Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The NHS is combusting

Teacher: And what did you do today, Jamie?

Me: Today, I got made redundant. Kinda.

I work for the local NHS trust on the locum bank where I theoretically fill in for clerical and admin staff on leave. I say technically because for the last eighteen months I've been doing the same job. Today, I was told my services would no longer be required. This is no big surprise as NHS Trusts up and down the country are copmbusting under the weight of their budgets, due in no small part to the over-excessive eages paid to doctors and nurses (but not to the clerical staff, oh no, cuz we're no "sexy"). Plymouth is no exception and over the past few months locum staff have been dwinfdling.

I had thought I was fairly safe although I was aware the axe could technically swing in my direction. See you could argue that my job, although one of the lowest paid, most mundane and highly menial, is also one of the most important.

Everyday, 'incidents' happen. They're not publicised but they do. Every so often you'll hear on the news about some new scandal and everytime I sit back and think "That happens 10 times a day!". Incidents range from nurses complaining about being short staffed (and most of the time that's all it is - complaining. Little do they stop to think that's how most of the working population exists), needle sticks, patients being given the wrong drugs, babies being weighed incorrectly leading to them getting ten times the medication and accidents in theatre. Like a drill slipping into someones brain during neurosurgery. For example. It's my job to read about these incidents and input them onto a database. Why's that so important you ask?

Well reports get run off the database. Imagine a Beverley Allit-type nurse. This is hopw she'd get caught out, from having her name gflagged up against too many deaths. Departments get to know which type of incident is more likely and where they need to train. If a department has been complaining of being short-staffed and something happens, there's just cause. These reports go out to hundreds of people, all from the one database.

The Trust gets assessed against certain standards one of which is this: http://www.nhsla.com/Claims/Schemes/CNST/ This saved the trust half a million punds this year, based on me doing my job. If I don't do it, the Trust isn't covered for insurance against litigation.

It's only a matter of time before someone dies, not just from me losing my job because that'd be arrogant, but from lack of funding and ill thought out ideas on how to save money.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Man vs Woman

I had an argument with the wife yesterday. I say argument, she argued, I just stood there in bewilderment as I tend to do at these ‘special’ times.

She was going to her sisters, now the wife being in a wheelchair she needs ramps to get in, which we felt sure were down at 'Kate's. I knew from experience that we wouldn’t get a proper answer from 'Kate' if we were to ask her. She’d either ask a hundred questions before doing anything – once the wife and I urgently i.e. an emergency situation, needed a lift and we had to endure these questions! – or just deny it, it being the easier option. And this is, indeed, what happened. Now while the wife wrangled with her sister via text, I did what I thought to be the best option – I text 'Ben', knowing I’d get a proper answer and I did.

This was apparently the wrong thing to do. I was being ‘deceitful’ and ‘manipulative’ by not saying what I was doing. I may never understand this or women in general. If you have any answers, please email me.

The Adventures of 'Kate' - part 2

The story so far:- 'Ben' has had his autistic son foisted upon him and 'Kate' is throwing a selfish strop.

'Ben' returned from Cardiff, many bags and son & step-daughter (you know, his brothers daughter) in tow past midnight and stayed at his mothers. Within two days he was going nuts at Jordan’s behaviour; he couldn’t control him. Not once did he and 'Kate' speak.

'Kate' has agreed that Jordan can stay in her house, realising what she’d lose if he didn’t i.e. everything including her house. This left a bit of a conundrum: where do two adults, a pubescent boy and a pre-pubescent girl all sleep, in a two bedroom flat? My god, you wouldn’t believe how long it took them to work it out. In the space of a few minutes I’d come up with three different solutions but it was only my wife’s intervention that prevented a meltdown.

They’ve had our spare bed (for which we’ll probably not see the money for months, if ever) and Jordan will sleep on the mattress in the living room for the time being. Just what a confused, autistic boy who was abused in a non-specific way needs. A more stable environment you’d never find.

This leaves my wife and her family (categorically not MY family, that’s been made very clear before now – perhaps in another post) panicking about 'Kate' having an epileptic fit; she has them when put under massive stress, which for 'Kate' is defined as anything greater than ‘What to make for Dinner?’. Neither 'Kate' nor John is the calmest of people, so I dread to think the bedlam that’s happened overnight. The next few days are going to be VERY interesting.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Working on ‘Tinternet

I enjoy being paid for working but I’m considering suing my employer for emotional stress. There’s surely got to be a law against giving your employees unlimited Internet access during working hours.

Since I’ve had this blog I’ve got worse. I might have formerly bummed around on the SFX forum on and off. This week I’ve just been reading blogs, updating my own ie fannying around with HTML and reading the links on other peoples! I HAVE DONE NO WORK FOR THREE DAYS. I’m scared of getting the sack but it’s certainly not my fault, surely.

