Filed: Work

Make the Most of Your Mac

For many years, the only PC I would contemplate was a Mac. I got my first in 1986, a Mac Plus which I think I’m right in saying had a one meg hard disk, but it still ran Pagemaker so that suddenly, decent presentation was possible without having to go to a graphic designer all the time. WYSIWYG was the wonder of its day.

I managed to resist our IT department’s blandishments to switch to a Windows PC for many years, arguing that Macs were the industry standard in printing, but I finally relented a couple of years ago and now work on a Sony Vaio. I still get to use Macs at home because my wife’s business uses them, but I do miss that friendly, helpful screen and the ease of use of the Mac system when I’m at work. Read more ›››

‘Tis the Season

Had my first Christmas dinner today. (Don’t you hate the word ‘Xmas?’) It was in the canteen (sorry, ‘staff restaurant’) consisting of veggie soup followed by turkey (a bit dried out) with an even more dried out lump of stuffing on top. I passed on the sprouts, roasters, carrot batons etc and went for a hillock of creamed spuds. Plus the European Gravy Lake to rehydrate the offering. Only two more helpings to go before I finish for the holiday. Whoopee do. Read more ›››

Man Management

One of the more bizarre stories this week was that South Africa rugby coach, Rudolf Straeuli, management style was to get the team to crawl naked through the bush while he videoed it so they could all watch it together later. He claims his unusual training regime was part of a team-building exercise, although sounds more like an outlandish fetish to me. In any event, it didn’t work as the Springboks were beaten 29-9 by New Zealand in the quarter finals of the RWC and Rudolf has been forced to resign. Read more ›››

Roots

I’ve been away for a few days at the Scottish Association of Healthcare Communicators 2004 conference in Clydebank, near Glasgow. This year’s theme was ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Patient Confidentiality vs. Public Interest.’ This is a subject dear to my heart and while the event didn’t provide any great insighful solutions, it was useful. The speakers were very good, particularly Dr Harry Burns and ‘motivational guru’ Watt Nichol as after dinner speaker. Read more ›››

Performance Managing Dead Horses

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed down from generation to generation, says “that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.” In business and government, however, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as: Read more ›››

A Bright Future for the NHS?

The Tory party announced their new ‘big idea’ for the NHS at their conference in Bournemouth today. The Patient Passport. The idea is that if someone pays for private treatment, they should get 60% of what it would have cost the NHS to put towards it. The example used was a hip-replacement. This would cost the NHS £5,000, so they would get £3,000, while the NHS would still have £2,000 to treat those who can’t afford it. Ten people treated privately and enough to treat 94 on the NHS. Voila, everyone’s happy. Wrong. Read more ›››

Worlds Apart

I got roped into our Freedom of Information working group today. In principle, this is a great idea, in practice it will be a nightmare to implement. Briefly, what it means is that anyone, anywhere in the world, can request what information we have on any given subject. So far, so good.

The problem is that to do this, you need to know what files your organisation “possesses”. I put that in quotes because in our case, this doesn’t just mean the files we have, but those we inherited from the six former health authorities and before them, the regional health authority and district health authorities going way back, probably to 1974. In other words, a mountain of paper. Read more ›››

The Blame Game

Blame culture is the name of the game. So where is it leading us?

Compensation, duty of care, bullying, race, gender, age, competence, incompetence, should or shouldn’t have, could or couldn’t have, would or wouldn’t have, did or didn’t. Everything is someone else’s fault. Read more ›››