Market Madness

by craig on January 5, 2013 9:52 am in Uncategorized

The first post of 2013 comes to you from the cardiac care unit of the QEQM Hospital in Margate. Three days ago I collapsed for the second time in two days; an ambulance was called and a paramedic arrived within 5 minutes, with a full ambulance arriving inside a further five minutes. The NHS at its amazing best. I am well looked after.

This is how the NHS should work; public services provided by the state quickly, efficiently and directly. Yet a couple of weeks previously I had an example of just how the NHS should not operate. I returned from Ghana with a persistent ear infection, resulting in pain, deafness and loss of balance. I went to see the GP who agreed to refer me to a consultant. A few days later, instead of an appointment, I received a letter outlining the NHS “choose and call” programme listing a number of hospitals and phone numbers, and giving me a code to use to book an appointment. This is all in the name of patient choice.

But I really do not want this choice. I want my local hospital – and every local hospital – to have an ENT consultant working to a high standard who can sort out an ear infection. Then I want an appointment to see them quickly. I am not buying a novel or a washing up liquid. The idea that every transaction involving provision of state services should be based on an expensively created and entirely artificial market mechanism is an ideological frippery. Behind that letter lies a mass of administration to record my choice and shuffle invoices and financial transfers between my GP’s practice and whichever hospital I pick. Those invoices and transfers are all entirely internal state administration yet add massively to – multiply – the cost of simply getting a man to look down my ear canal.

There is a parallel here to the private sector distortion by which the middlemen who transfer the money for transactions have contrived ways to complicate that function until they are the major beneficiaries of economic activity.

Thankfully in emergencies this craziness is not yet applied. But I do not rule out one day being stretchered into an ambulance, asked where I want to go and handed a telephone.

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  1. What a dreadful start to the year. I wish you a full and speedy recovery.

  2. Hell, mate…get well soon…as i read where you were i thought it must be your ticker..gave me a jolt i can tell you !! Back next month so i will pop down to see you again…

  3. What a shock! I hope, whatever it is, it’s not too drastic, Craig, and that you are back at home, safe and well, in no time.

  4. David Wilson

    5 Jan, 2013 - 10:16 am

    Always good to read your blog, but sad that you have been having problems requiring hospital care. Get better soon, Craig

  5. technicolour

    5 Jan, 2013 - 10:41 am

    Hurrah! You’re OK! But please take it easy, Mr Murray.

  6. Sorry that your health right now isn’t top notch.
    By the will of Allah, may you be given a good and speedy recovery.
    I pretty much agree with your expressions of the NHS.

  7. That was a great post, Craig – you hit the nail on the head. Most people dont to have to be bothered with choice when it comes to public services; we should have the right to be secure in the knowledge that they, esp health, are run to the highest standards such that there is no point to exercising a pseudo-market choice. No one has ever asked the public that question, whether they would prefer ubiquitous high standards or some spin-the-bottle choice mechanism.

  8. Mike Williams

    5 Jan, 2013 - 10:46 am

    Hi Craig,
    Get well soon and good luck. Look forward to reading your blog during the New Year.


  9. Just thoroughly enjoyed reading your Orangemen of Togo book and now halfway through Murder in Samarkand. Fascinating stuff!

    We need you healthy and strong, Mr Murray, so please get well soon!

  10. What a shocker, Craig! You seemed in tip-top shape at the New Year party, and didn’t show any noticeable after-effects the following day. Perhaps this is a prompt to change long-term health habits?

    Incidentally, on the train back home I started showing signs of flu, and was very ill during the night (I’m still on the mend). Norovirus, I wonder?

  11. ….yes and all this pointless busyness (and business) of paper-shuffling means a less efficient service and real danger for patients. And it was all justified as I remember in the interests of improving efficiency and cutting bureaucracy. What a (hollow) laugh.
    I wish those whose main interest in life is to make money would just clear off out of health, education etc and flog their shite to each other; don’t they “get” that not everybody wants to be rich, or more powerful and important than the bloke next door?

    Sorry you are ill again Craig and hope that you get well soon.

  12. Nextus

    we were taken ill at the same time then – can you email me your symptoms (through contact button above if you haven’y got my address on you)

  13. Not the best start to 2013 for you Craig. Hope you are now on the road to recovery. Strange that I have almost identical ear symptoms, my experience of NHS in Scotland much better too. Two GP appointments and now a referral to ENT at Ninewells in Dundee. They called me two days after my GP passed it on and offered me a choice of dates and times……..

  14. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

  15. “I want my local hospital – and every local hospital – to have an ENT consultant working to a high standard who can sort out an ear infection.”
    You expect far too much from the NHS. That is the problem.
    There may not be enough ENT consultants for one in every hospital. Even if there were, there may not be enough work for them to do at a local level so they have periods when they have no work to. But they would still get paid, and consultants are not cheap to employ.
    Being able to choose which hospital is most convenient for a non-urgent consultation is a benefit to many people.

