Category Archives: The NHS

Small boys smoking fags…

When I was a small boy still at primary school in the 60’s my friends and I used to pop into the sweetie shop and buy some fags. Yes you read that right. Packs of ten they were and sometimes you got wee cards with them and you saved them up.

If you really wanted to push the boat out you could buy wee pouches of chewing tobacco. I know. You don’t believe me. Well we did. They were of course sweets. The wee cigarettes had a red bit at the end of them so it looked like the fag was being lit. I liked them. You could swagger with a sweetie fag. It looked cool.

I wasn’t much of a fan of the chewing tobacco though. It didn’t taste great and it was pretty dry. I do believe that my Grandfather had learnt his trade as a pipe smoker from the chewing tobacco like sweet. My Grandfather was an Olympic class spitter. He could spit from his chair into the fire or sometimes onto the metal fire basket thing that held the fire itself. My Grandmother wasn’t a fan of this. So he had to spit, smoke his pipe and take dogs abuse all at the same time. What a hero.

Now I’ve noticed that there are gadgets you can buy if you are a smoker. You can buy elctro fags. It’s the latest craze to hit the High Street. Small shops, dedicated to these electro fags are popping up as I speak. The electro fags don’t all look like actual fags and whilst some give a wee hint of nicotine not all of the others do. Bear in mind that nicotine in various guises are in our food and our bodies and pretty much everywhere in fact.

When people smoke an electro fag some of them emit steam. Not smoke, just steam. Water vapour, just like the stuff that comes out of your kettle or out of your ears when the EU say they’re going to ban them.

I don’t smoke even if I did practice with sweetie ones, which I’m sure, will have been banned years ago. I don’t mind if people smoke. I don’t know why its been banned in the first place and don’t say its for health reasons. Can’t people just do their own thing along with people with similar interests? Like golfers, politicians, journalists, people from the BBC… feel free to add your own.

As a teenager at secondary school my year group went to the gym hall one afternoon and we were shown a short film which was suggesting we should never, never, never, smoke unless we were on fire. Just to force the point home the film had shown a man in a white coat show the difference between a smokers lung and non-smokers lung. The smokers lung was black and all horrible. That’s a technical term by the way.

It turns out that it takes an expert who knows about lungs and stuff to use a microscope to identify if the person whose lung it was smoked. It was propaganda. It was a disgrace. There is the other small issue with cancer deaths growing whilst the number of smokers drop. Second hand smoking? Where are the bodies?

If people want to smoke carry on. Are we non-smokers so nasty that we cant give them the space to do their thing like we used to?

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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Equality, Health, Smoking, The NHS


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A new shiny Scotland – Part 2

As the title would suggest this is a utopian view of how a new Scotland following a successful YES vote in the independence referendum “could” develop. If you haven’t read Part 1 it’s here.

Localism had been one the most stunning successes. In a Doctor Who like manner the clock had been re-set to before 1975, before councils were re-organised. Now people could once again have a vested interest in their community and things were done which suited the townspeople rather than some distant regional council government. At the same time and also stemming from leaving the EU the amount of regulations was cut to the bone and then some. The cost savings helped enormously and reduced the burden on families and made it once again possible to have light touch governance.

Okay there were a fair amount of problems when people woke up to the fact that they would have to take more responsibility for themselves and their families but they got the hang of it pretty quickly. The setting up of a common good fund for every town/community was done and was used to support local organisations and people who may have had a problem or several and also ensured that there was always a pot of money to fritter a wee bit just for the local populations benefit.

The NHS in Scotland had to be completely re-structured also. Local GPs were required to go back to providing medical care 24/7. No more waiting weeks for an appointment to see a Doctor, no more having to carry stuff out that a distant government thought was a good idea, no more prescribing drugs because they could although they addressed symptoms rather than providing a cure. No more drug company reps trying to sell drugs to practices, no more lecturing to patients and no more spouting stuff with little or no scientific basis.

What a difference. The GPs lived in the towns and communities they served so they knew their patients. The potential patient group dramatically reduced the number of visits they made to the surgeries; they just got on with it unless it was something concerning.

The supermarkets that had hinted that they might have to increase prices if Scotland won independence were made subject to one of the earliest bills that was voted using direct democracy. The bill required all retailers, suppliers, providers etc. who operated within Scottish borders had to use the same price for goods and services for all of Scotland. The main mechanism to achieve this was for the supermarkets to use an open book system, which allowed anyone to see how much the supermarkets etc. paid for their goods and services. Lead balloon time for a wee while but all for the best.

