Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Shiftwork Health Risks

Bad news for hospital porters on shiftwork I'm afraid, and indeed anybody else too who works unusual hours, especially late at night or through the night. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has carried out a study which indicates that shiftwork causes many different kinds of health problems. It atrophies the brain; long-term shiftworkers have the average brain cell load of somebody six years their senior. Levels of obesity, heart disease and breast cancer are also much higher among shiftworkers, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29879521. The problem is that Humans are not naturally meant to be nocturnal; we have a body clock known as a circadian rhythm that uses the hormone melatonin to regulate our sleep patterns. It comes from the pineal gland in our brains, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/fluoride-and-pineal.html. Along with health problems shiftwork can also cause accidents because of the decrease in mental proficiency during the night. The disasters Exxon Valdez, Bhopal and Chernobyl all happened late at night. I certainly noticed this effect on myself when I was on night shift. It didn't matter how well I slept during the day, come two or three AM I had to struggle to keep my eyes open. This was because my pineal gland was pumping out large amounts of melatonin telling me I should be in bed. I used to do a seven-day week of nights once every four weeks, so this was a considerable burden. The fact is though that none of us worked nights because we chose to, we did it because we had to. The hospital can never close because people need its services twenty-four-seven. I don't know if there's a solution to this, maybe melatonin suppression or safe non-addictive stimulants perhaps. Until then, those who choose to serve do so knowing the risks; end of. I ask that you bear that in mind if you're in hospital at night and the staff are busy working hard around your ward.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Porters Song

This is a song from the Royal Sussex County Hospital Comedy Revue, a fundraising event held in Brighton last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl-zIz26Q9k. As I watched it I felt guilty laughing! There are many more videos of performances on that YouTube channel; it's rather camp in style, but that's not unusual for Brighton. Sadly this event got "slammed" by the critics. Well, you know what I think of "duh cwitticks", see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2008/06/critics.html
(Thanks to my Extremely Proud and Dignified Brother Porter Jakub for bringing this to my attention)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Darek Fidyka and the Right to Die

It was announced yesterday in the news that a remarkable scientific medical breakthrough has been achieved, one that has been long anticipated and hoped for. Darek Fidyka, a forty year old man from Poland has started walking again after four years of being confined to a wheelchair. In 2010 he was paralyzed when his spinal cord was severed after he was brutally attacked by somebody wielding a knife. These kinds of injuries often cause permanent disability because damaged nerve cells heal much more slowly than other kinds of cells do. Sometimes they don't heal quickly enough to recover from the injury during the patient's lifetime. For many years scientists have been trying to find a solution to this using several avenues of research; I've written a full-length article on the subject here: http://hpanwo.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/spinal-research.html. The methods involve using stem cells, electronic implants and much more, and one of those is the trial intervention Darek Fidyka underwent. In this case the scientists removed cells from his nose and inserted them into the damaged area of his spinal cord. The hypothesis was that the injured neurons- the nerve cells in his spine, would be stimulated to heal faster because the nasal cells are very different to other types. They are neurons, but they regenerate far better than the neurons in other parts of the body. Amazingly it worked and Mr Fidyka is walking again. He has also regained sensation of his body below the injury and describes is like being "born again". His rehabilitation will take a while because his muscles and joints need to recover as well, but hopefully he will one day be back to normal. His doctors, Prof. Geoff Raisman of the University College of London and Dr Pawel Tabakow of the Wroclaw University Hospital, have said that they want everybody in the world who needs this treatment to receive it and will devote every penny of funding they earn towards that goal. Prof. Raisman added that watching Mr Fidyka walking again is more impressive than watching man walk on the moon. I agree; I'm delighted by this news story. It must bring so much hope and reassurance to so many. The scientific team behind the project are keen to obtain as much funding as possible so that as many people as possible can benefit from this new treatment. So far the research has been largely supported by charities, including the one set up by David Nicholls, a British man whose son Daniel was paralyzed by spinal injury, and to whom he promised Daniel would one day walk again. I hope what I've just said will stump those who think I'm "anti-science" just because I talk about medical conspiracies.

