UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights to Investigate Welfare Reforms

The United Nation’s Committee on the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) announced on Wednesday there will be an inquiry regarding  how the UK government has “ensured austerity measures … do not disproportionately affect, in particular, disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups”.

This inquiry will address more than 30 topics on a very broad remit and include questions on the gender pay gap, youth unemployment, migrant workers and asylum seekers and trade union rights, with a focus on establishing whether the reforms have had a disproportional impact on lone parents, children and disabled people and also, whether the tax credit cuts will leave people without an adequate standard of living.

The Committee will also investigate what steps are being taken to cut the number using food banks and whether mental health services are adequate in the light of the cuts.

Last year, Olivier De Schutter (a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food) pointed to increases in the number of food banks in developed countries such as the UK as an indicator that Governments are “in danger of failing in their duty to protect citizens under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” (IESCR), which states that all citizens should have access to adequate diet without having to compromise other basic needs.

He said: “Food banks should not be seen as a “normal” part of national safety nets. They are not like cash transfers or food vouchers, to which people in need have a right under developed social security systems. Food banks depend on donations, and they are often run by volunteers: they are charity-based, not rights-based, and they should not be seen as a substitute for the robust social safety nets to which each individual has a right.”

Developed and developing countries alike have a responsibility to dedicate the “maximum available resources” to fighting poverty to fulfil the human rights they have promised their citizens by signing up to treaties, and it is here that the United Nations believes Britain is failing in its duties.

Iain Duncan Smith told the Work and Pensions Select Committee yesterday that he intends to place job advisors in food banks, indicating that the government considers charitable food banks are now a compensatory and integral part of welfare provision to indemnify against the inefficiencies and inadequacies of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and to plug the gaps in increasingly woefully inadequate provision due to the punitive Tory cuts to benefits and harsh “reforms” of the welfare state.

It’s a retrogressive leap back to the patchy and discriminatory poor relief administered by a voluntary private nineteenth-century welfare system of charitable and voluntary organizations, which were a Conservative response to their sensitivity towards the wealthy, and ever-present fear of burdening rate payers with the costs of the stigmatised “undeserving, dependent” able-bodied pauper. But history has taught us that the socio-economic system which makes some people wealthy creates casualities also – it invariably creates situations of insolvency for others.

Iain Duncan Smith also presents a late recognition and tacit admission of a clear link between Conservative welfare policy, benefit sanctions, benefit delays, and the rise in food bank use, which was previously denied by the government. The rise in food banks is a direct result of punitive welfare cuts on social groups that are most in need of support.

The inquiry is part of a periodic review of all the countries that have signed up to the covenant, and a UN delegation of independent experts from several countries is set to hold public six-hour talks with government officials next summer.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) submitted a report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights this month, presenting its assessment of the implementation of socio-economic rights in the UK, which flagged up areas of concern, these include:

  • Adequate standard of living, including: fair financial decision-making; impact of social security reforms on people with disabilities, women, and children; and income, child and food poverty;
  • Access to healthcare, including: people with disabilities; older people; other vulnerable groups; and adults and children with mental health problems;
  • Access to education, including: access to further and higher education;
  • Access to civil law justice, including: the impact of reforms introduced through the Legal aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012; and the proposed residence test;
  • Violence against women and girls;
  • Just and favorable working conditions, including: low pay, migrant workers and overseas domestic workers;
  • Equal pay gaps, including: the gender, race and disability pay gaps.
  • Cumulative impact assessments of government policies

A United Nations spokesperson has said that although the review was launched because it was due, rather than in response to a particular concern, representatives from Just Fair, a consortium of 70 UK charities and NGOs, met with the CESCR in Geneva a fortnight ago to discuss concerns about the erosion of rights to food and housing and the economic and social rights of disabled people.

Jamie Burton, the chair of Just Fair, said: “The decision of the committee to investigate these issues is timely and welcome. We and many others are concerned about the adverse impact austerity policies have had on the least well-off and already marginalised in society, including those in work.

