Forum Soapbox

Started by getagrip, 04 March 2015, 08:04:31 PM

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At the risk of depressing everyone further, I happen to live in a block of 32 flats that appeals to retired downsizers and so we have 1 serious disability, 3 dementia and 5 cancer cases each with a partner doing their best to cope/care .  The local NHS Hospital does well when stuff gets acute but the GP experience is very variable and the social care side is non existent unless you pay ££ for private nurse help.  Being able to easily chat with people in similar situations does help the carers.   The upside is that being in the flat so much means I can get some painting of the little guys done. 

I know nobody likes paying taxes but I would support NI being levied on pensioners income and council tax doubled on properties over £0.25m. (both would hit me).  It wouldn't hit those relying on state pension and could even out this lottery between those caring and those who used to pack the cruise ships and the winter sunshine holidays. (also me!)  Of course, even when there was funding, there might not be the staff.   There are only 1m "unemployed" and 2m "furloughed" and another 2m not "economically active" so something needs to be done urgently to make working more attractive and adding taxes on the working population isn't it.   

Heedless Horseman

21 September 2021, 10:42:36 AM #301 Last Edit: 21 September 2021, 11:54:50 AM by Heedless Horseman
You have got to laugh, really... but it is not funny. From mid 80s, it was PRIVATISE! Encourgage competition! Drive prices down! Bring up Small Business! Foreign Investment!
BUT, when the S**t builds up...  'Help!'... 'Bale out'... State take Over 'not an option'...'protection for consumers'... 'Incentivisation'...
WE HAD... Definitely NOT PERFECT... (I remember Power cuts, Strikes, etc.)...but Services that were not 'on the brink of disaster'. |Pretty avearge , (Old Jokes about BR Cheese Sandwiches?)... but THERE.
No-one had to 'F**k About, looking for a 'Better Deal' from an alternative Service Provider... what was there was ok.. and it WOULD STILL BE THERE.

You also had LOTS of staff... also 'TAXPAYERS'... on 'decent' wages...(though everyone needs more!).. with good pension prospects for the later years.
Also... trainees... NOT just the couple of old guys still left... but young'uns to learn the job WELL... and be experienced staff in their time and actually capable of doing the task, without having to call in  another van ' cos they needed a part... which should have been there.... just didn't know.

In my old work... call in 'The Engineers'... and they would perform 'Anything' ... from plumbing to alarm systems... and go around changing lights as a plus! Privatised... 'Job Cards' So... maybe 3 days later! For Job on Card. Not their fault.

I could go on... and on... and on... (is that onanism?)  ;D   But, maybe should not have started.. just you read the news... and it shouldn't be there.
Apologies for Rant!
(40 Yrs ago. I should have been an Angry Young Man... but wasn't.
Now... I am an Old B******! )  ;)

Big Insect

21 September 2021, 01:19:19 PM #302 Last Edit: 21 September 2021, 01:22:35 PM by Big Insect
TBF - IMHO etc. etc. etc ... the whole thing need a proper 'brain' to come up with a lasting holistic solution, not this 'band-aid' of a policy.

I don't mind paying extra taxes, as long as the money is used wisely and effectively. So adding a few % points to NI - which does also mean that Business pays its fair share of the new levy, seems to me to be OK. Plus NI is a proportionate tax - the more you earn the more you pay - right up to the top of the earnings ladder.

However .... and here come the but!
Putting more money into an already failing system is not a great idea, without first addressing the systemic problems that cause the issues.
It has been proven time & time again, that the more money you put into the NHS, the more inefficient it gets. Whilst the whole concept of the NHS is great (& I think that Bevan was inspired with his vision), that doesn't mean it is still 100% fit for purpose all these years later.
Don't get me wrong the staff work hard, they are on the most part dedicated (& I'll come back to that) but the whole structure is creaking at the seams - and Covid and the 2015 Pension Reforms have finally tipped it over the edge.
I saw a report a while back were some great business mind (I forget who) was asked to go into the NHS and come back with solutions and ideas. In the end he was left frustrated and totally disillusioned that there was much hope of radicle transformation.

