Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category


Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community.

Aneurin Bevin

The ability to provide safe, cost effective health and social care, across the National Health Service (NHS) England, and other recognised agencies, is continually being driven further into an abyss.  Contribution to this situation is seen through numerous factors: the change in societal expectations of what treatments should be available on the NHS; the historic failing of successive governments to create mechanisms within general taxation, and additional charging to facilitate the continuing demands on these services; poor leadership by the Department of Health-a direct result of short-termism and political ideology-cascading down to hospital management teams.  The private funding initiative (PFI) projects that have been demonstrated have a phenomenally catastrophic impact on patient care.  Outsourcing of services to the private sector which are integral to patient care, for example portering, and domestic services.  And more recently a drive, initiated through a shared myopia of government, and hospital managers, to blindly follow a culture of “more for less”, to name but a few.

Making savings ad infinitum with the objective of maintaining the same standards, is detrimental to an organisations ability to be efficient and sustainable.  Savings are a tool used by accountants to achieve short-term gains.  Whilst “Lean” working is a viable proposition in health care “lean” is not anorexic.  The long term effects of short term savings are to drive down standards, to force errors through the cutting of corners, and to cost the organisation dearly in the future.  “Speculate, you can’t accumulate, if you don’t”: true leaders in the NHS will see the value in this proverbial saying.

Hospitals are finding themselves in such financial dire straits, that with no apparent means of raising capital for investment, in the very basic infrastructure to make them viable propositions, under any  other circumstance they would be bankrupt.  It is possible to put a plug in the bath, even if it is a round(ish) plug in a square hole; and to at least turn the flow of the, money, taps down so they are running at a steady flow and not gushing.  But this requires long term policies, more freedom from government control, and leadership: not crisis managers.

It is time for hospitals to look at becoming shrewd financial investors; to speculate wisely.  If £25million in the red, to continue saving will only drive debt.  Speculate and invest to drive productivity over the long term, bringing the debt down.  If it is a system allegedly good enough for the government to implement, then why not Hospitals?


Managers do not inspire doctors or clinical staff but good leaders do. NHS needs good clinical leaders.

Dr Umesh Prabhu

It is true, managers do not inspire doctors or clinical staff; it is also true that the NHS needs good leaders. 

However, even good leaders will fail to inspire the diversity of professional groups within healthcare, even though they share common objectives. Professionals, who with their own opinion toward hierarchical importance within the organisation, are but a barrier to progress.

Recognition needs to be given to the real and present danger within health care. One [danger] so great that the power it wealds will lead to the conclusion of the self fulfilling prophecy, based on the negative implications, of a failing NHS. This danger to healthcare, and leadership within healthcare, is the short-termism afforded to financial savings imposed by accountants, on the behest of others.

What is required, is for NHS Trust boards to be represented by members of all parties with intrinsic and extrinsic vested interested in the provision of healthcare, each with parity of voice. 

NHS Trusts must be empowered to raise funds: but not held captive by the shackles seen imposed through Private Funding Initiatives (PFI); to facilitate long-term investment. There is real truth in the addage, “speculate to accumulate”.

NHS Foundation Trust Hospitals are in a position whereby they no longer have the facility, ability, to progress.

141f3438758a52b854f3e2219e2c8f1bFollowing the atrocities of Friday 13th November, witnessed on the streets of Paris, during which, through coordinated suicide attacks and shootings, one hundred and twenty-nine innocent victims lost their lives, there has been a collective outcry on social media to “Pray for Paris”.  Praying will not bring back loved ones: will not lead to justice, what justice is there to be had?  However praying may very well be the only path to solace people know to take.

There have been two particular comments which have appeared on social media, that have stood out for me, which  could have much further reaching influence; and which can direct us toward the path to peace.

The first, “When the power of love is greater than the love of power, the world will know peace.”  Whilst there is religion, countries will know no peace.  Religion is the politicisation of  faith and with politics the love of power will always prevail.  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Baron Sacks, makes a suggestion in his book, “Not in Gods Name: confronting religious violence”, that the God of Abraham was a God without faith: that Judaism, Christianity and Islam compartmentalized faith through interpretations of the word of God by man.  Compartmentalization creates a “them and us” situation, that in turn leads to the power struggles, the dehumanization of the believers of one faith by others, and the violence allegedly perpetrated in the name of God.  Lose religion, keep faith in humanity, nurture peace.  God is faith in humanity: not religion.

The second has come from the Dialama,

“We cannot solve this problem only through prayers,” the spiritual leader said. “I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”

We can solve it, we must stand side by side in solidarity and say, “NO MORE!”

We need strength to have that faith in our neighbour as he has in us.

skeletal-debateIt is ironic that despite all the negative press given to the abuse of controlled substances, illegal or not, figures produced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggest drug poisoning involving both illegal and legal drugs is on the increase.

Misuse of illicit drugs is not a new phenomena, we just have to listen to the tales from those who were present at Woodstock and the “Summer of Love”. The question that needs asking in relation to that era is, were the drugs cleaner in those days? How many celebrities from the music world have appeared to defy death through substance abuse. In fact, how many bankers, stockbrokers, and barristers partake in illegal drug use ( as reported in the press) and manage to lead relatively normal lives? Is it always the base drug which kills or the additives used to make it go further, and make the drug dealers richer.

Referencing data from the ONS (acknowledging their disclaimers), whilst drug related deaths in the UK are on rise in both male and female populations, the deaths represent an insignificant percentage on a whole. Though the loss of life is not insignificant.

Unlike the change in law to make not wearing of seat belts illegal, changing the law and misuse of drugs act will not, I believe, save lives.

