Links, And Emptying My Brainpan

While I sleep – a round up of some stories that have been sitting in my brainpan. Some of these were sent to me by readers, do keep up he good work. Please excuse any random kneejerkage – I'm drunk on lack of sleep.

The Healthcare Commission judged LAS as 'good' for both its use of resources and its services – a better rating than any other service in England.

First off, well done to the LAS for being the 'Best in the Country' – this really deserves a blogpost of it's own, but I thought I'd mention it here in case I forgot.

A union has taken legal advice after ambulance managers posted details of the salaries of call centre staff on the internet.

Ray Salmon, of Unison, said the details posted on the internet included staff members' length of service, their grade, how much they earned, their date of birth, personnel number and what redundancy payment they would receive.

But then WMAS do something a little bit naughty – if you read the article the irony is rather rich, as other staff have been disciplined for releasing information in the public interest. (Begin Snark Mode) Also of some surprise is the sight of a Unison rep for the ambulance service doing something (End Snark Mode).

A woman who won the title Nurse of the Year from a magazine is to leave the NHS because she is fed up with cuts and reforms.

“what I see as a waste of resources is when I'm sitting in a big meeting, and as a clinician I am the cheapest person there at £35,000 a year, and decisions are still being put off to another meeting.”

She's a better person than me, if I were paid £35,000 to sit in meetings I'd probably put up with it. I can't blame her, banging your head against a brick wall wears a bit thin after a while.

Individuals can no longer be held responsible for obesity so government must act to stop Britain “sleepwalking” into a crisis, a report has concluded.

I'm getting rather brassed off at the growing lack of personal responsibility. “It's not my fault that I'm a heroin addict”, “It's not my fault that I'm an alcoholic”, “It's not my fault that I kept eating after I stopped being able to see my feet”. Apparently the government are force-feeding people like pâté de foie gras geese. Maybe people would like rationing brought back?

Heroin and cocaine addicts on the government's treatment programme are being given drugs as a reward for clean urine samples, the BBC has learned.

The National Treatment Agency (NTA), which runs the £500m-a-year scheme, admits the practice is “unethical”.

Here we go again. I think that there are better treatment options than hooking someone on Methadone instead of Heroin. This seems an awful, awful practice – the pressure of bribery coupled with the pleasure of being able to get high again, just on a government mandated supply. Is it any wonder that people remain on Methadone for years and years? I'm with Theodore Dalrymple and Mao Zedong on this one.

Nearly 13,000 nurses across Finland are threatening to resign next month in a pay row, trade union officials say.

I don't think that much will come of this, I'd suspect that the union would blink first. Would that we had an ambulance union with that much power in the UK to balance the 'reforms' that the government is forcing on the NHS. Instead we have a union whose idea of representing us is to roll over and agree to everything – including an agreement that new members of staff are allowed to be treated like crap. Of course if we did strike the government would just privatise us all.

Bloggers are now finding themselves prey to censorship from repressive governments as much as journalists in traditional media, a report says.

At least I'm unlikely to find myself imprisoned because of my blogging. There is always someone worse off than yourself.

The BBC's online services will be made available free of charge at thousands of wi-fi hotspots around the UK.

The corporation has agreed a deal with wi-fi firm The Cloud, which operates 7,500 hotspots around the country.

I love the BBC, but this is just wrong. Signing up with a private company in order to provide content that I've already paid for with my TV license just isn't cricket. This is also I suspect a way in which the BBC is trying to get around the regulators ruling that people who don't run Windows should be allowed access to iPlayer functionality. Unfortunately, in the same breath they contradict themselves.

From September 7th.

The BBC Trust has committed to making sure the BBC would meet calls for non-Windows versions of the iPlayer “as soon as possible” said the government statement.”

Then October 15th.

Ashley Highfield… “We need to get the streaming service up and look at the ratio of consumption between the services and then we need to look long and hard at whether we build a download service for Mac and Linux. It comes down to cost per person and reach at the end of the day”. He added: “We are not ruling it out. But we are not committing to it at this stage.”

'Committed' to 'not committed' in the space of five weeks – I guess that the media world is fast paced indeed.

And yesterday, another turn around.

Are the people at the BBC (who still have jobs) feeling dizzy yet?

Essentially it all comes down to DRM – if the BBC were brave enough to offer content without DRM then platform agnosticism would be a trivial problem. But unfortunately someone somewhere has decreed that all content should expire after 30 days. Just like my old VHS recordings from 20 years ago. Because we all know how home taping has killed the entertainment industry.

The people that I know at the BBC are forward thinking, brilliant people. Unfortunately it seems that their management are holding them back. Give these sorts of people some power and you'd easily have your efficiency improvements. I have real sympathy for those on the shopfloor who are going to lose their jobs.

13 thoughts on “Links, And Emptying My Brainpan”

  1. How do they check that you 'stay dry'? And while that might work in a rehab place, I can't see that working in the community.Methadone, in my experience, replaces one addiction with another – hardly a cure.