When I heard about this I immediately thought about another article I wrote a while ago about Dr George Carey, the son of a hospital porter and former Archbishop of Canterbury. He had taken a radical stance in the church by supporting voluntary euthanasia, see: http://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/carey-backs-right-to-die.html. Euthanasia, a Greek word that literally means "a good death", is killing somebody for the purposes of relieving their pain and/or misery. It's an everyday practice in veterinary work for dealing with badly ill animals; but, as I explain in the background article, it is an extremely controversial topic when it comes to humans. The medical profession is divided on it, as are politicians and ethical philosophers of medicine. This is why it's legal in some countries and not in others. Religious institutions are almost universally against it, which is why I respect Lord Carey for his stance on the subject. Dignitas is an organization that specializes in euthanasia. It is based in Switzerland and can only operate there because their practice is against the law in so many other countries. People from all over the world have travelled to their clinic in Zurich to end their lives peacefully, surrounded by their loved ones and cared for by expert medical staff. Over a hundred and eighty Britons have so far made their last journey to the Dignitas centre including the artist John Hinklenton who had been struck down by multiple sclerosis. The famous writer Terry Pratchett wants to go there too because of his Alzheimer's disease. I myself am very much in favour of voluntary euthanasia and I'm glad the tide seems to be turning that way too. However, the story of Darek Fidyka has given me a moment's pause. This is because of another British "suicide tourism" case that took place a few years ago, this time it involved a young man of just twenty-three. Daniel James from Worcester was a keen Rugby player and always dreamed of competing professionally and even one day playing for England. Then one day his ambitions were instantly and brutally shattered when he suffered a spinal trauma while playing a match and he was left paralyzed from the chest down. He was told his injury was permanent; also quadriplegics and high level paraplegics suffer from a whole syndrome of organ failures and other pathologies that greatly reduce life expectancy. He decided to go to the Dignitas clinic and end his life; his mother and father supported his decision and travelled with him to Switzerland on his final journey, see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hereford/worcs/7774802.stm. I can only speculate, and don't like to, about how Daniel James' loved ones are now feeling if they've read the news story about Mr Fidyka; I can't bring myself to write the words. There's a very poignant scene in one of the Star Trek films, The Final Frontier, where Dr McCoy relates how he gave his own father a mercy killing only to discover that they found a cure for his sickness soon afterwards; it must feel like that and my heart goes out to them. Does this alter the moral equation at all when it comes to assisted suicide, euthanasia or whatever you want to call it? No. I've thought about it a lot and the answer is still no. Daniel James made his decision in 2008, seven years ago; his doctors would have made sure that he was given all the information available at the time about his condition and prognosis, no doubt taking into account upcoming research. The news was released about Mr Fidyka yesterday. It's impossible to know the future. Are people like Terry Pratchett expected to hold their decision just in case some future breakthrough might cure them? If this was always the way then nobody would ever be allowed to go to Dignitas ever. There is hope for Alzheimer's sufferers though from stem cell research, but I'm sure Mr Pratchett knows all about it and has declared what he wants to do despite that. If we make the decision to legalize voluntary euthanasia then it must be done while respecting human rights of intelligent freedom. That means treating us as informed and consenting adults, able to determine the course of their own lives, past, present and future. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hospital Porters and NHS Strike

There has been another strike by hospital porters, along with many other healthcare personnel, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29592205. I don't blame them one bit and if I were still in the service I'd join them. Basic emergency services have been maintained, but paramedics are involved for the first time since 1990 and the Royal Medical Corps have helped cover. Also, for the first time ever, midwives have joined in. The excuse from the DoH is that if healthcare workers were paid more, than the government would have to make redundancies. However if all NHS employees were just given a millionth of one percent of the Great Banking Bailout of 2008, then we'd all be absolutely fine. I don't buy the government's appeal to charity because it is rather selective!
See here for details of the previous hospital porters strike: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/hospital-porters-go-on-strike.html.

