Category: Health & Care

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How safe are vaccines?

Giuseppe Bignardi

During this challenging time, discovering and producing a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine in a short period of time is a formidable challenge, but not the only one. Despite the evident benefits of vaccines (10 million deaths were saved by vaccines just in 2010-2015), the influence of anti-vaccination movements is increasing. However, history shows us […]

Harmony in Crisis

Ilona Tate

In the UK, we had the added concern that the government didn’t appear to be in control. They were late in acting and contradictory in their advice.

Pandemic Python

Yvonne Wancke

Pandemic Python have been a great success and in the words of one Jesmond resident: “Niceness breeds niceness”

Gis’ a Job

Peter Benson
The jobs market is tough even bar jobs are hard to get. Photo by Louis Hansel on unsplash

Virtually every day, fresh job loss announcements are made: some national such as EasyJet, Boots, Marks & Spencer and Intu, some local like Nissan and De La Rue.

Of Mice and Men…And Me

Janine Birkett
Janine Birkett photo

Before Covid, I might have been out of a job, but I was secure in the knowledge that the industry supporting me was carrying on existing, producing wonderful work, contributing almost £13 million to the UK economy every hour. I could expect future work. In short, I had hope.

Race hate over Redcar

A S Hunter

‘Black Lives Matter’ is a response to racial inequality, ‘White Lives Matter’ is the name of an American neo-nazi group, and the phrase is unashamedly racist, and white supremacist.

The North East’s ERG

Sally Young
Gateshead Quays including Sage and Baltic photo by Paula Smart

The North East Covid-19 Economic Response Group (or ERG), could shift to put wellbeing, tackling inequalities and climate change at our core.

Keep the Lockdown community spirit in onward fight against Islamophobia

Emily Horner

A report published by Tell MAMA, UK Islamophobia Hate Crime Service, and Newcastle University has concluded that the community spirit shown throughout lockdown needs to be retained to improve relations between different groups in the North East. ‘Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim hatred in the North East’ surveyed 111 people of various faiths and backgrounds from the […]

Mandatory face masks in Scotland

Giuseppe Bignardi
Nicola Sturgeon wore this face mask by Slanj Scotland that supports the Homelessness Charity Shelter Scotland.

Divergence from Boris Johnson appears to have reduced the number of infections in Scotland As from the 10 July 2020 the wearing of face covering inside shops is mandatory in Scotland. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has not refrained from being seen wearing a face mask, unlike the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson […]

Absolute ‘socially distanced’ Cabaret in Sunderland

Helen Wilson
Absolute Cabaret perform socially distanced in care homes

If someone had told me four months ago that Absolute Cabaret would be putting a show together without actually seeing each other in person until the day of the show, rehearsing everything online and then not being able to get closer than two metres to each other on the day of the show, I would […]

Good Neighbours in Byker

Yvonne Wancke
Byker Mutual Aid banner

The beginning of lockdown saw a huge number of Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups spring up around the country. One of the first such groups to get started in Newcastle was Byker, an area close to the city centre. I talked to Silvie Fisch, local resident and group member to find out more. “The group was initiated […]

Jacob Young’s bad hair day

Scott Hunter
Jacob Young MP's Haircut

Redcar and Cleveland MP tweets out a joke about his new haircut, and gets back more than he bargained for. It’s turning out to be an entertaining week for Redcar MP Jacob Young. It started last Saturday with him getting his first bought haircut in three months. He was so pleased with it that he […]

A troubled birthday for the NHS

Giuseppe Bignardi
The trade bill still includes the NHS in it. Our NHS is not for sale.

The NHS came to life on 5th July 1948. This year’s birthday celebration occurred at a difficult time, just after the first wave of coronavirus. Things are not going to get easier: there is already a huge backlog of elective and cancer care, as well as the risk of a second wave of coronavirus in […]

It is not a choice between saving lives and saving the economy

Giuseppe Bignardi
Doctor wearing a mask

The Westminster government has announced the reopening of more venues, the end of shielding for vulnerable individuals and the reduction of the safe distance from two metres to ‘one metre plus’. Are these the right measures and is this the right time? A recently published study (The Lancet, 1st June 2020) has shown that reducing the […]

Weaponising plague as a cover for an abominable Brexit

Richard Corbett
Manufacturing plant

The manufacturing regions of the north of England are particularly vulnerable to the economic effects of the COVID19 lockdown, with thousands of jobs at stake. These very same regions would also suffer the most in the event of failure by the Westminster government to secure a post Brexit deal with the EU before the end of the year. Two simultaneous economic […]

Exit from lockdown abuse

Lesley Anne
violence-against-women

Lockdown exit must consider the lives lost through fatal domestic abuse Lockdown is a relatively new concept in modern pandemic management; it is largely untested, and its implications and unintended negative consequences unplanned for. As the government debated and delayed the inevitable, a significant proportion of the female population, one in four of us, living […]

North East at the gates

Peter Benson
Sunderland woman holding a "No Deal = No Nissan" placard.

North East voices heard loud and clear at the Gates of Parliament  The stark reality of the consequences of a No Deal Brexit was laid bare by demonstrators from the North East, who took their message to the gates of Parliament on a sweltering Wednesday 24 June, as MPs gathered for Prime Minister’s questions.  The […]

Feeling sick in Barnard Castle…

Julie Ward
Dominic was here but spec savers was closed

On Sunday March 22nd I drove 20 miles from my home near Tow Law in County Durham, to Barnard Castle, not to test my eyesight but to take care of my aged father who had recently moved into sheltered accommodation so that he could be near to my mum who was in a care home, […]

Mutual aid and solidarity in Alnwick

Yvonne Wancke
The Alnwick community larder, in an old BT phone box.

An interview with an activist If you take a walk in the centre of the pretty market town of Alnwick, Northumberland, you may stumble upon a community larder, in an old BT phone box…. It is clean and tidy, there is a good supply of well organised and presented food, and you can find hand […]

Bounce back with Boris

David Taylor-Gooby

Boris is trying to cheer us all up. There are announcements that we can go back to things we used to do, and most importantly for many people, go on holiday. But we have also had some gloomy news lately. Health professionals are laying into the government about their mishandling of the pandemic. The editor […]

Acting apart

Davey Hopper
Hopper in Arbuthnot and Pals adventures in Oz.

I’m an actor, writer and director. How has the coronavirus pandemic affected me? I lost two national tours and four productions at a local theatre. I was worried about my financial situation; I think like most self-employed creative people, my whole life has been living from job to job with nothing much in the savings […]

Brexit and Covid-19 – a marriage made in hell

Keith Burge
Containers ready for export

Football clubs across the North East have played a crucial role during the current pandemic: supporting foodbanks, doing community outreach, and perhaps most valuable of all, ensuring that the spread of the virus is contained by not giving fans any possibility of gathering in large numbers to celebrate success. And whilst cheap jokes, such as those, […]

Here comes the sun….

Caroline Hoile
Man enjoying the sun.

Sunshine and warm weather undoubtedly cheer the spirits and gladden the heart; that ‘it’s great to be alive’ feeling, making everything seem alright within the world.  Gladdening the heart is sorely needed in 2020 as, to date, we have watched with horror as the Covid-19 virus has spread rapidly and stealthily around the world, infecting all […]