38 Degrees And The NHS

.The campaigning organisation 38 Degrees have got a website tracking the NHS in each local area – you can find it here.

They state for South and Mid Essex:

16% of patients in your area wait more than four hours to be seen in A&E. The official government target is a maximum of 5%.
£407m is the funding gap for the NHS in your area.

Heavy Traffic And A Possible Link With Dementia

The Guardian has an article here about a possible link between heavy traffic and dementia:

People living near a busy road have an increased risk of dementia, according to research that adds to concerns about the impact of air pollution on human health.

Roughly one in 10 cases of Alzheimer’s in urban areas could be associated with living amid heavy traffic, the study estimated – although the research stopped short of showing that exposure to exhaust fumes causes neurodegeneration.

Hong Chen, the scientist who led the work at Public Health Ontario, said: “Increasing population growth and urbanisation has placed many people close to heavy traffic, and with widespread exposure to traffic and growing rates of dementia, even a modest effect from near-road exposure could pose a large public health burden.”

Previously, scientists have linked air pollution and traffic noise to reduced density of white matter (the brain’s connective tissue) and lower cognition. A recent study suggested that magnetic nano-particles from air pollution can make their way into brain tissue.

The latest study, published in The Lancet, found that those who live closest to major traffic arteries were up to 12% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia – a small but significant increase in risk.

The study, which tracked roughly 6.6 million people for more than a decade, could not determine whether pollution is directly harmful to the brain. The increased dementia risk could also be a knock-on effect of respiratory and cardiac problems caused by traffic fumes or due to other unhealthy life-style factors associated with living in built-up urban environments…..

All this research shows is that, after allowing other factors such as wealth and other health issues, there seems to be a small increased risk of dementia. However it’s not clear whether it’s caused by air pollution, or by noise that disturbs people’s sleep patterns. Or it could even be that people who are more susceptible to dementia simply have a preference for living in busier, more bustling environments , or that people at less risk of dementia have an underlying wish to live in quieter places….

Therapy For You… “Take the first step to feeling better”

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression ,bereavement or loss, sleep difficulties, anger issues, obsessive compulsive disorder or phobias, there’s an initiative that might help – Therapy For You.

Have a look at their website here.

Therapy For You is part of the Department of Healths Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative….
….. We offer access to a range of different talking therapies, including our innovative online psychoeducational courses, face-to-face psychoeducational and group courses and offer access to sessions with Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, Counsellors and Cognitive Behavioural Therapists. All of our treatments are offered in accordance with NHS treatment guidelines and if you decide to register with our service, you can discuss each pathway with a qualified professional.

Our services are available to anyone over the age of 18 who lives in South Essex and is not currently receiving secondary mental health care or crisis services. In particular, we can help if youre experiencing anxiety or stress, depression, bereavement or loss, sleep difficulties, anger issues, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias and many other everyday problems..

… 98.6% got help that mattered. When asked for feedback, almost all service users felt they got the help that mattered to them throughout their course of treatment…


The Voice At The Other End Of Your 999 Call

For those readers interested in the public services, the Guardian is running a series of articles allowing some of the workers in those services to write about their experiences. A good example is this one:

…. Ive worked as an emergency medical dispatcher for 14 months. I provide telephone triage to patients, and prioritise where limited resources will go first. I assess whether someone having a heart attack needs to be seen before a person with a broken arm; neither is more or less important, but one could die. Like any NHS service, the ambulance service has to determine medical need and treat accordingly. There are simply too many people relying on the service, and not enough ambulances to help them.

Getting an address, which is imperative to finding a patient, can be one of the hardest tasks. Drink and drugs account for the majority of weekend calls. I dont judge lots of people enjoy a night out but this evening I had a call from Steve, and I didnt like Steve…

Full article here.

Cllr Steptoe’s Decisions On Council Car Parks

Mike Steptoe is the affable Tory councillor for Barling and Sutton, and is the cabinet member for “Enterprise”. Which means he’s the person who makes decisions about whether to have free car parking in council car parks at Xmas, and whether to charge the NHS for using car parking spaces for breast screening or other health checks.

He’s just made the following decisions – you can download the document here.

First of all, there’s going to be the usual free parking in council car parks on Saturdays mornings in December before Christmas – the 5th, 12th and 19th. However Cllr Steptoe turned down the idea of boosting trade for the sales period by having an extra free Saturday morning after Christmas.

Secondly, there is the controversial question of whether to charge the NHS for having a breast cancer screening service in one of our car parks. The council currently charges the NHS at a reduced rate – 1066 for a four month period. The new policy is to give a fixed 75% reduction for any organisation serving the public. On this basis the NHS would pay 909 for four months.

The amounts of money are not huge, and some people will say this is a reasonable compromise. Others will say that the breast screening service is coming to benefit our residents and shouldnt be charged at all. As a comparison, if you were an employer and a cancer screening service were offering to come to your premises free of charge and screen your employees, would you charge them for taking up space in your company car park?