  16. Craig,
    what you desribe happens after intercontinetal flight as alteration of barometric pressure in the cabin and very dry air promote ear infection, usually of bacterial origin. My friend of 62 experienced exactly the same symptoms as you after returning from Bangkok to paris. he was deaf in one ear for about six weeks. Do not wait for a consultant and get some antibiotics, but not those which are ototoxic like gentamicin or tobramycin, It cannot do much harm.

  17. Best for a speedy recovery.

  18. Get well soon.

  19. So sorry Craig. I felt that something was wrong. Hope you have a full recovery and in the meantime get a good rest. It must have been a worrying time for Nadira too.

    The local paper here is now owned by Trinity Mirror, and was previously in the hands of Guardian Media. Look at this puff piece they put in about a local Tory MP. Lord used to work for Saatchi and Saatchi post Eton and university. Enough said. Surrey is unfortunate enough to have Tory MPs like him, Anne Milton one of Lansley’s mob and Jeremy Hunt now i/c of NHS destabilization and its ultimate destruction. Also Gove in the Camberley area and Raab in Epsom.

    The Tory voters in Surrey bear much of the responsibility for putting these Bullingdon poison-Goves in place, unelected by any majority, unmandated, all busily wrecking what’s left of Britain’s social provision.

    See the comments.

    Also this

  20. hope infection clears up speedily.

    meanwhile, thank you for a brief, witty, but most erudite description of the cancer that admin’ maniacs are inflicting on our most important public services (mostly to pave the way for inexorable ingress of private contractors at the public’s expense)

    shine on

    ps: if you’re cultivating a habit for hospital visits, perhaps better check that your diet is healthy – not missing vital nutrients/vits (find a good holistic nutritionist)

  21. PS

    ‘But I do not rule out one day being stretchered into an ambulance, asked where I want to go and handed a telephone.’

    You missed out a bit there. …. Plus possession of a credit card or proof of medical insurance cover.

  22. Is Techno a stooge from one of the ‘Privatise the NHS’ lobbyists. There are dozens of them.

    Sean Worth is one of them. An ex Camoron spad.

    and am putting this up again. Author Sean Worth of course!

  23. Best wishes to you and your family for a speedy recovery Craig.

    Oh,and Happy New Year btw..:.)

  24. I wish you a very full recovery Craig – of course. Britons and all other world citizens who stand up must be helped back up.

    I started training as a doctor 54 years ago. I have been retired from working as doctor first, and orthopaedic and trauma surgeon second, for these last ten years. I fight at national and local level for the NHS with other like minded doctors – NHS Consultants Association , and currently with a small and good group to keep the 10 beds in the community hospital at Ashburton.

    Your piece Craig hits all the nails on the head – as usual. I was using similar words when Thatcher/Rand Corporation/Centre for Policy Research ** were ramming through the Internal Market in c. 1988. With the doubling of the titles, posts and the desks, administrative costs were at least doubled from c.6% to c.12%. 1.3 billion.

    The storm troopers from Eton have worked on hollowing out the minds. They have almost completed the hollowing out of all that is dear to us within our state. I am preparing an island for them and ‘Choices’ Blair off Tierra del Fuego.

    **CPS web site showing Sir Martin Jacomb of Canary Wharf. Read his words.

  25. Get well soon Mr Murray. Not a nice start to the year but things can only get better from here! Wishing you a speedy recovery

  26. Hope you are getting better soon, Craig, after Nextus thumbs up we thought you were OK, when the opposite was the case.

    Not only has the lack of foresight regards training and reliance on EU agency doctors distorted the need in the past, Techno, you feelings for poor ENT specialists who, according to you, will have to moonlight to make a living, is the argument presented for a privatised market and its presenting a false image, because the vast majority of people, not having made a choice for health services in the past, are now forced into a highly bureaucratic and confusing system.

    Calling it choice takes some chutzpah when the vested interest of 40% of our HoL residents are reliant on private profits from future ventures.

    Rest assured Labour has nothing else to offer, none of them has, party politics is showing its limitations after landing us in this cul de Sac, rather than going for one of the continental models, they sold their souls to a US model which has been shown to fail, especially in large urban conurbations with poor clientèle.

    Parts of LA have no more health care, they are reliant on non stop night health charity sessions, in baseball halls, hundreds at a time, with no separation/hygienic barriers and some infectious patients. Doctors are giving their time for free, or work for a minimum fee, a charitable sticking plaster and far from ideal, but not a healthcare model to modernise what we once had.

