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About Galen

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  1. For the second year running my local insurance company has rung a few days before the expiry date of my policy and told me I won't be covered if I don't pay immediately. When I not pointed out that I had not received any reminder / renwal notice I was told they sent it by email 3 weeks earlier. When I said that I had not got any electronic reminder they then blamed the ISP. So I asked them to send the original email again there and then. They didn't, and instead sent a general one, which I thought was suspicious, but it appeared in my inbox within a few seconds. After pointing the ISP did not put their emails into Spam, the company then admitted some other customers had mentioned not getting a reminder before their due date. Talking to some acquaintances this seems to be quite a common occurrence with this particular insurer of no contact up until a few days before a policy expires then they descend with what I feel is harassing scare tactics. One young lady told me she told them she would shop around for comparative quotes and so they rang her every day asking if she had made her mind up. When I did decided to pay and rang them back they asked if I would be using the same card as last year and quoted its number - something I have not given them permission to hold. (They did ask for the CVV number but no doubt they are holding that too and were just pretending they didn't know!) Are these isolated cases or are others experiencing similar antics? (And before any highly organised posters state that I should make a note of when my insurance is due etc. etc. yes I probably should, but I wear my underwear under my clothes, do not wear a "S" on my chest, and can stand next to krypton without any adverse effects. I also expect responsible companies to act responsibly!) :-) Others experiences would be interesting to hear.
  2. Welcome Neil, got a civil servant to do it for me as I was busy with colouring in my pictures :-)
  3. IMHO it is the Chief Officers Group (aka COG) who hold the most power in respect of running the Island. They meet regularly with the Chief Sec who is part of their annual appraisal system and agree on a range of topics, guided by the Chief Sec who is in turn 'advised' by the Chief Minister. As with any public body the key to any decision that involves cost, (and arguably most do) the power lies with Treasury as to the affordability or not, and if not, where the money is to come from. While the Civil Service (CS) is technically non-political and is intended to serve the government of the day, irrespective or their colour or otherwise, the issue in the IOM is that as the political divisions do not exist in such a formal way as in the UK, the CS is trying to meet a wide range of political objections of individuals and frequently the politician who shouts the loudest or who is going to get the most 'brownie points' for their latest whim 'wins the day'.
  4. The issues this report will face, I fear, will be the same as many other reports and initiatives in the past, which mainly come down to encroachment on selected medical fiefdoms, that prevent them doing 'what they want to do' rather than what should be done. That is not to tarnish all the medical profession, but historically some clinicians, have not been prepared to embrace change if it has not assisted their private work. Another hurdle will be getting certain of our politicians to understand what is actually involved. While well-meaning, some of the implications of this report will, I believe, be beyond their comprehension and could be a possible threat to their re-election if the electorate is going to be inconvenienced or charged more - as, for example, proposed historical increases in prescription charges showed a few years ago. However, we are where we are, and the Report, for those that read it all, shines a light into a dark corner of what many of the dedicated staff in the DHSC have been trying to change, but have been prevented from doing so, from above. The odds the full implementation of this report I would put at pretty slim, with those that are implemented being the ones that (as often is the case) get the 'brownie points' for certain individuals.
  5. Is this why Manx health services are so poor? 'it appears to us that the Department has been wrestling with aspects of job planning and the ability to link that with performance management for at least five years and under former management some consultants have been able to negotiate very favourable remuneration packages with little performance assurance. When compared to England and Wales we would appear to be in the unenviable position of having some of the highest paid consultants responsible for some of the longest waiting lists, in a Hospital which is only operating at an average of 65% of its full capacity;' source : 3rd bullet on p54 of http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/sittings/20182021/2019-PP-0032.pdf
  6. Putting everything on social media is fine for those who are connected. But what about those, such as the elderly who are not. What are they supposed to do other than sit like lemmings waiting for the lights to come back on. A dedicated and updated landline number when there are power cuts / outages which has relevant information, would not be beyond a company that cared. Added to that one of the local radio stations could, as a public service provider, provide hourly updates with relevant news on the outage for those with non-mains connected radios. I witnessed another example of the wonders of MUA this afternoon in the area where I live. They had put all the street lights on and had a van going round seeing which ones where on or not. Apparently this is how they now check them! What happened to people ringing in to say their street lights were out? Or MUA driving around when it is dark to not only see when the street lights are out, but where there are areas that need lighting which only become evident when it is dark. As at this time of year we have shortened daylight, you would think they could do it without incurring overtime! The world seems to have gone mad! Sorry I forgot, its the Isle of Man where apparently you can!
  7. She is another "import" from across (in this case from north of the English border along with the estuarial dulcet tones that Billy Connolly fans will be familiar with), who "knows it all" and was always wanting to show us locals how it should be done!
  8. There is a rumour abounding that the Deputy Clerk, Tim Craig, who has held the proverbial fort throughout the debacle with the former Clerk has left due to 'issues with the new CEO/Clerk" This is supported by the fact that he is no longer shown as an Officer on Onchan Commissioners site. If true, it would not be surprising as the new CEO/Clerk is "an acquired taste" and in her former role in Nobles was known by some as a bully and not one of the nicest people to do business with.
  9. http://www.three.fm/news/isle-of-man-news/doi-accused-of-multiple-health-and-safety-failings/ One does have to ask if, given the DOI CEO, Nick Black, is a former Health & Safety (H&S) senior inspector, whether our expectations of the way he runs his department in respect of H&S should be higher than if he was not from that background? Or is that no different to expecting that if the CEO for the Dept of Health & Social Care were to be a former psychiatrist, that mental health services would be better than if he were say from an administrative background?
  10. Shimmin's comments reflect a modern day bankers' mentality namely, 'if it is someone else's money why should I bother?'. The bankers who have graced our Parliament over the years (e.g. Earnshaw, Teare, Shimmin) did/do not have a particularly good record either before, or once, they joined the IOM political bandwagon, and there is little evidence that any of them brought particular financial acumen to improving Govt finances.
  11. Only if you want to increasingly get those who live on the Island for reasons other than sporting activities, really cheesed off. It is not as though many of the companies who IOM Govt court to come over here are on the proverbial financial bones of their backsides. Why should they not pay something directly into our society? If indirect income was so lucrative, then Govt would surely abandon direct taxation of residents and just depend on indirect means such as VAT etc. However, the IOM Govt is no different to any other Govt in that it wants its cake and wants to eat it, so we pay twice, directly and indirectly. Given the IOM Govt now own the SPCO, no doubt they, sorry we, paid Audi's ferry fares too.
  12. If events like this gave some tangible betterment to the Island that the public could see, as opposed to 'invisible' benefits (increased income to hotels, pubs, restaurants etc) the tolerance for these type of events by the travelling public might be greater. For example, (and it could be 'wrapped up' in a goodwill gesture), Audi 'donated' a minibus to the Joey Dunlop Foundation, or Hospice or some organisation, with their name on the side, that would be seen around the Island, then people would at least see something for their inconvenience. Even donating some cash for life saving medical equipment to the Hospital who apparently get do not even get additional income when major motorsports are on (e.g. TT), far less events like this Audi one, would show some gratitude to the Island. While I, like many enjoy motorsport, I fear the various initiatives Mr Skelly and his advisers dream up, are fragmented. Given that many of these events are arguably more about managing egos of certain 'swivel servants' and their politicians fighting over who can crawl the furthest up the proverbial colons of the corporate companies, I fear that this sort of event and its attendant inconvenience, is going to increase under the auspices of 'austerity' and 'we need to get as much cash into the economy as possible'.
  13. Galen