He was asked if there was one thing that he'd change that would make a massive difference, what would that be? His answer was quick and simple - change completely the way that Consultants work. He was adamant that the attitude and working practices of the vast majority of Consultants was crippling the NHS. He saw them as protectionist, arrogant, self-interested and in many cases actually very aggressive towards the whole NHS structure. He stated the case of why many NHS operating theatres are empty on a Friday afternoon - the answer was simple. One word - Golf! These valuable resources were left idle because many Surgeons were not prepared to schedule long of complex operations that might mean a cancelled game of golf, if there were complications. This issue was further exacerbated by the issues with the Life Times Earnings Cap on NHS Pensions - that meant that extra overtime for middle-ranking theatre staff was actually punitive. More overtime actually led to a tax bill on those earnings, as they generated additional pensions contributions that took the earner over the 'Cap' and so made doing the overtime actually mean the employee had to pay for the privilege of doing the overtime. More lack of 'systems thinking' and just common sense!
Also - if we look at France (for example) - which has a great health care system - Consultants or the equivalent can earn no more than 1/3rd of their total income (from any source) from outside the state health service. Or they are 100% private and cannot work in or use any state medical facilities. And if they are 100% private they have to pay back a very high % of their otherwise government funded training costs.
When a Consultants representative was asked why Consults were (by & large) so uncooperative his answer was "well what do you expect - my members often have 3 degrees and are being ordered about by NHS managers often who only have 3 GCEs at best ... "

So where is this all going ? ... I hear you ask.

Well ... if we have an NI levy for Social Care - then lets have it a) allocated to Social Care (not the NHS) and b) let's have a proper Bevan style plan for a holistic Social Care Service - not the current rag-bag of inadequate council based (& funded) provision and private care-homes where profit is the driving force not care. Also - there are millions of unpaid voluntary (& I use that word carefully as most are forced to do the care as the system is so inadequate) who have completely been overlooked by the governments latest so-called 'plan'.

The issues with the NHS & Social Care are not a quick fix - this needs proper thinking and a real deep dive investigation. But I suspect that now that Boris & crew have come up with this NI tax wheeze - that's it - done and dusted - bish bash bosh!!!


'He could have lived a risk-free, moneyed life, but he preferred to whittle away his fortune on warfare.' Xenophon, The Anabasis

This communication has been written by a dyslexic person. If you have any trouble with the meaning of any of the sentences or words, please do not be afraid to ask for clarification. Remember that dyslexics are often high-level conceptualisers who provide "out of the box" thinking.

Steve J

Hmmm, where to start! Based upon personal experiences, I offer you my following observations:

- The NHS is brilliant at emergency level work, as seen in our A&E services. After that it fails frankly. This is not down to the staff who are by and large brilliant, but as an organisation it is dreadfully inefficient. I remember a consultant telling me that at Southmead hospital in Bristol, they had their A4 photocopy paper supplied by four different companies! When diagnosed with prostate cancer, I went private via work as I kept getting delays to my first appointment. In the end I was seen by the same consultant privately as I would have on the NHS, the operation was performed at Southmead, an NHS hospital and I was declared cancer free before I would have seen the same chap on the NHS.

- Social Care is a joke right across the board. The recent NI increase only applies to those over 60 or thereabouts, so misses out anyone younger, such as our son!

- Social Services in South Glos is dreadful really. Too high staff turnover, not enough staff, not enough experienced staff means waits of months at a time for even the most basic of appointments.

- CAMHS. Hard to believe that they are worse than all of the above, most likely for the same reasons.

If we really want to fix things, then we need to start paying more into a system that works, like the French health service. My old boss lives there and they basically pay about 25% of their care, with the state picking up the rest. In short we need to rip everything up and start again, but we know that ain't going to happen.

2017 Paint-Off - 2 x Winner!


My concern with NHS funding is how little there is of it, where the extra money goes when it is poured in.

Bevan envisaged an NHS, not a brand name to keep the punters quiet with private companies touting tendering for business to provide services using nursing staff, doctors and consultants trained by the NHS and hived off into private 'providers'.

I don't blame anyone getting treatment for serious conditions done privately given the state of public health care, but therein lies the rub. A two tier system that allows middle class people to buy their way around the blockages and waiting lists means that the people who know how to use the levers of social power to change the system are filtered out. If fund managers, accountants, solicitors etc had to sit in the sinks of despair that NHS hospital waiting rooms have become, there would be a real outcry and real change pdq. Boris' money would have to deliver something meaningful instead of more cash to his mates running private and increasingly American 'health care providers' instead of funding front line services.

When 'markets' became okay in the NHS context we were stuffed. Get them out and go back to a proper formulation of the Welfare State.

There's another reason the NHS looks poor in international comparison tables - the US spends 17% of GDP on healthcare, the French 11%  and UK 10%. If you want top quality care you have to pay for it - and get value for money, not profits for company shareholders.


21 September 2021, 08:53:10 PM #305 Last Edit: 21 September 2021, 09:00:51 PM by Orcs

First doubling council tax on any property over £250K. I don,t know. Where you live DecemDave, But where I live you cannot get a 2 bed flat anywhere near me for less than £250K . This means that the youngsters have almost no hope. Rent for the same is £1200 a month plus council tax that is already at over £150 aa month. Double the council tax and they loose any chance at all to get a place of their own.