    These public sessions are never enough to handle the massive need and some will fall by the wayside, they will not see anybody that night and with distances being what they are, would have wasted their time and energy. Is that what we want here?

  27. Craig you will have to return to Scotland where we have kicked the market out of health.The USA is of course the logical end of these market moves where they spend twice as much on health but with worse outcomes because half of the money goes on marketing administration and profit! Get well soon Craig and happy new year to you Nadira and Cameron. Hugh

  28. Worth noting perhaps that there is not just a norovirus epidemic but also a rapidly rising number of cases of influenza. The UK doesn’t allow Google Flu Trends to provide estimates for the UK (which I think because it exposes how crap the UK system is in reporting accurate infection rates) so we are stuck with outdated information made even worse by the Christmas/New year break.

    However judging by the infection rates reached elsewhere…

  29. Best wishes for a speedy recovery! Please listen carefully to what the doctors tell you, and follow their advice. You are accustomed to expending your energy recklessly, without counting the cost. We’d all like to keep you with us as long as possible, so take care!


  30. Please be careful Craig what and where you eat. Speedy recovery – Mark&Fuzzy

  31. John Spencer-Davis

    5 Jan, 2013 - 2:12 pm

    Very sory to hear of your illnesses. Best wishes and hope you are better soon. J

  32. Craig, get well soon mate. Hope it is nothing serious.

    Our self serving representatives are making themselves money from privatising the nhs:

    This is not a party divide, labour politicians are raking it in:

    How many politicians use the nhs is unclear but even red ken has gone private:


  33. O/T

    Helena Cobben’s site (pro-Palestine) occasionally referenced here is being blocked by Google as an ‘attack site’.

  34. Hope you get well soon Craig.

    I’ve had to use “choose and book” recently and not had any problems with it. About five years ago I had to have a minor operation and was offered the choice of going to the local hospital (6 month waiting list) or a treatment centre a bit further away (two weeks). No prizes for guessing which one I went to.

  35. Get well soon, Craig. As a former mental health nurse (30 years in nursing) I entirely agree with your and Dr Halpin’s diagnosis of the NHS. Quite apart from the waste of resources due to vast expansion of the admin/clerical side of the NHS, the mnotion of each hospital and even ward pretending to be business rivals and competing with each other as if they were coffee bars or chip shops, has attracted entirely the wrong sort of people into NHS management. Just as casino banking has attracted irresponsible “risk takers” instead of the “dull but dependable” types who used to run banks when they actually lent money to build factories and similar unsexy things.

    I say “pretending” to be business rivals, but of course the whole idea was to prepare NHS staff for actual competitoon in the private sector, to which whole swathes of the NHS are now being handed over without most of the public even noticing.

  36. PFI is a rip off. Instead of the government borrowing at a competitive interest rate the work is farmed out to private companies who inflate the cost for profit.

    For example, lanarkshire nhs will over 5 years pay £106m for hairmyres hospital which cost £68m to build. It would almost have been cheaper on a credit card.

  37. Reading other posters and links here it’s just too fucking depressing,really.

    How did we let these minority Bullingdon bastards do all this?

    And don’t get me started on Clegg,the supposed balance and alternative voice.The bastard,i’m certain,was in on the scam from the start.Controlled opposition.

    Bastards all,absolute bastards.

    Im away for a lie-down before i cry tears of rage.

  38. Kempe 5 Jan, 2013 – 3:49 pm
    “About five years ago I had to have a minor operation and was offered the choice of going to the local hospital (6 month waiting list) or a treatment centre a bit further away (two weeks). No prizes for guessing which one I went to.”

    And no prizes for guessing how long you will wait in 5 years time if we allow the nhs to be destroyed.

    Does it not occur to you that the difference of waiting times was contrived to sucker you in – do you really believe that ‘competition’ would result in a 1200% efficiency improvement?

    You only need to look at us health care for an answer to that. But hey don’t let the bleeding obvious stand in the way of your work.

  39. Well said Phil.

    Absolutely spot on.

  40. Some excellent comments above.

    I see that facilities at the hospital where Craig is being looked after are under threat in spite of reassurances given by the chief executive, Stuart Bain.

    The Pembury hospital referred to is a fairly new PFI hospital whichg cost £225m. It has 512 single rooms all conveniently ready for takeover by the private sector as and when.

    Every maintenance job however large or small is carried out by the PFI contrators at fancy prices of their choice for the duration of the contract, ie 32 yrs. At £20m per year, the cost of the PFI contract to the taxpayer is £640m. Staggering isn’t it.

    Mr *unt has been on the box several times (whilst I was doing the ironing) looking goggle eyed and talking up the coalition’s achievements which he thinks are not given enough credit. He even used the word ‘transformative’ to describe the changes made. Correct there Mr *unt.

