Tuesday 20 December 2022


Thank you for your concern, Minister

As we contemplate, or, rather, continue (another) winter of discontent, with strikes all around, one of our Health Ministers (*how many are there?) has uttered some sage advice, before a proposed ambulance strike scheduled for tomorrow, 21st December. 

On television he said, “Where people are planning any risky activity, I would strongly encourage them not to not to do so because there will be disruption on the day.”

He didn’t specify what sorts of risky activities should be avoided.

Here’s my list:

1: Home decorating should be avoided. Ladders are dangerous and paint pots are heavy. A fall from one or a blow from the other if it is dropped from a height could be very injurious.

2: DIY is a hazardous exercise at the best of times. Saws, hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers all have the capacity to inflict pain and/or serious injury.

3: Gardening is not something to be undertaken in December in the UK, even on a beautiful, sunny day like today. The ground is soggy from recent heavy rain, leading to the possibility of a nasty slip and potential broken bones. Secateurs should not be used, though there is a balance to be struck between carving one’s fingers or being blinded by stray creepers, or possibly being tripped by low-growing vines.

4: Driving cars is always dangerous. Avoid!

5: Shopping should not be undertaken unless mandatory. (Online shopping is probably okay, but see below re: computers, lap tops, tablets) Shopping in person is best avoided. Think of the hazards:-

 a: travelling to the shopping area – driving: see #4 above

                                                        public transport: sitting or standing cheek by jowl, breathing in who knows what from fellow passengers, or infection by accidental contact with fellow travellers

b: entering and leaving shops – constant changes in temperature, leading to chills  which could escalate to pneumonia

                                                    mingling with crowds, or, more precisely, being barged with shopping trolleys or jostled by overwrought seekers after the perfect gift

c: carrying overloaded, heavy bags and awkwardly-shaped parcels. The dangers here are twofold, possibly threefold – 

                                                          i: pulling a muscle or several

                                                          ii: tripping over because unable to see

                                                          iii: hysteria/panic attack brought on by overtiredness, despite repeating, ‘It’s only one day, it’s only one day’

6: Taking an afternoon nap because it’s well-deserved – probability of falling off the bed because of disorientation or sheer exhaustion, resulting in concussion and/or broken limbs

7: Use of computer or similar: risk of dowager hump development, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, neck ache, backache, eye strain, electrocution from drink spilled on electrical device/s

8: Cats/dogs/small children – all of these are trip hazards. Ignore at your peril.

9: Food preparation – sharp knives, hot ovens, boiling liquids. Make the decision to eat cold finger foods and drinks

All of this may seem very silly, but there are people in the world who will call an ambulance for many inane, insane reasons. It is incumbent upon sensible citizens to take responsibility for reducing risk and therefore limiting the requirement for ambulances.

Have a lovely Christmas, everyone!

* “As of October 2022 there are 6 ministerial posts at the DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care), including: the Secretary of State, two Ministers of State, and three Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State.


  1. Reading a book might be safe but not to close to an open fire lest a page catches alight. Merry Christmas.

  2. There should NEVER be an ambulance strike. I don't think #6 is a problem, I don't know anyone who ever fell off a bed while napping or even overnight sleeping. Beds are pretty wide.

    1. My husband sometimes falls out of bed but I think that's because there's not much room once the animals have secured their spots!

  3. There is only one solution, locking yourself in a room without a bed, sleeping on a mattress. Enough food wrapped in plastic or paper around you. Eat with your fingers, of course, be careful not to bite your finger off and wait for the strike to end!

    1. You might choke on the plastic or paper wrapper, otherwise all good!

  4. The anonymous above is me Gattina !

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  6. Hi Janice - oh don't mention anything ... just too terrible to think about - when one of these happened many decades ago - I upped and left the country! I'll just stick where I am now ... it's easier. Enjoy yourselves - I know you will ... cheers Hilary

    1. It's really no laughing matter, I know. Stay safe, Hilary.

  7. We have been told for months the NHS is collapsing. It really is. The NHS staff that I know really hoped striking might make the government act since nothing else was. We shouldn't expect them to go to work and watch real people suffer and die before their eyes because of lack of basic needs, that is not something for civilised wealthy countries. What worries me is if their strike doesn't work and the government continues on the same path.

  8. I think it's entirely likely that the strikes won't achieve their ends. What a shocking state for a First World country to be in.


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