Trust me Mr Hunt, I’m an NHS patient

Since last August I’ve sent Jeremy Hunt 57 tweets over 57 days, a few emails and one blog (Trust me Mr Hunt, I’m a junior doctor’s mam) and no response from him. Granted his department has emailed me back, but that doesn’t count. One email even said: “This may not be the reply you were hoping for.” So here is part two of my series of NHS blogs – even if it’s not what you were hoping for Mr Hunt.

Every time I’ve sat down to write this blog, I haven’t known where to start. And I really still don’t – because the NHS is in one, big, bloody mess. Every week, every day something hits the news about the patients and staff caught up in the quagmire and the demise of it. It’s like a game of Jenga. Piece by piece our NHS is being taken apart.

I have needed and used the NHS for the past 57 years. And when I returned from living in Athens for three years in 2010, the NHS was high on my list as a reason to come back. And now? Now a system so revered by the rest of the world, is on its knees. The situation was so bad the other week that the Red Cross described the state of our health service as a “humanitarian crisis”. Theresa May said the situation was “overblown” by them and Hunt had the gall to say in the House of Commons, that a “few areas” were of concern. He definitely becomes Pinocchio in that building, as it transpired later that day that in fact 20 hospitals had been put on a “Black Alert” (or on an “OPEL 4 Alert” as hospitals have been told to call them. Campaigners claim the ban on the term Black Alert came about to spin the NHS out of crisis). A Black Alert is the most serious alert; meaning a hospital is “unable to deliver comprehensive care and there is increased potential for patient care and safety to be compromised.” Out of 120 trusts, almost half have declared a major alert during January this year.

But whatever the semantics or codes used; the NHS is in crisis and healthcare practitioners (HCPs) and patients have taken to Twitter, with #NHSCrisis … to illustrate the fact. A litany of atrocious situations has been described. Trawl the hashtag on Twitter or read the chronicles on the internet to find out. Three news reports have particularly upset and outraged me.

Firstly, a mother released the photo of her child with suspected meningitis – lying on a makeshift bed – made out of two plastic hospital chairs pushed together.

Secondly, in November 2016 patients waiting on trolleys for over 12 hours, after a decision was made to admit them, totalled 456 – the second highest figure on record, 16 times higher than in November 2015.

And finally cancer operations have been cancelled. It is a humanitarian crisis – where’s the humanity or dignity in any of this? It’s criminal.

After the denial, came the deflection from May and Hunt. But none of the above is due to lazy doctors or GPs who already work all hours; nor due to people using A&E for a sore finger; nor due to tourists abusing the system (They account for 0.3% of the NHS budget) or immigrants (who contribute to our NHS) No; all of it is due to a shortage of hospital beds – we have fewer beds per head of population than our neighbouring European countries. All due to chronic underfunding – we spend less on healthcare, as a percentage of GDP, and have fewer doctors and nurses (part three on nursing out next) per head than many of those European countries too. Thousands of HCPs warned us last year though. Kevin O’Kane (consultant) was one, who simply summed up the situation last August in a tweet: “Too few doctors; too few beds.” He continued describing the problem: “Places for medical courses through clearing; deliberate underfunding and swingeing cuts.” Speaking with my son recently, who has just finished 6 months in A&E as part of his training, he said: “Not enough beds for older patients with complex needs.” (Can I add he looks dreadful too – exhausted due to a gruelling shift pattern. That’s the mam coming out in me again).

The emails I received from the Department of Health (DoH) extolling Hunt’s and the government’s intentions, made particular reference to the lie that they are investing £10bn in the NHS. Even their own Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who chaired a cross party Health Committee, refutes it.