  41. Indeed Mary,indeed.

    These types have no soul,no soul at all.

    But,one day,they’ll pay for their hubris,greed and deceit.


  42. Michael Stephenson

    5 Jan, 2013 - 5:18 pm

    O/T – Julian Assange has been arrested:

  43. My best wishes to you for a speedy recovery. Like you I have nothing but praise for the NHS having spent 5 weeks in their safe hands last year. There was a woman on BBC news yesterday criticising the NHS for the way her mother was badly treated. She made it sound like bad treatment was endemic throughout the country but she also showed her colours with a statement to the effect that at least something was being done under this government.

    Off topic. Tonight, or rather early tomorrow morning, about 12.30 a.m Press TV is showing a documentary about the death of weapons’ inspector Dr David Kelly.

  44. Tom Welsh: “Please listen carefully to what the doctors tell you, and follow their advice”

    Except any like the doctor arranged by an American associate of Craig’s in Samarkand, who employed a mysterious manner to drive skewers through his chest and joints, and advised him to sleep with underage girls to top up his yang. Soon after that helpful appointment he almost died from clots and complications iirc. In the book Craig just recalls the episode with puzzlement without interpreting it, it took Clark to point out to me, the obvious link between the strange appointment and his emergency soon following it.

    Craig made it through the worse – must have a slightly shabby Guardian angel.

  45. Terrible news if true which I hope is not the case. Poor Julian. What bastards they are.

    WikiLeaks Founder and Fugitive Julian Assange has been arrested

    Conal Urquhart | 04.01.2013 18:00

    Sources close to this reporter have confirmed that WikiLeaks founder and international fugitive Julian Assange has been arrested by Scotland Yard detectives at a private medical clinic located just a five minutes drive from the Ecuadorian embassy at Hans Crescent, London.

    WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

    Sources close to this reporter have confirmed that WikiLeaks founder and international fugitive Julian Assange has been arrested by Scotland Yard detectives at a private medical clinic located just a five minutes drive from the Ecuadorian embassy at Hans Crescent, London.

    It is believed that Assange had been feeling unwell since before christmas, and after consultation from the in-house doctor he was referred to the specialist clinic.

    Just before entering the clinic Assange was arrested by undercover Scotland Yard officers who swiftly took him into there custody.

    It is beleived that Assange was then transported to the nearby Chelsea and Westminister hospital – also in central London.

    The incident only occured within the last 45 minutes and details are rapidly unfolding.

    Even at this early stage it is understood that Assange was being transferred by diplomatic officials from the embassy – and the convey he was being transported in had diplomatic plates.

    More information will be made available as it comes in.

    Any opinions, publications, comments, information etc made herein does not necessarily represent the opinion of this journalist or The Guardian (UK) newspaper.

    Conal Urquhart

    Thanks for telling us Michael Stephenson. Nothing from the state broadcasters.

  46. Wonder if The Ecuadorean Embassy employed any new cooks recently?

    Yeah…the voodoo doctor in Samarkand too…

    Not too mention Chavez…

    It makes me laugh,sort of,when some posters dont believe the microwave tech for voices in the head and feeling on fire are a conspiracy theory.

    These bastards have got a lot more sinister tech than that,believe me.

  47. “Terrible news if true”

    That’s a very big if Mary.

    The spelling in that article leaves a lot to be desired, doesn’t look like the work of a journalist to me.

  48. O/T Correction: on a David Kelly website it says the programme ‘Aperture – the Death of Dr David Kelly – an open case’ is being broadcast at 7 p.m. tonight on Press TV. The link I’ve provided above seems to have a countdown time of some 5 hours 18 minutes before the programme starts whenever you access it.

  49. Oh my God Mary. As you say if true it is almost unbelievable.

    We must step up our campaign. This is disturbing. No faith in the authorities.

  50. “Just before entering the clinic Assange was arrested by undercover Scotland Yard officers who swiftly took him into there custody. ”

    Even Guardian reporters aren’t that thick are they?


    And in these challenging dark times all Andy Burnham can come up with is too ban Frosties.

    Oh the vision of the man!

  52. Conal Urquhart has denied being the author of the article saying Julian Assange has been arrested.

    Appears to be a fake.

  53. “Does it not occur to you that the difference of waiting times was contrived to sucker you in ”

    No, not at all. How would that have worked and in what way was I “suckered in”? As I understand the way the system worked at the time whoever did the operation got paid for doing it so why would the local hospital contrive in fixing it’s waiting lists in such a way?

    Actually the hospital was undergoing a bit of a crisis which eventually led to the Chief Exec getting booted out but nobody outside of the hospital knew that at the time. The condition (carpel tunnel) wasn’t life threatening but bloody painful and i don’t think I could’ve endured another six months without powerful painkillers which would’ve put me off work and which bring their own problems. The only other option would’ve been to go private (£1,500 to £2,000).


