NCP causes a bit of a stink

NCP the national multi-story carpark company has suggested they are thinking of combatting the offensive smell of urine in their stairwells by using automatic scent dispensers.

I am predicting that there will be a number of lawsuits from individuals who get an allergic reaction to whatever substance they choose to spray into the stairwells to mask the odour.

It seems to me that they have a couple of options that would be more effective

  1. Build carparks with toilet facilties on each floor
  2. Run a low voltage electric current under a the surface of a water porous gridded floor surface on the stairwells
    • Anyone walking over the dry surface would fine
    • Anyone walking on a wet surface with shoes on would be fine
    • Anyone walking barefoot should know better with all that urine about
    • Anyone taking a leak gets the voltage passed through the urine flow and gazzam! Instant deterrent… This seems like a great use for Pavlovian theory!

Unsure about Esure but now happy with Direct Line!

I had been with Esure for 3 years and thought I could trust them to look after me. We had a couple of motor policies with me on my wife’s policy and vice versa. I am pretty lucky to have 9 years no claims bonus.

I have been unlucky this year in that I bought a new car for me and ended up having it damaged twice. On the first occasion, April, we had the road being prepared for being taken over by the council. The housebuilders had contracted workman to re-lay tarmac on pavement areas either side of my house and then they in turn contract a roadsweeper. The first contractors created a lot of tar dust and the roadsweeper flicked it up onto both our cars – aaarrggghhh.

I had paid for extra insurance so that I could persue out of pocket expenses but Esure lacked any sort of co-ordination or desire to sort out my claim and it was left to me to keep pushing and pushing. Eventually it got put in front of the solicitors who said there was no chance of winning the case until I actually showed him all of the evidence which he hadn’t been made aware of.

So 10 months down the line I am waiting on the court proceedings to move forward – but at least it is now out of Esure’s hands.

The second incident was a smack I got on the nearside front wing, where some kind person hit my car in a private carpark and decided to drive away without owning up. Unfortunately the carpark security camera was not up to much and so it was busy panning when it should have been zooming. So no help there.

When I got the renewals back for both our cars they seemed OK but then I realised they had omitted to add the accidents for both Tracey and I. Bear in mind that we are both with Esure and the claims had both been made through Esure! When I checked with them about this they said that they don’t automatically update details with the information that they have – doh! That would be just too efficient and I can see why the only person that will endorse Esure right now is Michael Winner! Don’t panic…. it only an overinflated premium for rubbish service, dear.

So as far as Esure are concerned that adds up to one claim and one possible no fault claim. So they wanted to add more than another £100 to both our car insurances for the crossover. I put my wife’s insurance up because of my claim and she put mine up because of her claim.

I felt like I was being poorly treated and that the service wasn’t engendering any feelings of loyalty so I gave Direct Line a call. The quotes they gave were actually £50 less, including all the accident information, than the original quotes from Esure without the accident information. It’s not rocket science so I cancelled the two policies with Esure in the cooling off period. Then to demonstrate how lax Esure are they didn’t even bother to ask why I was cancelling!

A lesson learnt about not assuming that because your record may not be perfect doesn’t mean that you don’t still have choice when it comes to insurance.

The Financial Spirit of Christmas Past

Sometimes we make mistakes and get away with it and sometimes we make mistakes that everyone can see or that someone sees and tells lots over other people.

I get the Telegraph Perspective published by telegraph.co.uk. I like the telegraph editorial on the whole but the edition of Telegraph Perspective published on the 5th Decmber made me chuckle in these times of editorial doziness (lets not mention the BBC… Jonathan Ross & Russell Brand).

Part of the email was this:
Under the Personal Finance section
Christmas gifts that will keep on giving
Teresa Hunter says opening a bank account for a child or giving shares or bonds is far more practical than a present that will not last beyond the festive season.

“uumm Hello… not sure what planet you’re on, but if many shares maintained their value up to Christmas and beyond I would have been surprised.”

But still I’m not a financial genius as demonstrated by the catastrophic devaluation of my pension fund – so I guess I will be working until I am 105 just to pay of the interest on my mortgage!! At least the bank will have a nice inheritance to look forward too.

Roles of a Nurse – Nurse Comedian

I read in the Daily Mail recently that NHS staff are to get humour training to brighten up the wards…

Back in the Stone Ages when I did my training i.e. pre-project 2000 I got berated for suggesting such an idea. I was obviously way ahead of my time.

