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Like Top Gear but not funny

The Times reports,

Son travels 170 miles and beats ambulance to injured mother

In a race between a man travelling 170 miles by public transport and an ambulance starting ten minutes’ drive away, most people would have backed the ambulance.

Mark Clements assumed as much when he left his home in London to help his injured mother in Devon, but when he arrived after four hours she was still on the floor and the ambulance had not yet arrived.

Mr Clements caught a bus, the London Underground and two trains from London to Exmouth on Saturday after his mother fell and broke her hip. The first 999 call was made at 9am but paramedics did not arrive until seven hours later.

40 comments to Like Top Gear but not funny

  • You wot, mate? Dontcha know the NHS is the envy of the world? 😛

  • Sam Duncan

    NHS apologists (and I know this because I’m related to some) will explain this away with prioritization: a broken hip simply isn’t as urgent as a heart attack. And, to be fair, if you tell them you’re suffering severe chest pains even the creaky old National Elf will burst into astonishingly quick and effective action. I’ve seen that with my own eyes too. But that’s not much consolation to an old woman in agony.

    Meanwhile, people in the Glasgow area are dying at the rate of almost one a week from hospital-contracted infections.

  • Fred Z

    You Brits vote for the NHS over and over again, now you’re getting what you voted for, good and hard.

    Unfortunately, we Canadians are getting cornholed just as hard, for the same stupidity.

    Me, I’m losing what little faith I ever had in democracy. It only ever looked good because it was coincidental with the capitalism that made us rich.

  • Nico

    Over here in the U.S. a fire truck will reach your home withing 3 minutes in most any city, with a paramedic or two on board. An ambulance will arrive a few minutes later. If you don’t want to be taken to a hospital, you’ll likely pay $0, and if you do elect to be taken and can’t pay the price later, chances are you’ll never have to pay it in any way other than having to put up with collections calls. Those who can and do pay, pay for those who can’t by paying a fairly steep $2,000 or so.

    I don’t care what you think of our situation, but it sure beats that of any UK resident.

  • Roué le Jour

    Fred Z

    Democracy is one of mankind’s better ideas. Universal suffrage, on the other hand, encourages the unproductive to vote against the productive and will always and everywhere lead to socialism and a collapsed economy.

  • Eric

    Every system looks bad in the corner cases. The real question is how often this happens. You can wait for a long time anywhere if the fog rolls in and there’s a 50 car pileup close by.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Eric,

    We wouldn’t have the 50-car-pileup problem if we had the sense to keep vehicular traffic from using the roads.

  • Jim

    “Every system looks bad in the corner cases.”

    But does it? Does the electric company randomly electrocute a customer every now and then? Or the supermarket knowingly sell contaminated meat and kill a load of people? The water company poison a few people?

    It seems that in every other sphere of business (and healthcare is business like any other) protection of the consumer is taken extremely serious, by statute indeed, and any business playing fast and loose with the health of its customers will find that its got several tonnes of bricks descending on it in short order.

    Yet the NHS is allowed to kill people with impunity, through sheer incompetence, if not active malevolence. What other business would be allowed to do this?

  • john in cheshire

    Jim, those are my thoughts too. And Do Not Resuscitate orders are another practice that hospitals impose, with a thin veneer of having consulted the family; or in the case of my mother, not having consulted the family, ie. me, who has lasting power of attorney over her affairs, which apparently counts for nothing when a doctor makes a decision.

    In my view, doctors advise, patient or family decide. But in the UK at least, doctors are pre-eminent, as my mother’s GP conceded.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Or the supermarket knowingly sell contaminated meat and kill a load of people?”

    Of course. Everything is a cost/risk trade-off. You can reduce incidents to 1% or 0.1% or 0.001% at an exponentially increasing cost, but you can never make it zero. Supermarkets do enough that the marginal costs of extra food safety balance the costs of fines and reputational damage from food poisoning incidents.

