Monday, 30 September 2019

On making appointments. An American writing about Americans. And a bit of Brexit stuff.

I wanted to see my GP about a small problem and tried to make an appointment when I was at the clinic for a flu vaccination on Saturday. Sorry, said the receptionist, we can only deal with flu clinics today. As she was doing everything on the computer I really failed to see why she couldn’t access another bit of the programme for me. But doctors’ and dentist’s receptionists are like minor deities and are not to be argued with. Of course it may be that she simply did not have the knowledge. It took her a great deal of effort to get into the bit of the programme that deal with flu clinics in Delph rather than Uppermill, both parts of the same GP surgery, so that I could make an appointment for Phil.

Anyway, this morning I got up just a little while before the sun did and made my way to Uppermill in order to be there when the surgery opened its doors. I had thought about phoning but it takes about ten years to get through to anybody. So there I was, outside the still-locked doors at 7.45 and there were already five people in the queue. It’s a good job I arrived when I did as people just kept on coming.

At about 7.55, doors still unopened, a woman arrived with three smallish children in tow. She was probably their grandmother. She took one look at the queue and, heaving a sigh, asked if anyone minded if she went in ahead of us to make an appointment for later in the morning so that the smallest child could have his ear ache dealt with. She didn’t want to go ahead of anyone in actual appointments but she had to get the two older children to school and they would be late if she stayed at the back of the queue. Most people were quite amenable but one woman got very huffy and declared that she had no intention of losing her morning appointment by letting someone go ahead of her.

There’s always one!

In the end the grumpy lady got an appointment for 8.30, I got one for 8.35 and the grandmother with the ear achey grandson got one for 9.35. All was well! Everyone else in the queue seemed to be accommodated as well.

But they do need to improve their telephone booking system!

I was looking at a review of Bill Bryson’s book about the body, “The Body: a Guide for Occupants”. I have enjoyed all of his books, well, the ones I have got around to reading. It sounds as though this one is full of interesting facts. Here are some of the things he tells us about Americans:-

  •  even rich Americans die younger than the average-income European because of diet, obesity and America’s anomalous, hyper-expensive and iniquitous healthcare system. 
  •  the average American eats two entire cheesecakes-worth of calories more than the average person in Holland or Sweden, every week. 
  •  Americans shoot one another more often than anyone else, drink and drive more than “almost anybody else” and wear seatbelts less frequently than anyone but the Italians. 
  •  Insulin, the patent for which was donated by its discoverers for the good of mankind, is six times more expensive in the US than in Europe. 
  •  Cuba and Lithuania have better infant survival rates than America. 
  •  The US has double the number of financial administrators in its healthcare system than it does physicians. 
 And some people feel we have more in common with them than we do with Europe. However, Bill Bryson also points out that UK government austerity between 2010 and 2017 has led to about 120,000 preventable early deaths. That’s down to the people who like the American way of life too! 

One of the odd knock-on effects of Brexit that I have read about is in education.

Teachers are feeling the need to discuss news items, including Brexit of course, with children who are confused and rather frightened about what’s going on. Not only that but parents are apparently venting their own anger and frustration by going into school and shouting at teachers.

 “Ever since the referendum result was announced, levels of anger have slowly been building among parents,” said Anthony White, headteacher at Pound Hill Junior School in Crawley, Sussex. “We’ve had parents coming into school and shouting at me and my staff, when they get frustrated,” he said. “We’re confused, angry and anxious over Brexit … and so are the children we teach”. While the confrontations were not about Brexit, he claimed they involved more tension because of it. “We live in a much more angry society,” he added. White said he thought more parents, particularly from white British backgrounds, were expressing anger with teachers, who they see as public servants. “They are using us as a punchbag,” he said.

 Then there are the daft things you find that people have said - there was someone on the radio saying that if we don’t leave the EU he will leave the UK. Asked where he would go, his reply was somewhere in Europe. You could not make it up!

 It’s not surprising that such things are going on, though, when even the Chancellor says no-one “really knows” how much crashing out of the EU will cost the country – undermining repeated ministerial claims that the damage will be minimal and short-term. He acknowledged the severe impact on businesses, “especially if you a trader with the EU”. And speaking ahead of his Conservative conference speech, Mr Javid also condemned a call by a former Tory cabinet minister to publish the government’s Brexit proposals as a “ridiculous suggestion”.

 Comments about the blind leading the blind spring to mind!

No comments:

Post a Comment