Health, our own wee world and new hotels

Handout photo issued by Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety of the former Chief Medical Officer of England, Sir Liam Donaldson (right), with the Health Minister Jim Wells, as an impartial international team of experts should be appointed to reform Northern Ireland's struggling healthcare system, Donaldson has said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 27, 2015. See PA story ULSTER Health. Photo credit should read: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire''NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Handout photo issued by Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety of the former Chief Medical Officer of England, Sir Liam Donaldson (right), with the Health Minister Jim Wells, as an impartial international team of experts should be appointed to reform Northern Ireland's struggling healthcare system, Donaldson has said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 27, 2015. See PA story ULSTER Health. Photo credit should read: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire''NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

We have so many reviews of the health service they’ll soon be stacked up on trollies at A and E. It’s paralysis by analysis.

We have so many reviews of the health service they’ll soon be stacked up on trollies at A and E. It’s paralysis by analysis.

The latest one inter alia recommends pay rises up to £50,000 for bosses to attract the “best managerial talent”. Is there any evidence from any organisation, anywhere that huge salaries attract managerial talent? Have you ever seen any evidence of that? I haven’t. The banks, for instance, thought they had the most talented managers ever and look what they did to us.

Every sensible person knows that the NHS here needs to reform and to challenge powerful vested interests. A mountain of anecdotal evidence backs that up. Even Liam Donaldson, author of the latest review, says there’s confusion about who is in charge.

To spare you the full rant let’s just raise the old chestnut about how NHS consultants are free to do so much private work. If you desperately need an operation you can have it in a few months’ time with several cruel, last minute disappointments thrown in for free along the way or the same surgeon can do it later this week if you pay him or her. That’s not to say there aren’t good doctors and nurses doing great work in the NHS.

Will the latest review do any good? Absolutely not. Health Minister Jim Wells has called for a “debate”. That’ll keep the ball in touch until it’s time for the next review. Will we ever get leadership instead of another debate or another review? Probably not.

Meanwhile, it turns out the north isn’t really in the UK after all. Well, it is nominally but that’s as far as it goes. Of course, we always knew that. People in Britain want to move with the zeitgeist whereas unionists want to stop the world to allow them to get off. It’s just that it affronts unionists every time people in England forget about them. Now the BBC and ITV have conveniently forgotten about the DUP in relation to election debates.

What a shame. The British people won’t hear about our wee parallel universe. Just think, they may not hear about the Union Jack not flying on Belfast City Hall every day, the Orangemen still not ‘home’ from last year’s Twelfth, the outrage of no Union Jacks on our driving licences and our opposition to gay blood donations, gay marriage and the Irish Language. Isn’t it desperate that we’re meant to care who’s king of their big castle when they don’t care who’s king of our wee castle?

Well-done to journalist Fionnuala O’Connor for her brilliant suggestion for a new name for this place. Writing in the Irish News Fionnuala suggested, “Nornia”. That’s as in C.S. Lewis’ imaginary Narnia but without the clever element of allegory.

It reminds me of a friend telling someone about a woman called “Nina”. Thinking “Nina” was a strange or unfamiliar name he decided to offer an explanation. “You know the name Nina,” he said, “as in Nana Mouskouri”!

Meanwhile we also got news of Stormont funding for two new boutique hotels for Derry, one in Bishop Street and one in Shipquay Street. That’s good. Tourism has great potential, we need to save our fine old buildings and both streets desperately need a boost.