Random feminist rant

Wednesday, 3 June 2009 02:00 pm
elettaria: (Default)
I am so very fed up of giving my details over the phone and being asked, "Is it Miss or Mrs?" without the option of Ms, or of being addressed as Mrs by default, regardless of what I've asked them to call me. I rang the Financial Ombudsman today and was greeted with this yet again. I'd actually rung to point out that they'd got my address wrong, but since they added this to having addressed the letter to Mrs even though I'd said firmly on the phone that it was Ms, the guy ended up getting a little lecture on how it's frankly rather offensive to categorise women by their marital status whether they like it or not (and also that if I'm Mrs, then I'm committing adultery and I don't think my partner would be too happy about it all). His excuse was that if he started asking, "Is it Miss, Mrs, Doctor, Reverend..." the list would go on for ever. He just didn't seem to get that Ms should be the default. It's 2009 and this problem occurs more often than not.*

So today I look at the news and encounter Female medics "to outnumber male". Ponderings on gender in the medical profession, and a little poll )

Random feminist rant

Wednesday, 3 June 2009 02:00 pm
elettaria: (Default)
I am so very fed up of giving my details over the phone and being asked, "Is it Miss or Mrs?" without the option of Ms, or of being addressed as Mrs by default, regardless of what I've asked them to call me. I rang the Financial Ombudsman today and was greeted with this yet again. I'd actually rung to point out that they'd got my address wrong, but since they added this to having addressed the letter to Mrs even though I'd said firmly on the phone that it was Ms, the guy ended up getting a little lecture on how it's frankly rather offensive to categorise women by their marital status whether they like it or not (and also that if I'm Mrs, then I'm committing adultery and I don't think my partner would be too happy about it all). His excuse was that if he started asking, "Is it Miss, Mrs, Doctor, Reverend..." the list would go on for ever. He just didn't seem to get that Ms should be the default. It's 2009 and this problem occurs more often than not.*

So today I look at the news and encounter Female medics "to outnumber male". Ponderings on gender in the medical profession, and a little poll )
elettaria: (Waterlily quilt - entire)
Should hospital chaplains be phased out?

I usually have fairly mixed feelings about such matters. I was raised in what I consider, overall, to be a pretty good religion (in that it takes a sensible attitude to life and doesn't propagate bigotry), Reform/Liberal Judaism. I eventually left a few years ago upon realising that I was an atheist. But Jewishness is still part of my identity, and there are still ways in which I think, or am able to think, like a person of faith. I recognise that whether or not God exists is not the only issue, even though it proved to be a key one for me, and that religions are human institutions, capable of both good and evil. Denying human rights to people because they're gay or female is wrong (I'd rather not use "evil", though I'm still working with that idea of opposed concepts); providing comfort to the ill and bereaved is undoubtedly a good thing, an act of humanity, a mitzvah.

Unfortunately, the NHS is terribly strapped for cash. Read more... )
elettaria: (Waterlily quilt - entire)
Should hospital chaplains be phased out?

I usually have fairly mixed feelings about such matters. I was raised in what I consider, overall, to be a pretty good religion (in that it takes a sensible attitude to life and doesn't propagate bigotry), Reform/Liberal Judaism. I eventually left a few years ago upon realising that I was an atheist. But Jewishness is still part of my identity, and there are still ways in which I think, or am able to think, like a person of faith. I recognise that whether or not God exists is not the only issue, even though it proved to be a key one for me, and that religions are human institutions, capable of both good and evil. Denying human rights to people because they're gay or female is wrong (I'd rather not use "evil", though I'm still working with that idea of opposed concepts); providing comfort to the ill and bereaved is undoubtedly a good thing, an act of humanity, a mitzvah.

Unfortunately, the NHS is terribly strapped for cash. Read more... )
elettaria: (Default)
Just when you think that you can't be surprised again by poor disability access, something new jumps up. In this case, I've been finding it increasingly difficult to read the product labels and leaflets on my medication, so I rang my local pharmacy to ask them to supply me versions in large print. It turns out that I was in fact asking for the moon on a stick. I've spent the day ringing round various organisations, and I think the easiest way to do this is to copy in the letter that's being sent off to the Pharmacy Division of the Health Department at the Scottish Government.