    About 3000 a year die in the US from food poisoning, about 500 in the UK. It’s even been raised as an issue as part of Project Fear! https://www.sustainweb.org/news/feb18_US_foodpoisoning/

    But the same goes for anything. People driving cars kills thousands a year, but we still do it. People use fire – pumping flammable gas into their houses to heat the water. People go swimming. People go hang-gliding and mountain climbing and diving. People smoke. And companies sell people the stuff they need to do all those things, knowing perfectly well what will happen. The concept of “statistical murder” is well established in the bansturbator’s propaganda arsenal. The question, as always, is are we willing to pay the price for the benefits we get?

    The problem with the NHS is not that it trades off costs against deaths – everyone does that. The problem is that the price of a death is not set by a market, but by politicians subject to the winds of public opinion as seen through the one-sided view of the pressure groups. When the price to you is zero, there’s no limit to how much you’re willing to spend.

    The specific problem in this case is something else, although I’m not sure what. Somebody has reallocated funding or redefined jobs, somehow. I don’t expect there are any more heart attacks and broken hips than there were in years past. And what amounts to driving a van from A to B and back is not a business where there’s any obvious reason for a shortage of supply, either. I expect it’s a matter of incentives. The worse the service, the more public pressure there is on politicians to increase funding. But I don’t know.

  • Rob

    I wonder if either of them had been part of the Borg chanting “the Envy of the World” prior to this, and if either of them are still part of said Borg. Sometimes even the most violent shocks are not enough to shake people from their conditioning.

  • John B

    The two general rules in business are: get repeat business; get new business.

    Both rely on reputation… ask Jeremy Ratner.

    Competition ensures you have to work on reputation because consumers have a choice; profit means you have to give value for money and be efficient. Fail in this and your business closes and everyone loses their jobs.

    Lack of competition, no profit motive, no chance of business closing, enterprise run to meet political aims, everyone’s job safe – why would anyone expect the NHS to be any different particularly after 70 years of watching it be the sack of merde it is?

  • Jim

    “People driving cars kills thousands a year, but we still do it. People use fire – pumping flammable gas into their houses to heat the water. People go swimming. People go hang-gliding and mountain climbing and diving. People smoke. And companies sell people the stuff they need to do all those things, knowing perfectly well what will happen. The concept of “statistical murder” is well established in the bansturbator’s propaganda arsenal. The question, as always, is are we willing to pay the price for the benefits we get?”

    Many of those are personal lifestyle choices. Drive a car, take the risks. Go hang gliding, take those risks (though I would say that those who take such risks are riding on the back of others in the NHS – they pay no more for the extra costs they impose on it, which they would under an insurance model).

    But using healthcare is like taking a train, or buying food, or having your water or gas piped to your house. They are life necessities and as such one does not expect that the providers of such necessities will be allowed to act negligently, and if they do, the State will impose strict fines, and even criminal charges against individuals. Hence the whole ‘corporate manslaughter’ charges that can be brought, and why gas fitters will be in court if they are negligent in their work. Why is the NHS not being prosecuted for such for things like the North Staffs and Gosport Hospital scandals? If any private company acted with such negligence (and in the case of Gosport criminal intent IMO) they probably would not exist today.

    Of course life involves trade offs between risk and reward. But we don’t seem to accept such an unbalanced trade off in many areas where the private sector hold people’s lives in their hands, why does the NHS get a free pass?

  • Alisa

    A testament to the effectiveness of public transport?

  • Paul Marks

    There is a deep “Double Think” about the National Health Service – in one part of the minds of people they know (yes KNOW) what it is really like – how a person can die waiting hours for ambulance and die in lots of other stupid and horrible ways. But in another part of the minds of the people there is a deep (almost religious) faith in the National Health Service.

    There is no public support for reform – none.

    And the utter mess that is FALSELY called a free market system in the United States, totally puts people off from even considering a move away from state control.

    So we are where we are – and it is not going to change.

  • pete

    I think people like a nationalised health service which means some terrible service to a private one where they might get no service at all if they are short of cash.

    And who can blame them?

    Privatisations of some public services in the UK has not gone well at all, for example the railways which are now only for the rich, and the bus system which is now appalling in most places including most big cities except London.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “They are life necessities and as such one does not expect that the providers of such necessities will be allowed to act negligently, and if they do, the State will impose strict fines, and even criminal charges against individuals. … why does the NHS get a free pass?”

