All entries for August 2005

August 30, 2005

Another Costcutter rant…

It's that time of day. Another Costcutter rant.

Today, Costcutter was typically busy at 1pm (surprisingly about as busy as during term time). There were about four cashiers, each with about 8 people at each queue. So busy.

I got to the front of my queue when the checkout-retard said "i'm closing this till now". Needless to say, the 8 people behind me were as pissed off as I was. I mean, why not TELL people before they queue for five minutes that you're intending to the close the queue?

Instead the dozy bint meekly protested: "I finish at 1pm". Well good for you! Crikey! How about telling people not to join the queue at 12.55pm?

So I then had to queue for five minutes at ANOTHER queue!

Costcutter, how about employing some people with a basic understanding of how to – at least – SPELL 'customer service'. Damn idiots.

P.S. Looking at their website (www.costcutter.co.uk) confirms how truly crap they are.

And I'm done.


What are they thinking?

For those of you lucky enough not to be in Leamington, you may not know about the infestation which has happened in the town…

Kind of what the X12s look like...
(Artist's Impression)

That's right. The Stagecoach X12s have been replaced by bright pink buses. They also have speakers and a crappy FM radio in it.

Unfortunately, tuning is an issue. Today we were delighted by the sound of a crackly, hissing, whining Classic Gold. Oh yes, really catering to the students there. Silence would be much better.

Oh yeah, and everyone on the bus now looks like a twerp.

Another great idea from our good friends at Stagecoach.


August 28, 2005

RaW at the International Children's Games

A bit late, but here's RaW at the International Children's Games in July 2005.


Some of the RaW team who put together the ICG broadcast.
From L-R: Jimmy, Olivia, Phil, Mark, Craig, Shall, Emily, Steve, Dave and Tim.


Craig demonstrates how to drive the desk.


Blatant abuse of the Music cupboard. Necessary, but brutal.


The opening ceremony of the games. My god it went on a bit. RaW was in the Press area next to Sky Sports. :P


Through some ludicrous contraption, the Games Torch is lit.


Interesting juxtaposition made it look like the church was on fire.


People looking very silly. All in the name of sport and kids and stuff.

RaW's team at the International Children's Games consisted of:
Chris Doidge / Steve Hoon / Olivia Case / Emily Andrews / Jimmy Buckland / Adam Westbrook / Dave Spafford / Mark Papp / Mark Leggate / Craig Bemment / Ian Liverton / Phil Sharpe / Adam Riddell / Tim Peach / Tim Honeywill / Gavin Rutter / Shall Singh

You can listen to some highlights from the games here:
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Sunday
Boys' Football Final
Swimming
Athletics
An introduction to Coventry

And there is more about RaW's involvement at the International Children's Games at RaW's website


August 27, 2005

The NHS: Crisis looming?

Has Labour's overspending in the NHS pushed it to crisis point?

I've just done two weeks work experience at a regional newspaper in England, where the main stories they featured were three separate exclusives on bed/hospital closures.

Two of these are to do with not enough money for beds to remain open, and another is to do with a complete reorganisation of the NHS (involving the scrapping of Primary Care Trusts – which you may remember are only a few years old).

The first observation to make is that something has clearly gone wrong with the government's health proposals from 1997 onwards.

Primary Care Trusts (their idea) will be replaced so that local primary health services are managed by 'local' groups, which may be private sector, voluntary (a joke according to hospital Leagues of Friends) or run by doctors (again, ha ha ha). But what is wrong with PCTs? Well apparently they're too bureaucratic and splitting them up into smaller bureaucracies will improve efficiency. Umm… worked well with devolution to Scotland and Wales. Also, why didn't they decide to do this when PCTs were invented? And there's big question marks hanging over who actually will want to take over the running of the hospitals. Except of course businesses, who will love the chance to milk the Department of Health dry.

So there still doesn't seem to be a good reason why they're disappearing. Other than 'change is good' being one of the government's mottos.

The second point (relating to bed closures) is why are services being reduced when health funding has rocketed over the past few years? One reason presented itself on a BBC news report the other day. It followed a GP whose income had gone from £60k to £100k because of new 'out-of-hours' contracts the government signed with GPs recently. Basically, Doctors successfully got shed loads of money out of the government for working night shifts. And some have nearly doubled their income.

Good for them, but this along with other pay increases in the NHS means that these increases (in proportion to GDP) in health spending have gone, mostly, on wage increases. If this was the 1980s, then this would have caused chaos, but Gordon Brown is very fortunate that the economy's doing okay at the moment. Important qualification there: at the moment.

But while wages have risen, so have services since 1997. Yet this seems simply to have stored up trouble for the DoH which is beginning to realise it can't keep funding these new services (such as foundation hospitals). So big, new hospitals: very good. Older, smaller, local, essential to rural areas hospitals: very very bad.

And indeed the government is shutting them. If the three proposals found out by the newspaper I was working at happen, then thousands of people would have had to wait 30mins for an ambulance (minimum) before another 30–40min journey to the big new PFI-funded megahospital. A megahospital with overcapacity. But that's fine, because they can close the smaller hospitals to make up the difference.

Essentially, rural areas are going to be kicked squarely in the teeth by these measures. And they're inevitable. Services in the NHS will have to be cut, which sounds pretty worrying considering how much people have been paying in tax over the past 8 years.

And rural areas – which, happily don't contain many Labour voters – will be worst off because big hospitals there are far less economical, and small, local hospitals, while nice, are easier to dispose of.

What surprises me (although it doesn't really) is that the national press haven't picked up on this trend. Because it does seem to be a common theme. Smaller, local hospitals which have better satisfaction ratings – especially with the elderly – face being closed in favour of one-size-fits-all mega-hospitals.

Isn't it time to stop quietly changing the structure of the NHS through non-transparent quangos and think again about what the NHS is and should be about? Because some of the most vulnerable people are going to those worst affected by the changes made inevitable by over-spending in the NHS.


August 22, 2005

The Independent on RaW…

Not many radio stations can boast a potential future Prime Minister among its alumni, but one of Raw's founder members is Tory leadership candidate David Davis. The team in Coventry played on this theme when, like ITV, it hosted a live election night party, complete with interviews of local candidates and voters. To cap an impressive year, Raw covered an international sporting event, with its Coventry base allowing it to cover the International Children's Games in July. Brimming with invention.

Yep. Brimming with invention. Official.

Will probably be made subscription-only tomorrow


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