Smoking Ban Extension

I don't smoke. I've never smoked. I tried a cigarette once as a child and found it very unpleasant, and I've never tried it again. Everybody knows about the health risks of smoking, which is why cigarettes can only be sold to adults by law. The government makes a lot of money off smoking from the very heavy VAT on tobacco, so smokers financially support the nation, probably enough to fund their extra use of the healthcare system. However a large number of places have become smoke free, such as all government-owned establishments, including hospitals. This blanket smoking ban is very irrational and destructive in my view. NHS patients who may be stuck in hospitals for weeks or even months cannot smoke at all. Before the blanket ban there were designated smoke rooms where smoking was allowed and people could go there and freely indulge without harming anybody, except maybe themselves. This didn't contaminate the general atmosphere of the hospital at all and nobody outside those areas could be affected. Patients still smoke in NHS hospitals, it's just now every secluded corner is a secret smoking area, including the toilets with waste paper bins which could easily catch fire. Pubs are also now non-smoking and as a result thousands of them have had to close; mostly small local freehouses naturally, see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/nothing-works-anymore.html. One publican in Blackpool has dared to defy the ban; the landlord of The Happy Scot Bar has bravely fought back against one of the stupidest and most intrusive laws ever passed. He maintains a smoking bar in his pub, which is only run by smoking barmen and barmaids and where children are not permitted, see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/7103315.stm. I've been to his pub and the walls are plastered with newspaper clippings covering his court cases.

However the government has really taken this insanity up to a new level now by proposing something that's never been suggested before: the banning of smoking in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square in London, and I bet that's just the start. To make this clear, we're talking about a public place, in the open air. This is the recommendation of the London Health Commission and it's backed by the mayor Boris Johnson. The justification for the ban is of course the health risks of smoking, which we're already perfectly aware of, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-29623851. This represents an increasing trend that I've noticed in the attitude of the state and its relationship to its citizens. When previously there was a distinct demarcation between the protection of children and the freedom of grown adults, now we're all grouped together as one. This effectively means that the government treats us all as if we were children; this concept has a conventional definition- the "nanny state". As I said at the start of this article, I do not smoke. Why? Because I chose not to. I feel very different indeed about being told I cannot. And, even if you too are a non-smoker, so should you.

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Social Club Today

This building used to be the John Radcliffe Sports and Social Club, today it is occupied by what used to be called the Occupational Health Department, but has of course been given an Orwellian politically correct name: "Centre for Occupational Health and Wellbeing". It looks like it's had a lot more money spent on it than it used to get. I've often said that the JRH was the last hospital in the NHS to have a social club; this is not true. If you Google "hospital social clubs" you find several dozen entries, mostly in London and Yorkshire, but none in the Trust area of the JR. Does this mean that the breakdown of workplace camaraderie I've talked about before is not happening and I'm mistaken? No. However, I'm reposting an updated edition of my article Last Night of the JR Social Club as well as a few relevant links:

(Based on an article originally posted on HPANWO Voice on the 23rd of March 2012)
When I started out a Hospital Porter back in 198... whatever, part of my orientation was the John Radcliffe Sports and Social Club. Nowadays when you ask somebody on the wards about the Social Club most of them will say: “What’s that?” When I started out all the big five hospitals in Oxfordshire had social clubs, today none of them do except the JR... Well it did; you see: tonight was the last night of the Social Club. Tomorrow, it closes for good. And this is the end of an era and it’s extremely symbolic. Why is that? What's changed? I think it’s because of the breakdown of community spirit and camaraderie in NHS hospitals. More work is being done by fewer people for less money. Everybody is so miserable and stressed out that there’s no time to play and have fun anymore. You just do your job and get the hell out. Just put in your time and then go home and collapse. I can’t remember when it all went wrong; not the day, not the month, not even the year. There’s no one single event that destroyed the soul of the hospital; it just crept up on us, but by bit, over the years. It came along so slowly we didn’t even notice it. But I look back now and I think: “How on Earth did it come to this? Why did we let it happen?” I took these photos below for the same reason that I took photos of the Headington Subway, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/rip-subway.html, because they’re an important and exclusive historical record of something precious that is now lost; something so fundamental, but so subtle, that it’s hard even to name it. But everybody knows what it is and can feel it. For that reason I’ve captured as many images of that place as I can; even the toilets are worth preserving! Technically I’m barred from the JRSSC and have been since my dismissal from the hospital, but I thought: “Fuck it! I’ll be damned if I’ll miss the last night of the Social Club!” We had a fun but poignant evening. It was good to see my Extremely Proud and Dignified Brother and Sister Porters again. The stock was almost all gone and by closing time all but one of the beer pumps had been draped by bar towels. The bar staff were serving “half pints” of over a litre in coke glasses, but who cares; what are they going to do about it? Close the place down?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Allyson Pollock at TEDx