    Christine Assange ‏@AssangeC

    PLEASE RETWEET…..Julian has NOT been arrested…..its a hoax…Possibly troll distraction #Assange #Wikileaks #Aanonymous

    Christine Assange ‏@AssangeC

    @CraigMurrayOrg. Wishing you a speedy recovery…you have a big compassionate courageous heart..Christine Assange- Julians mum x

  55. Thanks Anon. These trolls get everywhere. I would trust Christine Assange before any of them.

  56. “Is Techno a stooge from one of the ‘Privatise the NHS’ lobbyists?”
    I work in medical IT for one of those evil private companies. We sell software to doctors who make a free choice whether to buy it or not so the NHS is currently paying my salary. However, even if the NHS were privatised doctors would still buy software so it makes no difference to me. Does that answer your question?
    “Does it not occur to you that the difference of waiting times was contrived to sucker you in ”
    Does it occur to you that maybe, just maybe, the people who run the NHS would like it to offer a better service? Lord knows it needs to (my Dad was killed by an infection caught in an NHS hospital).

  57. Next three Press TV documentary slots according to their website are at 9:30pm, 00:30am and 01:30am. UK time. David Kelly Doc listed as “next” up after “Up In Smoke” which is listed as the 9:30pm doc. So David Kelly doc may be in the 00:30am or 01:30am slot (UK time).

  58. Sending You the required life force to enable You to heal Yourself.
    YOU are much needed, charge up and help ….We the people.

  59. @Vronsky, according to google and yandex has an infection, a worm which involves propogation through facebook accounts.

    I had a dig and believe this is the offending line in their webpage:

    (iframe src=”” width=”584″ height=”283″)(/iframe)

    If they can cut it out their webpage should be clean. But it is possibly being injected by the worm on their server. The site can be browsed safely with Firefox addon “NoScript” which can block iframes -i think by default.

  60. Kempe 5 Jan, 2013 – 5:54 pm
    “How would that have worked and in what way was I “suckered in”?”

    Really? You cannot speculate how it might work? Well lack of imagination is a sucker’s trait. Markets are constantly rigged in a multitude of ways.

    That you believe privatisation can increase hospital efficiency by 1200% is plain stupid.

    The (private) us health care system is the least efficient of industrialised countries. The nhs is second most effecient. Here’s one quote from an oecd report:

    “In 2008, health care spending in the U.S. reached $7,538 per capita—far more than in any other country studied and more than double the OECD median of $2,995.”

    But just in case you think that americans are sicker than everyone else, here’s another quick comparison: Cataracts cost £741 per eye at the nhs. Private hospitals averagely charge £1,800.

    One last observation: “…carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by making the same hand and wrist motion over and over”.

    Made me laugh.

  61. Anon, thanks again. Do you have a link to the Kelly documentary other than the one I posted please?

  62. Market madness: 2 pairs white sports socks for a pound.

    Our elected reps, from pissed MPs at the Westminster cess to toun cooncillors draped in gold -whilst the people wasted for want, have for a long time been the creatures of middlemen; vulgar calculating tiny minds, these merchants ramping up the price of goods, speculating in new ways to the mass of a people’s ruin, producing or creating nothing. Bodies who meets in secret counsel to plot and betray those they rule interminably. Top hats and foppery, no basis for anything but idleness, vanity, turmoil and wreck.

    Those who celebrated the nation’s ruin at Culloden, drunken debauched affairs distinct from universal mourning due to such wanton bloodshed, the flower of Scotland slain; these parasitic choking weeds prevail still, toasted the butcher Cumberland’s vile and barbarous excesses, you should have seen the bill from French wines, cruel monsters rule, no hell of the imagination could match this earth with such upon it.

    All primed to respond with the militarised civil power and the regimented heavy stuff then as now, if the people so much as assemble.

    Keep them on their toes.

    We revolt tonight!

    GWS Craig, it’s the dread lurgy due to overwork, cut it back, get out the smoke, take up smoking, soon be fighting fit again.

  63. “There may not be enough ENT consultants for one in every hospital. Even if there were, there may not be enough work for them to do at a local level so they have periods when they have no work to. But they would still get paid, and consultants are not cheap to employ.”

