‘Going private: Increasing numbers of Britons are abandoning the NHS and paying for medical treatment’ [c]:

As more people opt to fund their healthcare themselves, or take out private health insurance, there is a danger of creating a “two tier” system, with wealthier people paying for speedy tests and treatments and the less well-off being forced to wait.

My initial response to that paragraph was: that’s fine. Rich people still pay their National Insurance. So if they’re willing to go private it means the NHS has less of a workload and will work better for those who can’t afford to go private. However, apparently not so:

“By and large, private hospitals in the UK don’t have a fully separate workforce from the NHS,… [they] don’t tend to directly employ a separate set of doctors. They are [mostly] NHS doctors spending part of their time in private practice to supplement their income.

“Staff [numbers] are going to be a critical constraint on the NHS being able to treat more patients and get rid of this backlog. If they are spending more time practising in the private sector that might be taking away time from the NHS, which may have an impact on people who can’t afford to go private,” Mr Gardner added.


Will you get a day off work when the Queen dies? Is it a bank holiday?

I’ve been wondering for a while now – for purely selfish reasons – if there will be any bank holidays when the Queen dies.

Well, Politico has gained access [c] to documents which lay out the entire plan for what will happen after her death.

So, will you get a day off work? The answer is maybe:

The prime minister and the queen have agreed that the day of the state funeral will be a “Day of National Mourning.” This has also led to planning issues. The day will effectively be a bank holiday, although it will not be named as such. If the funeral falls on the weekend or an existing bank holiday, an extra bank holiday will not be granted. If the funeral falls on a weekday, the government does not plan to order employers to give employees the day off — the documents say that is a matter between employees and their staff

Simply put, if you work for a decent company they’ll probably give you the day off. If you work for a crap company, then don’t hold your breath.


‘UK truck driver shortage signals a broken labour market’

Financial Times [c]:

In 2010, the median HGV driver in the UK earned 51 per cent more per hour than the median supermarket cashier. By 2020, the premium was only 27 per cent. They have faced a particular pay squeeze in the past five years: median hourly pay for truck drivers has risen 10 per cent since 2015 to £11.80, compared with 16 per cent for all UK employees. “Why would I want to be a truck driver, with all the responsibility, the long, unpredictable hours, if I can go to Aldi and earn £11.30 an hour stacking shelves?” says Tomasz Oryński.

[…] As a result, the workforce is ageing. In 2000, there was an even split between over-45s and under-45s. Now the over-45s account for 62 per cent.