The adventures of Kate

The story so far:- My sister-in-law aged 19 moved in with 'Ben', aged 33. 'Ben' has baggage in the form of massive money debts and three children, all with different mothers. Having known each other for six months and going out for two, they bought a house, purely in her name. They fiddled a mortgage as she only earned £7000 so borrowed £105,000 over 40 years. The monthly repayment was just about what she was being paid.

There are many things I find objectionable about 'Kate', not least of which is her selfishness, followed shortly by her immaturity (despite my wife and mother-in laws insistence on the contrary) swiftly backed up her stupidness. This tends to compound any sort of problem.

Yesterday, 'Ben's 11 year-old autistic son, got taken into care temporarily (he lived in Wales with his mother, who it turns out wasn't the most loving parent). While 'Ben' was running around arranging a car to get to Wales to pick up his one and only son, you know cuz he cares, 'Kate' was asserting that Jordan couldn't stay in 'her' house. Did she even think this through?? I fully believe she meant it as a threat: it's your son or me. 'Ben' chose to move out with his Son. Hurrah. Having spoken to my wife, her sister, 'Kate' soon realised this might mean she could no longer afford her house and a swift about face was taken, so that they're now 'going to talk'.

They've never talked. 'Ben' had a conversation on the phone on Sunday apparently in which he spent most of his time, asking what the problem was [with Jordan]. Jenny asked not one question when he came off.

I found this all highly amusing when my wife told me. It made my day in fact. I may learn more soon.

Jordan's mother also had a daughter. By John's brother. I'll let you know how many fingers Jordan has, when I see him.

To Beer or not to Beer

Where does it say that a white male must participate in the social exercise of getting drunk? People find it hard to believe that I might not want to wake up feeling like Death with a capital Duh, spending my hard-earned money which could otherwise be spent on more satisfying and worthy sugar-based products. They find it inconceivable that I might not like the taste of the brown sludge that is lager, that I might flinch at the thought of downing hard spirits. Alcohol is technically poison, you know?

I actually prefer sitting down with a nice, cool, glass of coke. Failing that a cup of tea, milk, one sugar. Lovely. Old? Me?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

SFX Magazine

SFX is the biggest selling SF magazine in Europe and is constantly the best of them. In an ever-growing internet environment it's a credit to the magazine that it's news sections contain information that I've never heard about, albeit some tend to be a littleÂ…obscure. ItÂ’s reviews are normally spot-on, although I've still not forgiven them for their review of Clone Wars (4 stars?? My arse).

All of which is a shame as recently they seem to be resting on their laurels. They've always had a slanted/laid-back attitude, not laden with the serious tone of Dreamwatch, a magazine so dry it's got no need for a catheter. The past few months, maybe six, they're taking this jokey tone to extremes. It's pervading every corner of the magazine, from the letters page to an infamous page in Issue 147 pitting Daleks vs Cybermen in a war of vulgar wit. They may just be testing how the readership reacts. Judging by the comments on the forum, not very well.

A recent thread, started by myself, made a comparison between the current and former editor, he having left 12 months ago. It's felt the former did have a moracerbicic, sterner angle to his editorial style. Lets hope the current Ed, Dave Bradley, takes note of what I feel is general opinion. Of course, outside the forum, or indeed outside my head, the magazine might be gaining readership in the millions. Apologies to Future and Dave Bradley but if that's true, I'll be leaving this here stable.

The current state of Science Fiction in TV Land

Over the past few years we’ve had one incredibly successful show (Lost), a few doing alright (BSG, Life on Mars, New Who) and a lot that just haven’t cut the mustard.

Too many shows jumped on the Lost bandwagon and once again over-loaded the schedules. The general TV viewing public, god love ‘em, can’t watch more than a few things that make you think, which is why soaps are so popular. When the TV execs realise this, the better off we’ll all be. By ‘we’ I mean the SF&F loving community. Couldn’t give a monkey’s bottom rash for the rest of ya.

Do we really want Surface? Was there a need for it? What gap did it fill exactly? Who sat in the meeting that commissioned this tripe? I want names, a wall and an over powerful, metaphysical gun.

I’m left in the current situation where I refuse to watch anything new because no matter what I watch I know it’ll be cancelled and I’ll have wasted a few more precious minutes of my life. I do enough of that on the loo when I forget a book.

Dogs on a boat

If you take a dog sailing, as certain yuppy types are prone to do (see the film Dead Calm) where does it go toilet?

You're not going to want it to poop on your poop-deck, it being crispy white. So do you make it swim around and around the dinghy? How then do you know it's 'been'? And imagine if it gets seasick...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

NHS computers are naff

I'm home now and the site works just fine, if a little slow, so it's all down to the NHS. Not that I should be complaining as at least I get paid...

IT's a nightmare!

Who's bloody idea was this anyway? Either the Blogger.Com website was spawned by Satan or the servers where I work are buggered nightly. Two hours later I think I'm there. How does this look? Nice? Cuz I can't tell.

Goodamn work. Who do they think they are, denying me the chance to see my
new creation...

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