The emails failed to mention: the social care cuts of £4.6bn meaning discharged patients can’t get home to be further cared for; failed to mention the cuts in mental health staff and beds meaning distressed patients having to travel up to 100 miles and be away from family; failed to mention funds for mental health not being ring fenced; failed to mention Virgin Care managing over 230 NHS and social care services over the past 6 years meaning Richard Branson has secured contracts worth £1bn; failed to mention outsourcing of administration services meaning referral letters go to the wrong address causing patients to wait longer for specialist appointments; failed to mention PFIs (private financial investments that were used to build hospitals) continuing to accrue interest meaning the debt to the NHS is worth billions – think the biggest Visa credit card ever; failed to mention that they can advertise the sale of NHS contracts, the latest one is a transport contract worth £515m, meaning for-profit businesses can capitalise on a broken system; failed to mention the American companies who have their fingers in pies over here already, such as Bain Capital and United Health; failed to mention that DoH reported £8.7bn of NHS funds went to private companies in 2015/16; failed to mention nearly 100 GPs less in England in Sept 2016, than in 2015, meaning Hunt’s GP recruitment isn’t going too well; failed to mention GP surgery closures due to lack of funds, meaning loss of vital primary care and GPs having to take out personal loans to pay for redundancies; failed to mention rising business rates for some hospitals, our Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Northumberland faces an £8m bill over the next 5 years, due to a 50% increase; failed to mention Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs) in the 44 “Footprint” areas in England, needing to find “efficiency savings” of £22bn, as part of the Five Year Forward View – some of the plans sound commendable, but some also mean cuts – e.g. by 2021 7k NHS jobs and 500 beds are to be cut in North West London (as part of the  £1.3bn savings that have to be found) and in rural South Devon four community hospitals are to be replaced by Wellbeing Hubs (part of their £557m savings) and failed to mention that £2.3m will be spent, in London alone, on management consultants for these STPs.

And definitely would have failed to mention May going cap in hand to see Trump last week, with the possibility of our NHS being on the trading table. And definitely would have failed to mention the revelation 2 days ago, that NHS England’s budget will face a reduction of 0.6% per head in 2018/19. So that IS one big £10bn lie. Expect another email from me Mr Hunt.

No wonder I didn’t know where to start… and I could go on and on.

While Hunt and May deny and deflect. It’s patients and frontline staff who take the brunt. The NHS in England sees one million patients every 36 hours. There are potentially 65 million users of the NHS. And ironically, because we have a population that lives longer, more people are using it today than they were in 1948 when it was founded by Labour. This poses a huge challenge for the NHS, hence the STPs. But why should health trusts and patients and staff bear the load of underfunding?

Yes, it’s in one big bloody mess, but through it all staff show care and tenacity. Someone who encapsulates what our NHS is all about at its best, is Dr Kate Granger, the doctor who pioneered #hellomynameis … simple words, a simple phrase, but they introduce a healthcare practitioner to a patient, a person and open the door to a dialogue. They begin the message: I care; you count.

Sadly, Kate died in July last year, from a rare terminal cancer, but her legacy carries on through that phrase by her husband Chris Pointon and every single doctor, porter, nurse, GP, physiotherapist and consultant who says it. No lip-service. It is part of person-centred care. My new dentist used it the other day when I met her for the first time. Hospitals, clinics and surgeries are less intimidating because of this person-centred care that pervades medicine today. Couple this compassion with collective knowledge, evidence-based practice, skill, training and the ability to stay awake for 12 hour shifts and you have our health service – one that is free at the point of use; publicly funded … you have OUR National Health Service. It says – we have your back. And every HCP busts a gut every day to deliver it. I think it was Ghandi who said: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” I want our NHS to continue for this very reason.

Trust me Mr Hunt; this is what the world reveres. What decent people revere. As a patient this is what I revere. This is what I need for me and my family and future generations. The NHS needs to be run efficiently, we would all agree, but like education our health is not a commodity… to be sold to the highest bidder.

Trust me Mr Hunt; as a patient I would like safe, non- urgent or elective 5 day care with 24/7 emergency care. I would like to carry on seeing my own designated GP, who I have built a relationship with, during the week, as I want continuity of care. Mr Hunt, you must know that a pilot study of 7/7 GP care showed it didn’t work – people failed to attend weekend appointments and it wasn’t financially viable. If I need urgent care then I know to seek it through a pharmacist, walk-in centre, GP OOH (Out Of Hours) or NHS 111 service. Although at the moment some don’t seem too healthy, eg in North Tyneside, three walk-in centres are being reduced to one (£904m of health & social care savings need to be found in this Footprint. Big question – are the walk-ins part of the STP? Answers are hard to come by).