    ENTs allocated to patients locally can at one extreme be fully utilised and at the other extreme fully redundant. If they were distributed randomly they would tend towards 50% utilisation, complicated only by overall ratio of supply to demand, which is an over arching factor in any case.
    The natural 50% utilisation tendency can (and should) be bettered very easily by adjusting ENTs boundaries- like jerrymandering. It is very easy to arrange mainly, a level of utilisation which is productive and has headroom to cope with sporadic demand.
    If we get into the business of sending people on extended searches and journeys to get to see idle ENTs – for that to have a significant effect, we need to send significant numbers of people on significant journeys, we will require poor utilisation to continue doing so. And the maximum benefit of this complication to a properly managed local allocation system is fractional, except when the system of local allocation can be messed up and denigrated to the point were sending significant numbers of patients on extended journeys to unfamiliar and less utilised places seems like a good i-deal.

  64. John Goss,

    Found a preview of “Aperture-The Death of Dr. Kelly-An Open Case” at

  65. GeneralGiap

    5 Jan, 2013 - 7:43 pm

    Craig , best wishes for a speedy recovery . Your blog and excellent links provided by fellow posters always a ‘ must read ‘.

  66. David Halpin earlier. A correction. That was the Centre for Policy Studies, not Research.

    Set up by Keith Joseph in 1974 and endorsed by the Leaderene in 1979.

    ‘I do think we have accomplished the revival of the philosophy and principles of a free society, and the acceptance of it. And that is absolutely the thing that I live for. History will accord a very great place to Keith Joseph in that accomplishment. A tremendous place because he was imbued by this passion too. We set up the Centre for Policy Studies, and it has propagated those ideas, and they have been accepted.’
    Margaret Thatcher, 1979

    The present board. Just some of the usual suspects with the usual connections – Goldman Sachs, Rothschilds, J P Morgan etc and headed by Lord Saatchi of ‘Labour isn’t Working’ fame who brought Thatcher to power.


    Phil – good riposte.

  67. thatcrab, 5 Jan, 7:00 pm, NoScript can block iframe, but it is not enabled by default on the version I’m using here. iframe blocking can be enabled on the “Embeddings” page of NoScript’s “Options”.

  68. Thanks Clark, I didn’t realise. I have just enabled blocking iframes.

    If anyone is not using noscript you should consider it. It makes for far, far safer web browsing.

  69. Techno, 5 Jan, 6:53 pm, I’m not opposed to market economies; just ask Cryptonym, whom I expect reserves various terms of abuse for the likes of me. But all medical software should be open-source, free (ie. libre, GPL etc.) software. Our medical records are just too important and personal to consign to systems whose operation is a trade secret.

    How is your company’s software licensed?

  70. Best of luck Craig. Any pretty nurses there?

  71. Hurrah for Cryptonym. We WILL keep the parasites on their hairy legs. Someone raised the fact that Bonnie Scuitland (under another doubtful specimen) has no D9 of a ‘Health’ and Social ‘Care’ Bill doing its worst. And Wales too is immune. I cannot recall this remarkable distinction being made anything of by the ZBC. Its agenda is plain to see.

  72. David Kelly Doc confirmed at 01:30am UK time (just saw it on Press TV advertised for that time). Will be repeated often during tomorrow I would think.

    Press TV live links at their website.

    Livestation app carries Press TV so you can watch on a phone/pad as well as PC now they’ve been kicked off various satellites.

  73. @Mary..heard the same rumour…all over the net..Hope Craig is resting peacefully in hospital and has not heard about this…if he has then he will be charging up to London as I write…

  74. Very sorry to hear of your condition Craig and I wish you a speedy recovery. You’re a bit young to be having cardiac problems. I know you don’t fear death and that is admirable but if you fancy reaching sixty – if only for the hell of it – please start looking after yourself properly.

  75. Thanks Anon. You’re a star. Don’t know whether I will be able to stay awake for the Press TV documentary on Dr Kelly’s death. But thank you. It should be informative; much more informative than the Hutton whitewash and the Grieve cover-up.

  76. Lord Palmerston

    5 Jan, 2013 - 8:54 pm

    Even though you persist in believing in this “democracy” nonsense, may I offer wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.

  77. “But all medical software should be open-source, free (ie. libre, GPL etc.) software. Our medical records are just too important and personal to consign to systems whose operation is a trade secret.
    How is your company’s software licensed?”
    Its old products are written in MUMPS:
    What I work on is closed source. Most open source software started out as closed source. I don’t really see why it couldn’t be open source in the long run because, as is normal nowadays, the data is kept entirely separate from the code, and I would agree that it is in the public interest. But in the short run we have to respond quickly to technical problems – there is 24 hour support – so we have to have complete control over the code.
    I would prefer to work with open source but I needed a job :)

  78. “That you believe privatisation can increase hospital efficiency by 1200% is plain stupid.”

    I never mentioned privatisation. I dread privatisation of the NHS. My cousin spent Christmas in an HDU at his local NHS hospital, previously he spent two years in an NHS hospital being treated for carcinoid cancer. I’ve no illusions that under the US system he’d have used up all his insurance, been unable to get further cover and been left to die. I was offered the choice of attending other NHS hospitals but declined because of the travel difficulties.

