Category: Health & Care

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Escaping the plague in the ‘otherworld’: a journey to Skye

Robin Tudge

So hitting the islands was very welcome. Off Mull, we watched seals watching us aboard a whale-watching boat tour, that took in Minke whales blowing and breaching, porpoises shyly showing their fins, and leery dolphins. We were treated to the whales, dolphins and flocks of seagulls and gannets cooperating to massacre a shoal of fish, the whales going deep to herd the fish to the surface, the dolphins corralling them, the gannets dive-bombing into the water at 60mph.

Logics of corruption: the UK state response to the Covid-19 crisis

Colin Gordon

A common theory is that the disaster of Covid-19 suits the UK Brexit regime’s interest by distracting from and/or explaining away the disaster of hard Brexit – a kind of a gigantic diversionary narrative or ‘dead cat’ tactic. This could, incidentally, imply that the regime has no particular interest in managing the pandemic, as long as it can avoid or divert blame for its failure.

SMART Lockdown 2.0?

Giuseppe Bignardi

Education is important and must continue. But extending the half term holiday from one to two weeks would have been timely, achievable and provided a useful firebreak, possibly followed by specific, more realistic policies to suppress infection in educational settings when they reopened. For example, some countries have mandatory face coverings in classrooms and have adopted school rotas for pupils above the age of thirteen, as advocated by our National Education Union.

The welfare state’s forgotten army?

Stephen Lambert

The notion that the ‘family’ no longer cares about its older kin and has abdicated its responsibilities to the state is misplaced. Pre-industrial society is often portrayed as ‘The Golden Age’ of the family and ageing, when older relatives were respected and cared for by their own families. The assumption was that people lives in ‘extended’ type families. This is a myth.

Opinion

Would you pay for a hug?

Peter Benson

How sad it is that real people and human interactions have been left behind in the need to shelter or shield from Covid-19. And how distressing to hear relatives talk about being denied a visit to their loved ones in a care home where a familiar voice or a song can bring back such happy memories.

Please sir, can I have some more?

Sally Young

From the 1970s onward, successive governments have pulled back from the state provision of a nutritional meal. Remember “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”? Usually the dogma was around the Nanny State – though I’m rather taken with David Baddiel’s comment that the ”people who most object to the Nanny State are nearly all brought up by nannies”. The growth of the food industry, junk food, consumer choice and fast food – also the drive of privatisation, reduction of council costs, crackdowns on benefits and the reduction in numbers of those entitled to Free School Meals resulted in a decimation of the school meals service.

Opinion

How bad recipes are deflecting attention from truthful debate

Louisa Britain

All in all, I would imagine you might just about be able to cover the full cost of this for ten pounds, if Aldi does sell a small chicken for £2 at all. Not being near enough to Aldi myself to just pop in, I rely on memory, which suggests that £3-4 is more likely. There are utensils to factor in. Do you have roasting tins, a stock pot, a reasonably good knife? Come to think of it, do you even have an oven and a hob?

New coronavirus exit strategy backed by MPs, scientists and health professionals launched today

Kate Bredin

The proposed first step, Control, sets out nine measures to reduce the R number (rate of transmission) below 1, including developing an effective national Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (FTTIS) program; improving clarity of communication around measures required; organised clear media updates on local infection rates; devolving power back to local authorities to deal with local outbreaks; and full financial support for anyone required to self-isolate.

Review

The Untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself by Michael A. Singer

Nicola Tipton

It is not a book to be rushed. I read a chapter at a time, and for want of a better word, ‘meditated’ on its contents, let it sink into my mind before I moved on. I did not read more than one part on any single day and sometimes I only read one chapter and spent time trying to put into practice what I had learned, experienced, through the words.

Why did the Millennium Bridge turn purple and yellow?

Louise Brown

People with DLD experience lifelong difficulties and it is not yet known exactly what causes it. It is likely to stem from a number of factors, however, including genetic and biological influences. A referral can be made to Speech and Language Therapy services for assessment and diagnosis. Speech and Language Therapists can then provide support for the difficulties DLD causes to enable those with the condition to be successful in work, study and everyday life.

