Monthly Archives: May 2013

People Power Works!

A landline telephone

A landline telephone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

0844    0844   O844    0844    0844    0844    0844    0844 

Company to stop marketing 0844 numbers to GPs

The latest issue of PULSE MAGAZINE, the Doctor’s in-house journal, has a very interesting story proving that ‘people power’ still has clout. It says “A major supplier has promised to cease marketing 0844 numbers to NHS organisations, due to public opinion over the use of premium numbers by GP practices.”

Now The Daisy Group, which owns the Daisy Line Surgery telephone service,
installed in more than GP 2,000 practices, has said it will stop marketing 0844
numbers to NHS-related organisations due to public pressure. Mr Andrew Goldwater, commercial director of system services for the Daisy Group said that they will bow to public opinon and stop proactive marketing 0844 numbers to practices. So in future, once there is no incentive to keep patients hanging on, you might even find you get through quicker. However, be warned!  The Daisy Group has announced they will “continue to work with our GP customers to develop
alternative solutions, supporting them by providing them with the products of their choice.
Mr David Hickson of campaign group Fair Telecoms said the Daisy Group should go
further and assist all practices currently using 0844 numbers to switch to the
equivalent 0344 number.
In which case, those of you who have BT Option 3, or similar packages, will get
these calls for free.

Hurrah for Harry!

AMC pilot wins at Warrior Games, meets Prince ...

AMC pilot wins at Warrior Games, meets Prince Harry [Image 1 of 4] (Photo credit: DVIDSHUB)

Prince comes into his own

Growing up with a Forces background, I knew that father, cousins and family got up to dreadful pranks.  But when it came to fighting, they served in the Mediterranean and Russian convoys, became Bomber pilots, Army cousins served in the 10th Royal Hussars, when most were killed in Normany landings, and one helped change the parade ground into a Go Cart track, much to his Sergeant’s horror. and went on manoeuvres with bottles stuffed up his tank’s gun (found out when the General in charge singled his tank out to lead a charge).

They may have got up to all sorts of pranks (far worse than Harry’s nude scenes), but their commanding officers knew this was just letting off steam;  when push came to shove, they delivered.

Now, Prince Harry is really delivering.  Let alone what he did during two tours of duty in Afghanistan (a nephew did the same and says it is no picnic), he is now getting a huge amount of invaluable media attention for the disabled.  And boy, do we need it.

You would think that today, with all that is written about disabled rights, life would be easier.  But you only have to go in to Peter Jones (our local John Lewis store) to see how reality is different.  All chairs have been taken away, and cash tills moved.  Complaining to PJ about this, answer comes back that we can always ask for chairs!  And it’s only a few more yards to walk to tills!  PJ hasn’t heard of portable credit  card machines.  Complain, and you are told that you can request a chair – which singles us out when we have to ask one of the hard-pressed staff to stop serving and go off and get us a chair.

What could be useful

It was interesting to hear Harry acknowledge that US rehab is better than we have. Whilst Help for Heroes has done wonders with Hedley Court’s rehab., talking to physios etc. who have worked there, they admit that facilities for US troops are far better.  There was TV footage of a soldier strung up in front of video footage, to teach him balance – and yes, I have seen this in Oxford, but at a private centre, not one that can be used by NHS.

But perhaps Captain Wales’s interest might persuade our rehab teams in Britain to look further.  I was lucky enough to be treated for polio whilst my father was in the Navy, in the days when Forces’ dependants got top priority;  but I had to work out for myself what Dr. Ludwig Guttman was doing in Stoke Mandeville, and then adapt it for myself.  Having been told I would never walk again, I was darned if I was going to believe the medics – so learnt to be an awkward cuss!  But came across the ‘what’s best for majority – not for me as an individual’.

And it is treating disabled as individuals that is so difficult, when we need specialised attention.  This apparently is how system works in USA, and hopefully Harry’s interest might highlight that each of us needs individual care tailored for us.  Give us this, and we will surprise you!  As I did when I walked out of hospital past doctors who had spent a long time preparing me for life in bed – but not giving me tailored exercise programmes, which I managed to work out for myself, then got Bob, my favourite Porter, to wheel me into hydrotherapy pool and leave me there all afternoon – when no-one knew what I got up to!

Lessons learnt

So when today doctors say that those who make a fuss recover better – you’ve got to believe this is so.  Remember, it’s YOUR body – so go ahead and DEMAND what you think you need.  I reckon those troops we see struggling across the Antarctic, or cycling to Paris, or just getting back on their (prosthetic feet) don’t stop to listen to the NHS which says there is no money for treatment.  So go out there and get going – and to H–L with what anyone says!

