Belfast Telegraph

NHS is like the Olympics... it’s a bit of a lottery

By Nuala McKeever

New medical reports suggest that brain function begins to decline from the age of 45 and not from 60 as was originally thought. So that's me on the scrap heap then ...

But wait! What age were the people doing the research, hmm, hmm? If they were over 45, can the data be relied upon to be accurate? Y'didn't think about that, did ya? See? You're losing it already!

Being two years into the mental decline period, might explain why I seem to find it increasingly difficult to follow certain phenomena on the news.

Take Olympic Games tickets, for example. Well, you can't take them, that's the thing. The whole system of buying, not getting what you wanted, being in a lottery in the first place and then being offered a chance to re-sell the unwanteds and get others instead, strikes me as exhausting. It would make an Olympic sport in itself. Not perhaps one you'd want to watch but, then again, who'd've thought people would want to watch synchronised swimming?

Thousands do apparently. So many in fact, that, due to what the Olympic people are calling ‘human data error’ (ie, someone screwed up) an extra 10,000 non-existent tickets were put on sale and purchased by fans.

Now the organisers have realised the seats aren't actually available, so they're offering the thousands who've already got seats a chance to take tickets to something else instead. Like the Men's 100m finals! What?!?! But hold on a minute! Wasn't that event billed as one of the ‘Oh, there's no way you'll get tickets to that, they're like gold dust (or home heating oil, whichever's dearer)!’ type events?

Yes, it was. But, it seems those clever people at Locog have a sneaky one million extra seats hidden up their shell suit sleeves.

Confused? I am.

But I was cheered by a little flight of fancy as I pictured the disappointed synchronised swimming fans arriving at Olympic Ticket Central to protest and rather than forming a boring single line queue, arranging themselves instead in a series of interlocking flower patterns, moving smoothly from open to closed, in time to some classical music played-in over a tinny tannoy.

Organisers insist that everyone will get a good service in the end.

Good service has been in the news a lot over the past few days. Cameron's demanding it from nurses and he's put in place a ‘package of measures’ (synchronised boking from me, everytime I hear that hateful expression) to make sure nurses do exactly what they've already been doing — like, ward rounds and checking on patients.

The Post Office has been ‘slammed’ (another hateful expression) for the rise in complaints over posties sticking ‘Sorry you were out’ cards into letterboxes when the people WERE in. Poor service? Well, when you then discover that postmen are only allocated 10 seconds a delivery, such shortcuts start to make sense.

You get what you pay for. Good nursing standards require there to be enough nurses to do the work. With £20bn in budget cuts, the NHS is not likely to be hiring more staff to fulfill Cameron's empty pledges, sorry, heartfelt commitments.

Maybe once the 2012 Games are over, staff there could transfer to the hospitals. If anyone could pluck an extra million nurses out of a hat, it's gotta be them. Hey, I feel a new sport coming on. Anyone for Nurse-Plucking?

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph