Monday, 17 May 2010

Twenty years ago today...

Today is 17 May 2010. As a pensions administrator the date of 17 May is engraved on my heart. At work I refer to it several times a day. It is the day connected to the infamous Barber judgement which occurred in 1990 relating to pension scheme equalisation of retirement ages for men and women. For most of the pension schemes I work on, there is an actual date of equalisation which may be months or years after 17/05/1990. This means there is a transition period between 17/05/1990 to actual equalisation date, therefore adding several layers of complexity to a calculation.

I wonder what Mr Barber (who I understand is now deceased) would have made of all the trouble his case has caused. Although obviously it was the right thing to do to have pension ages equalised, there should have been a tidier way to go about it.

I mentioned the anniversary to a work colleague earlier. Her comment was "Oh yes, we're having a party.....NOT!"

In praise of Southport DGH

I started this blog with the best of intentions but my time management is obviously rubbish, at that was months ago and I've never been back since. So I'm having another bash now and I'll try to do better.

I'm kicking off this time with a fervent vote of thanks to Southport District General Hospital (known locally as the DGH). During the week before the General Election I was out doing my usual election thing, i.e. shoving leaflets through letterboxes, and I took a tumble on the pavement. Fortunately there were people about. and a very nice man came and helped me up (after asking if I needed an ambulance), and then a lovely lady (no idea who she was) helped me into her car,and drove me home (about half a mile) having given me a handful of babywipes to clean the blood off my face. (Whoever you were - thank you!!)

Once home I was able to assess the damage. the blood was superficial (grazed face and lip) but my left hand was turning black and blue and swelling and the right one wasn't feeling too clever either. Clearly a trip to A & E was in order and so Nigel took me in a taxi (we may return to parking problems at the DGH at a later date - suffice it to say it's rubbish!)

I was expecting to hang around ages but it was all very efficient. Reception, followed by triage, followed by a nice sit-down in the minor injuries unit.... after examination, a trek off to x-ray. I remember the days when you came out of x-ray with a big brown envelope containing your films - no, I had an A5 sheet with my name and a bar code, and a small red spot sticker. The sticker meant I'm special! or more precisely, something was probably broken. back to minor injuries, who looked at my x-rays and recommended strapping and a visit to fracture clinic. It's the left little finger which was broken and therefore the clinic nurse basically sellotaped it to the one next door (not literally of course - surgical supplies were used!) and that was it, not even a sling. (They had earlier decided the other wrist wasn't broken). We were there all afternoon but there weren't any gratuitous delays and everyone was kind and efficient (I have obviously been watching Casualty too long).

The same could be said of fracture clinic - efficient, kind, and patient. I was still concerned about the right wrist, which hurt as much as the fractured finger, and the doctor was happy to get that x-rayed as well just to make sure. No break there, fortunately! I mentioned sick notes. "Oh yes, no problem - what do you want, four weeks?" Once I'd got my breath back I settled for 2 weeks at this point and to report to my GP if I needed any longer. Then my hand was re-strapped by the clinic nurse using a different technique and different materials (I quote "They do the other way in A & E, but we are orthopaedic nurses and we do it this way!") and I was given a small packet of further supplies.

So here I sit with one hand strapped as per above, a crepe bandage on the other wrist, thanking my lucky stars that my local hospital is so efficient. I have used its services several times in the 15 years I've lived in Southport (as both in and out patient as well as A & E) and have nothing but praise for its staff and services. Such a contrast to The Hospital From Hell which I experienced in another town and which they will have to carry me into unconscious because I'm never knowingly going near again!