Engineering and Management*

‘Engineering and Management’* or Swine Flu (H1N1) as it is commonly known has finally hit my office. Man down, man down &c. &c. The University has been surprisingly good at organising its response to Swine Flu, with lots of useful advice and procedures regarding containment and emergency cover. Though, I think people were a little disappointed when the government eventually pointed out that the virus was now not containable and that all the UK could do was treat the ill. So the dreaded e-mail went out earlier today informing the office of the poor unfortunate and understandably there were a few worried faces and the usual mutterings. To to be fair on the person concerned they were sensibly off-sick most of last week, so hopefully the contagion has been stopped in its tracks.

Indeed, the Gentleman Administrator himself is rather unwell at the moment with a rather nasty cold, hence the quietness on the Blog front. Apart from donning the robes and hood to help manage the baying crowds at Graduation, I spent much of last week in bed with brain capacity just enough to watch daytime telly and discover addictive web based computer games. I have long felt that had I been born in any other time period I would have perished way before hitting thirty, probably at the hands of some 17th century Mountebank, leeching and bleeding me to death.

Actually, there’s something of the Quack about this Swine Flu hotline the government has set up. I’m sure Tamiflu itself is a perfectly effective and rigorously tested medicine, but I have a feeling that the majority of people that will be ‘prescribed’ it over the coming months via a phone hotline will not need it. They also seem to be stockpiling Tamiflu in random places across the country, presumably in some kind of test to see how ill you really are. If you have the energy to find the stash, hidden behind the wobbly brick at the back of the grocers two towns away, there will presumably be a note there informing you that if you are well enough to find this you don’t have Swine Flu. As an exercise in staving off national hysteria it might be worth it, but as an effective use of medicine? Surely not. Having taken charge of the University’s ‘Confirmation and Clearing Hotline’ in previous years I can testify that caution is usually the path of least resistance on these things i.e. put them through to the School/prescribe Tamiflu, particularly when you only have half a day to explain to train the staff with all the stuff that you’re still only pretending to understand yourself.

*H1N1 is Engineering and Management in JACS code terminology, a little University joke for you there… Look, give me a break we don’t have many. Yes, there’s probably a reason for that…

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