Medical Exemption

I found a letter last night – I was sorting through some mail – from the NHS, which told me that I needed to renew my medical exemption certificate. (Having such a certificate means my prescriptions are redeemable at no further cost to me – I don’t use the word “free” because, of course, I have already paid thousands in taxes.)

But it is interesting. Once upon a time, people either got these subsidised prescriptions or they didn’t. If they tried to get subsidised prescriptions without entitlement, then presumably they are guilty of fraud. But you bring this certificate into the equation, and it becomes central. So not having the certificate becomes the salient point, not someone’s entitlement to the exemption.

I noticed the same thing several years ago, when the photocard portion of my driving license arbitrarily expired – I was still entitled to drive afterwards.

Another weird one was that they told me that I had to fill out a paper form, but I searched and couldn’t find this form online. My particular disability means that I can’t use my writing hand any more, so it is far easier to type something than it is to write. The reason it is “weird” is because, especially with a medical exemption certificate, you’d think it would attract a disproportionate number of disabled applicants. You’d think they, of all people, would have an eye on accessibility.

Puzzled

Last night, I happened to be looking at Facebook. I was in a stroke group, and there was a new member message. This person had replied that her 80-year-old aunty had just had a stroke, and that she wanted to find out more.

The Stroke Association publish something which is quite useful here. It starts off briefly with what a stroke is (the technical stuff) but then talks about statistics. Splits by age, ethnicity, gender etc. I found it useful because each stroke is so different, you can only hope to make sense of it by looking at it from a high level. So anyway, I posted a link to this document and thought no more of it.

Later that evening I saw messages from this group saying that my ability to comment had been temporarily suspended. I thought at first it must be everyone in the group, but I searched around a bit and found that it was specifically directed at me, I’d been “muted”. Now, my principle is basically that if I’m not allowed to comment on something, then there’s not much point in me even seeing it. So I decided to leave the group. It was no big deal, it was the kind of group where some of the members would post meaningless stuff such as “good morning” and “good night”, neither of which appeal to me.

But all the same, it would have been interesting to learn what I’d said that was so offensive in the first place.

Tactics

Because of diabetes and stroke, my eyes aren’t so good any more (see elsewhere in this blog). One of the ways in which this manifests itself is that I find it difficult to quickly differentiate the different coins when I’m out and about. I try to deal in just £1 and £2 coins, any smaller denomination I shove into my back pocket, and when I get home I stick it into a piggy bank.

This piggy bank had now become full. So I a ctually bought off eBay a coin-sorting machine, which not only sorts the coins, but will also count them so I can put them into bags. So this contraption arrived yesterday, I plugged it in and it took just about 15 minutes to sort the coins. It would have been a lot quicker, except this first time, I insisted on verifying its complete batches. No mistakes.

So, when it had finished counting, I had a total of around £70, of which I think £46 was able to be bagged up ready to take to the bank. However, given that this machine cost £70 itself… But it saved me lots of time.

Incidentally, I was expecting a compartment “none of the above”, just somewhere it could use for coins it didn’t recognise. A catch-all mechanism. But there wasn’t one. So I couldn’t resist sorting my small pile of Euro coins, just to see what happened. The result? The machine obviously makes a “best guess” at what the coin is. Unfortunately, since it has been calibrated for Sterling, when confronted with Euro coins it got things hopelessly wrong. So I think there’s a way to go before they have a “perfect” device. But as long as I make sure all my future coins are Sterling…