Join the Multiverse Lab!

Peter Lathan

People who live north of the Tyne are being invited to help shape the future of health research in the North East by taking part in a new interactive, online experience called Multiverse Lab which aims to gather the opinions of 2,000 people about what matters to them when it comes to their health. Visitors […]

Why mental health should be a regional and national priority

Stephen Lambert

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists people with no history of mental ill-health are developing serious psychological problems for the first time as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. Many are worried over job insecurity, social isolation and relationship breakdown. One in 10 children has a diagnosable mental health problem. There’s a compelling moral and economic case for dealing with mental ill-health among teenagers.

Can we expect a return to normality by March?

Giuseppe Bignardi

Speed of vaccination in Western countries may depend on whether access to an initially limited supply of vaccine is restricted to a few countries or whether there would be a wider and more equitable distribution of the vaccine from the outset. An initial high price for the vaccines would also be a barrier for lower income countries.

Social Care – whoever knew?

Sally Young

Social care should be about meeting the needs of people as best we can; not reducing personal interactions to financially viable, fully costed impersonal transactions. People are not cost units.

Is Britain returning to the Great Depression of the 1930s?

Stephen Lambert

Maconie argues that, 80 -years on, we’re going back to 1930s depression, deepening inequality in material condition and the growth of radical-right populism. It can’t be denied that we’re seeing a widening gulf between the north and south of England. Just as disturbing, we appear to be witnessing a big gap opening up between the cosmopolitan core cities of Manchester and Newcastle and nearby urban post-industrial and coastal towns where’s there much discussion about the ‘white working-class’ becoming marginalised, angry, left out and left-behind.

Opinion

I’ve got those lazy crazy lockdown blues

Peter Lathan

I’m also beginning to think that I am suffering from some bizarre form of Stockholm Syndrome. I put my shoes on this morning (first time I’ve worn shoes or socks for months) and went out to start the car. Guess what? The battery is flat, not the teeniest, weeniest, tiniest suggestion of the smallest scintilla of a little sparklet, and, you know, I feel almost relieved at finding another reason not to go out.

What next?

Sally Young

The North East, with its skills and industrial know-how should be at the forefront of a green revolution. As others have already advocated, it has the potential to become an international hub of carbon neutral technologies and wind-related energy sources.

Is Sunak leaving you out?

Peter Lathan

When, before the Chancellor’s statement, the Bylines editor suggested I wrote a commentary piece on government policy (i.e. change your mind every few minutes) as it related to theatre I said, “I wouldn’t dare write a political article – I suspect only every tenth word would be publishable!”

Transforming our communities: transforming what and why?

Penny Grennan

This is where our hope lies, in our communities. Seven months ago there were many examples of unity and action. A time when we clapped for carers, walked round our gardens to raise money, helped people who were shielding, organised, cooked, shopped, and supported our front-line workers. These many hundreds of examples of community action demonstrate that there is an alternative. What’s more, groups and individuals are still supporting each other and those in need.

Make masks matter: imagine all the people…

Yvonne Wancke

Make Masks Matter aims to spread positive messages in our communities in a creative way, whilst also protecting each other. The idea is to wear a mask with a message, take photos and publish on social media. Lynne said: ”It’s easy to use a Sharpie permanent marker to write on a disposable or re-useable mask, working your message around the folds so that it is readable when the mask folds are opened while wearing it.

Alternative ways to protest during ‘lockdown’

Louise Brown

In a similar vein displaying political art, music or poetry can grab people’s attention in real life and on social media. Likewise, a lockdown does not prevent us from wearing political messages on our clothes or masks to get the message out. If you are sharing such images or lyrics on social media be sure to tag in your local politicians.

BREAKING

Further Covid restrictions in the North East

Yvonne Wancke

The leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes said: “The evidence we’ve found from local testing is that it’s spreading in three main areas: in pubs, in people’s homes and in grassroots sports…[council leaders] have put together a series of requests to government for additional restrictions around these areas for a fixed period of time to try to prevent a damaging full lockdown.”