All entries for Friday 08 April 2005

April 08, 2005

NHS – Throwing money down the drain

CIVITAS (The Institute for the Study of Civil Society) will be publishing a series of articles on issues central to the forthcoming election. The first such article is on the effectivness of increased spending on the NHS.


NHS expenditure in England has increased from £33 bn in 1996/97 to £76 bn in 2005/06. But has the service improved?

Overall productivity. The Office for National Statistics estimated that from 1995 to 2003 productivity had increased between minus one and zero per cent.

Waiting lists fell from 1,158,000 in 1997 to 857,000 in September 2004. But the National Audit Office found in 2001 that nine trusts had ‘inappropriately adjusted’ their lists and the Audit Commission founding 2003 that there was evidence of ‘deliberate misreporting’.

Operations cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons increased from 51,000 in 1997/98 to 66,000 in 2003/04.

The NAO found in 2000 that the UK had the worst record in Europe with about 100,000 infections a year leading to 5,000 deaths. Deaths from MRSA increased fifteenfold from 1993 to 2002.

The eye opening article can be found here .

As you may have gathered from the above quote, the money being ploughed into the service isn’t quite yielding the results promised. Still, don’t be surprised if press releases from the government don’t quite agree. After all, if you set enough targets you’ll meet a few, if only by accident. Those doctors and nurses working within the NHS do a great job, but problems are down to the framework within which they must work. Don't worry though; the next round of spending increases with obviously be the one that makes the difference.


Wilco – Embracing technology in the music industry

From bbcnews

US country-rock group Wilco's lead singer Jeff Tweedy has criticised the music industry's negative attitude to the internet, saying it is "nothing to be afraid of". In an industry that has often blamed the internet for falling sales and "stolen" royalties, Wilco have defied the doomsayers and used the net to their advantage.

The group have gone from strength to strength since making their fourth studio album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, available online for free in 2002.

"It's just new technology, and it's nothing to be afraid of," Tweedy tells the BBC World Service's The Music Biz programme.

"People are going to abuse it - they are going to pirate music, they always have done - but it's the same thing as tape.

"Cassette tapes were going to ruin music. If you go far enough back, the radio was going to ruin music."

Full article here

Better technology has brought new ways to ‘acquire’ content without paying, but for the few who companies/individuals who look at new opportunities to catering for increased demand for digital media, the rewards will be huge. Exerting effort on small fry downloaders without studying the incentives driving such people to reject traditional sales methods is foolish. The companies behind services such as Itunes and MSN Music have the right idea, though they have a long way to go.

For anyone yet to browse the numerous mp3blogs around the internet check out some of the links on the Music category on the left hand side of this blog. They’re a great source of information on the latest independent (& decent mainstream) music and often provide sample tracks.


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