Workshy Scrounger

Tag: workshy

NHS – expect more, pay less.

I had a wee chuckle to myself thanks to the MSN article:

Sir Bruce Keogh, the Medical Director of the NHS, said the health service should adopt the business models of PC World or Dixons, where people expect more but pay less.

Immediately some incongruous images flashed to my mind:

– limited time offer – get your hip replaced in August and save 10%*

– bypass surgery – get your anaesthesia for free**

– book a GP appointment by 3pm today and you will be seen the next day***

As far as I know, companies save money by sacking people (the slack is picked up by the remaining employees until they cannot take it any more and quit), hiring inexperienced people as they are cheaper, putting excessive pressure on the suppliers while sacrificing quality (horse meat scandal) and moving their business online (Littlewoods, HMV and Woolworths).

Keogh forgets that NHS is not a company. It is not there to make profit but to save lives and preserve health. You cannot cut corners when it comes to health care with some half-baked fatuous schemes.

Who is going to pay for Dragons’ Den style coaching for executives? I just know it is going to be a back-slapping session with days out to encourage team bonding and to get the creativity flowing. Why not introduce an incentive scheme for employees and patients alike – present your idea and get 1% of first-year savings as a reward. These are the people who know how NHS really works and how to improve it.

Example: I have a lot of appointments in different hospitals in a 40-mile radius. Before every appointment, I get a thick, colourful glossy booklet that does not say anything I didn’t know already or would have been unable to find online. Give me an option to opt out instead of filling up my paper bin. All it would require is an extra line on the referral letter template (booklet yes/no – delete as appropriate).

Actually, stop sending me appointment letters altogether. Send me an email instead – saves paper, postage and the sanity of the poor soul who does the letter-folding and envelope stuffing. You immediately get confirmation that I received it and whether I will attend or not. It also minimises the risk of the letter getting lost and my inadvertently missing the appointment.

Speaking of missed appointments – introduce fines just like the dentist do.

There – that’s what I came up with in about five minutes. Heavens know how much money it would save but every little helps, right?


* 10% discount applies exclusively to dressings.

** basic anaesthesia only – one hit with a mallet by an inexperienced final-year medical student; pharmacological anaesthesia available for £999. Terms and conditions apply.

*** next day used as an example only; usual waiting time three to five working days. We are not responsible for any resulting delays or losses.


ATOS losing monopoly is not good news

It is not bad news either. The government is simply looking for a scapegoat to justify the appalling outcomes of the work capability assessments. It will also allow them to spend some more money in the name of saving it and then complain that the benefit bill is spiralling out of control.

Every Atos recommendation is reviewed by the holy and inaccessible Decision Maker. Why have they not picked up on the flaws within the reports? Why was an action not taken sooner? Why are they not being punished for it? Because the reports are not the problem here. A written summary of a document that records incorrect answers will be flawed by necessity. The company is paid to say you are fit as a fiddle – they have to lie somewhere to ensure that they get the targets required by their client.

The problem is within the work capability assessment itself. As long as there are targets, tick-boxes and presumption of scrounger-ence, no amount of written report improvement will change anything. They will just find a different way to deny us the help we need. In the meantime, more people will be put into destitution and more people will die while the public rejoices that something is being done and something is finally changing. It’s not. It’s just the royal birth preventing us from seeing this smoke screen for what it is.

Budget menu – corn fritters review

Another recipe we tried from the Great British Budget Menu is sweetcorn fritters. We never had any bacon so had to do without and we decided to save our last two tomatoes for cheese sandwiches later in the week so the meal looked a bit sad – just six fritters each. Our chilli plants gave fruit though (still green) so we used that instead of dry chilli flakes. Also, possibly because there was no bacon, we had to use more oil.

The dish was really quick to make. We decided to mix the flour into the milk-egg mixture before adding sweetcorn to prevent lumps from forming and it was the right way to go about it. The dough was much thicker than pancake batter (another scary moment).

John Torode's sweetcorn fritters.

John Torode’s sweetcorn fritters.

Well, the recipe proved so popular, we have already made it twice. The second time we used a mix of peas and sweetcorn and are planning to add caramelised onions next time. A dash of smoked paprika goes a long way to liven up the batter.

They are quick and easy to make so we have’t tried making a double portion for freezing or leftovers. Minimum fuss with washing up: two bowls and one frying pan.

As for calories and price per portion:

– control ready meal (waffles, burgers, peas):  515 kcal and 55p

– original recipe (with bacon): 600 kcal and 94p

– our recipe: 485kcal and 20p

The winner here is clear. Another modification we are planning is to put the mixture into a muffin tin to save us frying it and to further reduce the calories by skipping most of the oil. This way the fritters will become nearly as quick as the ready meal and, at third of the price, definitely worth it. We will also try adding herbs from the window sill to further jazz up the batter. If anyone tried it with bacon and tomatoes, let me know how that turned out.

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