The Loneliest Jukebox

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Loneliest Jukebox power supply disrupted

Earlier this week I was hospitalised for an emergency procedure. I'll spare you the details: when I whispered the name of my affliction to a laboratory rat, it winced so hard it broke its neck. My flatmate did a good job of getting me home in one piece. Special thanks* are due to the staff of Whipps Cross Hospital, who made my stay there more bearable than it could have been and saved me from some serious health problems further down the line (i.e. if I'd left things untreated for another day). I also hope that the eight medical students observing learned something from my plight and that this knowledge can be used for the good of society.

When I worked in the National Health Service in the late 1980s I never liked the slogan 'defend the NHS' because for nurses, care assistants and domestics like myself, the NHS was also the employer - Europe's largest. The institution could - and did - defend itself through a diet of low pay and long hours for its underlings. It was the job of the union - NUPE in those days - to defend its members. Pay and conditions was the only sensible basis for organising a fightback, rather than relying on public sentimentality about the 'jewel in the crown' of the post-war welfare state.

That said, I won't hear a bad word about the Whipps Cross team who sorted me out this week. Just rebuild the hospital and the car park so you don't need a PhD in cartography to get out of the place. Little wonder that people die on hospital toilets and don't get found for days.

Meanwhile I should be fit and well in time for the Art Deco Weekend 2005, where I am giving a lecture. Hope to see you there. And normal service on this blog will be restored as soon as possible.

* Thanks also to George Monbiot for giving me a laugh with his newspaper column. 'I want to live in a land in which wolves might prowl', he claims. And I know plenty of people who would chip in on your one-way ticket to live in such a place, George. Canoe or 747? Window seat or aisle?


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