Peter Rhodes on safe money, a star's safety and a surprise encounter with A&E

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

The Bank of England – safe
The Bank of England – safe

Abba blather. My profound thanks to the reader who points out that if Benny and Bjorn had been Steve and Dave, the group would have been Asda.

“The health and safety of our camp mates is our priority,” declared a spokesman for I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! (ITV) after Richard Madeley fell ill and was rushed to hospital. Lest we forget, on this occasion Madeley had been instructed to crawl head-first through a pipe full of rotten fruit, fish guts and vegetables.” Health? Safety? Priority? Baloney.

Still on hospitals, many patients in intensive-care units suffer the confusion and terror of delirium. So starting next year, doctors in Switzerland will begin tests to see if a cheap and commonplace substance can reduce the suffering. It is called beer. According to one report: “Giving patients in intensive care a pint of beer daily could get them home sooner.” But what if they want to stay?

I recall a few years ago a thread in this column from former NHS hospital patients who had fond memories from the 1960s and 1970s of the nightly Guinness trolley rattling along the ward.

While researching the recent item on digital currency, informally known as Britcoin, I had to smile at one assessment that “unlike deposits in banks, Britcoin would carry the explicit backing of the Government.” This is presumably meant to inspire confidence. However, while we have a very old saying “as safe as the Bank of England,” I've never heard of “as safe as the British government.”

A few days ago I reported the curious statistic that the average person makes a 999 call only once in a lifetime. And then, the very next day . . . .

My wife developed chest pains and breathlessness. She rang our GP practice where a no-nonsense nurse told her to dial 999 immediately and ask a paramedic to carry out an electrocardiogram. Mrs Rhodes thought it was all a bit over-dramatic but you don't argue with the system. Twenty minutes later the ambulance arrived. The ECG was fine but the paramedics suggested more tests at A&E and off they all went. My wife was back home within four hours, singing the praises of the NHS, with a diagnosis of post-viral nasty and a box of pills.

And I resolve not to mention any more curious statistics.

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