I've had some harsh words for TED in the past, see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/down-with-skeptocracy.html. However this sobering lecture by Prof. Allyson Pollock, former director of the Centre for International Public Health Policy, is essential for everybody, whether NHS serviceman or patient. And by "patient" I really mean anybody who might need the National Health Service at some point in their lives... which really covers every man, woman and child in Britain, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz5dl9fhj7o. As I've said previously, the plan to abolish the NHS goes back almost to the time of its formation in 1948. When the government wants to do something that the people support, it does so openly claiming that it's "bowing to the public will". When it wants to do something people do not support it does so slowly and stealthily in a series of "reforms" and "restructuring policies", each presented as completely independent from the others. Each step along the road will be justified by a false reason too, and its crooked implementers will vigourously deny that it's part of any longer term strategy. When it was originally introduced sixty-six years ago the NHS was initially very controversial and the medical profession was vocally opposed to it, but when things settled down it became one of the nation's best-loved institutions and the envy of the world. Doctors are today its staunchest defenders. In 2012 the Health Secretary was formerly relieved of duty to provide healthcare for all British citizens equally, regardless of social status or ability to pay. As I've said before, anybody looking seriously at the process leading up to this ruling would find it transparently predictable. Management of the Health Service has also been made more complicated with an enormous amount of very expensive and bureaucratic baggage deliberately piled onto it. This red tape has included more and more registration for "NHS users". You can't just turn up at a hospital anymore, see here for more detail: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/health-tourism-crackdown.html. A large proportion of the population are bound soon to become "NHS unpeople", divorced from the legal and administrative infrastructure. It's already happened with dentistry and is rapidly increasing with GP's. Corporations, including Richard Branson's Virgin, are desperately bidding to take control of healthcare services and make a fortune off sick people. The ultimate goal of all this is to have a system of insurance based on the American Medicare model. It will still probably be called "the National Health Service", but as Prof. Pollock says, that will be nothing more than a marketing brand. Now, you might say that I'm deviating from statements I've made before about medical conspiracies, suppressed cures, biological warfare etc, for example see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/emergency-swine-flu-meeting-with-ian.html. And it's true that there are far deeper and more furtive issues at stake that make the question of the NHS being public or not irrelevant. However I think the fate of the NHS is still a valid point when it relates to these deeper issues because it shows the true motives of those in control of the medical establishment and that is a vital point to grasp if you're going to understand how a vaccine could be used to murder a child, or a woman be left to die of breast cancer when a simple drug could cure her.  

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Carey backs Right to Die

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has astounded his ecclesiastical colleagues by announcing that he's backing the controversial "right to die" Bill. Currently in the UK it is highly illegal to assist another person to commit suicide. In some other countries it is permitted for a doctor to take the life of a patient if they request it under certain circumstances; if the individual is of sound mind and they have made the decision that they do not want to continue their life as a result of a very painful and/or debilitating illness from which they have no hope of recovery. Also if their prognosis is terminal. The Netherlands and Switzerland are two such countries and some British people are travelling there for this reason, so called "euthanasia tourism". At the moment there is a campaign to change the law in Britain to allow people to carry out voluntary euthanasia, see: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/public-ethical-issues/assisted-dying/. I know I've disagreed vehemently with BHA over the years and I've also lampooned them ruthlessly, see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/andrew-copson-mba.html, but I'm right behind them on this issue. The church has always been very opposed to euthanasia because they believe that our life is a gift from God and that we therefore have a duty to live it; to end it ourselves is a sin. Therefore Lord Carey's announcement it truly astonishing. There will no doubt be a massive fallout coming his way as a result of his words and he should be congratulated for his courage. The Church of England has launched an inquiry into the Bill. However the current Archbishop Justin Welby called the Assisted Dying Bill "mistaken and dangerous". However the church definitely seems to be softening somewhat over this matter. There are currently no plans to discipline Lord Carey when a few years ago he'd have been defrocked and excommunicated on the spot. A few churchmen have even given Carey lukewarm support. The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome said that the bill was an "important issue" that needed to be discussed at length. George Carey is unique among Archbishops of Canterbury because his father was a Hospital Porter. He would have heard directly from his dad the kinds of experiences one has behind the screens in a major hospital. Carey's father would have witnessed the very pinnacle of human suffering and fear day after day after day for years. This might well have influenced his son's attitude towards euthanasia, as it has my own. What's more euthanasia is already going on, it's just done on the quiet. I have heard many very credible stories within the folklore of the hospital about doctors who were brave enough, and were confident they could get away with it, dispatching somebody at their request. The relatives in these cases were enormously grateful and kept the truth to themselves. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28274531.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Jimmy Savile's Hospital Crimes