    ?? I wasn’t aware that it did. So far as I know, the NHS gets sued for negligence on a regular basis.

  • William O. B'Livion

    > And the utter mess that is FALSELY called a free market system in the United States,

    I have lived within that system for 44 of my 51 years. 4 years was spent in the Marine Corps, where the rules were different, one year was spent on a US military base in Iraq, and 2 years in Australia.

    IT’s not NEARLY as big a mess as it’s made out to be. 55+ percent have Employer paid health care. For them it’s pretty good. Not as good as before 2009, but still pretty good. 19.5 percent have Medicare, and 16 percent are on Medicaid. They have more problems, but that’s ENTIRELY on the government.

    If I call and ambulance it’ll be here in 10 minutes. I once had to way TWO HOURS to see a pediatric cardiologist to listen to my 9 month old’s chest and tell me the heart murmur was no big deal.

    It’s only looks like a mess because the Democrats are trying to destroy it.

  • About 3000 a year die in the US from food poisoning, about 500 in the UK. It’s even been raised as an issue as part of Project Fear! (Nullius in Verba, February 9, 2019 at 12:15 pm)

    By remoaners who, even by the low standards of Project Fear, can’t reason with numbers, I deduce. 🙂 The ratio 3000 to 500 is larger than ratio of the US to the UK population, but not by much.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The ratio 3000 to 500 is larger than ratio of the US to the UK population, but not by much.”

    Extrapolating linearly, and based on what else they say, it would mean another 100 deaths. Not something to be taken casually.

    But it’s a silly argument. We already get food from all over the world – countries with faaar worse records for food poisoning! There’s no reason to assume the ratio would carry across unchanged, and even if it did, there’s nothing to stop us coming to our own deal on safety standards, based on the evidence.

    I only cited it really because it gave a conveniently compact summary of the relevant death statistics. But the same argument applies here to their anti-Brexit argument, too. Even supposing there was a greater risk, if it’s enough cheaper, it may be worthwhile anyway. Everyone trades cost for risk. It’s part of life.

    And having the option to do so is freedom. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Pay the premium for British farm produce.

  • Julie near Chicago

    It would seem that over here, many of our food-poisoning cases come from E. coli bacteria. From what I’ve read (which really doesn’t include anything from the MSM), there is a greater incidence of E. coli in so-called “organic” foods. Don’t know if this is true or not, though.

    .

    Nullius. Final para above. Nailed.

  • korblimee

    Article behind Paywall unfortunately, and I refuse to sign up for their spam.

    Korblimee.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Julie near Chicago
    there is a greater incidence of E. coli in so-called “organic” foods. Don’t know if this is true or not, though.

    Isn’t “organic” a nice way of saying “grow in cow poop”?

    Nullius. Final para above. Nailed.

    Were I to come at it from the point of view or our leftie friends I would say that his last paragraph demonstrated that NIV obviously wants the poor to die of salmonella on the backs of food company’s corporate greed.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Fraser, thank the Great Frog I do not naturally adopt the lefties’ point of view. To do so requires work.

    .

    As to bacteria in cowpats and chicken droppings, I’ve spent half an hour in the Cyberstacks instead of going to sleep. Grumble. The internet includes some statements (from NIH and suchlike, among other sources) to the effect that there is a good amount of E. Coli and Salmonella bacteria in the droppings.

    .

    Side note:

    Grandpa used to plant alfalfa or clover as a cover crop: “green manure.” Side benefit: the cattle were put to pasture in the clover field. (Very small herd, either 5 or 9 head, forget which, strictly for dairy. Grandpa was so glad to finally get rid of them! Too much like work. This was back through sometime in the early ’50s.)

    .

    Anyhow, I figured it would be a good time to see what the Net thinks about human urine as an antiseptic or even a sterile substance (I never heard of such a thing!). The Internet says it’s hogwash. This did not surprise me.

    Although one Aussie doc says that if there’s nothing else available, you might as well use it to flush out a wound. On the other hand, he prefers “idodine or alcohol.” I grew up on the alcohol treatment, but we never used “iodine”=mercurochrome in our house since we thought it wasn’t much of a disinfectant.

    .

