‘Complain’ – despite the frustrations

I put ‘.’ around the word ‘complain’ because as a senior executive of a private hospital recently pointed out to me (more on this below), it should be regarded as feedback which gives an organisation or person a chance to rectify the error or omission.

The British in particular seem reluctant to bring problems to the attention of those who can do something about it. So some of my neighbours moan to me about a silly little parking squabble but don’t say anything to those who can do something about it. And many moan to me about ‘happenings’ in the NHS but again that’s as much as they do.

Of course, most of the time you will be frustrated and feel you are wasting your time, as I did when after I and my wife had telephoned our local ‘cottage hospital’ – the Wharfedale Hospital – many times to try to cancel an appointment – to be unanswered, cut off or directed to a machine which didn’t take messages. Yet when I finally got through, the receptionist refused to accept what I told her, repeating “But the phone is always answered”.

I was equally frustrated when I ‘complained’ to a large local NHS hospital that my 90 year old mother had been kept on a trolley for 11 hours on admission because, it seems “patients cannot be given a bed until they have seen a doctor and no doctors were available”. Or ‘complaints’ directed to the Chief Executive of our local housing association which are passed down to a ‘customer service manager’, resulting in the usual ‘form’ letter and no action.

This post was originally going to be about how the private hospitals to which we can now be referred by our GPs are just as bad as the NHS ones. This followed a couple of administrative errors from one of them. But I’m pleased to say that this was one of those rare occasions which backed up my contention that you should always ‘complain’.

I sent an email outlining my complaint to the Chief Executive, who was on leave at the time, but it was picked up by another senior director and …

What a difference! The senior director immediately arranged to meet my wife and myself. He explained what had gone wrong, why it had gone wrong, and the measures the organisation had taken to ensure it did not happen again. This was followed up by a letter confirming everything that had been said at the meeting.

Unfortunately I don’t feel able to name the organisation concerned because, in view of the rapid and effective response, I don’t think the original error should be publicised as I first intended.

How often have I thought “I’m going to write about this to the local paper”? Rarely I have done it. However, getting into this new blog has set me off writing again so I actually wrote something and emailed it. Whether it’s published or not is something else. We’ll see. I’ve put them under ‘Ramblings’.

I guess they may not mean very much to someone not local to where I live (beautiful Wharfedale in Yorkshire). But there are some more general political issues and even some links to my interest in food – so I’ve tagged them so.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Neither Sophocles nor Virgil tells us to take care even when they are not! Though Virgil does hint at it:

I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts” (my underline).

So now the Greeks are going to the polls and we are all fearful of the effect of the outcome on our lives. But why?

Why the hell should the misbehaviour of what is, after all, a fairly small, fairly insignificant country in the bigger scheme of things have such consequences?

Well, we’re told it’s the ‘markets’. What does that mean? It means it’s the same irresponsible gamblers – those in the money dealers, those in the banks, those in the whole corrupt worldwide financial system – those who caused the problem in the first place.

That means of course we’re back to the politicians, who fly off to Mexico or sit in video conferences to waffle non-stop, but actually do nothing to deal with the real problem.

If the Greeks are bearing gifts, what are they? A fabulous ancient history, a fascinating ancient literature, a lot of sun on a lovely blue sea, and great music for dancing. It seems they can even play football now and then. But I can’t see anything there which enables them to bring down the whole of modern Europe. But I guess a big, wooden horse looked pretty innocuous at the time.

Maybe it’s the great food! (which gives me a link to the next item).


Tournedos Rossini

Yet another picture in a restaurant review of a few grams of food exquisitely arranged on a plate, enough for a sparrow (and complete with the obligatory ‘smear’ left by said sparrow) prompted me to go back 30 or 40 years to give recent dinner guests a main course I had not prepared for several decades – Tournedos Rossini.

But before Bill Oddy and all the other animal rights campaigners have a go at me, have a look at the recipes (under the ‘Food’ menu item).

and losing pages

Just succeeded to add some menu items, and even a sub-menu, thanks to advice from a member on the forum, but I still cannot get a page I’ve created to show up. It’s on five years volunteering in Romania.

Picked up the Bay (‘Lofty’) from the garage this morning; thought it was a major problem but in fact just the collapse of a tyre wall (but on the inside so I didn’t spot it). Another was on the way out so that was changed too. Bloody expensive these tyres, but at least it wasn’t the major mechanical break I feared. Drives like a dream now.

Just tussling with a private hospital – referral from the GP. When it’s sorted I’ll have something to say about this in my ‘politics’ spot, and letting the Minister know.

Bear with me till I sort the workings of this site out.

I created this blog around four years ago. I’ve never posted to it till now but my initial comment in my profile, disappointment about what has happened to British society in the more than a decade of absence, sadly remains as true now as it was in 2004. Basically I catch up on politics through three tv programmes, all on BBC1: This Week, which would be much improved by eliminating the childishness – journalists dressed up as maids or milkmen – and the often (usually) excrutiating, embarassing links (I really watch it for Michael Portillo who often provides a fascinating insight into how politics works and insightful comment on recent political happenings); the Andrew Marr Show, despite Andrew Marr (ugh!), to remind myself just how disastrous it would be to have a Government with the likes of Balls, Milliband and Harman in it; and Sunday Politics, which would be much improved by cutting the time Andrew Neil is on the screen and doubling the time the three young  journalists – Isabel, Janen and Rowenna – have to comment on current events. I often don’t agree with them but they are intelligent and knowledgeable.

I didn’t vote for any party or person in the most recent general election; I voted against so called ‘new labour’ by voting for the candidate most likely to get them out. It worked. The result overall was I think the best I could have hoped for in our very flawed so-called democracy – a Conservative majority government party held in check by an otherwise ineffective bunch of Liberal Democrats. As a former life-long supporter of Labour until Blair got at it,  I can only rejoice that the likes of Milliband, and particularly Balls, were kept out, despite the many failures of the present Government.

But what really sickens me is hearing politicians of all persuasions and nationalities bleating about the failure of the Euro, about the starving children and adults in Africa, about the horrendous excesses of the Assad regime in Syria and other Governments which have massacred sections of their populations, etc, etc, and almost never doing anything effective about it – unless of course oil is involved.

What has the VW camper got to do with it? Not a lot but given the above it does seem a lot more important than politics. So, in the future I might just be having a gripe about anything (like the crap service being delivered by some private sub-contractors to public sector services – possibly my next post) but I might, from time to time, be commenting on how sorting out my 1972 Bay camper – my daily ride – is going, what a camp site I’ve parked up on is like (aiming for Cornwall in August), and even about Romania (having spent over a decade in that country I understand very well why Prince Charles is making his second home(s) there!).