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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 11th July

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Comments (209)

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  • Jason says:

    Good Morning I am about to travel to the USA. (British Citizen, I have been in Mexico for 16 days) I have seen on the Gov.uk web site that The FCDO no longer advises against all but essential travel to the US, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. Does anyone know from their understanding of this if my Amex platinum card travel insurance is now valid for my trip? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Jason I don’t believe your asking ? for advice
      What if whoever answers is wrong
      For goodness sake RING THEM !
      Your talking insurance here, there are subjects you should ask on here and subjects you should find out yourself
      Insurance is one of them especially USA “

      • Sukes says:

        +1. I have had advice from Amex Plat last yr that suggests you would be covered, but you can’t rely on this as being the answer to your situation. the fact your trip is already underway would need to be highlighted to Amex. You need to speak to Amex not this blog. If you get confirmation from them that you are covered it’s worth checking with them whether you have to use a specific US care provider in the event of needing medical attention; & you should print off a certificate of cover from the Amex Plat / insurance portal in case you quickly need to show your proof of cover. I hope you have a good trip to the beautiful US.

    • Paul says:

      Not for anything Covid related (directly or indirectly) as Amex are using the advice at time of booking when determining claims. As I pointed out yesterday, clause 15 means that until WHO declare pandemic over Amex will not cover any Covid related claim.
      You should be ok for all other claims but you should call and double check

      • TGLoyalty says:

        And a court would deem that a fair clause not weighted in favour of the provider rather than the consumer?

        You can write any old BS in T&C’s doesn’t mean they are worth the paper they are written on in law.

        • LS says:

          I think relying on a potentially lengthy court battle you’re not guaranteed to win, whilst still having to pay the $000,000s in the meantime, as well as coping with any medical sequelae of your medical problem really doesn’t count as being insured in my book…

  • Gary says:

    Would anyone happened to have a link for Prenetics pre-departure back to UK remote home test? Searched their website but cannot find it anywhere. Thanks.

    • Lottie says:

      I couldn’t find it on their site but if you search virgin Atlantic project screen and £26 test on google it comes up

  • BJ says:

    @Harry T and others working in the health service. With covid admissions to hospitals increasing and inevitably going to increase further towards capacity, what are the sentiments, consensus if any, regarding the ethics of cancelling or postponing nonurgent procedures to accommodate the increasing covid cases that are the result of relaxing restrictions? My guess is that such cancellations and postponements might already be of the order of six figures, hardly an insignificant number. Thus, there is clearly a legitimate moral question as well as a practical one regarding the tradeoffs between the suffering of a not insignificant number of people versus the freedoms from covid restrictions of everybody else, and also the functionality of the NHS. I appreciate that the decisions on these tradeoffs have been made at government level, and probably without sufficient regard to the views of the NHS but I’m just curious what the sentiments are on the ground at the NHS and if there is any consensus or if you guys just reflect the same variation in views on the matter as the wider public?

    • Tazzy says:

      My trust (in NI) has started cancelling some procedures.

    • Doc says:

      Frustrating.
      Decisions are made without speaking the people on the NHS frontline. Patients who are unfortunately cancelled for their elective surgery are then complaining to the frontline staff, who have no control over this but have to deal with the problems and annoyance of patients.
      I feel very sorry for the cancelled patients.
      It is likely to get worse before it gets better but politics always comes before anything else.
      NHS staff will be made the scape goats for all of this and it is already happening.

      • Number9 says:

        Think us patients on waiting list have been made the scapegoats.

    • Number9 says:

      Blimey BJ bit heavy for a Sunday!

      • Freddy says:

        Why is there even a trade off between freedoms of the population and the capacity of the NHS. Build the capacity, use the private hospitals that the government supposedly took over. Why not utilise the nightingale hospitals for covid patients. People will say, you need staff, well recruit then!

        When there is demand for bigger motorways we don’t just tell people to not travel and stay at home to protect the national road network

        • Number9 says:

          Well said Freddy, don’t see why I should protect the NHS it doesn’t give a toss about me. The whole thing needs a massive shake up but they are all to politically scared. But I’m wrong person to ask I don’t worship at the altar of the NHS. I often wonder if it’s such a great wonderful system why does no other country in the world replicate the NHS model. Right sod this doom and gloom I’m going back to the important stuff of the day …footy.