    The thing where I suggest that Methadone is more dangerous than heroin is mostly due to something I read some years ago.


    (*I Can't Be Arsed To Google).

  2. I'm pretty sure I've read the same thing.I DO know that a step-uncle of mine died of a methadone overdose (years and years ago), so it's certainly no safer.

    Interesting fact: in liverpool a few years ago, a scheme was introduced where addicts where given free heroin rather than methadone, and burglaries dropped by about 25% practically overnight.

    I think the elephant in the room here is that most addicts are what psychiatric services call “self-medicating”. And the level of psychiatric care in this country is shocking (not that I'm aware of it being better anywhere else, mind you)

  3. “Any wi-fi enabled device will be able to surf the BBC's website in one of The Cloud's hotspots without paying a log-in or subscription fee.”Sorry but I don't see what's 'wrong' with that. You won't have to pay to access it so it's not costing you anything above and beyond your license fee.

  4. Ageed. After the cost of buying the hardware and connecting, the Internet is basically (and amazingly) an end-to-end free-to-the-enduser service provided entirely by cooperation between commercial organisations.Whether it's called “peering”, “mirroring”, “hosting”, “partnering” or whatever – these agreements keep the net running. So long as none of these agreements are ever “exclusive”, at least 🙂

  5. Here is the thing that gets me about it – it gives The Cloud an advantage by having all this content. What about BT Openzone, or T-Mobile or any of the other WiFi providers?Why not just put it on the internet as a whole rather than tying it to a specific provider?

    (I would suspect that it's an attempt to geo-lock it).

    It just doesn't seem right for this national provider to tie itself to one ISP.

  6. *Also of some surprise is the sight of a Unison rep for the ambulance service doing something*I think Unison may be the worst thing that ever happened to public service workers. Together we're stronger? No, apparently together we are easier to manipulate and incapable of standing up for anything at all ever.

  7. Methadone doesn't give you a high, nor is it any more addictive than heroin.What it does do is satisfy the cravings for heroin so that you no longer feel the need to go out and participate in illegal activities in order to fund your habit. This has the added advantage of meaning that you are no longer injecting yourself using potentially dirty needles and putting yourself at huge risk of HIV, Hepatitis, peripheral vascular disease, phlebitis, endocarditis and skin boils/abcesses (amongst many others) which the NHS would have had to pay to treat.It also means that you are able to be relatively stable and hold down a job where you can then be of some use to the economy and thereby contribute positively to a society from which you have taken so, so much.All for the cost of around 1 per day. Seems worth it to me!

  8. I think the major difference between heroin and methadone is that when you are being given prescription methadone, then you're not giving all of your benefit money (often including disability benefit so it's a substantial sum), and all of the money you can get on various loans, and also the proceeds of any crime you may commit, to your dealer…A heroin addict who gets disability benefit but not a methadone program is essentially a conduit for Your Tax Dollars to flow from the welfare pot to the people making and selling the drug. This cannot be good.

  9. You know – having dealt with, yet another, heroin addict last night I'm going more and more towards the idea of forced treatment.Keeping them 'ticking over' on Methadone (while they continue to buy heroin because *they like it*) seems like a false economy.

    Maybe I'm being uncharitable, but I'd rather see these people 'cured' (if you consider what they have as being an illness), than strung along on Methadone, which, if memory is right is more dangerous than heroin. If that requires 'tough love' then so be it.

    I'm fed up going to addicts and calling them 'Sir' when they are the sort of person who mug ninety-three year old women.

    (Of course, this might be the sleep deprivation talking).

  10. If they're going to take heroin too, then there's little point in methadone, at least once you've stabilised on it (using during the first few days/weeks is quite common and sometimes necessary until you get the methadone dosage right). This is why most places insist that you stay dry whilst you're on methadone.What exactly about methadone do you think is more dangerous than heroin?

  11. Replacing one addiction with another isn't a cure in patient terms, at all.But having an addict on a legal substance obtainable on prescription means a *lot* of money (hundreds per week per addict) no longer flowing to drug dealers and manufacturers.

    Furthermore, it's easier to keep track of the amount of [heroin or methadone or whatever] that is being used per day if it's being doled out by prescription and taken under supervision, than it is if you're just taking an addicts' word for it how much they've used. Knowing a true rate of usage is important for treating an addiction.

    Plus, from your perspective, if the drugs are illegally obtained then you only have the addicts' opinion for it about the amount, strength and “additional content” of what is being used if/when the user becomes extremely ill and needs emergency care.

  12. Urine and blood tests can differentiate between methadone and other opioids in the system.It's not designed to be a cure (although methadone doses can be slowly reduced in order to break the addiction completely, this has to be done with some care to prevent them going back to heroin), it's designed to stabilise them and give them a clean, legal, free source of drugs which satisfy their cravings without giving them a high, so that they can then function as normal members of society.

    I'm not aware of any evidence that methadone is any more dangerous than heroin, in any respect. There are of course dangers of overdose, but they exist for heroin too. In terms of secondary complcations (e.g. infections), methadone is virtually risk-free.

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