A major series of Government reports are in the process of being released about the long and copious allegations of horrific sex offences and obscene behaviour committed by Jimmy Savile while he was serving as a Hospital Porter at various NHS units. According to the source, victims of Savile range in age from five to seventy-five, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28034427. There are also rumours that he carried out perverted sexual activities with corpses in the mortuary. Obviously this news is particularly painful for we, the honourable, proud and decent Porters, both current and former. Along with the disgust and contempt I feel for Savile is a deep, deep shame. He has brought the name of Hospital Portering into disrepute as much as it can be in all physical possibility. Also, as I've said before, he is only the small fry in a massive institution of depravity. The investigation continues.
This subject comes up in this edition of The Mind Set Podcast at 27.04: http://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/ben-emlyn-jones-on-mind-set-podcast-57.html.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

NHS Inpatients Charged for Board

The inevitable has happened; it's taken the Government almost forty years, but their final destination is in sight.
Over my twenty-three years in NHS service I watched it happen. The National Health Service has had its budget squeezed tighter and tighter, personnel have been axed and units shut down. Managerial staff have been far too preoccupied organizing a more and more constrained service, and far too afraid of losing their own jobs, to do anything to stop the rot. More work is being done by fewer people earning less pay. The Department of Health has imposed more and more rules and regulations, as well as "performance targets" that are impossible to reach. Unions have been focused on forcing members to use politically correct terminology and ranting about how evil white straight males are; they've totally failed to motivate a resistance against the rot. As I've said in the background article, this is "un-news". We all knew deep down it was coming. The sixty-six year era of free state-run healthcare in the UK has come to an end. The question is: who will be the first politician to admit it? After four decades of swearing to God this would never happen, while at the same time signing the privatization papers, how quickly will they set up the new system where we have to buy insurance cards or use charity hospitals like in the United States? It mattered not who we voted for because both the main political parties implemented the same policy while in power, and challenged it while in opposition. Interestingly when I first clicked on the source page below there was an ad in the column to the right promoting a private health insurance firm!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Happy St Theo's Day 2014

On behalf of every serving Hospital Porter, every former Hospital Porter, and everybody else who loves, appreciates and supports us, with all the Pride and Dignity of my Extremely Proud and Dignified Brother and Sister Porters, I'd like to wish all my friends and readers, a very happy St Theo's Day.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

St Theo's Day 2014 Fliers

The fliers for this year's St Theo's Day are finished. In due course I shall print and distribute them. This year, as with last year, I have produced two different fliers, one for the Oxfordshire hospitals on my doorstep; and another to be distributed to other institutions around the country. I will send the second national flier by post, addressed to the Porters in those institutions. See here for my HPANWO TV reportage of the 2011 St Theo's Day party at the John Radcliffe Sports and Social Club: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/st-theos-day-party-2011.html.

St Theo's Flyer Oxon by Ben Emlyn-Jones

St Theo's Flyer (National) by Ben Emlyn-Jones

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

NHS Whistleblower Exonerated

Dr Raj Mattu was a senior cardiologist in the Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust until he was forcibly discharged in 2010. He has just won his lawsuit for unfair dismissal. His trouble started in 2001 when he reported to the media about the squalid and unsafe conditions cardiac surgical patients were forced to live in at Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital. He then believes he was subjected to a witch hunt, a covert campaign to discredit him in any way possible, a "plausible alternative" to their real motive, which was his whistle-blowing. They trumped up some charges against him that he considers very heinous like fraud, sexual harassment, assault, finding flaws in his work etc. If you're a regular HPANWO reader you'll no doubt have found this story as familiar as I have, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/how-i-became-ex-hospital-porter.html. I hope Dr Mattu bleeds the bastards for every penny he can get! He should show them no more mercy than they showed him.