          • Yuff says:

            I’m sick and tired of seeing scientists etc on the front pages of newspapers guessing about what might happen in 4 weeks time and lobbying to continue restrictions so they have an easier time in case it gets worse.
            Just get on with it and let everyone make their own decisions.
            It would help if the people making the decisions had a spare brain cell between them…………

          • Erico1875 says:

            In needs rebuilt. You could throw 100 billion at it and half of it would be wasted.

          • BJ says:

            @Yuff, and scientists probably get sick and tired of such comments from people who are to ignorant to realise or choose to ignore the fact that every virtually every aspect of their health, wealth and wellbeing was and will continue to be facilitated by science. Did you get vaccinated yet, when did you last take a flight?

          • David says:

            Number9 you are stark raving bonkers.

            Many counties have models that are essentially the same as the NHS.

            And the NHS does something for you, it stands ready to treat you when you need it.

          • David says:

            Erico1875 – what is your evidence for saying it would be wasted?

            Is it from the people who want to remove universal health care?

        • BJ says:

          I think a lot of the problem there comes down to insufficient staff, even where facilities are available. There is no short term solution to staffing.

          • Number9 says:

            You’ve spelt inefficient wrong, there are some good people working NHS but there are an awful lot of useless middle managers and others as well. People need to stop genuflecting to the NHS, it wouldn’t matter if you gave them an extra billion a week they would still waste it and be nothing positive to show for it.

        • Dani says:

          Time to train a nurse 3 years, time to train a consultant such as myself..5+10 years…

          Let you work that one out…

          • Rob says:

            I thought we let poorer countries pay to train nursing staff and then aggressively set out to recruit them, thus wrecking someone elses health service ….?

          • bazza says:

            No, we don’t Rob that’s just a stupid comment, have a word with yourself mate.

          • Rob says:

            Here is an official Government report on the matter, albeit a few years old now: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08cd440f0b652dd0015b8/International-recruitment-of-health-workers-to-the-UK.pdf

            From the executive summary: “In 2002/03, one in four new “overseas” (i.e. non EU) nurse registrants were from developing countries on the DoH ‘proscribed’ list (i.e. the list of countries appended to the DoH Code of Conduct on International Recruitment, as countries not to be targeted for active recruitment by the NHS).”

            So, yes, the NHS has actively recruited substantial numbers of nurses from countries where the UK had agreed not to do so because of the negative impact on the local health system.

            EDIT: Here is a more recent study by the same author, who it turns out is a HfP reader – https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/charts-and-infographics/thinking-local-and-global-exploring-the-uks-reliance-on-international-nurses

          • High Grade says:

            Comparing apples and oranges. 3 years to train a junior nurse. A consultant is a senior doctor, not really a fair comparison.
            If you paid our nurses better (fairer) salaries, then you might find we have a higher quality of candidate. There are a huge number of unfilled nurse vacancies. Pay and conditions are such that our most talented look at other professions unless they are doing it for other reasons.
            Doctors on the other hand can still earn very good money and still attracts the best candidates.

        • Ls says:

          There aren’t the staff available. There are thousands of unrecruited nurse positions, this is before the pandemic started and attrition rates increased. Years of underfunding and overstretching the service take years to resolve: training new nurses will take 10 years, and in reality you will need to increase pay and bursaries to make it attractive. You will also need to build facilities, hospitals, scanners, infrastructure. Again 10 years is a reasonable timeframe to have an effect. Yes – absolutely we should start. But it takes time, money and investment. And this government has been clear it does not want to do this (unless their mates are on the receiving end of any contract…)

      • BJ says:

        If we get into it indepth I suppose 🙂 What I was more interested in is whether the views on the ground at the NHS mirror the variation of the wider public or if there is a stronger consensus. Even with vaccines there remains a lot of support amongst the wider public for restrictions according to surveys. My question also provides an opportunity for people in health service to have their say. Sure, it is a travel blog and restrictions are not popular but people in health services like their travels and freedoms too. The question just provides for a frank and open expression of views on a difficult subject. We are all better informed if people say it like it is rather than just say what they think we want to hear. Comments already show that I think.

