During lockdown, I’ve enjoyed watching old TV series I missed first time round. I remember the days when one was actually out at a party, or having a meal with friends, so missed them first time. Settling down for an orgy of old TV shows, I turned on Yes Minister!
Somehow, knowing what is going on in Downing Street today, it seemed to have lost its freshness. It was a case of ‘been there, seen it, done it” episodes were only showing on-screen what we now know happens in real life.
So much so, that when Hapless H. finally scuttled off after his shenanigans were caught on hidden camera, all I could think of was which firm he will be joining on a seven-figure salary (Ministers need that to pay for divorce settlements). Of course, we can’t expect the announcement to come for a year – Ministers must be honourable after all – but my money is on Babylon.
In his first Press Conference, Hancock over-ruled the concerns of Age UK, Scope etc. when he not only broke rules by giving free advertising to Babylon, but upset charities with his desire to turn the NHS over to the digital geeks. Many OAPs etc. can’t afford Smartphones, the technology often doesn’t work, but he made it obvious he was going to dragoon us all into using Digital technology.
I felt sympathy with anyone who doesn’t use laptops, let alone Smartphones. Ever since my nephew was mugged for his phone, and lost the sight of his right eye, I stopped carrying one with me. Then found that I didn’t need to be constantly checking messages when out – far better to enjoy the moment when things were happening around me.
As a journalist, I didn’t plonk down my phone in front of people when starting an interview; instead, I got out a pen and notepad, and they saw this as much less threatening than a gadget that might record everything they said. As a result, I got some lovely relaxed off-the-cuff remarks, which never would have happened if techie gadgets had been around.
Now, the NHS is coming back to life, and I have to face the reality that Hydrotherapy, which kept me mobile for decades, is seen by hospital accountants (back in charge) as a ‘luxury’. Sitting on a committee chaired by the Minister, Alok Sharma M.P., to try and keep the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s hydropool open, it was obvious that the hospital were looking for an excuse to close it, refusing to take the word of Chartered Physiotherapists, but instead citing NICE, who quite rightly said they knew little about this.
So a therapy that is used successfully all over the world to help quadriplegics, those with disabiities who can’t stand, etc., is to be denied to those of us who depend on the NHS.
The only good thing to come out of lockdown is the fact that the NHS no longer repeats the mantra that it is “the envy of the world”. Lockdown has proven it isn’t. The world admires NHS staff, but isn’t the slightest bit interested in copying how it is run.