Friday 29 May 2009

Getting Vision

Well it's one week on and the Op went well. I've had a few grot days but the recent check up was good so I return to blogging (courtesy of my trusty PA Alison who transcribes the great thoughts). During my recuperation I get regular updates of news and action from the ever dynamic ACEVO team.

I must say it does help recovery when you wake up from the operation in St Thomas' to be confronted with the vista of the mighty Thames and Westminster. Although admittedly it was a haze through one eye only! I demanded pain killers but all they offered was paracetamol. Have things got so bad you can't get a decent shot of morphine these days?

For over a decade I was a non-exec on the Health Authority for St Thomas'. This was in the battling days of the 80s when yours truly was leading the righteous in opposing bed cuts and ward closures. Those with long memories will remember the days of year long or more waiting lists and constant pressure to close facilities and make damaging cuts. In Lambeth the waiting list for a hip replacement was a disgraceful three years.

Do let's reflect on those days and hope that we do not have a return to massive cuts in public spending that damage our NHS. I worry when I hear George Osborne talking of the need for major cuts in spending. It will not all come from cutting bureaucracy - the usual politician's excuse. The sector should worry at the effect on us;especially small organisations strongly dependent on grants.

Now whether the coming cuts will be quite as bad as the battle of the Somme as predicted by my good friend Stuart Etherington ("This is going to be the fiscal equivalent of the Somme") I doubt, but it will not be good. Incidentally what happened to that recent NCVO research report telling us not to cry wolf?

I guess if you have to be off work recovering May is the best possible time. I have acquired a fine garden table and chairs and they are positioned by the Prison wall. A prisoner escaped last week my Mother informs me cheerfully, though I assume not by jumping over the wall?

I'm usually a great news hound, avidly devouring Today, PM , World at One etc but I am listening less and less as I can't stand the procession of the "Vox Populi" demanding the garroting of MPs we must endure each broadcast. You just know that these very same tribunes of the people are probably not averse to the odd knocked off DVD or the extra carton of fags smuggled through duty free. And yet we have to listen to their moral outrage. Give us a break. And when the latest news of excess bath plugs takes precedence over the recession or a nuclear threat you do have to wonder at news priorities! l await the dear Daily Telegraph publishing the list of their journalist's expenses, in the interests of transparency and accountability of course?

The Hound seems fully recovered and keeps me amused and today I'm off to the glories of Charlbury in the spring sun after my Tommies check up. I'll stay there a while and enjoy the healing effect of the sun and countryside. Tomorrow will be with my brother and sister in Oxford as its "Eights week", the annual College rowing contest. The College of my brother and I (Christ Church )is currently Head of the River, though there are divided loyalties as our nephew Julian is Head of Boats at Keble and rowing the College First Eight. I shall need to avoid flying Pimms bottles but my eye shield will no doubt cut a certain fashion statement!

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