    “One last observation: “…carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by making the same hand and wrist motion over and over”.

    Made me laugh.”

    Oh aren’t you the clever one. Why not come straight out and call me a wanker if that’s the best you can do.

  79. Techno wrote

    Its old products are written in MUMPS:

    I’d just love to think you still had an old PDP-11 sitting in the corner running it all :-)

  80. Craig, I sent you the requested details via the contact form. (I’m currently migrating between PCs and homes, so it’s a better option than email right now.)

    I’m definitely feeling better today, just a residual cough and aches. No significant chest pains since Thursday; I hope it’s the same with you. A good remedy is an instant hot toddy (Lemsip + whisky) – I’d recommend some of that special extra-smooth 18yr-old malt.

  81. doug scorgie

    5 Jan, 2013 - 10:42 pm

    5 Jan, 2013 – 3:49 pm

    “I’ve had to use “choose and book” recently and not had any problems with it. About five years ago I had to have a minor operation and was offered the choice of going to the local hospital (6 month waiting list) or a treatment centre a bit further away (two weeks). No prizes for guessing which one I went to.”

    Kempe, treatment centres were set up to alleviate pressure on hospitals that were inundated by demands from patients with minor ailments. These extra demands came about under John Major’s Patient’s Charter.

    You don’t say what minor operation you required but it was obviously not serious enough to place you at the front of the queue at the local hospital. The NHS works on the basis that those most in need get treated first; waiting lists are inevitable under this ethical position.

    Had you had the money though you wouldn’t have to wait even two weeks; you could have gone private.

    What makes matters worse is the continuous underfunding of the NHS since Mrs. Thatcher and on under Major, Blair, Brown and now Cameron; the idea being to destroy the ability of the NHS to maintain its position as the best in the world. No private company could ever compete with the NHS at its best so it has had to be undermined (and has been undermined) by successive governments keen to let the private sector in.

  82. The message has always been that the NHS costs too much and must be economised. If overfunding the NHS got us into national debt what a terrible thing that would be – to have doctors and nurses with relaxed schedules, inefficient waiting rooms.

    Now we are in inconceivable debt sprung on us by stinking rich bankers – better squeeze more out the NHS!

  83. Kempe 5 Jan, 2013 – 10:02 pm
    “I never mentioned privatisation. I dread privatisation of the NHS.”

    Your comments seemed to support the internal market and privatisation of the nhs. Why didn’t you correct me before? And quite what where you saying then? Nomatter, my mistake.

    Come on, my insult was almost carry-on funny. Really, it was too obvious to resist. I did try. But you are offended so please accept my apology.

    Fight the cuts comrade! See you on the street.

  84. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    6 Jan, 2013 - 12:27 am

    “Now we are in inconceivable debt sprung on us by stinking rich bankers – better squeeze more out the NHS!”

    Heh. I have to say this is wise economics; privatitize profits, socialize the losses. Makes good sense, doesn’t it?

  85. It makes sense like, prescribing cortisol in vip lounges instead of surgeries.

  86. Blimey. I wonder, is the cardio issues in any way related to Craig’s, ah, ‘unfortunate’ imbibing of substances that may or may not have been put there by someone in securitat. Allegedly, etc.

    And as to the NHS, this just depresses me no end. Whenever you say the NHS is being privatised, and we are going to go along the US route, a Tory clown (sometimes Bumface himself) from the insta-rebuttal unit scoffs and mocks, and belms out a one-liner (‘free at the point of care’, ‘freedom of choice’, ‘no US model’). But, they are telling porkies. It’s that simple. They are telling whoppers – and getting away with it.

    And, alas, we can’t blame Evil Tories. It’s the Labour Party who are doing fuck all; here they have an easy win: a whopper vote winner, defending the NHS, which was set up by Labour Lions like Attlee, a chance to reach across the spectrum whilst, curiously, being able to draw back some of their core vote. But they are just too timid, I can’t explain why. Milliband doesn’t appear to be a bad guy, I don’t get chills like I do with Bliar (and Obama), so I’m not really sure what the timidity is all about. Very odd.

    Basically, certain interests have been after the NHS and the welfare state since it’s inception – they just waited for a better moment. And now we have it, apparently.

  87. What a horrible way to start the New Year for you.
    Best wishes for speedy and complete recovery.
    You’re right….. the NHS can and does deliver something almost miraculous day after day.
    They do this despite politicians of course and certainly not because of them.
    hey, they get things wrong though sometimes….that ear infection of yours should have been picked up much much sooner….the symptoms were there….I mean your lack of balance isn’t something new….and that your deafness was willful was an assumption that should have been investigated. I hope the pain goes away though.