It is long over due that society must take a step back, draw a deep breath, and ask where the heck are we going?
And for the time being we have to accept that people are not averse to risk taking. Children and adults today have enough information and sources of reference to make informed decisions; we should accept that is life.

skeletal-debateIt would appear that in your article entitled, “Why I call Myself an Atheist Muslim”; Huffington Post, 05/13/2014, you, despite attempting to argue against the point, clearly contradict yourself.

For want of no other reason, than that of a comprehensive article, “Atheism – Wikipedia” clarifies the point that, as an atheist, one would have no belief in a deity. Monotheism — a belief in one God — in which Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the main players; and which are recognised as believing in the same God, evidently precludes the use of atheist in the same title.

It is intrinsic to human nature, across the spectrum of the socio-economic rainbow, that as soon as one compartmentalise’s a subject bigotry develops. Therefore, it is my opinion, the origins of religious bigotry, as it is not just directed at Islam, is borne by the politics within monotheistic religion.

Religion is synonymous with politics. Unfortunately “politics” in my opinion is synonymous to “terrorism”, but that is another story.

Politics (from Greek: πολιτικός politikos, meaning “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community (a hierarchically organized population) as well as the interrelationship(s) between communities.

The texts of the Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an can be seen as continuations of the “Old Testament”, and could be viewed as political texts setting out the direction of each party or religion. My point is that in religion, as with politics, there will be individuals with moderate opinion; those with extreme opinion; and those with no real opinion per se, those who have an ethical non-religious outlook on life.

I am an Agnostic. I stopped calling myself a Christian because I believe I do not need to compartmentalise myself to be a better person. Personally, I believe you seek a more believable expression than “atheist Muslim”, if you wish your opinions “on the “Root Causes” of Islamist Jihadism and politics of Islamophobia” to carry more authority.

skeletal-debateI really do not know what all the fuss is about…

Edward Snowden has confirmed what many of us already believed happens on a daily basis; by bringing PRISM to the forefront of media.

A self-confessed believer in conspiracy theories, I have embraced the digital age including mobile technology, and every risk associated with using it. Every day I run the risk of having my social media accounts hacked, virus’ covertly inserted my hard-drive and worst of all my wife finding out I have more than two email accounts.

We are already aware of the personal information that Google and Yahoo collect on users to target advertising; why not extrapolate this example to Governments. The activity of Google and Yahoo in my eyes is just as intolerable as alleged actions of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States, or the Government Communications Headquarters the United Kingdom (UK). But it is the price we must pay for advancing technologies: someone somewhere will find the technology to get what they want, when they want.

How do the allegations put forward by Snowden differ from intercepted letters, written by soldiers fighting on the front, were censured; or the interception of wireless transmissions? Okay, instead of discriminating against the few it is alleged Government agencies are indiscriminating against the many.

“Even if you are not doing anything wrong you are being watched and recorded”, suggests Snowden. Go to the garage and fill up, your car registration will be scanned and checked, to see if you have tax and insurance. Use your super-market loyalty card and they will know more about your shopping interests then you. My journey to work is 21 miles and I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire journey could be tracked. All this information can easily be manipulated to benefit the end users purpose.

Yes Snowden could have done something wrong, in as much as being in breach of the terms of his contract of employment. Whether this his actions are morally or ethically acceptable is not for me to say. But I suspect when the dust has settled there will be a T-shirt, a book and then a film.

For what else is there for us to do if we don’t like what we have heard about the alleged actions of these Government agencies? Quit the world-wide web…?

skeletal-debateThe conviction of the “Oxford child paedophile gang” has been widely reported in the media and the prosecutions a welcome outcome. However, a lack of action against individuals in positions of authority within organisations responsible for protecting vulnerable members of society, places a stain on the whole event.

It would appear that highly paid individuals within public sector organisations are immune from paying the ultimate cost for their failings. Reported in the Independent newspaper the Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council suggested, “”her gut feeling” is she will not resign” over the case.

Ms Simons, who has been the council’s chief executive since 2005, added: “There is going to be an independent serious case review which will look at the actions of all the agencies concerned… [but] my gut feeling is that I’m not going to resign because my determination is that we need to do all that we can to take action to stamp this out.”

It shouldn’t be the case of Ms Simons resigning, falling on ones sword to appease the baying crowds is not what one should do in such a position. In my opinion, failing these children is a failing of Ms Simons in her duty of care; to satisfactorily undertake her roles and responsibilities identified within the Oxfordshire County Council Chief Executive job description. This should ultimately result in her sacking. Could one trust Ms Simons now to undertake a fair and frank investigation, independent or not?

Ms Simons rightly points out though, that many agencies failed these children not just Oxfordshire County Council. And where there have been clear failings in expectations demonstrated, justice meted out to all concerned.

In my opinion the public sector would be far better managed if the “Mancini Principle” was adopted.

Roberto Mancini is sacked…” (14th May 2013).

Mancini had been the manager of Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) since 2009: his “greatest” accolade being in 2012; as their manager he successfully lead the team to the final of the Barclays Premier League, where they beat Manchester United ultimately on goal difference. This was a huge achievement for the club.

However, on 14th May 2013 for failing to achieve any of the clubs targets he was sacked.

Unfortunately, it is not often we hear about such decisive action being taken when there are failings in the public sector. This, one could suggest, is why there is so little trust or respect for those in positions of authority.

Let us not forget that current-events events in Oxford are not the first, and they most certainly won’t be the last; and it certainly is not something that is particular to twenty-first century culture. It is a world wide concern. Children have always been part of the most vulnerable groups in society, and probably the most mismanaged, for want of a better word. We have a duty of care, as parents, to all children. However, when agencies are tasked with managing that care for whatever reason, society should expect nothing less; as difficult as that might be to achieve.