This tale really rings a bell with me, the conspiratorial targeting of the individual, the lies tabled in order to blacken their name, to put them under emotional pressure and steamroller them out of their job. It amazes me how difficult it is to get a quorum together at a union branch meeting to discuss positive subjects about improving everybody's lives, yet when it comes to maliciously humiliating and intimidating a colleague, NHS staff in huge numbers will tacitly form a dedicated and loyal united front at the drop of a hat. Dr Mattu says his managers instructed the head of hospital security to spy on him; and the head of security agreed!? Why is that? Maybe it's media indoctrination and cultural programming; would Phil Mitchell hesitate to get Dr Mattu sacked? That's a big subject that will require another article. This whole process took over a decade, far longer than it did with me in which I was manoeuvred out of the door within three months. These days, when every hospital and doctors' surgery in the country is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, this must have cost the Trust an extraordinary amount of money; far more than they spent getting rid of me. Not to mention the loss of an experienced doctor of consultant level, somebody who costs several million pounds when all his experience, training and education is added up. Yet they paid out the cash without a second thought. There's an important lesson to be learnt here; don't ever think that corruption and secrecy is impossible in the National Health Service because somebody will always speak out. We are looking at a level of internal violence and a climate of fear that even I underestimated.
Source; please also listen to the brief radio clip in the right hand column: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-27072779.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Man Falls to his Death at JR

A man has died at the John Radcliffe Hospital, my old hospital, see: http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/10939627.Man_dies_after_falling_from_a_height_in_the_West_Wing_of_the_John_Radcliffe_Hospital/?ref=mr. Somebody on the inside... whom I'd prefer not to name... has told me that the man fell from one of the indoor balconies built in the West Wing of the hospital which is part of the newest development on the site. This structure is dominated by a huge internal atrium covered by glass walls; and the landings built alongside the lift shafts have doors leading off to the floor levels, which are five storeys high, around ninety to a hundred feet; this is a standard architectural template used in several places by the NHS building and management contractor Carillion plc. The dead man was a psychiatric patient and so was vulnerable to unpredictable and irrational acts that might lead to self-harm. The problem is that the balconies I mention are lined by glass parapets about five feet high. Safe enough to prevent anybody accidentally falling, but in a hospital there's a major hazard that any people who fall from a great height will not do so accidentally... I warned them! I damn well warned them!... I said, they need to enclose those balconies by a floor-to-ceiling wall to deter jumpers. How do I know? A psychology degree? A course in "architectural ergonomic humanistic development coordination", or whatever it's called these days?... No, just having to drag people off ward window sills over and over again for twenty-three years!

This is not the first time a mistake like this has been made. Way back in 1986, before even I joined the Hospital Portering Service, the new cardiac centre was constructed at the hosptial and a debacle ensued that has become a part of the JR's folk history. The lifts were too small for the hospital's beds... amazing isn't it? But nobody noticed this until they actually built the place and tried to get a bed into one of them. However when the blueprints for the facility were originally published we, the Porters, looked at them and told the planning committee that we were concerned about the size of the lifts as they appeared on the design. We recommended a consultation with the architects to decide whether they needed altering to make sure they were compatible with out bed fleet. The committee refused to speak to us; where's Howard Roark when you need him!? As a result, the building was thrown up according to the original plans and, lo and behold!?... The beds wouldn't fit into the lifts... exactly as we'd predicted! The hospital had no choice but to remove the lifts, demolish part of what had already been constructed and rebuild it differently. This involved major alterations to the entire structure which cost several hundred thousand pounds. This was slightly easier and cheaper than replacing the entire fleet of beds. The hospital tried to claim on their insurance, but unfortunately their premiums were not high enough to cover them against their own stupidity... but at least this time nobody lost their life. Obviously this ridiculous and wasteful farce could have been avoided easily in the planning stages, if they'd condescended to listen to those who knew. The moral of this story is: Always listen to Hospital Porters! It will save you a hell of a lot of money... and it might even save lives!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A Hospital Porter is King!

