Category: Health & Care

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Letter to my Tory MP: further delays to NHS pay rises

Nicola Tipton

Dear… I have just read this about further delays to NHS pay rises. I am beyond appalled and I hope that you will agree with me given your close connections with the NHS. The staff are on their knees. They are working so hard and do not have enough staff, plus they weren’t paid what […]


“No-one is safe until everyone is safe”: global vaccine rollout and equality

Carol Westall

In Tuesday’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus the evidence session talked to experts about access to coronavirus vaccines across the globe. Where are we in terms of the pandemic and equitable vaccine access? Dr David Nabarro, Special Envoy of WHO Director-General on Covid-19 said: “We are still deep in the pandemic. We are not […]

Boris Johnson avoids difficult debate by visiting Hexham hospital

Yvonne Wancke

Protestors from North East for Europe waited at Hexham General Hospital to greet Boris Johnson today. Kim Sanderson, spokesperson for North East for Europe said: “We are here to meet the Prime Minister to voice our concerns over corruption in the Conservative party at national and County Council levels.” “We also want to show our […]


UK doing worse than European neighbours says APPG on Coronavirus

Carol Westall

On 5 October the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus met to discuss the UK government’s ‘Winter Plan’ with witnesses giving expert evidence from a local, national and international perspective.   In September the Prime Minister announced the plans for tackling Covid during autumn and winter in England. ‘Plan A’ is designed to prevent […]

Why we had a high infection rate over the summer

Giuseppe Bignardi

A recent holiday in Italy has allowed me to compare the contrasting approaches taken in fighting Covid-19. In Italy face masks are still compulsory in enclosed spaces. Here they are not. Thus, in a recent journey to Manchester my train compartment was packed, but hardly anybody was wearing masks whilst a few were coughing. Italy […]

The voice of children on Covid, vaccination and inclusion

Carol Westall

Involve me Talk to me Help me understand These are words I read from the summary slide from the new NICE guidelines for babies, children and young peoples experiencing healthcare. This was developed in consultation with young people. I heard these words in a webinar, Vaccination in Children: Evidence, Ethics, and Equity, given by the […]

“New hospitals”: more spin from the government

Peter Benson

The current government has brought new meaning to the word ‘dishonesty’, as in creating a false illusion that something is real when it clearly is not. In good old-fashioned language it’s a bare faced lie. And as such we need to call it as it is. This has been likened to adding a garden shed to your […]

APPG on Coronavirus: Workforce, well-being and NHS capacity

Carol Westall

The latest APPG Coronavirus oral evidence session on workforce, well-being and NHS capacity was held on Tuesday. Question: how will the NHS survive winter? “The problem is so extreme that up to 70% of the NHS working population are considering a career change over the course of the next 12 months” This was a startling […]

APPG on Coronavirus: vaccinating children, booster jabs and global access

Carol Westall

The session on 10 August, began with questions to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) about the much discussed issue of vaccinating children. On the surface it seems obvious; vaccinate children so they don’t get sick with Covid-19 and vaccinate children so we get closer to the frequently discussed notion of herd immunity. The APPG […]

I’m a smoker

Peter Lathan

I started smoking when I was about 14 (1957 or thereabouts) and I smoked, more or less without interruption, until I was 71. I say “more or less” because I did try to give up on a number occasions – once I lasted four days and then my wife threatened that she would sit on […]

Learning to live with Covid: the pandemic is not over yet

Giuseppe Bignardi

To get close to normality we must accept the pandemic is not over yet For some politicians “learning to live with Covid” is a mantra that means allowing high numbers of infections. However, we may get closer to normality if we accept that we cannot yet return to full normality. In comparison with other countries […]

Covid, mass trauma and regional unity

Connor Lamb

I remember that in the process of writing my diary entries, I had to recall memories recessed in the back of my mind for over a year. We often don’t think of traumatic memories as ‘trauma’. I briefly addressed the concept of mass trauma at the very end of the diary, so now it’s time […]

Travel to Europe is more complicated

Giuseppe Bignardi

The impact of Brexit and Covid As the number of holidays in Europe is increasing, we are coming to terms with the changes brought about by the end of the Brexit transition period and Covid-19. On arrival in Europe, we have to join the non-EU passport queue. One critical change is that British passports are […]

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 […]

Confessions of a student during Covid-19

Connor Lamb

Dear Diary, I never thought I’d be writing to you, trying to wrap up the last 19 months in a bow. I wanted to write an article on mental health and students. Given how difficult it feels, writing it like this might be a nice change of pace. So here goes nothing. February 2020 I […]

Just who are “The People” and who represents them?

Gareth Kearns

Last Wednesday, 21 July 2021, as I Joined with the SODEM team at the regular PMQs protest outside parliament, I was told in unequivocal terms by a Covid-denier that I didn’t represent “The People”. Just what I am to make of that? I’m sorry, “The People”, but I have never made any claim to represent […]

A 3% pay rise is not enough for NHS England

Louise Brown

This week the government offered a 3% pay award for NHS England staff.  I have friends not in the healthcare sector who have been enquiring if this was a good thing because the government has clearly backed down from earlier in the year when 1% was proposed. Let us look at this deal in more […]

Testing positive: a personal reflection

Peter Benson

I tested positive on Tuesday 13 July following a PCR test the previous day. However, I feel like I have dodged a bullet as so far, my symptoms have been relatively mild. I did a lateral flow test on Sunday 11 July just prior to the big England v Italy match and that was negative but I […]


Freedom Day: free to do as I want?

Gareth Kearns

Savid Javid was pinged. We all know what that means, so it was necessary for him to inform recent associates, and it would be necessary for said associates to also isolate. This is a few days before ‘Freedom Day’. These have been the rules for us all. They’re terribly inconvenient, that’s true, but we are […]


Another U-turn: Johnson and Sunak ARE self-isolating

North East Bylines

This morning it was announced that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak would not be self-isolating. Instead they would take part in a pilot scheme to test daily. However, after a somewhat tumultuous morning there has been yet another U-Turn. They will self-isolate after all. This comes after the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid recently tested positive […]

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 […]

Lions and diplomacy: Update on Tanzania

Kim Sanderson

As the UK wonders how safe it is to remove restrictions with ‘only’ 52 percent of the country vaccinated, spare a thought for countries where vaccinations are currently very limited and the Delta variant has arrived. For example, I wrote in March about Tanzania, which I called a ‘country of concern’. Since that article, a […]


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 […]