A Black Day for the NHS

Hospital bed

It’s not often that I feel the need to express a political view here, but today the UK has voted to leave the EU. I would like as a result to express my solidarity with those people who have emigrated from EU member states to the UK and thank them for their contribution to the betterment of our society and hope that they will stay particularly as their contribution is vital to our NHS. In a letter sent to the Times on the 14th. of June the former presidents and chairs of the UK’s Royal Colleges and members of the British Medical Association set out why, if we care about the future of the NHS, we need to remain in the EU. I can only add my voice to this.

“Rather than ruining the NHS, as some have claimed, immigrants play a large part in running it. Without the 10 per cent of doctors and 5 per cent of nurses who come from other EU countries, not to mention even larger numbers of care workers, the NHS would face severe staff shortages.

Moreover, far from being strangled by bureaucratic regulations, we have benefited from Europe-wide action on matters such as new infectious diseases (including the zika virus), environmental pollution, climate change, and antibiotic resistance — all of which are public health threats that do not stop at the Channel.

We benefit from rapid access to new medicines because of the European Medicines Agency, based in this country. In addition, about 20 per cent of our medical research is now funded by the EU; we receive considerably more back from the EU for this than we pay in. If we leave we can expect to lose a good proportion of this to other EU countries.

Finally, rather than the discredited £350 million a week that Leave campaigners say would be redirected to the NHS, it seems far more likely that there would be an immediate large decline in national income, which can only worsen the existing financial crisis that faces the NHS.” 

Unfortunately these fears may now be realised.

So what else this week….. I guess the most important message this week came from both the RCN and the BMA who both had major conferences this week and both pointed out that the reduction in Hospital beds across the country is now gone to far resulting in a risk of harm to more patients as a consequence. For more on this story see:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36579900

To see why we should be worried and find out the real figures got to http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Hospital-Care/Beds/


It’s Summer; Get Out Into That Garden!


Went back to one of my favourite places for getting information about older people , which is the the King’s Fund and found this! Last month they published a report extolling the virtues of gardening. As well as the obvious physical benefits – digging or raking a lawn for 30 minutes requires as much energy as a 2km (1.2-mile) run –  it appears gardening can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and cancer. But even gentle gardening had an impact in much less obvious ways, the report said. It could improve balance, thus helping reduce falls in older people and it is also a recognised way of tackling anxiety and stress.

Simply being in a garden can be beneficial too.In care homes, gardens have been found to be good for reducing the agitation and aggression linked to dementia, while hospices have found the tranquillity of nature can play an important part in end-of-life care. so if you want to find out more you can access the report at http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_publication_file/Gardens_and_health.pdf

Another resource that appeared recently was produced by a group of Community Occupational Therapists in working within West Lothian Council social services. This booklet is unusual as its design is based on principles that value the importance of people remaining as independent and active as possible, and the positive effect this has on health and wellbeing. So its a rough guide to living well with dementia. If you want to look at what they have suggested and share this resource more widely you can find it at:


Can the NHS Please Talk to Care Homes?

Care Home image

Last month the Alzheimer’s Society released a report called “Fix Dementia Care: NHS and Care Homes” marks the second phase of an Alzheimer’s Society campaign looking at the experiences of people with dementia in a range of health and care settings. It contains the results of a survey of care home managers and the voices of people with dementia, their families and carers. The report sets out recommendations for the government and NHS to improve the experiences of people with dementia in care homes. Its maybe not a surprise that the Society would produce such a report but its some of the findings that area concern, for example nearly half of care managers felt that the NHS was not providing timely services to residents and even worse 1 in 5 reported being charged by GP’s for services that are meant to be free! The scale for the charges is most shocking as the average charge was just over £12,000 (per year presumably). Worrying also is the turnover of staff which may be running as high as 30% per year. Time to work more closely together I think and time to end the scandalous additional charging. If you want to see the full report go to: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/download_info.php?downloadID=1893  and download it.

There is also a campaigning page on this theme at: https://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=153&ea.campaign.id=46329

Also this week Marie Curie have a published a report that looks at the realities of End of Life Care for people who are LGBT. I suppose again this is quite disheartening but its worth having a look so that at least you have a better understanding of the LGBT community’s views on this. With the increasing number of older people and the likelihood that care homes will provide more specialist end of life care in the future care home managers should take note.  For more information and to access the report go to https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/blog/palliative-care-lgbt/139594

Scotlands Dementia Awareness Week 2016

grace-notesThis year it runs from 30 May – 5 June, so today there are still 2 days to go! However the attention and resources made available are worth locating. I will start of with something that came out of a project carried out here, called “Grace Notes”.  This inspiring project brought together students, people with dementia and their carers to create six brand new songs exploring the theme of dementia. The songs are being released each day this week and we are at number 5 today, so one left to go.

You can access the songs at:


You have also still got time to head along to fundraising event, see http://daw.dementiascotland.org/events

You might also want to look at three new videos at Police Scotland that all came out this week. Interesing and moving and a great resource if you have to discuss Dementia.Henry has dementia and if you are one of our National Dementa Champions you might recognise him. Brian cares for some one with Dementia and DAWDLE is a support group.

I have posted all 3 below and hope you enjoy watching.





These resources are as well as the BBC Scotland resources at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03tqk11

and the BBC’s Living with Dementia pages http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03qzz8m

which I have already mentioned in the Blog before. So much new stuff in such a short period of time!