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Live event: Which? magazine editor Harry Rose – 3:30pm 16/9/21

We’ll be joined live on Which? Conversation by Harry Rose on 16 September. Ask your questions about the magazine and its latest investigations in the comments.

We’re pleased to announce that Which? magazine editor Harry Rose will be live on Which? Conversation on 16 September to answer your questions on our latest features, investigations and our increased focus on sustainability.

📄 Which? magazine editor Q&A

🗓 3:30pm Thursday 16 September 2021

The event itself takes place in the comments on this page – it is not a live stream/Zoom meeting.

If you’ve got a question about Which? magazine, our latest issues and the investigations they’ve featured, leave it in the comments in advance.

Harry will be with us from 3:30pm on Thursday 16 September to start answering and chat with you in the comments.

We’re looking forward to seeing you then.

Comments

Hi Harry
I was reading a two-page article in the Daily Mail yesterday from an eminent professor Stephen Smith who has spent all his life in the NHS. Now I don’t know if this is part of your brief, but I wanted to voice my opinion on the subject anyway.
Whilst I have great admiration for the jobs that that NHS staff do, including nurses, ambulances, paramedics, etc it would seem that the government is happy to pump billions into the NHS – but have given no consideration to the actual system itself.
The NHS was set up in 1946. The world is now a changed place.
Yet the NHS continues to operate with multiple levels of beaurocracy within itself. Unable to change.
Here is the link:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-9979131/Top-medic-STEPHEN-SMITH-says-NHS-never-improve-entire-radical-surgery.html

So my question is: Can Which start a campaign to help re-organize our NHS system and make it the best in the world because it isn’t at the moment? And why don’t the politicians understand that pumping all this money into a severely disabled system is not going to work?

I am a Which member and would be more than happy to be contacted on this subject, but I do think that it is worthy of a campaign to help ensure that we all have the best healthcare here in the UK.

Whilst you have a Conservative government drastically cutting support for our NHS as they did during the Austerity period just prior to this Covid Pandemic , that left them with a severe staff shortage and a drastic delay with surgery and most other treatments, how long do we have to wait for the Hospital treatment we need NOW ????

Not as far as I can see, although increases were reduced in real terms.
”Recent changes to funding

Austerity
During the period of austerity that followed the 2008 economic crash, the Department of Health and Social Care budget continued to grow but at a slower pace than in previous years. Budgets rose by 1.4 per cent each year on average (adjusting for inflation) in the 10 years between 2009/10 to 2018/19, compared to the 3.7 per cent average rises since the NHS was established.

NHS five-year funding deal
In July 2018, the Prime Minister announced a new five-year funding deal that would see NHS funding rise by £33.9 billion in cash terms (ie, not adjusted for inflation) by 2023/24 compared to 2018/19, a rate of increase that is closer to, but still lower than, the long-term average.

There was substantial expenditure for Covid over the last 2 years.

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/nhs-budget

Hazel Hardy says:
12 September 2021

I’d like to see something on dental treatment. On my last visit to the dentist I mentioned how I was surprised how many fillings I have, bearing in mind I’ve always brushed my teeth, avoided sweets etc. She told me I’m a member of the heavy metal generation, where dentists filled anything and everything. Obviously I’m not too pleased to hear that. It’d be good to know why things are different now, and what we do about our mouths full of amalgam.

Hi Hazel, thanks for sharing. That’s really interesting and a great point. We will add this to our list to pass on to our researchers to look at exploring. In the meantime we have covered got some articles on here that might be interesting to you. I’ve posted the links below.

https://conversation.which.co.uk/health/nhs-private-dentist-experience/

https://conversation.which.co.uk/health/nhs-private-dentist-dental-charges/

Hope this helps 🙂

Has Which looked at what the effects of the move to digital land lines will be, if any?

Hi Bill, there will be a feature on precisely this in the December issue of Which? Computing – if you’d like to get that, you can subscribe here https://signup.which.co.uk/wlp-tech-support

I should be interested to know why this is considered to be of interest only to those who subscribe to Which? Computing. I would have thought it would have significant relevance for all Which? subscribers.

Hi John, the feature will also go online, so it will be available to everyone. We try not to do too much duplication of content across Which? and Which? Computing, because it understandably annoys people who subscribe to both magazines. In this case, because it’s more of a technology story than a general story, we decided it would sit better in Computing.

This does happen with Which? Money and Which? from time to time Kate. I do wonder why.