        • Matt says:

          I think there’s the same variety of opinions about opening up in the NHS as out of it. The people demanding that we’re locked up and masked forever tend to be noisier, but given some of the insane survey results recently of the general population, I don’t think there’s much difference.

        • Yuff says:

          BJ
          I was double vaccinated by May and I’ve flown several times this year.
          I also spent 3 months in Spain and the place was 95% full and German and french guests amongst others were visiting frequently.
          I’m currently at the ic park lane and London whilst quieter than normal still relatively busy.

          • Yuff says:

            BJ

            I know doctors who are sick and tired of the restrictions etc they want holidays are well and their children are impacted by the same ridiculous rules that force their sons and daughters to isolate.

          • BJ says:

            My point was that you were vaccinated and flew thanks to science. There are some scientists who for various reasons like to court publicity and there is no shortage of media outlets that are more than happy to provide them with a platform. However, the cast majority work quietly in the background with best intentions of making life better and safer for all of us.

        • AJA says:

          The media love to stir up opposition to the government’s actions as it generates clicks. In the Guardian /Observer this morning there is an editorial saying restriction easing on July 19 should be delayed until more people have received both vaccinations arguing BoJo has ignored the data but failing to admit that was precisely why he cancelled the 19 June date and postponed it to 19 July.

          Last month the paper concentrated on those who had at least one jab. In other words it’s not consistent. The only constant is the opposition to restrictions easing. That said there is also an opinion piece where one professor argues for easing and another one who argues against easing. And there is yet another piece on long covid in youngsters. All say different things.

          Also you can bet the moment the government changes its mind then there will be another editorial arguing that BoJo is useless because he doesn’t stick to what he said on some other day.

          Or if restrictions continue then there will be an editorial on the adverse effects on the economy and jobs.

          Yes it is true that daily cases of covid are rising in the UK but if you look at our world in data and look at the graph on cumulative covid cases the figure as of 6 July the figures are 3.74m, 4.98m and 5.85m for Germany, UK and France respectively. The USA is at 33.7m and India is at 30.7m. These figures are high but as a proportion of total population they are pretty small. That is not to say they aren’t bad, every single infection and death is a tragedy.

          The reality with the NHS, from my perspective as an ordinary person, is that all non-essential operations have been cancelled for the forseeable. I have not seen my GP in person for well over 18 months. The only people you can actually see are the practice nurses. Everything else is done by phone, email or text. Covid is being used as an excuse not to open up.

          We are now at over 68% with one jab and over 50% of the adult population fully vaccinated. Importantly daily deaths are still only in double figures so the effect of vaccinations is being seen. Given those stats I really don’t see why we can’t open up. But the rate at which we fully open up that is acceptable to me is probably different to yours.

          • Number9 says:

            My GP had the cheek to refer my Mums death to the coroner as he hadn’t seen her for a year, as I said to coroner they haven’t seen anyone for a year let alone a 81 year old woman with advanced dementia. So I’m asked over the phone “ anything suspicious about your mother’s death”
            No she was 81! Could have done without that tbh.

          • Kipto says:

            The Guardian and it’s Sunday equivalent the Observer are anti government anyway so they will look at any opportunity to have a pop. Any publication that has Owen Jones writing for them is best ignored

          • bazza says:

            Exactly, just ignore that type of news and Owen Jones? haha I think of him as James OBs twin joker

      • Kipto says:

        +1

        • Freddy says:

          My Wife works for the NHS and is fed up with the restrictions trashing the kids education, travel being restricted and a family member needing to go private as the NHS waiting list was neverending. Thankfully they had the means to do so. Despite working for the NHS they also see the non-covid damage being done.