Good luck

10th Royal Hussars

10th Royal Hussars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Foreigners using our NHS

A credit card, the biggest beneficiary of the ...

No need to Panic!

And no need for doctors and nurses to worry

For some reason the media is full of stories about doctors and nurses (quite rightly) saying they aren’t set up to police NHS admissions, collecting money for overseas patients, etc.

But – there is no need for them to do this.  Abroad it is all handled by the hospital receptionist.

Until Dave gives us the promised referendum re EU membership, Britain is part of Europe.  So let’s copy how they deal with the problem.

The last time I was in A & E in a European city (after diving head-first into a holly bush over my bicycle handlebars), as soon as I arrived the efficient Receptionist dealt with my credit card, and looked at my EHIC card.  She took my details, home address and credit card imprint, and then waved me in to brilliant fast treatment.

Incidentally I ended up paying £30 – very cheap for what I got.

Contrast this with what happens in our local A & E.  You arrive feeling like death warmed up, details are taken, then you are told to wait – whilst the Receptionists (two or three of them), go back to their important discussion of last night’s TV.  You are eventually called in to see the Triage nurse – then back to waiting until 5 minutes short of 4 hours.  Meantime the important discussion goes on behind the Reception screen.

Instead of chatting, these Receptionists could spend five minutes taking details of patients, and if not residents, how people are going to pay  Today, if someone is visiting another country, they must have used a credit card to pay for their low budget airline fare, if nothing else.

So they have a credit card.  Just take an impression.  Simples!

This is managed very easily by most of our European neighbours, and doctors and nurses get on with their work whilst Receptionists get details from patients. So let’s copy what they do – and we might have a few quid to spend on our NHS.

And in an emergency, when you can’t talk or wave your credit card around, I have noticed one is treated swiftly and efficiently, then someone comes in later on to assess what you should be liable for.  But British people are warned before we go abroad that we should carry insurance, so what’s wrong with letting visitors know we are doing same, and expecting them to make arrangements?  The word will soon get around.

What happens in UK

Last week an Italian friend’s daughter fell ill whilst staying;  we bundled her off to A & E.  Before she left she was adamant she must take with her her medical insurance details, which she did.  Whilst waiting she waved these around, but no-one was interested.  She said she hadn’t even been asked to show her EHIC card.

Afterwards, we asked how she had been treated.  All of 22 years old, she was not impressed that she had waited TWO hours to be seen, (she didn’t know how lucky she was)!  And wanted to know why no-one had bothered to take her medical insurance details, when her parents had paid good money to make sure she was covered.  In the eyes of a sophisticated 22 year old, our NHS didn’t fare very well, and she poiitely asked some searching questions.  Admittedly she came from Bologna, a fairly rich city – but I got the impression she couldn’t wait to get home.

Germans take Facials seriously

A new outpost opens in London


Brilliant and gleaming – London now has a new salon, IQMSMedicosmetics,  dedicated to looking after faces only.  So simple –  but before the only people who were this dedicated were private therapists.  Opened in Cadogan Gardens, just opposite the back door of Peter Jones.

Beware imitations;  up and down Harley Street are “medispa” outlets galore, dedicated to making money for their owners, and not much help to us.  The British “spa” industry, which is nothing like the Continental one, has latched on to the name “Medispa’ – but having visited I can assure you they are dedicated to giving our faces genuine help.

So when I was put on “a new drug, which I was told “won’t give so many side effects” (no, only different ones), the usual happened to my face:  brillo pad skin, rough edges and very tight skin.  So I thought I would try the !QMSMedicosmetics outlet.


This is the personal vision of Dr. of medicine Erich Schutte, a renowned cosmetic surgeon working in Germany.  As I found out, his staff really know their stuff.  Usually, the effects of a facial will last perhaps a month;  this one, ably administered by Silvia,  lasted – and lasted – and lasted.  And even though I have been shoved full of some ‘nasties’ recently, the facial’s effects are seeing them off!

Dr. Erich Schulte says, “advancing the science of skincare is more than a passion for me;  it is my life’s work and the foundation of QMS Medicosmetics”.  At first , his claim to have developed pioneering formulas made me sceptical, but the moment you enter the doors of 43, Cadogan Gardens, you feel you are in a really clean working environment.  Everything sparkles, including the helpful staff.Refresh-and-Rejuvenate-this-Spring

At the end Silvia gave me a leaflet, marked with the in-house products she had used, and how I should use them in the future.  What impressed me was how she only considered a few products;  there was no hard sell here.

All in all – Silvia was a life-saver – and I am going back!

43, Cadogan Gardens,  London SW3 2TB