Moons! Onna stick! Get 'em while they're fresh! )

---------------------------------------

It's a bit long, but depending on what she's going to do about it there are various details that may be useful, so I shoved them all in. I'll keep you posted as to what happens. If anyone is in a similar situation and wants to get involved too, please hop in. I'll campaign for this if I have to, it's an appalling situation and I bet there are plenty of illnesses and deaths it has caused. I just hope I don't have to take my lovely local pharmacy to court. Judging from what the chap at XPIL said, it might be necessary to have a disability discrimination court case from an individual to get the law moving on this.

In other news, my new laptop has got so ridiculously unwell that John Lewis have agreed to exchange it for me. As it's been discontinued, I now need to decide which computer to get as a replacement. Apparently they'll match the spec, and since mine is discontinued and there hasn't been a direct replacement, this means moving up to either the nearest Toshiba (apparently it has 3GB of RAM rather than the 2 shown on this page) or a Sony Vaio. The guy at John Lewis reckons to go for the Toshiba, the spec's a bit better in most ways - apart from the audio card, which is making me pause slightly as the first problem I had with this Toshiba was the sound distorting. Any advice?
elettaria: (Default)
Just when you think that you can't be surprised again by poor disability access, something new jumps up. In this case, I've been finding it increasingly difficult to read the product labels and leaflets on my medication, so I rang my local pharmacy to ask them to supply me versions in large print. It turns out that I was in fact asking for the moon on a stick. I've spent the day ringing round various organisations, and I think the easiest way to do this is to copy in the letter that's being sent off to the Pharmacy Division of the Health Department at the Scottish Government.

Moons! Onna stick! Get 'em while they're fresh! )

---------------------------------------

It's a bit long, but depending on what she's going to do about it there are various details that may be useful, so I shoved them all in. I'll keep you posted as to what happens. If anyone is in a similar situation and wants to get involved too, please hop in. I'll campaign for this if I have to, it's an appalling situation and I bet there are plenty of illnesses and deaths it has caused. I just hope I don't have to take my lovely local pharmacy to court. Judging from what the chap at XPIL said, it might be necessary to have a disability discrimination court case from an individual to get the law moving on this.

In other news, my new laptop has got so ridiculously unwell that John Lewis have agreed to exchange it for me. As it's been discontinued, I now need to decide which computer to get as a replacement. Apparently they'll match the spec, and since mine is discontinued and there hasn't been a direct replacement, this means moving up to either the nearest Toshiba (apparently it has 3GB of RAM rather than the 2 shown on this page) or a Sony Vaio. The guy at John Lewis reckons to go for the Toshiba, the spec's a bit better in most ways - apart from the audio card, which is making me pause slightly as the first problem I had with this Toshiba was the sound distorting. Any advice?
elettaria: (Default)
NHS urged to reject homoeopathy

Good. They've been researching it for years, and there's never any evidence that it's an improvement on placebo, nor that the underlying theory is sound. I can think of a number of complementary therapies which the NHS would do well to fund, but I'm talking about the ones which work, which are backed up by a solid body of clinical evidence and which have strong training and regulatory systems in place. Aromatherapy does well in all respects. Acupuncture has a slightly dodgy theory but is properly-regulated and gets good results (and thousands of years of anecdotal evidence are surely worth something), though ironically the acupuncture currently on offer via the NHS isn't actually proper acupuncture. Not sure about the research with chiropractic, but I believe it's well-respected as effective, and it's got good regulation. Herbalism is a little tricky where dosage is concerned (different ways of ingestion e.g. tablets or tincture, natural herbs vary in the proportion of components and standardised extracts don't work quite the same way) but otherwise pretty sound, and St John's Wort at least really should be integrated into the NHS. I injured my back last year, sprained the sacro-iliac joint, and all the doctor could offer me was hefty painkillers which took the edge off the pain but did nothing else apart from make me all dopey, and certainly didn't treat the root problem. I had to spend around £200 over the course of a couple of weeks in seeing a chiropractor and getting professional massage, but that was the only way I could walk. The best analgesic for muscular pain I know is still topical application of Tiger Balm, though admittedly I seem to be painkiller-resistant.