  88. The dirtiest thing about that comment was how it brings up pain right at the end. Quite twisted, but i dont expect Craig will be reading these in his sickbed.

  89. Good grief, I `feel bad for my irritation at a lack of blog updates – sorry Craig, please get well soon. The world needs you to keep contributing to truth and justice.

  90. Barbara Tucker is on hunger strike in parliament square:

  91. Paul Sparks

    6 Jan, 2013 - 8:23 am

    Sorry to hear about your medical problems. The NHS remains superb when one’s circumstances are life-threatening, but (for the reasons you give) is increasingly frustrating when dealing with chronic conditions, which it once used to be equally efficient at tackling. Another triumph for the free market! I wish you a speedy recovery.

  92. To let people know, Anders7777, formerly of this site, died on Boxing Day.

  93. Very sorry, and shocked, to hear of your ill health, Craig – all best wishes for a speedy recovery! And to Nextus too – lots of bugs doing the rounds at this time of year.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comment, Craig. Well said, too, David Halpin, Pete and the others. Yes, all this nonsense began in the late 1980s and it is ideologically-driven.

  94. Cameron who should be ashamed of his betrayal of the NHS having promised that it would be safe in his hands, and especially after having received its wonderful care for his disabled child, is on Marr this morning along with the actor Rupert Everett and the comedian Rory Bremner. That’s a trio to behold.

  95. Sorry to hear that Teapot. He was fairly recently here on the Al Hilli site, making multiple posts through the night as far as I recall. No wonder when you read this from the site quoted. Poor man. A terrible disease with much pain relieved with morphine thank goodness. RIP.

    ‘i spoke with his sister this morning. she is at his home now. he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in 2006 and had a kidney removed. in 2007 he learned the cancer had spread to his lungs. he went on an agressive treatment of super drugs that halted all further cancer growth. he has lived a full life since. recently he began experiencing back and leg pain. he had a mri and a ct scan the week before christmas. as of the 22nd of december when i spoke with him last he was awaiting those results. in the meantime he was administered loads of pain medications including liquid morphine. he went to sleep in his favorite chair watching videos christmas night and never woke up. the family expects to hear from the coroner Monday or Tuesday. a service will be held in his current town of residence on the River Thames. he will be cremated.’

  96. Very best wishes to you Craig and a Happy New Year.
    Hope you make good progress.

    Long time follower of your blog here but only post rarely. Usually everyone articulates things much better than I can.

    But have just found this, Dr David Kelly on PressTV’s website. In two episodes. Death of Dr. Kelly-An Open Case

    Have just started watching.

  97. I went to see my 92 year old neighbour in hospital recently. Denial had taken over. ‘This is my place. I live here’ He said, glancing over at the next door sleeping patient + catheter.
    It made me think how much of our lives we live in denial because we cannot change the outrageous realities. Not to deny is to commit the thought crime of questioning the appalling facts of economic post Thatcherism. Today my daughter flies to India to escape Western brainwashing and corporate lies in favour of a realler environment.
    To deny, is the meaning of the arabic word kafir, disbeliever.
    So please use your temporary physical incapacity to reflect on the reality of your Creator, who gave us a mechanism for holding ourselves upright, and get better soon.

  98. John Goss, Clark, Mary, Fred, Frazer, and others… Total hoax, don’t worry about it:

    However, this is worth worrying about:

    This 2nd Jan 2013 article in the Independent illustrates better how both the UK and the Swedish governments co-operated ahead of time to serve the political will of the US:

    Rendition gets ongoing embrace from Obama administration:

    Note the way Britain stripped its own citizen of citizenship to smooth the way. Note the Swedish government’s complete unwillingness to even protect the rights of its own citizens – it just served them up on request (wonder how a non-Swede or Australian would fare…?). Note the existence of a secret Grand Jury indictment handed down months before these individuals were detained in Djibouti – only unsealed just after arrest. And before you say “ah, but they’re terrorists”, note that the UK (ex-)citizen was a Somalian-born care worker working in Britain who filed a formal complaint in 2009 claiming harassment by the MI5 intelligence service, who threatened him with all sorts of trouble if he didn’t become an informant.

    For the kind of questions being asked about the legality of this case in Sweden, see this SvD Opinion article:

    Not a whole lot of speculation needed to see from the above what would happen to Assange if he went to Sweden. All the better (from their point of view) that the ridiculous sex allegations case is so weak it can be dropped almost instantly in favour of a US request for extradition.

  99. The Iraq war murdered & maimed 1,000,000 children. Learn here how the United States of America achieved this holocaust and educate your own children and friends. Death of Dr. Kelly-An Open Case

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