I feel the decision by the Queen to award the George Cross to the national health service is a mistake.
Given that the medal is awarded to recognise extraordinary acts of bravery in saving lives, while many frontline NHS staff will have worked long shifts in very difficult circumstances, often with PPE in short supply and with some paying the ultimate price, others will not have been saving lives as the health service was effectively shut down to non-Covid patients.
Taking the long-term view, elevating the NHS to the status of a national hero beyond criticism makes future reform very difficult – and change is required, not only in terms of new medical advances such as artificial intelligence but also in response to financial constraints and changing demographics.
Some NHS staff will be happy to receive the George Cross from Her Majesty – but I feel many others would have been happier with a decent pay award.
Time to sort out pricing
It has been made law that all manufacturers of household appliances must make them repairable, and hold spares for 10 years after their discontinuation. All to the good, but some are near impossible to repair. Others have spares available, but may not be viable to fix, mainly due to the very high cost of technicians and engineers.
In 2017 my five-year-old fitted oven broke, and being a qualified engineer I investigated, found the problem and a replacement on the web – but delivery was several weeks.
Thinking it would be fixed quicker, I contacted two domestic repair companies. They wanted £70 and £100, call-out, plus VAT, to investigate. They would then order the part, and charge for it and fitting. The part was £119.95 plus VAT on the web. So I was looking at a repair bill of £300-plus. A new same-make oven was under £400, which was guaranteed. Needless to say I repaired it myself. It’s still working.
It’s high time technicians had realistic pricing for work.