A Hospital Porter from Southend, Essex has announced that he is a direct descendant of King William I of England, the first Norman ruler of the country who took power when he won the Battle of Hastings in 1066, see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2538634/Hospital-porter-discovered-hes-descendant-Alfred-Great-William-Conquerot.html. William's victory was helped by the fact that the incumbent Saxon king, Harold II, was busy up north repulsing another invasion by Denmark which "coincidentally" happened to take place at the same time. My Extremely Proud and Dignified Brother Porter Jon Blackmore has been researching his family tree and now says he has positive proof of his royal lineage. He is also linked to Kings Henry VIII and Alfred the Great through his family. There are twenty-seven generation separating the king from my Brother Porter, but his photo does bear a striking resemblance to the portraits of William the Conqueror. Could a particular facial physiognomy endure for so many generations? The question is, does this pedigree of my Brother Porter's entitle him to be put in line for the throne? I'd say: Yes! Sod the lineage, he's a Hospital Porter! Naturally Queen Elizabeth II and her House of Windsor Annunaki Reptilian accomplices will never allow anybody else willingly into their place, and they will fight and kill for their privileges; they've done so before many many times. But this brings up an important question about the monarchy: Would we have such a thing in the post-Illuminati world? My first instinct is to say "no", but should I? Is a king or queen an inherently bad thing? In JR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings there are good kings and queens, elves, dwarves etc, especially after the One Ring has been destroyed. Of course most people will protest that this is just a fantasy story, and technically they'll be right, but Tolkien was a very wise man who was deeply connected to profound spiritual archetypes. This is a new notion that has only just occurred to me and I don't yet have all the answers, but I'll be contemplating it and will get back to you. As far as I'm concerned, bowing to a Hosptial Porter is not only something I'd be willing to do, it would be an absolute pleasure!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Porters Awareness Day Sticker

One of my Brother Porters has sent me a recent photograph of a Porters Awareness Day sticker, see above, and it made my day, I can tell you! The John Radcliffe's Porters Awareness Day was a public relations event organized by hospital management that I was involved with. It took place about ten years ago and it's the only time ever that I'm aware of that the hospital management itself has done anything proactive to raise the profile of Portering. We set up a stall on the main public corridor of the hospital and handed out leaflets and stickers to passers-by. We spoke to them about who we are and what we do. The newspapers got involved too. It was a wonderful feeling and I don't think we've ever felt so appreciated. I wished afterwards that I'd kept some of the literature and stickers. For a few weeks after the event they were seen everywhere, on windows, lift sidewalls and inside toilet cubicle doors etc. However, slowly but surely they were cleaned up or perished, as stickers do. I assumed none of them could possibly be left after all this time. Then I got sent the above photo. That brave little sticker is still there! Standing proud for all to see! The photo is a bit indistinct, but the words say: "We're the Heartbeat of the Hospital- Smile at a Porter today!"   I'd rather not tell you where it is exactly because there sadly are some malicious vandals around who don't think Porters should be allowed to feel proud. It makes me feel so good to see this and I hope it does you too. 

Saturday, 4 January 2014

A&E Patients could be Charged

Just a few weeks after a leading government think-tank recommended charging patients £10 to see their GP, see: http://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/10-fee-to-see-your-gp.html. Now a survey at "Doctors.net", see: http://www.doctors.net.uk/, claims that a third of all doctors think patients should have to pay a provisional fee for admittance to Accident and Emergency departments. This fee would be reimbursed to the patient after treatment... should treatment be necessary. If the patient is discharged without treatment the hospital keep the tenner. The perceived need for this measure is the number of people who turn up at A&E when they have only a minor injury, can't be bothered to make a GP appointment or are just drunk etc. The Department of Health says it has "no plans" to make any changes to the system along these lines at present... Yeah, right! Also, the temptation will be there among pressured hospital staff to cut corners and send patients home when they shouldn't be, for the sake of the money. Does this also mean doctors and nurses will have to take on the role of NHS policemen, as with the proposed database to stop "health tourism", see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/health-tourism-crackdown.html? Who decides? One of the trauma surgeons at my hospital proposed a much simpler solution; he offered to walk through the A&E waiting room wearing his blood-soaked theatre wellingtons. "That's all you need to get rid of the time-wasters!" he said.