My own council tax on a normal 4 bed semi is already £284 a month, and no I don't live in central London just Buckinghamshire.
NI increases announced will up our household bill by £1000 a year.

While I think the service given by the NHS staff is excellent, it is a huge money pit. My job is maintaining their data services , a couple of years ago I found out they were paying for two 100 meg data connections  for a Hospital minimum cost around £140K a year. The hospital had been closed for over 5 years !!!!!!!
I regularly see similar wastage on smaller sites.

When my father was in hospital they were using elasticated bandages at three times the cost because the staff could not be bothered to get the proper ones from downstairs as the Porter was off sick. My sister in law ( a senior nurse several ranks senior too the ward sister  ) came in an flipped at them . The claimed no time but she had sat and watched them chat for half an hour.

I too saw the program that Big insect saw and  he is absolutely correct. The whole system needs a shake up before they sk the tax payer for more
The cynics are right nine times out of ten. -Mencken, H. L.

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Steve J

I remember an article a few years ago that argued, rather convincingly, that the NHS has never worked as envisaged from day one. With an increasing population, people living longer etc has simply brought things to a head. This has been known for years and successive governments on both sides have refused to address the situation head on.

Frankly I despair of a solution as currently getting support for our son is nigh on impossible, ditto my current back problems. The GP had to play the cancer card to get an MRI for me, as the first request was rejected, which is apparently the norm at present. So now I'm on a 3 month waiting list to then find out when I may be seen!

2017 Paint-Off - 2 x Winner!

Steve J

Last night just before bed, we received 'spam' text messages via a BT service ad infinitum, to the point we had to disconnect the 'phone >:(.

Another thing that got my ire, was on a walk yesterday, I could smell what I thought was wood smoke, only to discover the someone had once again burnt the farmer's hay bales in the field. Why oh why do they do this?

2017 Paint-Off - 2 x Winner!

Techno II

I assume they think it's 'fun' or 'big'.....Or maybe they hope a fire engine will come and put it out. =)

Cheers - Phil

Heedless Horseman

Similar vein.. to last. 'Uprighted' TWO 'Waste',  Dog S**t bins, yesterday. WTF!!!
At least not set on fire!
Any of the little t***s even know how much 'Sh*t Can' Burning was a VERY hated 'Fatigue' for many?

Can think of 'Community Service'...
(40 Yrs ago. I should have been an Angry Young Man... but wasn't.
Now... I am an Old B******! )  ;)


Quote from: Orcs on 21 September 2021, 08:53:10 PM

Agree your points. I had not considered the pass through of council tax to renters from wealthy landlords. I do stick to my main point that we need to get the relatively wealthy and not the working young to contribute more.  As to housing, I live in one of the many relatively cheap housing areas in the south east. We sold one flat in 2019 for £240k and another in 2020 for £215k.  [To buy the "palace" we now live in].  Zoopla right now has 854 properties under £250k in the BN postcode.    They mostly wont be bought by first time buyers though, they will be bought by buy to let landlords adding to their portfolio to charge more youngsters rent.  As to the NHS yes it needs reform, I've seen lots of attempts to do so in the last 6 decades.  What is more likely to actually happen is that a growing clamour over the growing waiting lists encourages politicians of all parties to put more money in. 

Steve J

Well it turns out that the texts were our son sending them to our house 'phone by mistake, rather than his sisters mobile :'( :'( :'(

2017 Paint-Off - 2 x Winner!

Techno II

Oops !

At least you shouldn't be bombarded again, Steve !

Cheers - Phil.  :)


Quote from: Steve J on 22 September 2021, 12:13:24 PM
Well it turns out that the texts were our son sending them to our house 'phone by mistake, rather than his sisters mobile :'( :'( :'(

LOL  ;D >:( ;D

The BT text to voice service is very odd in the way it reads the messages at the best of times. Can't imagine what messages from one teenager to another might come across as!
2011 Painting Competition - Winner!
2012 Painting Competition - 2 x Runner-Up
2016 Painting Competition - Runner-Up!
2017 Paint-Off - 3 x Winner!

My wife's creations: Jewellery and decorations with sparkle and shine at

Lord Kermit of Birkenhead

Quote from: fred. on 22 September 2021, 12:49:36 PM
LOL  ;D >:( ;D

The BT text to voice service is very odd in the way it reads the messages at the best of times. Can't imagine what messages from one teenager to another might come across as!

Don't think I want to know...
Lord Kermit of Birkenhead
Muppet of the year 2019, 2020 and 2021