I don’t need a truly 7/7 NHS. I need the services we already have to be robust and easily accessible and well-resourced and to carry on being publicly funded. Stop claiming you are fulfilling the promise of a 7/7 NHS, made in some general election manifesto in 2015, and that the electorate want or need it.

My part one NHS blog was viewed nearly 2k times and was all about my perceptions as the mam of a junior doctor. At the end I asked you Jeremy Hunt, our Secretary of State for Health, if you would recommend a medical career, without any caveats, to your own children? In the light of the above and the fact that your own constituency’s hospital, the Royal Surrey County Hospital, was also on a Black Alert, then I am now asking you: “Would you recommend using the NHS to your family, Mr Hunt? Would you, without any reservations?”

I’m imploring you to properly fund our NHS – cancelling the PFI debt would be a good start. Remember you are a civil servant to serve and represent us as a member of parliament, even if the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 does absolve you of total responsibility for our health. It is a political choice as to how you and your government spend our taxes and how you fund OUR NHS. But first you have to acknowledge you are part of the problem, in order to solve the problem.

Realistically? I think this will fall on stony ground… Hunt will carry on being self-serving and he will let the removal of the Jenga pieces to continue. And when it all tumbles, it will allow the full privatisation of the NHS to happen, with every Tom, Richard B and Harry running off with the pieces. A private health insurance system is not a pretty sight. Costs are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the US. And people with a pre-existing condition, are uninsurable, or at the very best have much higher premiums. Healthcare can’t be paid for by insurers, because insurance needs appropriate risky ratios to succeed. Healthcare becomes a utility, instead of a right. It isn’t a pretty sight.

So now I implore you – the electorate – to keep making some noise by going on Twitter and Facebook, blogging, writing newspaper and journal articles, chatting to friends and family, petitioning, joining campaign groups and unions, getting involved in the next consultation phase of the STPs, lobbying your MP about funding and supporting the NHS Bill (to stop further dismantling and privatisation of the NHS and reinstate it as an accountable public service). Write to or email Hunt about anything NHS.

Engage. Spread the word.

Resist against cuts and closures now before anymore happen. Protest. Demonstrate. Go to the big #OurNHS demo on 4 March in London – backed by Unite, the BMA and the People’s Assembly. If you can’t go, then attend any local events ahead of the march and rally. Publicise and report the big demo on social media and inform mainstream media.

Basically bug the hell out of all of the political parties. Oust the Tories. Go on… you know you want to. It’s what most of us are hoping for.

Patient feedback (Uncredited)    Featured image Junior Doctors
You can follow Wendy on her twitter at @Erriwend and at her webpage #CreativeGeordie


I’m writing a new show that will be biographical and feature tales about mental health. Last time I felt the black dog tugging on his leash was after the death of my dad. In truth though that wasn’t depression it was me grieving, which is perfectly natural. I feel it’s important we recognise that and don’t define ourselves via a condition…some of these jokes are in bad taste…good.  

I hold everything the NHS does in the highest regard. Being Scottish I’m quite reliant on them. I hate these twits that say, “Ah but you can’t expect free care forever.” It’s not free. We pay for it. And being an ex smoker of 20 years, with the amount of tax I’ve paid, when my time is up I want a gold plated bed and disgraced Tories washing my feet while I whack their arses with a rolled up copy of the Morning Star.

I’m not claiming NHS care is perfect. I used to have an uncle who had an NHS pacemaker and every time he farted the garage door would open.

My dad went out in an NHS bed. Not so much to do with a Scots lifestyle and more to do with he was chock a full of white asbestos from his job. The funeral was lovely and very well attended but his cremation went on forever.

That was the last time I felt depressed. But the point is it wasn’t depression I was just grieving. We should recognise that, I feel it’s very important we don’t define ourselves via conditions. Being sad is sometimes the right way to be. I really don’t like how we romanticise bad mental health. Poor old Van Gough get’s that, “Ah well, the reason he was so great was because he was so tortured.”
Bullshit. They claim his last words were  “la tristesse durera” meaning  “The pain is eternal” Well that was conveniently poetic of him wasn’t it?…and just not true. You know what my dads last words were? “You maybe better get a doctor. I think there’s something really wrong with me.” Which makes perfect sense. He wasn’t rattling out little bon mots on the nature of being. “Ah the universe is a hurricane and we are nought but farts.” What? What’s he saying? I’m not sure, something about farting like a hurricane. Ah…it’s probably the mixture of hospital cabbage and morphine.

