Monday, 18 July 2011

A visit to a Middle School (参观中学)

We visited a middle school in Jinan yesterday. Class size is 70! The school is linked to Shandong University and is twinned with many schools internationally.  We talked to the children about the UK, and our home universities. They were very impressed with the  photos of the Ziggurats at UEA, and did not believe they were dorms at first. The children told me I looked like Harry Potter, a comment that was reoccurring during my time in China.

The School Website had an article that can be found here translated or here in Chinese .

Sunday, 10 July 2011

First visit abroad, a visit to China. 第一次出国,对中国进行访问.

During my Easter break I travelled to the city of Jinan() in Shandong province China. I went with the Study China Programme organised by the University of Manchester. I studied Chinese at Shandong University (山东大学)this allowed me to continue my Chinese language (汉语) studies stopped when I started university. I will write more on the blog about this later.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A Solo card not good enough for the train?

I was ordering a train ticket  online today, wanted to make sure I'd got a seat and make getting the train as stress free as possible. I put in my destination, the ticket type etc. I got the payment page looked at the drop down list, no Solo Card, but my card carries the Maestro logo as well so I select Maestro. Put in my card details click confirm, then I get the message that my Card Number does not go with a Maestro card. Tried again no such luck. This was with  Arriva Trains Wales , so I tried Virgin Trains again they didn't accept my card. Is a Solo Card not good enough to buy a train ticket?

  • I received my reply via email today.

I regret that neither Solo nor Visa Electron cards are accepted as a valid payment method at any rail station or on board the train itself. This is an industry-wide policy decision. It has been taken due to the potential for fraud as a result of the fact that payment is not guaranteed with either of these cards.

Edited 22/ 07 / 10

Monday, 21 June 2010

CRB necessary bureaucracy?

What are Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks?

CRB checks were established by the Police Act of 1997 and were fully launched by 2002. The checks replace a system where police checks were only carried out on Public sector staff that had “substantial” unsupervised access to children. During the early days of the CRB system there was a system of Portability recognised by Criminal Records Bureau, they no longer recognise it and organisations that use a previously issued "disclosure" do so at their own risk.

Could the current system be changed?

CRB checks are required for public safety but bureaucracy of the current system needs to be and can be safely reduced. Multiple CRB checks could be replaced by a CRB card ensuring that only one check a year was required, reducing the costs of the additional checks directly on employers and indirectly by reduced bureaucracy. For voluntary posts CRB checks are free, the cabinet office quotes a saving of £26.6 million for the voluntary sector in 2007/8 due to the check being free. A reduction in the number carried out could reduce bureaucracy and allow volunteers to get on with volunteering. This could also save the public sector money as workers often have to be checked by law, for each separate role the employee holds.

A reduction in the volume of CRB checks would allow the Criminal Records Bureau to be downsized. The downsizing would save the public purse money. So a restructuring would be good for the Private, Public and voluntary sector, lets hope the government looks at it.

Who is a volunteer?

The definition of a volunteer, is
a person who performs any activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travelling and other out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than or in addition to close relatives’.

Some voluntary organisation argue that this definition is too closed, it does not for example cover those who do voluntary work for a college course as this is considered “work experience”, that is automatically for personal benefit.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

UCL Open day

It was really interesting to see another medical school, and to be in London again for the first time since last June. UCL is in really great position near to Tottenham Court Road with three major hospitals close by. I really like the structure of the UCL course with the Vertical and Horizontal integration, and the intercalated B.Sc. The main down side for me is the cost of living; London would be significantly more expensive than most other places in the UK.

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Definitely feel more than ever that Medicine is for me, so many of the lectures were really interesting especially the immunology lecture. I found out that I do not want to be an ophthalmologist, after seeing a video of a cataract removal using an intra-capsular method. Medisix really gave me a chance to see what it would be like to live at a university and to speak to medical students ranging from 1st years to 5th years and from Sheffield to Cambridge medical school. Thanks to the Med student who interviewed me it was really helpful! The pathology lectures were really interesting; the lecture entitled “The Forensic Pathologist” by Dr Alfredo Walker from Forensic Science Service Ltd. showed me, it’s not quite Silent Witness . It’s far more interesting! I also came to the conclusion that I, as a member of the general public had held the view that all pathologists were all of the forensic variety, I’d never thought of a Haematologist as a pathologist or as Bioterrorism something that was within the realms of pathology. Essentially I came away from the conference with a more accurate view of the areas of Medicine, that up until then I had been a little gray on. Some of it came as no surprise such as the fact you had to pass Royal College exams and that as a Doctor you are signing up for lifelong learning, I didn’t realise that there were so many Royal Colleges though. I also didn’t realise just how interesting working in preventive medicine can be, the lecture on “Communicable Diseases” really sparked my interest about the HPA’s work. I certainly want to be a doctor!