          • Number9 says:

            I’m going on Tuesday for some injections in knee and feet to private clinic, can I afford it no but my choice is pain or debt I’ll take the debt on my credit card. Got no chance of getting them done on NHS, and last time they did do one years ago they messed it up and resulted in a whole host of further problems. The NHS is brilliant at emergency medicine, heart attacks, car accidents, strokes etc but long term health problems they aren’t very good at managing at all.

          • Lady London says:

            My cousin with a serious condition where time matters is being treated by a private provider under the NHS. Apparently these setups havr existed for a long time well before Covid.

        • LS says:

          I’m sorry for your loss. But there are strict rules brought in after Shipman that mean in set circumstances a doctor cannot wave a death certificate through without referring to the coroner. This is one. It is not a reflection of you, your mother, or the care she received.

          • Tom H says:

            +1

          • Number9 says:

            I’m old enough to remember shipman. And of course you can’t issue death certificates Willy nilly, but I would have thought common sense might have prevailed. The district nurse team were involved and administered EOL drugs on the day. I see my mistake in my thinking, common sense and anything to do with any government department at local or national level rarely go together.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      With covid admissions to hospitals increasing and inevitably going to increase further towards capacity.

      Capacity is around 130k beds. Now they normally worked at around 85% capacity day to day pre Covid.

      2,731 total in hospitals includes those that actually were in hospital anyway then tested positive, essentially it doesn’t mean they are all getting critical care. This isn’t even 20% of the c19k beds not usually occupied.

      Anyway the real point is Covid is here to stay so if that means we need an extra 20k beds capacity then the government/NHS needs to work out how to provide not lockdown the nation.

      • Harry T says:

        I think that it will help if the government exempts NHS staff (who are often fully vaccinated) from having to isolate if they get pinged by track and trace, as this will drastically improve staffing levels in some areas. But honestly, in my specialty I’m not too intimately involved with the day to day practicalities of bed management and the organisation of operations etc. It doesn’t feel to me like the situation where I am is anywhere near as bad as it was before, and I doubt it will be – too many of the vulnerable and elderly are vaccinated. I also suspect that most young people who are hospitalised (and they are less likely to be anyway) are less likely to need ICU care and more likely to bounce back quickly. But it’s not my area!

        • Yuff says:

          Harry
          I think it’s a joke they aren’t exempt, just like it was a joke that a negative PCR would not override a lft test for students. They did change it soon after but it is like they want to make it is awkward as possible.

        • BJ says:

          All of my family members working in the NHS take a very pragmatic holistic view of the covid situation than that merely affecting the NHS. I was wondering if that might be the consensus view and the comments this morning may shed light on it. I suspect to that the situation at individual hospitals and across regions is very dynamic varies a lot from one month to the next. The media probably also a bit too sensational.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I now have personal experience of someone who has passed away around 30 years before his time because of the isolation of lockdown and another who is in a critical situation with cancer that should and could have been found earlier if she wasn’t subjected to virtual consultations (early 40’s).

            I personally know no one who was taken far too early from Covid.

            It’s time for normality to return so more don’t die because of fear of the Covid bogeyman and restrictions on our movement/social interactions.

      • Tariq says:

        The numbers provide the context that clearly debunks the ‘perception based’ hysteria pushed by the media and repeated by the sheeple.

      • BJ says:

        Well even if it’s here to stay I hope it is a battle we can win with science and medicine. I think it looks very promising so far. I hope the new normal that we have heard so much about over the past year evolves to be nothing more than containment at very low levels that requires little in the way of infrastructure solutions and no social solutions.

        • Yuff says:

          BJ

          From what I can see it’s already won, and with science we will stay ahead of the virus with boosters etc
          The battle is stopping anti social media spreading silly stories about how vaccinations don’t work…….
          Medical Scientists currently have a platform they don’t want to give up……..
          Let’s face it, it won’t be the first time the media twist info to sensationalise a story……
          Point in case my wife is currently reading the mail online( don’t ask 🤦🏻‍♂️) about Tom cruise stealing the limelight yesterday at Wimbledon, she said that couid not be further from the truth, he was hounded constantly for the whole match.

          • mr_jetlag says:

            Ha i was there (but not sat in his section), I think Kate and Wills were more attention hogs than him, he was just trying to enjoy a day out.