    I also thought I’d see if the Internet has anything to say about my own long-held theory that the epidemic of morbid overweight might be at least partly a result of the diet of antibiotics that many people have grown up on. “If the farmers give antibiotics to livestock to increase their weight,” sez I to meself, “why wouldn’t they have the same effect on the human animal?”

    Whence some results such as this:

    “Antibiotic exposure and risk of weight gain and obesity: protocol for a systematic review”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5571496/

    Of course, some sources seem to regard all interventions (except those targetting CAGW/Climate-Change, of course) as foisted on us by the Devil. Lots of results from such unbiased and impartial outfits as the once-great science magazine Scientific American, and “Natural Diet” enthusiasts of various sorts. Me, I may have mentioned my belief that with only a very few exceptions, Everything Has a Downside™.

  • Mr Ed

    korblimee

    Here is the story on the BBC website, no paywall, just licence enforcement gangsterism for others.

  • bobby b

    If the EU can come after American companies for violations of the GDPR, why can’t the BBC come after me for a license fee for accessing their website? The GDPR is designed to make sure everyone pays for everything used, and when I click on BBC I’m definitely “using” the site.

    We normally don’t have to think of such things – our legal-liability boundary has always been our national border – but in this new global age, maybe we can’t rely on that protection anymore.

    Just wait until the West Africa scammers can gin up a Nigerian-court “judgment” and come over here and garnish our bank accounts thanks to our courts deciding that globalism is good and borderless judgments must be honored.

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    If the EU can come after American companies for violations of the GDPR, why can’t the BBC come after me for a license fee for accessing their website?

    How does Minnesota law treat homeowners standing their ground/effecting the Second Amendment against intruders bent on extortion? 😀

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The GDPR is designed to make sure everyone pays for everything used, and when I click on BBC I’m definitely “using” the site.”

    The GDPR is designed to protect people’s personal data – to give people rights over the data others hold about themselves. It’s copyright law that allows people to charge a subscription for reading/copying the product of their labour.

  • The GDPR is designed to protect people’s personal data

    And here I thought the GDPR was designed to trip up businesses over picayune regulations in order to mulct massive fines out of them.

  • bobby b

    “The GDPR is designed to protect people’s personal data . . . “

    You’re right. I used the wrong acronym. Should be “COD.”

  • Nullius in Verba

    “And here I thought the GDPR was designed to trip up businesses over picayune regulations in order to mulct massive fines out of them.”

    It’s badly done, certainly – but unusually for the EU it has honest intentions. It essentially requires that businesses have your informed consent for their uses of your personal details, or another legitimate reason for holding them. When you collect somebody’s data, you have to tell them what you’re going to be using it for, and then stick to the agreement. It doesn’t stop anyone voluntarily handing over their own data to engage in any sort of business they want to take part in.

    I’ve got my own arguments with it. It’s overly bureaucratic, slow and difficult to enforce, hard to understand, ambiguously worded, over-broad, and governments of course wrote exceptions into it partially excusing themselves from it. It’s axiomatic that bureaucratic regulation is usually a bad way of doing something. But in intent, it’s like the laws that say contracts should be honoured. Participation in somebody else’s business venture should be voluntary.

    It’s not particularly hard for honest and competent businesses to comply with.

  • William O. B'Livion

    It’s overly bureaucratic, slow and difficult to enforce, hard to understand, ambiguously worded, over-broad, and governments of course wrote exceptions into it partially excusing themselves from it

    So from a bureaucrats perspective it’s practically perfect?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “So from a bureaucrats perspective it’s practically perfect?”

    No, because in this case the bureaucracy is being used against the bureaucrats! Instead of being able to just go ahead and do whatever they want with your data, they’ve now got to fill in paperwork themselves and make legal checks and justifications and, quite often, ask your permission for the stuff they want to do. The government are exempted from bits of it, but not entirely.

    You can think of it as a bit like the Freedom of Information Act. It, too, is overly bureaucratic, slow and difficult to enforce, hard to understand, ambiguously worded, over-broad, and governments of course wrote exceptions into it partially excusing themselves from it, but I doubt there’s a bit of legislation that bureaucrats (and climate scientists) hate more! It tries to hold them to account!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Humphrey (raising glass): So, here’s to Freedom of Information!

