Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The power of blogging.....

I put a post up here last week on my experiences with the Irish Tax auditors and how they use social & business networking profiles as basis for an audit. It was a quick post made without too much though. I did NOT expect loads of hits or feedback.
I can now see how wrong I was.....
The story was first picked up on Friday and included in Damien Mulley's "fluffy links". Since then it has been on the front page of two major Sunday papers, mentioned (and discussed) twice on Irish radio and was included in last Monday's Irish Independent newspaper.
Internationally (yes!) it has been mentioned on an Dutch radio programme and has been listed on two Dutch news websites.
It has off course also been picked up by a number of blogs and today it made
I just hope that the taxman realises that I am not being paid for this!

For those interested following are links to some of the sites mentioning the story:

Monday, February 25, 2008

The HSE needs to go to war.

there was an article in my local paper last week. It exposed a directive issued by the HSE that ambulance drivers in "some cases" (read most) have to bypass the A&E unit in Nenagh hospital and bring patients to the A&E facilities in Limerick, Laois or even Kilkenny hospitals. This would all require a traveling time of well over an hour. Now any person with half a bit knowledge of trauma medicine knows of the so-called "golden hour". Experience has proven that a patients chances of survival greatly increase if he/she receives treatment within the first 60 minutes after receiving the injuries. If treatment occurs outside these 60 minutes the chances of survival decrease rapidly no matter how experienced and well equipped the ambulance crews are. So this decision clearly diminishes the survival chances of any person requiring A&E treatment in the Nenagh catchment area. This is again a decision that typifies HSE policy.
Operational and management decision are made by bean-counters without any regard for the patients.
We now have a healthcare system in Ireland that drives trauma victims around the country for over an hour, has people on trolleys in hallways for days on end and can't even do a simple thing such a process and analyse an X-ray immediately.
This is ridiculous and unacceptable. In Iraq and Afghanistan injured soldiers who have their limbs blown of by an IED have a better chance of survival than a victim of a road traffic accident in Ireland. I strongly suggest that we scrap the whole system of healthcare currently in place and replace it by something along the lines of what the US military currently has deployed in the various theatres of operations. We need to setup a number of primary/trauma care facilities across this country so that any sick or injured person is never more than a 30 minute ride away from one of these. Structure these facilities along the lines of the Combat Support Hospitals. Anyone coming in to these will be subjected to triage and treated accordingly. Once a patient has been diagnosed and stabilised they will be either discharged or "passed up the chain" to a more specialised treatment facility/hospital.
These primary care units make more sense than a full hospital facility in every county and are a lot more cost effective. Staff them with a mix of trauma surgeons & nurses and assign no more than 2 administrators. Have all primary care units managed from a central facility located somewhere else in the country but staff this central management office with medical staff re-trained to management duties and not just bean-counters.
You can then close all the general hospitals and replace them with a number of specialised treatment centres across the country. All cancer patients go to centre X, all paediatrics go to centre Y etc...
A system along these lines will be patient-centric and ensure (for as far as this is possible) that any patient will receive the best medical care possible.
I know that with the way the system is structured at the moment that if any member of my family develops a serious illness that I will put them on the first flight out of this country...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Irish Tax office catches up with web 2.0...

I had the great pleasure this morning of being subject to a tax audit.
It was announced by a letter that I received a few weeks ago so it wasn't a surprise.
What was a surprise was the fact that the person conducting the audit had printouts of all my online networking profiles. That's Linkedin, Xing, Facebook etc.
I ended up being questioned on the content of these profiles. Not that I have anything to hide but some content was out of date leading to some digging (no not on the tax people.
This really annoyed me and I clearly pointed out that these profiles held no legal validity and if they had no right to use them as part of an audit.
It adds another chapter though in the number of privacy issues for people using online networking sites. Not only can friends, foes and potential employers view and use your profile information and activities, now the tax office will use this information also....
Scary really....

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dell (Top class) Tech support.

Below is a real life email exchange between Dell support and a customer. Names have been deleted to protect the innocent:
For your information, the customer is in Ireland and has submitted this through Dell's Irish website

Hi there, Pierre



----- Original Message -----
From: "UKI_TS_Dimension_Support"
To: <*************>
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2008 11:53 AM
Subject: Re: Case #: 20080207134925189 (KMM12755180I57L0KM)

> Dear Customer:
> Thank you for contacting Dell.
> I apologize for the inconvenience that I am unable to understand the
> issue
due to language barrier. Please reply back to the same email providing a brief description of the issue in French so that I would be glad to assist you.
> I assure you that I shall take the initiative to resolve this issue as
soon as I receive the above information in French.
> Thank you for choosing Dell.
> Respectfully,
> **************************************************************
> Original Message Follows:
> ------------------------
> * * * This is a feedback Message from the Dell Online Communications
Center. * * *
> Customer Information:
> **************************************************
> Name: **************
> Email:**********
> Daytime telephone number: XXXXXXXXX
> Service Tag:XXXXXXX
> eTrack: ****************************
> **************************************************
> System Label:XPS/Dimension 210/9200C
> Problem:Computer
> Operating System:Windows Vista
> Problem Description:
> ERROR CODE: 0F00:065 D
> :137 B
> **************************************************
> Sent to:
> Referring URL:
> Date submitted: 07/02/2008