A group of smaller Scottish supermarkets then formed a larger chain and bought the Wm Low name.  Suddenly, they started to get lots more customers through their doors since they had an open book policy in place they also bought food locally and employed lots of local people on good rates of pay. Someone buying any sort of goods in Orkney paid the same price as someone living in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

This system might have been a wee bit more expensive for people in the central belt but it wasn’t that much and made things much fairer al round.


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People over 55 shun their doctor.

Well there’s a surprise. The article should really have been about doctors and medical staff at GP practices being far too pushy about what people should and shouldn’t do.

There was a survey carried out and then published in the Daily Mail that we people who are over 55 don’t go to our docs often enough. Now why should it be people over 55? A magic number of some sort? Is it a number at which people start falling to bits?

I would imagine that people of 55 or over are hugely more healthy than 55 year olds from a few years ago. It’s the same for all age groups and some of it is down to living better lives of which health care is part of the picture. Yes we’ve had access to drugs and improved medical care but we don’t go seeking it out unless we have too. Things were tight in the 60s and a lot of us didn’t have access to anything much at all. Our parents were much poorer financially and that had an effect on us over 55s but we had a much richer life experience since we “played out”, “wandered further” and “climbed, cycled, ran about” all the time.

The medical profession al though not all of them, of course knows best. Well they don’t actually; they just think they do which is a different thing entirely. We over 55s are very capable of spotting a scam when we see it. Like going along every year to the docs at their invitation so we can get weighed and checked. We know they get paid for doing this, I doubt many docs would do it if they didn’t.

I have a relative who starts taking statins a week or so before she goes for her yearly check. It works. She doesn’t have any problems and as long as the doc thinks she takes her statins he’s happy and leaves her alone.

I had my wee letter “inviting me” to go to get my yearly check. It went straight in the shredder. The Doc told me he thought everyone should be taking statins and blood pressure lowering tablets regardless. If I go I’m just a let down for them. I won’t take statins, I’ve stopped taking the blood pressure pills, I don’t drink, smoke and I’m not overweight. One of the medics suggested I should only eat red meat twice a week. Really? Now there I was secure in the historical knowledge that red meat was good for us. Not now however.

I’ll go to the Doc if there is a need. I won’t take part in their money making stuff. I won’t seek them out unless “I” feel I need them. I am an individual and I make my own decisions on the basis that if I’m wrong I will have to live with the consequences.

Ditto you?


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Nigella Lawson…

It’s happened again!

Fresh from finding some commonality with the green party and the Guardian I now find myself being in agreement with a BBC person who was talking about climate change (I’d tell you a bit more but I can’t find the almost sceptical piece any longer which would seem to suggest it may have been removed by someone). Yes I know. Who would have thunk it.

I’ve managed this feat of losing the plot without recourse to any illegal chemical substances which brings me to another subject…

Nigella Lawson. I watched some of her programmes when she cooked stuff and what not. She would say stuff like she enjoyed Mars bars. She didn’t seem to mind whacking sugar into a lot of her creations and no mention anywhere of ”obesity”.

Now here she is all slimmed down and grown up.  Apparently she may have tried cocaine once and smoked a joint once. Oh dear. But it was only twice though. So that’s okay. It may however, have helped her get into a spot of bother with that nice Mr Saatchi.

I know he’s a nice man because he let me into his Chelsea Gallery and wander about for a couple of hours without charging me a penny.  Can’t be that bad then and I’ve been a few times and he’s still never changed me.

Back to Nigella. She smoked a joint. So does she also smoke? Or did she just smoke to try a joint the once?


You see you would imagine that people like Nigella, who are well connected and know loads of fellow slebs and politicians who might also partake of the odd joint etc. That must mean that they smoke when they partake. I’d also put serious money on them doing it more than once and then continue to keep doing it.  It would calm them down a bit from their frantic lives? Doesn’t that sound very, very, very similar to chavs who need to smako the odd joint to calm them down and allow them to get away from al their problems etc?

Again hmmmmm

Again my wallets out, although sadly not filled with the potential new Scottish “Stoater” currency, I’d bet more money that these same people smoke fags. Yes I’ve said they smoke fags. Shock, horror, probe!

Let’s get shot of a couple of things at this point. I don’t care a hoot who smokes and who takes drugs. All I ask is that they don’t hurt someone else whilst they partake. Smokers , unlike drinkers, aren’t going to punch anyone because they have smoked enough fags for them to be giddy. They don’t become angry smokers when they smoke too much either.

Now you’re thinking second hand smoke? Over to Jim Royle for a comment – “MY ARSE”. Thanks for that Jim. No such thing. No third hand smoke either. No toxic chemicals left on random surfaces, which can jump up and attack anyone in the vicinity.

Bear in mind I’m a non-smoker. Although I smoked a fair few of those fake sweetie ones when I was at primary school in the 60’s.

