From the archive: The story of public services in 7 slogans
1. It’s your fault
A Department of Health slogan It’s your fault that we are in this mess. You are too fat, too old and you expect too much from public services. Because you are selfishly getting older, lazier and fatter, you are getting more health problems that last longer. Not content with pestering your GP for an appointment, you insist on going to A&E when you could have called 111 or gone online. You need to change your attitude and change your behaviour to improve our outcomes. If you must get ill, choose one condition and give us plenty of notice. Whatever you do, don’t turn up with a mixture of things such as a heart problem, obesity, drug dependency and loneliness. Remember, one thing at a time. It’s not that hard.
2. There’s no money left
The note Liam Byrne left for George Osborne The government has no money left because you spent it all on flat screen TVs and holidays. They’ll be even less money in future as you gobble it up with your self-inflicted health problems, your inability to stick to one named illness and your unrealistic expectations. Because there’s no money left, we have to ration and cut services.
3. So we have to privatize
A donkey and a tiger working in partnership. We have no choice but to privatize everything because there is hardly any money left and the private sector is more efficient. Only profit-making organisations can be trusted to run public services. You might not like it but remember, it’s your fault. We wouldn’t have to do this if you’d kept the weight off and been happy with your old television.
4. Public services will have to compete
Only the best public sector organisations will survive. Competition will weed out essential services that the private sector can’t make a profit from. If you rely on an unprofitable public service, unlucky for you. You might want to consider a hip operation or minor surgery instead. Whatever you do, make sure your needs can be easily categorised and parcelled up. This is not the time to be a complex human being and whatever you do, stick to one named condition. If you have been a victim of crime, remember that crimes come in categories. The category determines the response. Anything outside the category does not exist.
For this reason, you might choose to report a category instead of reporting what actually happened. It will save time in the long run. You can find out which are the best hospitals and police forces to visit by reading their logos and other promotional material. Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, for example, delivers the best in care. Compare this to Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital. Their logo is ‘where everyone matters’. Would you rather matter or have the best in care? You decide.
5. You can choose where you go
Out of how many hospitals in South Tyneside? Just like choosing between B&M Bargains and Home Bargains, you can choose between public services. Browse comparison sites and reviews, written by members of the public, to decide which A&E to attend when you crack your head open and which fire service to ring when your curtains go up in flames. You can also analyse and compare performance data and league tables in the evenings and at weekends. If you can a) afford to travel b) have the skills to go online c) understand how to work the system and d) have plenty of spare time during the day to attend appointments at unpopular times, you will get a better and quicker service. It also helps if you are articulate, middle class and in good health.
6. Or you can look after yourself
Another helpful bit of advice Instead of relying on public services for help, you can treat yourself quickly and efficiently at home. Your first port of call should be using over the counter medications for health problems. If it’s more urgent you should see your GP. If you can’t get an appointment with your GP then you can ring 111. When you ring 111, a 19-year-old will ask you a series of questions very slowly and send you to your GP, A&E or suggest you go online. Remember to have your doctor’s postcode handy because this is an essential part of your treatment.
Don’t be deterred if it feels like you are being passed from pillar to post. If you see your GP multiple times and ring the surgery to chase up referrals, test results and prescriptions, you have more chance of being helped. If that doesn’t work, turn up at A&E because at least you will be seen even if you have to wait all day. After all, a predictable 3 hours 58 minutes at A&E is nothing compared to a stressful 4 visits to the GP, 7 phone calls and an unnecessary 2 night hospital stay.
7. Or go online
Get your bin emptied online. Access our handy app to find out why your mum isn’t eligible for a care home place It’s often easier to go online, even in an emergency. You can find the solution to most problems online. Anyone, except everyone who can’t, can go online at home or in the library. Mobile apps are particularly useful to access services on the move.
You can go online to find out which services are the best and rate them after you have used them. If you can’t find what you need online, there’s usually a number to ring. Don’t be surprised if you are told to go online when you ring the number. If you can’t find what you need online, ring the number again and use different words to describe what you need. If you are told to go online for a second time instead of getting help, go straight to the A&E or police station of your choice. You might be wasting their time but so what? They deserve it.
Courtesy of Freedom From Command And Control