Smart move: use of health smartcards in EU countries

First published in Health Service Journal, 8 September 2005

Across continental Europe, patients visiting a doctor take a plastic card to prove their entitlement to healthcare. Increasingly, these cards hold a microchip allowing payments for treatment to be processed and if necessary refunded more quickly than in the past.

But smartcards can also be used as electronic keys to patient records, boosting security and demonstrating consent.
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Full tilt: Virgin’s 140mph Pendolino trains

First published in T3, March 2002

‘Fast’ and ‘trains’: two words that tend to be strangers in Britain at the moment, what with strikes, complaints about service levels and fare-rises and the demise of Railtrack, the company meant to look after the tracks. Despite all that, 2002 will see Britain’s biggest rail operator begin replacing its entire fleet of vehicles – with ones that go faster.

Virgin Trains operates two of the four long-distance UK networks. West Coast runs from London Euston to Birmingham, then on to the north-west, north Wales and Scotland. CrossCountry runs the long-distance trains that go everywhere from Penzance to Aberdeen, through a hub at Birmingham New Street. The company is probably the least popular rail operator at the moment, with a poor record for punctuality and reliability. Continue reading “Full tilt: Virgin’s 140mph Pendolino trains”