Of course it’s a bit different for the joint smoker. If you are a smoker of joints the worst you are going do is to maybe talk complete guff to someone or you might laugh too loudly for too long or you might even nick a bit of someone’s Mars bar because you were a bit peckish suddenly.

The real damage being done here, is our good old, well practised and over used friend hypocrisy. Yes indeed. They smoke tobacco in private and in public they look down on smokers. They vent their disgust at such people and get behind ASH and their like and spout the unscientific claptrap which is their mantra.

The point is that they smoke joints, which have tobacco in them. That is a sin. According to ASH and to the righteous. It’s also sin because they are lying, and they are breaking the law whilst at the same time being holier that thou.

Not a good place for them to be.

Years ago I had to go see my Doc. He was fairly laid back guy. I had been feeling under the weather, which he pointed out, was probably being caused by me working ridiculous hours and travelling all over the place as well. He took some blood because that would make sure and he asked me a few questions. One of which was “How much exercise did I get”? I said I got out of the car on occasions. He said “I do the same, I park near the newsagents and walk to the counter where I buy my fags and then I get back in the car again!!!!!! A man after my own heart.

Can you imagine a modern doctor or one of the practice nurses (I want a real one not a practicing on version please!) saying anything like that?

It would blood checks, BP checked, then prescriptions for all manner of drugs, none of which would require to be smoked. I’d have gone in with a small niggle and come out with at least three other issues. And, and, and, I’d have been lectured for the whole time I was there.

Good grief.

All Nigellas step forward and confess. Then say how sorry you are for having been brainwashed by people you thought knew about stuff when in fact they know less than nothing. Then straight to bed with no supper and television for at least a week.

For the rest of us then.

If you smoke and enjoy it carry on. If you need some care at some point and you have to go to the NHS remind them that you have paid countless thousands of pounds in duty on fags and it’s very unlikely that your care will cost more than that.

Ditto if your are cheerily plump.


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The less sensitive side of the NHS

The NHS has taken a bit of a beating this week. Hardly surprising given the goings on down south which cost the lives of 1200 people apparently. 1200 people. Is that a high estimate or a low one.

I think from memory the statistics generally quoted is that the NHS manages to kill 30,000 people a year. 30,000. Please bear in mind the frenzy of the righteous when they used to hear that 3,000 people a year were killed in car accidents. I don’t remember the righteous getting even more upset, marching, occupying hospitals, building temporary health camps and throwing bags of paint against the buildings.

My Dad got ill a lot in the two years before he died. Every time he went into hospital he had to be taken off warfarin and he wouldn’t get back out until he was back on the warfarin. This added a week or so to his stay.

He hated it. Bearing in mind that he thought the NHS was a great thing he hated going in to hospital mainly because he was always put in a general ward, which was like a sort of dumping ground. Part of the dumping that took place was that some of the patients had psychiatric problems. He didn’t feel safe in his bed. At times it was impossible to have a conversation. Stuff went missing.

That was bad enough. But some of the staff were, well, unpleasant. My Dad was a joker. He liked a laugh. He spoke to everyone, all the time. I was in one night visiting him and a nurse came to look at his hand, which was painful because of the needle in his vein. She took off the light stretch bandage and looked at the needle and then replaced the tape holding it in place. During this taking place my dad spoke to her. He joked with her about his hand. He asked her a question.

During the whole thing the nurse said nothing. She completely ignored my Dad. Walked off. I can’t think of any reason or excuse that could be considered. She was Scottish so no language problem. Maybe she had been working for hours? That would have been no excuse though.

The NHS probably worked when it was first setup. I don’t doubt that there are many people alive and I better health than would be the case if it didn’t exist but the model is no longer “fit for purpose”.

A elderly relative had to go to the Docs because he had an ear infection. His ear was swollen and it was affecting his face and eye. No problem. He luckily got an appointment with his Doc who was also an ear nose and throat specialist. She said he’d have to go to the ear, nose and throat clinic. Which was in Livingston!

So there is no nose ear and throat treatment available within Edinburgh? That’s a 50 mile trip to get an ear looked at and the trip had to be done twice. At one point it looked as if he’d have to stay in. How could his non-driving wife have visited him? By bus? She’s in her late 70s.

The NHS is about CARE. Medical care obviously but basic care, basic human compassion even. There will be thousands of people working for the NHS who deliver this care and there will be just as many or more who don’t.

We pay for it but like far too many things nowadays we have no contract directly with the point of delivery. A service level agreement should be available to us and the staff should be delivering within the agreed terms.

I’m not naive to think it will happen.


It won’t.

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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Health, The NHS


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