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Friday, October 09, 2009

I don't know what it is about Amelie's friends, but none of them seem to have any money...

AC DC. The DC stands for Delivery Charge.
We've actually received two of those in the space of two days. The one above came yesterday (the 8th), but my postman has no idea what day of the week it is. He put it through my letterbox together with an envelope clearly addressed to "Rear Basement Flat". Frankly the only strike he should be contemplating is one to the back of the head. And I'd gladly cross a picket line to administer it.

Today's item was a late birthday card from one of these people, but having paid the administration charge online for yesterday's item, I'm still awaiting redelivery to find out what it is and who it's from. It had better be worth more than £1.17, otherwise I'm seriously out of pocket. I'll be deducting it from Amelie's trust fund.

But on the subject of babies, I have major maternity news from the Royal Sussex County Hospital. It's a well known fact around these parts that I'm the only person in the entire Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust who reads the Chief Executive's Friday Message every week. I can't tell you how many odd looks I get on a Friday afternoon when I open that e-mail. Admittedly it's not easy to concentrate amidst the sound of two thousand people simultaneously clicking the delete button, but personally I like to see what the man's got to say.

And today it was well worth the effort. In fact, I shall copy and paste his announcement for posterity:

"Dear everyone,
At the beginning of this week we started offering the best practice antenatal screening 'combined' test for Down’s syndrome at the County and PRH. This involves offering pregnant women a blood test and an ultrasound scan the combined results of which show how likely it is that the baby will have Down’s syndrome. If the risk is shown to be high, further tests can then be arranged to help confirm whether the baby has the condition. Pregnancy is an exciting time but it is also an anxious time with a lot to think about and decide in a relatively short period of time. Prior to this week, pregnant women from Brighton and Hove needed to travel to King’s College Hospital in London for the combined screening test and women from Mid Sussex could have the scan at PRH but not the blood test. The option to have the combined test locally will be easier and better for families."

I have to say, that is fantastic news. In March of last year, Lisa did indeed have to travel up to King's College Hospital in London for that nuchal scan, and coming only a week after I started my new job (and met the Chief Executive), I didn't like to ask for the day off. So she had to do it alone. Well, alone apart from the skinflint in the photo above, who met her in London and escorted her to the hospital. She'd never have found it otherwise.

So the announcement that the pregnant women of Brighton no longer have to get on a train in the first trimester is actually quite a major one. I did a search on Google for 'Royal Sussex County Hospital nuchal scan' to see if the press have picked up on the news yet, but sadly it just took me to Which makes me wish I'd actually finished that website. I abandoned the project a year ago when I realised my blog was becoming Amelie's homepage, and she had no need for the gift of second site.

But talking of the poster child of the NHS, Amelie's not the only one getting her face into official health service literature. Yesterday my colleagues and I received a positive report from the national body which inspects retinal screening programmes, so to celebrate, we all abandoned the office for five minutes and went out onto the grass with a medical photographer to have our picture taken. We're hoping to be in the next issue of Talkback, the Trust magazine. Amelie might be a poster child, but I'm on the verge of becoming a centrefold.