I reckon Van Gough’s last words probably were more along the lines of, “Speak up you fool, I’m missing a lug. What? No I don’t feel like getting it down in a painting! I’m really fucking depressed! Send out for some prostitutes and Absinth, that tends to work”

And if those really were his last words then he was wrong. Pain isn’t eternal…Well unless you’re watching Scotland in a world cup qualifier. In which case it can feel like it. The point is you get better. Of course I can still feel a swelling of emotion when I think of my dad, but it’s a nice feeling. I was just thinking today how he could be full of constant surprises. I remember watching indie band The Smiths on telly one day and he looked up from his paper and said, “What a lovely singer that man is. Perfect diction, you can make out every word.” I was stunned. As far as music went he wasn’t into anything post Sinatra. Now he’s gone from Sinatra to The Smiths and cut out pretty much everything in between. That’s some gap. Or maybe he just liked the idea of “hanging DJs” Then there was the time gay icon Boy George first appeared on Top of the Pops. Again he looks up from his paper, “What’s that.” He enquired? Not who, what. I said, “It’s Boy George. He’s gay.” To which he replied, “Well if gay means happy then that man’s ecstatic.” A joke I feel good enough to go in this show.

Although the death of my dad from cancer was anything but pleasant I didn’t find it horrific either. Life kind of prepares you for such stuff. And even in among all the pain nice things would happen. The day before he went he decided to rally round and find the strength to watch Scotland play England at Rugby. We hadn’t defeated England in an age…that day we won. Nice one God. I always reckoned if he did exist he’s probably Scottish and invented England to punish us for our sins.

Even on the day of his passing quirky stuff was happening. My family is like The Broons. There’s as many of us as them and like The Broons if one heads out to solve a problem then another nine follow behind them. On the day my dad was at the end he had been put into twilight to ease his pain. It was decided a word with the nurse was required and in typical Broons/Scott family tradition nine of them set off down the corridor and I was charged with watching my dad as I had a “nursing background”. I’d worked for nine months in a psychiatric hospital about ten years prior. They hadn’t been out the room more than two minutes and my dad decided, from whatever level of consciousness he was on, It seems to have gone a bit quite I’ll just sneak away now. And he stopped breathing. I got a fright. I then said, “Shit dad they’re all out the room. Could you please just hang on.” And he promptly started breathing again.

So then I lean out his room and call on the family. As I was doing this I did the most ridiculous thing of keeping one hand on his bed, like you do with a shopping trolley in the supermarket…in case someone is looking for exactly the same groceries as you and makes off with your stuff. I’ve no idea where I thought he might be going. I think the chances of him leaping up and announcing there’s maybe some time left for a final bet at the bookies were slim.

PS My dad’s the one on the left in this photo.

You can follow John Scott on twitter at @JohnScottComedy  or at his blog page  John Scott comedyDissent

That Feeling Of Not Being Good Enough


When I was first told about my Fibromyalgia I was happy in a sense, maybe the wrong word, relieved is better, I had a reason for feeling so awful and in pain all the time, i thought people might actually believe me now, let me learn how to live and that was that. However, in the 6 months since, i have had so many learning curves in relation to living with a disability. I had to grieve my old life, old way of doing things because i needed to look after myself and learn to become happy again in a world where i felt everything i did was wrong.

My very first realisation was with my consultant, while lovely and helpful he started to tell me all the drugs and programmes that can manage my diagnosis and keep the pain at bay. This abled person, who has no idea how hard this has been and continues to be is sitting in his comfy chair being paid thousands to tell me it will be fine I’ll resume my normal life and he wants to discharge me. Then he ushers me out the room and sends me off. With this news, on my own into the world, that’s that. My life, categorised by a single 15 minute appointment, i felt every emotion in about a second.

 me before my Diagnosis

Society has this preconceived idea that the disabled are not mentally or physically capable to carry out a “normal” day to day life. Of course it differs for everyone but all of us have the ability to be a member of society. I think abled people forget while we do have diagnoses we all are more than our illnesses. We love people, we have interests and hobbies, we learn. It’s a mater of adjusting for us. Our life has purpose with or without the same things an abled person has.