          • Rob says:

            My wife was there as well, she said that he did absolutely nothing at all to attract attention except by being there. Frankly I’m amazed anyone can make out who is in the royal box, although on Monday my wife did identify Darcy Bussell, Alison Hammond (!) and the Duke of Gloucester. Clearly I need to visit an opticians or watch more daytime TV.

          • BJ says:

            Great, even remarkable, strides have been made. I think we still need the benefit of time to reach a more definitive conclusion though. I’ve always believe we should get the nine priority groups vaccinated and then open up an second what happens so let’s see 🙂 I have little patience for the media or politicians so there shortcomings are never a surprise.

          • TJones says:

            The Wimbledon crowd frequently behave in an embarrassingly cringeworthy fashion. I can’t stand it.

          • The cyclist says:

            You would have heard Alison Hammond before you saw her I’m reliably informed

  • Chelseafi says:

    Morning I booked a BA Hol online and paid in full, as travel in 2 weeks, can I add one or more of my numerous FTV all from previous BAH cancelled bookings and receive the payment refund? Thank you

  • Tazzy says:

    Need to travel to Brno in CR at end of month. I live in NI. U.K. flights to Austria are currently banned, but we are booked to fly Dublin to Vienna on 28th. Dublin is our normal airport. We are both fully vaccinated, but I’m concerned about encountering issues on arrival in Vienna (Even though I’m getting on train and travelling straight to Brno for medical treatment)

  • Anna says:

    Currently at the HI Ellesmere Port, booked 2 rooms for 17k points each, rates went up to 40k/£180 though more recently as it’s a busy racing/wedding weekend!
    As Spire we got drinks vouchers and cake and strawberries in the rooms. There were free slots for the pool and gym and staff were extremely helpful when we asked if we could book them. The hotel is in a very pleasant setting by the canal lock and you can sit outside with a drink and watch the canal boats manoeuvring. Rooms are fairly large for a HI, quiet and the air con is superb! Handy for Liverpool & Chester if the other options are sold out or ridiculously overpriced as per this weekend. Food in the restaurant was very decent and the menu extremely comprehensive for a chain hotel – lots of choices for younger guests. Breakfast is a very reasonable £10.50 (not had it yet though!) We’ve filled our boots to take advantage of the £50 Amex offer.

    • David says:

      Just stay away from the town centre itself. Hard pressed to think of a more dire English town I’ve had the misfortune to visit.

      • Lady London says:

        Worse than Blackpool?

        • The cyclist says:

          My vote goes to one of Barrow, Middlesbrough or Luton

        • David says:

          Never actually been to Blackpool. Maybe I should change my travel strategy to begin to take more of these places in.

      • TJones says:

        Not much to see in Ellesmere Port, but there are some unexpected gems in the Wirral peninsula, for example Hilbre Islands, Hamilton Square, Port Sunlight, some good coastline and (for any motorway geeks) the idiosyncratic M53!

        • Pete says:

          Boat Museum was quite good. Walk along the canal towpath through to Chester. Ness Gardens. And Chester Zoo way ahead of ZSL.

  • Harry T says:

    Currently at the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh. It’s my third stay here and probably my best yet. I’ve been upgraded to a castle view suite as Titanium and they’ve even given my friends (both rooms booked under my name transparently) lounge access and a better room too. The lounge is open for breakfast, and canapés and an open bar from 5-7pm.

    I just wanted to highlight the consistently excellent elite treatment here (above and beyond T&Cs) and the fact that a UK Based hotel has a lounge open!

    • Yuff says:

      The Conrad st James has a lounge open but the ic park lane doesn’t.
      Very frustrating
      But I’ve sat in the bar both nights here at the IC and it did get bust around 6 ish last night probably more than usual

    • Tracy says:

      I’m booked here next Saturday night as platinum. Hoping for a nice upgrade 🤞. Shame the spa is closed though. Thanks for the update.

  • David says:

    Why are American Express travel so rubbish – they have just insisted I phone American Express in the US to cancel a booking made on the UK website for car hire in Romania !

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