We were asked to do the old standard essay about the roles of a nurse and I suggested that a new could be the Nurse as a comedian. I indentified the role postive attitude has on healing and how laughing causes the release of endomorphins and endokinins but alas it didn’t tickle my tutors funny bone.

I was obviously not going to take it lying down so I did a care study on the care of a patient with an above knee amputation. Obviously and rightly a very sombre thing to write about – I decorated the front cover with a hand drawn image of a bandaged thigh and called it….
“Stumped for a Title?”

That possibly seems a little callous but part of the problem with the care of patients with amputations, or ill patients generally, can be the difficulty of communication in terms of the
practical and emotional issues about their condition.

I’m guessing there are one or two of you who have suggested that a leg amputee “hop out of bed” or said something equally embarrassing like”Right Mr Jones where’s you other slipper?”
These things happen and rather than putting up barriers to the patients progress it’s better to use that as an opening to invite the patient to discuss how they feel about the changes to their body and how they will manage their lives or their deaths.

I’ve started so I’ll finish…

Despite my best intentions workload and family life got the better of me. I went independent in February of 2007 after working for the same person in various roles for about 7 years.

Inevitably the first couple of years of a new business require a great deal of effort and time. Things have gone well on the whole and despite the bleakness of the current financial landscape I feel very positive about what can be achieved.

Just for Nurses has continued to develop and grow and we have been able to give away over £1,800 worth of prizes to our members. The JFN Nursing Jobs Board continues to grow and we have had over 500 live jobs showing. (Thanks to Hayden and Colin at Brainhunter UK and the guys at Brainhunter Canada for great support.)

The Nursing Agencies List has gone from strength to strength, seeing over 5,000 unique visitors per week.

The SEO management has lead to 4 out of the 9 active sites gaining a PR5 in Google – so we must be doing something right!

There’s a lot more to do in 2009 – it’s looking like an exciting year!

Blogging Rules OK!

Prior to considering whether to start a blog or not I became aware of a couple of blogs written under pseudonyms. One was "NHS Blog Doctor" by Dr Crippen and the other was "Girl with a one track mind" by the girl. Both in their own way are contentious, thought provoking and very well written. The main difference aside from subject matter is that Dr Crippen remains anonymous…… for the moment!

On the strength of this I decided that for this blog that I would write it as myself. This makes the blogging rules somewhat more straightforward.

  • Don’t write anything about anyone that you are not prepared to say to them directly
  • Expect that not everyone will agree with your point of view 😉
  • Write regularly but if you’ve got nothing to say be silent
  • Have opinions but don’t claim to be an expert on things you are not
  • Don’t take yourself to seriously

Happy New Year 2008!

It’s all Russian to me – no really!

I’ve just been exploring Google Analytics – a tool for creating useful and usable statistics for your website and what your visitors do if and when they get to it.

To be honest I’m not blown away by what it does because I have a tool that I bought 6 years ago which does the same thing using my downloaded server logs. It was even updated after I thought all updating had ceased so now includes the latest operating systems and browsers in the reports – 123loganalyzer.

Anyway after taking a look I navigated back to my Google account page and it was in Russian (of course not being fluent in Russian it could have been another cyrrillic language but I am taking a wild guess).

First thoughts were that perhaps Russia has decided to knock out our communications network by taking over Google and then I wondered whether I had inadvertently reset the default language. I logged out and logged back in and the language was set back to English.

So OK I might sound a little paranoid by cyberterrorism is set to be the new black in 2008.

Помните, что Вы услышали это здесь первый товарищ
(Remember you heard it here first comrade!)

Day 1 – Well everything has to start somewhere

The last month has been a busy month.

Whilst everyone was out spending the money that they didn’t have in anticipation of having even less in 2008 I have been beavering away.

The main event was the re-launch of the Just for Nurses website http://www.justfornurses.co.uk/.

The main new features include:

  • Nursing Jobs Board
  • Nursing Forums
  • Book Reviews
  • “After I Qualified…” informal careers information
  • Discounted Online Nursing courses
  • plus the chance to win one of 2 4GB Ipod Nanos or a free online training course

This appears to have gone pretty well and the visitor statistics are looking pretty healthy at this point.

There are lots of design and content issues to consider not least of which this is one of nine nursing websites that I manage – but more about that later.

Blogging is clearly a useful medium for spreading the word about what you do and if anyone chooses to find what I write interesting so much the better – but I can’t promise 😉