Somehow (presumably because I don’t read the Fail), Liz Jones of the Daily Mail has only just appeared on my radar with this piece. Jones is fortunate enough to be able to afford private healthcare so she doesn’t need to “scrape and scrabble at the coal face of the NHS very often.”
For some reason, the Mail has seen fit to send this dreadful person to report on the famine in Somalia (I genuinely can’t imagine what she will come up with) and she needed vaccines. Her private GP could give her only one of the jabs she needed that day, so she phoned her local NHS GP:
'Hello!' I said cheerily. 'I am not registered with you, but I live two miles away. I wonder if you could possibly squeeze me in today to complete my jabs for travelling to Africa, and fill in my malaria prescription, as I need to start taking the tablets on Sunday.'
Unsurprisingly, the health centre was not very sympathetic. It was busy dealing with patients who were, you know, actually registered with them. Unlike the private clinic, they have extremely aggressive quotas. An egotistical reporter’s inconsequential demands don’t trump everyone else’s needs.
The conversation doesn’t go well. She claims that the vaccinations are an emergency, so the GP’s office suggests she go to A&E.
“I'm sure they wouldn't classify a routine jab as an emergency. I mean, it's a global crisis. Millions of people are dying and you won't put yourself out to allow me to be seen by a nurse, not even a doctor, for five minutes?”
This probably tells you all you need about Liz Jones. She’s such a humanitarian! She goes on to compare her treatment to the appalling goings on at the Winterbourne View care home exposed on the Panorama programme, where inmates were routinely beaten and humiliated. It’s this sort of attitude that convinces me she won’t be the world’s most sympathetic reporter on the crisis in Somalia. She’s more important than anyone else – and than the rules that are there to protect everybody – because she’s been asked to write about something important.
What would it have cost this woman on Friday morning to have said: 'Sod the protocol – everyone needs to know about this famine, Miss Jones, so I am going to speak to the GP and see what we can do.'
Well, it could have cost her job and quite rightly so. If Jones turned out to be allergic to the vaccines (they didn’t have her notes) then it could have cost Jones her life too. And it could also have had consequences for others if they were bumped down the queue because of Jones’ lack of preparedness.
But no. People no longer talk in such a way. They follow the rules. They never put themselves out. They never look at the bigger picture.
Personally, I don’t want medical professionals getting too creative with the rules. There’s no bigger picture. The crisis in Somalia will not be abated by a hateful person writing about it.
She’s really quite a joy:
“I don’t understand women who think clothes are not important when they have power.”
“It's your own stupid fault if your brats trash the house.” (says a woman with no children)
“I hate dirt and smells. I have no patience with people who can't help themselves, who remain ignorant despite a free education, libraries, the internet...”
In this last quote, she’s talking about the homeless. She goes on to explain that she feels guilty for displaying contempt for the homeless and utter cluelessness of their plight (she assumes homeless people all live in bedsits, showing as little comprehension of English as she does compassion for anyone who isn’t her.) She picks a particular homeless person and vows to track him down and ‘help’ him. This was in 2009. I think we can be certain that she never went to that bench in Bristol where he lives.