It seems a popular thing to knock the National Health Service, most especially for those who read a certain type of newspaper, but from my own experience I have nothing but praise for the people who work within it. My contact with the NHS has been infrequent, until recently. Today I went in for a minor procedure, in at 7.00am, by 8.00am the consultant had seen me and by 8.30am I was in the operating theatre waiting for it all to happen, and chatting to the nurses. Whilst I was socialising the consultant was pacing up and down passing comments on the inadvisability of the Radiologists starting work at 9.00, whereas (apparently) the rest of the NHS clocked on at 8.00am.
Once the X-ray machine was all up and running my procedure started with the man in charge pocking around and looking at what he was doing live on screen – weird stuff, I was able to watch what was being done to me larger than life as the operation progressed.
What really brought me down to earth and put a lot of things in perspective was being taken to the ward and parked next to an ex-miner, with one leg who had suffered an industrial accident in 1964.
His story of the accident (he was a maintenance engineer) and the subsequent trauma of being shifted two miles underground, (on a series of conveyor belts used to move coal), in order to be brought up to the service etc, brought my own condition sharply into focus. This genial old man described how he was in the hospital because his care worker had found him after he had had a stroke over-night, and then proceeded to tell me all the improvements made to his house to enable him to use his kitchen etc. Quite a humbling experience.
The NUJ is organising another Photographers Conference for May 2009, to build on the great experience of the 2007 Conference, and the Freelance Office and the Photogrpahers Sub Committee are buzzing with the anticipation of the event. Organising speakers and seminars is not always as easy as it sounds, and this year we are getting industry more involved.
With the credit crunch and the mess that seems to have been created by the banking industry, (is banking truly and industry?), seeming to be settling in for the duration, it seems more and more important now that photographers become more informed and aware of their own industry.
Dealing with the potential changes in Copyright law, (how many photographers have read let alone responded to the consultation by David Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, and the Intellectual Property Office to act further on the recent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property reported in 2006. The document is here. I would recommend every photographer working in the UK to read it and if possible comment. The NUJ, AoP, BAPLA and other photographer’s organisations are formulating their responses as we speak which have to be in by 6th February 2009. The more Professional Photogrpahers who respond constructively to this consultation, the more seriously the IPO will regard the situation and the more attention that they will pay to our representatives.
There is a chance here that some seriously useful and constructive changes can be made to copyright law here, such as enshrining the moral right to be recognised as the creators of ones work, without which, much legislation will fail to deliver (as is currently the case in newspapers for example).
That the IPO is asking us is a very positive move and we should grasp this opportunity with both hands.
© 2009 Pete Jenkins