Hi Malcolm, what happens is that we do some research and at the same time consider the best output for the results – one of the magazines, a video, a podcast piece, online, whatever. I can’t speak for Money or Which? but certainly when it comes to Computing, if I use the same research as a basis for a feature, I will ask the writer to take a different angle: for example, on the big data investigation earlier this year, in Computing we did a much deeper dive into how data breaches happen, what companies should be doing to protect our data, and tips on how we can keep our data safe, while the piece in Which? was more broad-brush. There was inevitably some crossover, because it was the same underlying research, but the two pieces were quite different, and it meant that the results of our research could reach a much wider audience.

Hugh McMichael says:
12 September 2021

In years gone by, testing of ‘white gloss paint’ was a regular feature. In particular you identified the performance of microporous paint but this is almost unobtainable.
Where’s it gone?

Jim Barrett says:
12 September 2021

I would like les tech and more everyday products to be compared and evaluated

What are the safety implications surrounding the lack of some chips in new cars. My Volvo XC40, due for delivery in November, will not have the Blind Spot Information indicator in the wing mirrors. Why can I not have this retrospectively fitted when chips again become available?

I think you are doing a wonderful job, however, can you please look at Air purifiers again and this time provide a concise list of point in favour and against each product and the testing should be in 2021. Also the same applies for Vacuum cleaner battery powered. Also 2 in 1 PC – a bit more info for us techies please. lastly recommendations for 8K TV only need the best 5 and the ones to avoid.

What are the implications (e.g. environmental, safety) of the increased popularity of SUVs, which are larger and heavier than the equivalent saloon/hatchback?

It seems to me that consumer protection legislation got seriously downgraded by the EU regulations. Particularly relating to the time during which goods could be considered “unsatisfactory”. I had an issue, and thought I knew what my “rights” were under UK legislation. When I consulted the Which? site it seems that there was a much shorter timescale in which you could reject goods. It did seem to me that I was much worse off than with previous Uk legislation..

Have UK rights returned to what they were, now we have left the EU. Can this be clarified?

Peter Wingfield-Stratford says:
12 September 2021

Hi all
I ask if Which can find a way not only to review new stuff, that has been it’s principal purpose, but a way to let users tell others how they managed to overcom failings and repair kit we bought.

Everything goes wrong and we need to fix things.

In 2021 and beyond its getting VERY difficult to get fixes and repairs. The Brexit and Corvid have brought loss of many experienced Fixit staff also business don’t offer repairs much past 5 years.
My experience in finding tracking down how to fix my Best Buy could be organised to help many others.

Which suggested I fix say my washing machine, when the type had disappeared. It was far more difficult to track down what was needed than to do these Fixes.

Can Which make a structured Fixit solution for members. Then kit need not be junked even a washing machine 15 years old. If well organised that new Which publication, say online, can help Which members even for slightly different kit models.

Why is the index and search features so very poor. It should be possible to have search results in date order and also if there are updates or major reports. Also some items may have various names.
I often search for reports reports that I know exist and cannot find. Are there different options depending on PC, tablet or mobile.

Hi Paul, if you’re finding the site search frustrating, you might be better searching directly from Google. If you put which.co.uk: printers in the Google search bar, that will bring up all the printer content.

Michael Troon says:
13 September 2021

As a member of some years, I do not recall seeing any reports/articles regarding Hearing Aids.
A report in one of the weekend newspapers highlighted just some of the differences between the heavily promoted private suppliers and the difference in obtaining aids from the NHS. The differences in price etc (from £350 to over £3000.00 per aid!) and the importance of follow-up care were emphasised. Perhaps Which? could provide a full and concise report on this so that it would be easier to compare these, sometimes enormous, costs?

Hi Michael, that’s a great question. We will pass this on to our researchers to have a look at for you but in the mean time we have some great guidance on our site that can offer you some help with hearing aids – https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/hearing-aid-providers/article/how-to-get-the-best-hearing-aid/hearing-aid-types-azIKJ4k85fMo

Stuart Barlow says:
13 September 2021

I am a busy person and find that the absence of a summary in the mag for each article does not encourage me to read on.

Tony Hanks says:
13 September 2021

With the increased focus on climate change and protecting the environment, government legislation will force us down the route of electric vehicles and electric boilers over the next few years. combine this with domestic energy storage to take advantage of cheaper “off-peak” electricity tarriffs by Octopus and others and we are looking at quite a different home energy regime.

I tried to investigate electric combi boilers and found only a few options, and no installers in the York area. Upon enquiring on how to become an approved installer it was basically a 2 hour training module at the supplier premises, or on line if Covid dictated, and then you were ready to go !!!!! with the Government threatening to stop the installation of all new gas boilers within the next few years this is becoming a key area for consideration.

