Category: Health & Care

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Opinion

No more shielding

Peter Lathan

Will the streets, parks and other open spaces be filled with released detainees celebrating their re-acquired freedom, running and singing and dancing in glee? Will there be parties and will joy be unconfined? Will bliss reign and the Kingdom of Heaven appear among the people of England?

World Autism Awareness Week

Louise Brown

Females are commonly able to ‘mask’ their autism more than males making diagnosis more difficult in some cases. Where someone’s autism is less obvious (also in the case of high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome) sometimes others are far less tolerant as they are not aware they have this condition and hence get annoyed with things they view as socially inappropriate.

A pandemic, a limited vaccine supply and secret vaccine contracts

Giuseppe Bignardi

On 17 March, the EU announced the intention of changing its export policy, particularly in relation to countries which are also vaccine producers. The EU argues that there needs to be reciprocity and proportionality to make sure there is an equitable distribution of vaccines. I do not know the details of the EU vaccine export plan, but I do know that Boris Johnson has failed on reciprocity and global solidarity.

Poetry Corner

Worth

Harry Gallagher

Striplight eyed, Eve tumbles out
to mourning’s waking arms,
home to bed’s hollow belly,
the longnight’s deadweight
gushing from her soul
into the pillow’s soft shoulder.

Hakuna Covid! A country of concern

Kim Sanderson

Farida Saidi documents the agonising detail of this political and personal saga on her blog Prayer and Science Tanzania, from the perspective of a Tanzanian living abroad. In one post, her joy that President Magafuli acknowledged Tanzania had a Covid problem was soon dashed by his subsequent mixed messages and over-reliance on another three days of prayer. She supports both prayer and a scientific approach, explaining that clear Covid-19 symptoms are still being explained away as “pneumonia”.

Rishi Sunak’s budget ignores the NHS and social care

Giuseppe Bignardi

The government has failed to put together a plan to rescue the social care sector, despite Boris Johnson’s claim in 2019 that he would fix the crisis in social care “with a clear plan we have prepared”. The NHS also needs extra funding to deal with the huge backlog of non-Covid health needs. Rishi Sunak made no mention of either social care or improved NHS funding in his budget statement.

Crap for our carers?

Scott Hunter

The government’s pay award of 1% to NHS staff has received widespread condemnation for its parsimony. There has been further condemnation that workers in the care sector continue to suffer low pay and poor working conditions.

Poetry Corner

1% and a round of applause

Harry Gallagher

For all the zipped-up body bags,
for carrying your country without pause,
for tending all those beds,
for tending to our dead
you get 1% and a round of applause.

A 1% pay rise: the worst kind of insult

Louise Brown

The government have delivered a huge blow to NHS staff by proposing a 1% pay rise for those working in England next year. This includes a whole array of workers such as nurses, doctors, paramedics, porters, cleaners, physiotherapists and Occupational and Speech and Language therapists. These are the people who have put their lives at risk continuing to work on the frontline over the last year while watching so many of their colleagues become ill or die from Covid-19. Remember they did this during periods when sufficient PPE was not always available and until very recently, without being vac

Opinion

Digital friendships: taking back control?

Peter Benson

The pandemic has had a fundamental impact on millions of people all around the UK and globally. Demand for mental health service is rocketing in every corner of the world and just easing off on your mobile phone is not the sole solution but it’s a great start.

Covid memorial day

Julie Ward

It is incumbent upon us, the people, to take a lead in honouring the victims of the pandemic. The campaign suggests simple actions on 5 March such as putting a candle or picture in your window, walking to a hill top, sitting on a beach, or just closing your eyes and thinking about those we have lost.

Beware of the freedom-loving rhetoric

Giuseppe Bignardi

It is good to have a roadmap, but is it wise to have dates if we are really going be guided by “data not dates”? Now that dates have been announced, there will be a formidable resistance to change them, regardless of the data.

Take one leave one: “love in action”

Yvonne Wancke

Take One Leave One (TOLO) is based on a very simple idea. If you need a winter coat (or similar) you take one, if you have a coat to spare you leave one. It is described by the scheme’s founder, campaigner and investigative journalist Stefan Simanowitz as “love in action.”

Panic attacks and anxiety: it’s good to talk

Peter Benson

I never expected that a regular, wintry morning train commute to London Bridge station would see me ending up in the back of an ambulance. This particular morning in November 2018 started like any other work day as I took my 07:59 train, albeit delayed. I got no seat, which was unusual, the carriage was […]

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.”

Why I didn’t clap for Captain Sir Tom

James Robinson

Free, widely available public healthcare has long been exuded as one of the great successes of British history. However, Conservative rule has left the NHS close to breaking point.
Our health service needs cash, not claps.

Hares and tortoises in the Covid-19 vaccine race

Giuseppe Bignardi

Countries acting individually will not deliver the number of vaccines the world needs (Zosia Kmietowicz in the British Medical Journal on 6 February). Joint vaccine procurement schemes, as used by the EU and the African Union, are slower to set up but ensure equitable vaccine distribution at lower prices.

Coronavirus: the blame game?

Alex Davison

The reason we were trying to keep infection rates down from the beginning has been to protect the NHS from becoming ‘overwhelmed’, with cases on top of the normal level of patients. But the truth is that the NHS is overwhelmed because it is underfunded in an ongoing effort to privatise healthcare and continue to bolster the pockets of the very richest not only in our own country but also the richest in the world.

Vaccine nationalism or solidarity?

Giuseppe Bignardi

Do vaccines produced in a country ‘belong’ to that country, until all needs of that country have been satisfied? This is the policy of the US administration and appears to be at the centre of the recent dispute between Astra Zeneca (AZ) and the EU.

Save the student!

James Robinson

“The lack of social interaction is really difficult. The practical elements of my research were limited by the laboratory being closed, and I lost out on valuable research time. To adjust my work schedule was really challenging, and I have found the entire process stressful.”