Apart from the obvious advantages of increasing the range of treatments available, greater communication between orthodox and alternative medicine would be useful in a number of ways. For starters, the quacks need to be weeded out. You occasionally get people following complementary therapies instead of going to their doctor, which is fine if we're talking about lavender oil for mild insomnia instead of sleeping tablets (generally a far safer solution, I think the efficacy is comparable) but utterly out of order if it's something which really needs to be treated by a doctor; it's even been known to happen with extremely serious conditions such as cancer. Anyone practising a respectable therapy who's part of a respectable regulatory body is forbidden to do this, of course, and in fact has an obligation to advise patients to get to the doctor when necessary. But people don't always know which practitioners to go to, which ones they'll be safe with, even which ones have been properly trained. The other problem is that doctors don't know enough about complementary therapies, and they need to know about any interactions which may occur. A herbalist I once consulted had a huge reference book which cross-referenced orthodox and herbal medications, and checked everything rigorously. However, the Family Planning Clinic put me on hormonal contraception without bothering to enquire whether I was taking any herbal medicines, and in fact I was taking a herb which turned out to be a hormone regulator and thus shouldn't be taken with hormonal contraception. I'd like to see patients with depression not only given the option of St John's Wort by their doctor, but able to monitor progress and make comparisons with other medication with the doctor properly as well, instead of feeling that their doctor will suggest one drug and their herbalist, if they're even seeing a herbalist, another, and they don't know who to trust. And another point: there's too much herbal medication available in shops that should in fact be prescription only, along with some essential oils. That said, herbal remedies in particular are usually milder than prescription medication, and while this means that they're more limited in what they can achieve or slower-acting, the side-effect rates and risk of addiction are correspondingly lower. This can be particularly useful for milder conditions, especially chronic ones where long-term drug use is problematic.
elettaria: (Default)
NHS urged to reject homoeopathy

Good. They've been researching it for years, and there's never any evidence that it's an improvement on placebo, nor that the underlying theory is sound. I can think of a number of complementary therapies which the NHS would do well to fund, but I'm talking about the ones which work, which are backed up by a solid body of clinical evidence and which have strong training and regulatory systems in place. Aromatherapy does well in all respects. Acupuncture has a slightly dodgy theory but is properly-regulated and gets good results (and thousands of years of anecdotal evidence are surely worth something), though ironically the acupuncture currently on offer via the NHS isn't actually proper acupuncture. Not sure about the research with chiropractic, but I believe it's well-respected as effective, and it's got good regulation. Herbalism is a little tricky where dosage is concerned (different ways of ingestion e.g. tablets or tincture, natural herbs vary in the proportion of components and standardised extracts don't work quite the same way) but otherwise pretty sound, and St John's Wort at least really should be integrated into the NHS. I injured my back last year, sprained the sacro-iliac joint, and all the doctor could offer me was hefty painkillers which took the edge off the pain but did nothing else apart from make me all dopey, and certainly didn't treat the root problem. I had to spend around £200 over the course of a couple of weeks in seeing a chiropractor and getting professional massage, but that was the only way I could walk. The best analgesic for muscular pain I know is still topical application of Tiger Balm, though admittedly I seem to be painkiller-resistant.

Apart from the obvious advantages of increasing the range of treatments available, greater communication between orthodox and alternative medicine would be useful in a number of ways. For starters, the quacks need to be weeded out. You occasionally get people following complementary therapies instead of going to their doctor, which is fine if we're talking about lavender oil for mild insomnia instead of sleeping tablets (generally a far safer solution, I think the efficacy is comparable) but utterly out of order if it's something which really needs to be treated by a doctor; it's even been known to happen with extremely serious conditions such as cancer. Anyone practising a respectable therapy who's part of a respectable regulatory body is forbidden to do this, of course, and in fact has an obligation to advise patients to get to the doctor when necessary. But people don't always know which practitioners to go to, which ones they'll be safe with, even which ones have been properly trained. The other problem is that doctors don't know enough about complementary therapies, and they need to know about any interactions which may occur. A herbalist I once consulted had a huge reference book which cross-referenced orthodox and herbal medications, and checked everything rigorously. However, the Family Planning Clinic put me on hormonal contraception without bothering to enquire whether I was taking any herbal medicines, and in fact I was taking a herb which turned out to be a hormone regulator and thus shouldn't be taken with hormonal contraception. I'd like to see patients with depression not only given the option of St John's Wort by their doctor, but able to monitor progress and make comparisons with other medication with the doctor properly as well, instead of feeling that their doctor will suggest one drug and their herbalist, if they're even seeing a herbalist, another, and they don't know who to trust. And another point: there's too much herbal medication available in shops that should in fact be prescription only, along with some essential oils. That said, herbal remedies in particular are usually milder than prescription medication, and while this means that they're more limited in what they can achieve or slower-acting, the side-effect rates and risk of addiction are correspondingly lower. This can be particularly useful for milder conditions, especially chronic ones where long-term drug use is problematic.

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