New Application Just In – 91 Dwellings And A Replacement Care Home Off London Road

On the latest list, so plenty of time before this gets to committee:

Parish Rayleigh Town Council
Ward Sweyne Park

Demolition Of Existing Care Home And All Other Buildings,
Erection Of 91 Dwellings Comprising 34no. Three Bed Houses,
24no. Four Bed Houses, 8no. Five Bed Houses, 7no. One Bed
Flats, and 18no.Two Bed Flats, Construction Of Replacement Part
Single and Part Two Storey 13 Bedroom Care Home, Associated
Parking and Landscaping, Stopping Up Of Existing Access, and
Improvement Of Existing Access Onto London Road.
Location: Timber Grove London Road Rayleigh

“The 5 reasons Addenbrookes really failed and what it means for the whole NHS “

A informed resident highlighted for us this article on the OURNHS website – here’s an extract:

So where did it all go wrong?

Not just for Addenbrookes damned by the CQC for understaffing but for the three quarters of Trusts this week exposed as facing similar problems?

The Tory led Coalition government inherited an NHS in 2010 that had the highest ever satisfaction ratings and the lowest ever waiting times.

Under the guise of deficit reduction, David Cameron promptly set about shrinking public services and creating a permanentlyleaner state, which he admitted in 2013 was an ideological project that would continue regardless of the global economic situation. It is all about selling off the public services we are proud of to his friends in the City.

Firstly Cameron and Osborne imposed homeopathic increases to the NHS budget year on year. These NHS budget increases were below inflation – so in essence, cuts. You cant maintain a decent health care system with below inflation rises something has to give.

Second the Tories imposed the disastrous reorganisation on the NHS, the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This put earlier pro-market New Labour policies on steroids, and diverted vast amounts of both energy and cash away from frontline services, into running a the NHS as an expensively bureaucratic marketplace.

Thirdly Chancellor George Osborne slashed social care spending by up to 40% and then blamed the local authorities who had no choice but to cut services. Patients were stuck in hospital beds unable to be discharged because the social care provision had been cut to the bone in the community.

Fourthly Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged Trusts to move to a paperless NHS, as part of the Tories digital revolution. Last year Addenbrookes the first to adopt US firm Epics e-hospital system – was being hailed as highlighting how eHealth can have a transformative effect on patient experience and outcomes. But the system was a disaster a report in November revealed that A&E performance had dropped by 20% since it was implemented.

And lastly the Tories imposed year on year pay cuts to every NHS staff member, even as workloads increased due to frontline staff shortages and time wasted on market paperwork. To justify their attacks, Tory politicians vilified doctors as lazy and greedy, and nurses as cruel and uncaring. Unsurprisingly, morale plummeted. It was as if they were punishing nurses, porters, midwives for the misdeeds of the bankers, who carried on enjoying their multi-million pound bonuses.

Right now, they are attempting to impose a pay cut of up to 40% on junior doctors which looks like its about to prompt a massive brain drain of doctors at the start of their career. Morale has never been so low as it is amongst our NHS doctors….

Full article here.

Aiming For A Healthier Essex

The District Council’s Review Committee met last night to hear two presentations on health and care in Rochford and Castle Point.. They were unusually interesting – although too detailed to summarise here. Also full marks to the Labour chair of the committee, Jerry Gibson, for allowing the public to ask questions at the end.

However there are two points worth making. First of all, an effort is being made to get all GP surgeries in Rochford and Castle Point to open 7 days a week.

Secondly , the County Council has a fairly new website to encourage healthy living – https://www.livingwellessex.org/ Its worth a look.

“Rochford Hospital- Over 150 years of caring for the sick and elderly”

There’s a good brief history of Rochford Hospital on the Community Archive here. Here’s an extract:

By 1884 the Board of Guardians of the workhouse hospital were informed that, there is insufficient accommodation for the treatment of patients suffering from infectious diseases and further wards are necessary. However, very little seems to have been done about the overcrowding as, in 1909, the Medical Officer was instructed to obtain tents should it be necessary for the accommodation of the sick. A special committee was set up to consider the implications of new Poor Laws which demanded that the workhouse and infirmary should be treated as separate institutions where, the respectable poor could claim treatment as a right, and where they would be called upon to make such payment as their circumstances allow.

Mammogram from Wikipedia. The breast on the left is healthy, the one on the right is cancerous

Review Committee Asks Cllr Steptoe To Re-Think On Breast Cancer Screening Charges

The Review Committee started the new civic year under its new chairman, Cllr Jerry Gibson. It was a good natured , non-party-political meeting.

The most significant item was a call-in by Cllr Michael Hoy regarding a decision by Cllr Mike Steptoe on charging for commercial use of council car parks. Councillors weren’t concerned so much about the commercial side but by the fact that RDC charges the NHS for having its mobile breast screening unit in our car parks at various times. This is done at a reduced rate , and the amount involved was fairly small – about 2,200 per year. However most councillors had misgivings about the moral principle of this.

In the end the committee referred the issue back to Cllr Steptoe, both on the moral ground, and because the report from officers wasn’t very clear. Mike Steptoe now has the final say. He was at the meeting, and listened very carefully. A lot of people will be hoping he changes his mind on this.

Mike Pitt On the NHS

A Downhall and Rawreth resident (not one of our team) asked Mike Pitt “Will you keep the NHS free at the point of use?” – and received this response:

mike pitt rosette

Yes. I will be alongside my Liberal Democrat colleagues in fighting to keep NHS services free at the point of use.
We have made the NHS one of our priorities at this election: we are committed to increasing the funding by 8billion by the end of the parliament, and are the only party to have provided a clear and costed plan for this funding. I am pleased some of the others agree it is needed now.
If you would like more detail I am happy to do so, but I thought a short answer to a short question would be appreciated.
Thanks for getting in touch,