I have solar panels, so want to maximise storage of every kWh generated, so have looked at storage options and came across the KSTAR system that looks pretty good – have a trial unit on order (10kWh capacity). other systems do exist and the relative merits and protection from power cuts is worth investigating I believe.

The move to electric cars is also inevitable, so a home charging point and ability to use all generated power offers savings etc.

The only concern is that the circuits for both the electric combi boiler and car charger point suggest a 50A minimum circuit breaker, and in the event that car is charging, boiler is running and other home appliances are running then the load on the supply 100A fuse to the house may be exceeded.
i am trying to find if the electricity network owner will upsize the 100A main feed fuse if required, and does this impact on supply cable sizes from the main feed cable in the street.

When I visited my local Santander recently I felt very pressured by the Manager to start to do transactions myself on line. I do not do online banking and do not wish to start on line banking. It was just a simple transfer but I felt like I was asking for the world. Every time I visit he tells me the same and I am getting increasingly frustrated. My response before I left was are you a bank or not? I would leave but the only other option for me locally is Nat West and they would not carry out this kind of transaction would have to be done online.

I feel that if a hight street branchy has a present on the high street they should be there to be used.

Is there anywhere I can go to put this forward as an issue as I did feel very frustrated and pressured and am concerned that I will have no bank to visit soon and will have no other option than to do online banking

Jacqui — You could express your feelings to the CEO of Santander, especially given the repetitive pressure you feel is being applied by your local manager. Banks should show respect to all their customers. Making a transfer between accounts is a perfectly normal banking activity and does not inconvenience the bank in any way.

A friend of ours banks with the Natwest and makes all her transfers, including external ones, in person at her branch and they are happy to oblige. If you no longer wish to bank with Santander, are you sure your local Natwest will not handle your business in the manner that you prefer?

The banks have, over my lifetime, created a huge market in retail banking for personal customers. They cannot now pick and choose who they will deal with on the basis of the form of banking engagement they prefer. Many people are not comfortable with internet banking and want the reassurance of competent and confidential execution of their banking requirements in their local branch.

If you do feel forced to leave Santander you might find a mutual building society that offers current accounts more accommodating and respectful of your needs.

David N says:
13 September 2021

You recently had an review of printers. It would be good to look at how well they cope with low usage. I’ve had several problems over the last couple of years with jets clogging up – needing a new cartridge, or a new printer. The manufacturers recommend regular use, but that’s not always possible.

There’s a lot of advertising now for online car sales/purchase – webuyanycar.com, cinch, etc. What are the pro’s and con’s of these – members’ experience would be great.

Prior notice question for 16 Sept meeting:
Any value in inviting members to suggest factors significant to them relating to products and services proposed for investigations and tests?
Example – if I wanted a computer printer, how close it can print to the edges of a page would be one such factor, but not mentioned so far in previous tests, as far as I recall.

General point: people who subscribe to Which? pay for content, not for attractively laid out pages. Please consider less lavish white space and fewer big pictures, which look nice but leave much less room for pertinent CONTENT.

In response to the general point, the magazine is incredibly substantial, with our teams producing in-depth features and test lab articles. We also don’t feature dozens of pages of advertising like other magazines. So, while depth and detail are fundamental to the magazine, it’s also important that the magazine is well-paced and enjoyable to read and browse. Images, illustrations and other visuals play an important role in this.

Neil P Cowan says:
13 September 2021

I’m guessing your readership demographic at Which? comprises largely older audiences — 45+ with the majority of your readers in the >60s age groups…? Now I know you have a lot to pack in every month — which I enjoy — but the font size of your articles is more suited to under-45s whose likelihood of wearing reading glasses is relatively low. Why then do you choose to use pretty small font sizes when your older audiences need reading glasses (like me) to read it. It makes it hard going!

We actually made our font sizes slightly bigger in the last redesign of the magazine – and our font sizes are not significantly different from those we’ve used throughout our history, nor from those used by other magazines and newspapers. As you say, we do have a lot to pack in so it’s a balance. But thanks for raising the point – we know how important legibility is and we do take it very seriously.

I’d be interested in a report on refills for both gas and water. There’s some ambiguity in the leading brand’s terms & conditions (on-line versus bought locally) for CO2 and they’re a virtual monopoly in the UK. Not good when we’re all trying to avoid plastic bottles. The gas refill market is more competitive but the T&C also need investigation.

Nick

As a leaseholder of a residential property in London I would very much like to see a review of residential managing agents as I have been very disillusioned by the quality of service received and the apparent lack of regulation from their professional body. It would be interesting to share experiences and join a campaign to improve the situation which can only be causing misery for leaseholders everywhere.