Author: Carol Westall

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APPG on Coronavirus: heartbreaking for key workers

Carol Westall

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus held an evidence session on Tuesday on the impact on key workers. Four key workers gave compelling and heartbreaking accounts of how Covid -19 was contracted whilst working. Part 1 of the APPG on Coronavirus Layla Moran, the chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said: “The harrowing evidence […]

Blood cancer patient’s alarm at relaxation of rules

Carol Westall

Nic tells me, in response to the Government’s relaxation of Covid -19 rules and so called ‘Freedom Day’: “It’s hard to realize that you’re thought so little of in your society. We are dispensable.” Nic has blood cancer. She wrote to her MP: “I am writing to express my extreme concern and dismay at the […]

APPG

Freedom Day or a responsibility to protect the vulnerable?

Carol Westall

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus held a live oral evidence session today on the impact the removal of restrictions on 19 July will have on schools, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and on the risks posed by long Covid. The ending of restrictions has been dubbed ‘Freedom Day’. In the first […]

The North East is now England’s Covid-19 hotspot

Carol Westall

This week the Guardian reported that the North East of England is now the nation’s Covid-19 hotspot. Most cases are among the largely unvaccinated under-25s, according to local health leaders. Something weird  Professor Christina Pagel, member on Independent Sage (@chrischirp) tweeted “Something weird is happing in the North East”. She discussed the worrying trend that […]

Almost 400,000 people in UK have had long Covid for at least a year

Carol Westall

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed an estimated 385,000 people have experienced long Covid for one year or more. The figures reveal that in total 962,000 people had self-reported long Covid of any duration on 6 June 2021. Of these just 76,000 or 8% were hospitalised when they first caught coronavirus, and […]

Warning to Sajid Javid: 4000 long Covid cases a day

Carol Westall

Dr David Strain, who heads up the British Medical Association’s work on long Covid, said that of the 22,000 people diagnosed with coronavirus yesterday, around 4,000 will have symptoms of long Covid in three months’ time. This will have a “huge impact” on the health service. He urged the new Health Secretary to consider long Covid as one of the “key parameters” ahead of lifting lockdown restrictions.

Covid and mental health: the effects Part 3

Carol Westall

Covid and Mental Health hosted by the British Medical Association is concluded here, with the emphasis on mental health, domestic abuse and homelessness. In this article we shall report some of the work being done to analyse and understand the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of citizens, particularly those affected by domestic abuse.

Covid and mental health, a global view Part 2

Carol Westall

Dr Kola works at the WHO centre of psychiatric diseases. Part of her research involves analysing the impact of and response to Covid-19 in low- and middle-income countries, particularly the mental health implications. The virus has spread rapidly in several of these countries, with many not sufficiently prepared to manage the various factors.

UK commitment to donate Covid vaccine doses at G7

Carol Westall

A recent cross-party letter to the Prime Minister from 116 MPs and peers, has been coordinated by the APPG on Coronavirus. While the UK has committed funding to COVAX, we remain a net importer of Covid-19 vaccines. The letter called on the UK to donate one dose of the vaccine to the Covax scheme for every dose imported into the UK.

Hancock must apologise to long Covid patients

Carol Westall

Matt Hancock is under pressure to apologise to long Covid patients, after an investigation by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus revealed that some are waiting over 100 days for treatment. Hancock must apologise.

APPG

Global vaccine rollout: APPG session 2

Carol Westall

”Yesterday Archbishop Tutu got his jab months after young and healthy people in the UK. Why, ask yourself why we have limited supplies. Why the UK’s stance on IP hoarding and overbuying meant that someone over 80 got his vaccine on the 18 May 2021. Also we took part in the AstraZeneca trial, the Johnson and Johnson trial and Pfizer trials and others, yet we were not guaranteed access. So much for the Commonwealth.”

Covid passports, sporting events and international travel: more from the All Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus

Carol Westall

“The other dimension .., is what these passports will be used for. Will they be used for international travel, will there be a matter of restricting … activities like going to a football game, will they be used to restrict everyday activities like going to a bar, going to a restaurant, will they be used to restrict essential activities like going to a supermarket or to a job. These have very different implications.

The public health impact of the policing bill

Carol Westall

In this article I limit my discussion to the effect of the bill in public health and medicine. Dr Hilary Aked focussed on serious violence partnerships, about the health context and what the bill means for health workers.

Theatre

Jim Beirne hands over the reins to Live Theatre

Carol Westall

Jim Beirne, MBE marks a 21 year career milestone as he steps down as Chief Executive of Live Theatre. The composer and musician, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Northumbria University in 2011 and an MBE in 2012.

North East People

Inspirational student shares her motivational story on International Women’s Day

Carol Westall

An inspiring woman, young mum and student from the North East who has experienced the trauma of abuse, addiction, and the death of a loved one will be motivating young women as she recounts her journey to success as part of International Women’s Day (IWD). With the theme ‘Choose To Challenge’ Monique Wild is a fitting speaker. Monique Wild, […]

Dear Mr Opperman: an open letter to the Tory MP for Hexham

Carol Westall

The UK has recorded over 3.9 million positive cases of Covid-19; of which more than 15,449 live in Northumberland. This means that, at least 390,000 people in the UK and 1,545 in Northumberland will continue to live with debilitating effects of Long Covid for many months, if not years, to come. Long Covid is the hidden health crisis of the pandemic.

Vaccine hesitancy: a need for trust

Carol Westall

“Trust would be improved with local discussions within communities. One example was Bristol and a suggestion of mobile vaccination centres with the involvement of religious leaders and local organisations in discussions. Money could be ring fenced to organisations so that they can create some trust within their care organisations to answer questions directly. She thought that hearing the same message from someone in your community could change someone’s mind.”

Singing to breathe : help at hand for Long Covid

Carol Westall

People with Long Covid will be taught the breathing techniques of top tenors to help them overcome symptoms in a new NHS England therapy. Imperial College and English National Opera (ENO) teamed together for this programme in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The programme uses the techniques used for singers to improve quality of breath and help manage the anxiety that breathlessness often produces. Singing is shown to help retrain breathing, so ENO Breathe is using lullabies and singing exercises to help improve those with shortness of breath.