    Duffers LOL !!

    Not a problem guys (Uhtred & Woolley), easily done. It is nice to see that some posters still retain politeness and civility in this mad, mad world!
  14. Galen

    Duffers LOL !!

    Pulling this back to the original topic :-) Angela arrived in Govt Trade Union (TU) work on the shirt tails of Frank Allen, a seasoned, 'rough diamond' TU Official who had taken the time to learn about the island, its politics and the needs of workers. She filled the void Frank left following a 'difference of opinion' he had with the parent organisation, Prospect, who had previously kept an arms length relationship with the IOM through the local Trade Union, the Government Officers Association (GOA) which had been around for over 80 years. As I recall, Angela came from HR in Manx Telecom, and used her father's name and reputation as her USP. As GOA was moderately successful financially, Prospect wanted the cash in its coffers so incentivized Angela to drive up membership by first subsuming GOA and branching into other areas of IOM where trade unionism had previously had a small footprint. More members meant more money, and this resulted in excess of £100k annually going down to London after IOM expenses. Given the number of members that are now in Prospect, and the cost of the subscriptions, this figure must be nearer £200k nowadays. The payback being the odd Prospect official occasionally flies in for the day from London, and the Manx Government get the odd lecture from Prospect's, Scouser, General Secretary Mike Clancy, on some UK topical issue that has little or no impact on the IOM. Easy money some might say. To keep existing members, and encourage joiners, Angela often would select topical issues that would 'rabble rouse' and thought that articulating them as her father had previously, she would be onto a winner. However, many Govt Officials, and in particular in the Personnel Office, had seen it all before and often Angela's claims would fall on deaf ears as just another rant. Regretfully, the media encouraged her by giving her air time, but this was often a ploy by Angela to suggest to her London bosses that she was being successful. I would like to think she genuinely cared for the membership, but on occasion, it was clear she had a personal agenda as well. She carefully selected an inner coterie within the local executive council (EC) who protected her from internal challenges from those with different views, experience and knowledge. As a result, the EC, when quorate, was by virtue of 'nodding donkeys'. A ploy that is used in many companies I appreciate, but often used by those that lack confidence in their own abilities. Whether her successor, the former mental health worker and Unite Trade unionist, and current Peel pub owner, Mick Hewer, will be able to improve things will be an interesting one to watch, but I fear that Angela will have her hand up his back for some time, albeit in the background and from Belfast, aided and abetted by her London Prospect handlers. Goodness knows what this will mean for the membership but if the subscription fees stayed in the Island, and were used for local issues, it would be a good start and a fond farewell.
  15. 'There is no clinical evidence that eating more fresh fruit and vegetables daily has any health benefits? Getting off your arse and walking more doesn't improve your physical wellbeing? Come off it. Granted they should only play a small part of every person's daily routine to attain better health but to say there is no evidence that they're beneficial is rubbish. " What I was pointing out is that the specific advice of '10,000 steps a day and eating 5 items of fruit and veg /day' in those quantities, has no clinical evidence. These were programmes developed by UK NHS's public health people to encourage the population to eat and exercise better than many had been doing. To make it easier to understand, they put numbers to the programmes, but without a research basis that showed that 10,000 steps or 5 fruit and veg portions were the 'gold standard' that people should strive to achieve daily. Of course taking exercise and eating well, including fruit and veg has benefit for you. However, as has recently been advocated by research, high intensity training (HIT) e.g. walking briskly for a couple of minutes, slowing down and then walking quicker again, and repeating several times, thus raising the heart rate, has more benefit than walking 10,000 steps which may be carried out at a pedestrian pace. Equally eating a 'rainbow diet' of fruit and veg has more benefit than just 5 fruit and veg. It is these contrary and often changing messages that health organisations keep issuing that makes it more difficult for people to know what is best, and what they can afford with the time and resources they have.
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