    Sir Arnold: When it’s in the national interest.

    [Also from “Party Games.”]

  • Nullius in Verba

    Julie, 🙂

    From: Sir Humphrey Appleby

    To: Bernard Woolley

    Subject: Transparency

    I understand your anxiety about the new government’s fixation on “transparency”, but you are distressing yourself unnecessarily. It afflicts all incoming administrations. It used to be called “open government”, and reflects the frustrations they felt when they were in opposition and could not find out what was going on, combined with an eagerness to discover and publicise the deception, distortions and disasters of their predecessors.

    But it does not last beyond the first few months. As time passes they realise they have more to lose than to gain from public knowledge of what they are up to. Each month increases their tally of catastrophic misjudgments, pathetic deceptions, humiliating retreats and squalid compromises. They very soon come to understand that sound and effective government is only possible if people do not know what you are doing. The Freedom of Information Act was the greatest blow to firm and decisive administration since the execution of King Charles I. Quite soon our new masters will realise that secrecy may be the enemy of democracy, but it is the foundation of government.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8033048/Yes-Minister-Sir-Humphrey-has-all-the-solutions.html

  • Julie near Chicago

    Nullius! Why did I not know about this until you, BLESS YOU, brought it to my attention!

    It’s so good to know Sir Humphrey’s opinion on such portentous matters, as attested to by his very own speechwriters. I am forever in your debt. 😀 😀

    I have already made a cyberXerox of the memos to keep in the Personnel Human Resources files.

  • (Nullius and Julie) notice the propaganda skill with which Sir Humphrey mentioned the execution of King Charles I, rather than the death of Cromwell and the restoration of Charles II (and/or the ‘glorious revolution’). I suspect Sir Humphrey knew well that he mainly means the latter (or rather ‘how it all turned out in the end’). I also suspect that his PC-educated successors do not know the difference. 🙂

  • Y. Knott

    Julie,

    “We wouldn’t have the 50-car-pileup problem if we had the sense to keep vehicular traffic from using the roads.”

    Here in Canada that’s not a problem. Our roads are so badly potholed that vehicles can’t use them anyway – but it’s not a bug, it’s a feature; think of all the eeevil killusol our cars don’t spew as a result.

    – From a guy who hit a pothole on the 401 in Toronto this summer and is up over the $3,000 mark in vehicle repairs so far…

  • Y. Knott (February 12, 2019 at 11:49 am), you can sue the council here if your car is damaged by a reported pothole. If idle members of the public don’t tell the council about potholes then obviously the council cannot be expected to fix them, but if alert members of the public go through the admin of reporting especially offensive potholes to the council, and if the car of a wholly different member of the public (no conferring, please) is then damaged on said pothole after the council has had a reasonable time to do something about it, then some legal rights accrue.

    I know this (if I am recalling everything aright) from memory of events after a guy who sold honey damaged his van on a pothole on a road near where we live. He was very pleased we had reported it. Back in Jane Austen’s day, technically, you indicted the road; I was most unimpressed to realise that, today (in Scots law at least) it is some human body, not the road itself or the pothole, whom one sues. 🙂

    Good luck recovering the Sterling equivalent of $3000+ CAN, though. 🙂

  • Y. Knott

    – 400-series highway; pretty sure Toronto council’s oversight doesn’t apply, the 400-series are Provincial (i.e., “not our problem dude”).

    What made it infuriating was that after an hour+ of crawling-along at ~30 kph if not less in bumper-to-bumper traffic, this was the only small stretch of the 401 where we made-it to 110+ kph (HATE that highway!) More infuriating was that it popped the fuel tank, and on an evening before the Labour Day weekend there are few places in entirely-paved Toronto where one can park a car with a leaking fuel tank overnight and not accrue a massive damage bill for some parking lot’s ruined paving. Even more infuriating was the 7 days it spent in the shop (older car; fuel tank no longer available) waiting for businesses to re-open after the long weekend, so somebody could epoxy-coat it.

    The cherry on top? Seven days and $1,000 later (yeah, there’s a lot more to the story; all bad) I climbed back in at last and turned the key. The battery was dead.

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