Post 9 Health service bureaucracy goes mad!

Tension often exists between healthcare managers and those at the coal face. The former may regard doctors and nurses as obdurate and resistant to change; the latter may feel that many directives are unnecessary and unhelpful. Of all the directives ever issued however, the one reproduced below surely takes the biscuit.


Memo to all NHS Staff:  Metrification (Time)                                                                               1st April 2018

As doubtless you will have read in the national press, from midnight on 1st May 2018, the whole of the UK (except for the Isle of Man) will be converted to metric time.

From that date there will be 10 seconds to the minute, 10 minutes to the hour, 10 hours to the day and so on, delineated according to the following table.
Old Time                         New Time
1 second              =          1 milliday
1 minute              =          1centiday
1 hour                  =          1deciday (or millimonth)

1 day                    =          1 day
1 week                 =          1 decaday
1 month               =          1 hectaday
1 year                  =          1 kiloday

The fortnight will be withdrawn.  

Due to the fact that one old hour represents only 5/12 of a new hour, employees will be expected to work longer hours, viz three and a half decidays or millimonths per day.

It is not expected at this time that any compensatory uplift will be made to wages except in the case of leap kilodays when an adjustment will be built in at the end of the hectaday every 1.46 decadays.

Pension schemes will not be affected but superkiloday valuation will be adjusted accordingly.

Holidays will be affected only as far as the change to metric time is concerned and no one shall be worse off than before. Thus if an employee was entitled to 22 days (Old Time) he will now be entitled to 220 decidays or one hectaday plus 20 decidays for every hectaday over and above the 20 kilodays’ service since the 10th deciday of the third hectaday of 2009.

Special holidays will be accordingly reduced to 5 decidays but 10 demi-decadays will be added, where relevant, to the Christmas break which is to be moved to the August Bank Holiday to take advantage of the longer shopping decidays.

Metric Time Conversion Tables are available from the Department of Health, the British Standards Institute and at all British Rail Booking Offices.

This ‘Memo’ was submitted to the BBC in 1979 by Dr Geoffrey Horton of Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire. I have tried in vain to trace Dr Horton. I offer him my thanks and my apologies for reproducing it without his formal consent.

Quotation of the Day

We trained hard....but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress whilst producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.                                                                           Anonymous modern saying, frequently attributed to Petronius Arbiter ( a Roman Courtier in the reign of Nero)

Now a serious question. Change in clinical practice is obviously essential - otherwise we would still be performing surgery with unwashed hands - but do staff get sufficient time, training and support when adopting new  clinical practices? What are your views?

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Since nonsense is the theme of this post, let me share another piece of gobbledygook with you. I was given a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc wine recently. It came from the Waihopai Valley in the Marlborough district of New Zealand and was called ‘The NED’.

The description of the wine as written on the bottle was:-
‘Exuberant lime citrus and wet stone minerality underpinned by layers of crunchy green capsicum and woody hedgerows. The palate presents this amalgam of punchy greens on a plush yet elegantly proportioned frame shot through with a nervy lingering acidity’.
Not put off by this wordy nonsense, I drank and enjoyed the wine!! So a big thank you to my Sister- in- law!


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