we are making progress again. 1.8 million more people are in work after four years of coalition, and "providing for their families". The trouble is that many people will still relate to businesses closing. Many are still out of work. The unemployment rate  was 7.8% at the last general election and 6.5% now. Sounds great but not if you are part of the 6.5%, and what about the manipulations of the figures like zero-hours contracts?

The broadcast has the audacity to suggest (sorry that should be tell us) that "our children can grow up without mountains of debt". When I grew up I went to university and I received a grant and no debt. Now almost half of our children go to university and end up with a mountain of debt.

Vote Conservative and hard-working families will be rewarded. David Cameron tells us that our "debts will be paid down" whatever that means. I won't say he has confused the deficit and debt (again), but we really have to get rid of the deficit before we can even think about debt. I would have thought that he should have learned his lesson.

It is quite clear where this broadcast is directed. It is for the 'hard workers'. It is for those in employment. It is for families that are still together. What about those who work hard but don't get paid for it? What about the unemployed? What about those from broken families? Well  I suppose David has given up on their vote so why bother asking?

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