In today’s world, we are taught that everyone is equal. Everyone deserves the same treatment, but unfortunately, like a lot of minority groups, most disabled people have faced problems. Employment is one area of life that can be severely affected; employers not wanting to make adjustments, not hiring you, bullying etc. Businesses think of money, in fact money rules almost everything in life. While legally you aren’t supposed to be discriminated against in employment we all know it happens way to frequently. Don’t believe me here are a few news stories.

We are taught that being on benefits and getting help is a sign of weakness, that we should be ashamed and that we are ‘screwing’ the system mainly because of a few abled people who do use the system to make their life easier. Benefits are there for those who need it, truth is it’s hard enough to get on and stay on it and its barely anything in comparison to what we could get while working but it’s something rather than nothing. We don’t need to work to feel proud of ourselves and we don’t have to work to please others.

I haven’t even started on just how the ablest treat the disabled in general. When someone is visibly unwell or disabled for example carrying a stick, you sort of expect a level of respect and compassion. This doesn’t always happen. I was out with my partner, J, who uses a stick to walk and stay up right. On a busy train he was made to stand the entire journey, while business men, school children and other general commuters sat there ignoring him. Its an inconvenience to them, obviously not understanding is a major part of it, but where has the care in the world gone? There are so many stories of people being rude, cruel and unkind to people with disability, and it saddens me that we can be abused so easily. Society has such strict rules and ideas of how people should be in every sense of their self; appearance, ambition, class etc and when you don’t fit the mould you are ridiculed.

Kindness and compassion is free. Its not something that requires effort, but something that can make all the difference. More understanding would be brilliant, but we cannot expect that from everyone. We can however, believe in the power of people, the power of kindness. At least i believe in it.

You can Follow Beth Evans on twitter at @findingfibro and at her webpage findingfibro.blogspot.co.uk 

Featured image “the Journey”  by Brave @Defiaye  check out more at Defiaye.com


E mail me, I will pay attention then.

I have noticed that the spoken word has lost it’s currency. Not in real life, person to person, but in work, organisations and all the times where communication happens and things matter. So to narrow the field I will give an example about work.

I still think the most important interaction is the spoken and listening one.

Let’s give an example of a role in the NHS which scores the highest points for Communications factor and a phrase I have used before; the humble Paramedic.

The most important part of the 999 call once the vehicle has arrived at the scene is the history taking, finding out what happened from the patient, the relatives, the actual caller, bystanders or anyone who was witness to the event that prompted the call.   Patients who are in pain can usually describe with a simple series of questions and answers some very comprehensive information which is relevant to any treatment and a diagnosis.

The onset…was it sudden or gradual?

The location of the pain……does it stay in the same place, radiate or move?

Intensity….. is it sharp, deep, dull ache, sporadic, throbbing, acute?

Positioning……….can changing position improve the pain or make it worse?

Then after the history taking the Health Professional establishes if the patient has ever experienced pain of this type before analysing the characteristics and informing the patient why a measurement method is required which in most health settings is a simple scale from one to ten to ask the patient to score their pain against.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           It is the basis of effective and appropriate treatment of the pain and the patient and puts the patient at the centre of the process.

The measurement of this effective process of communication in a job evaluation process is summarised as follows: “asks question about the pain and completes simple tick box”  and is never used to demonstrate skills in communication. The points that have been scored for the communication factor are a result of barriers to understanding that have to be overcome and highly complex information explained.

The HPC are the regulatory body responsible for the registration  of Paramedics.                     In their “Standards of Proficiency for Paramedics” document there are 9 bullet points about communication in all its forms regarding patients and only 2 bullet points about being “able to maintain records appropriately”. That doesn’t mean there is four times the emphasis from the HPC on communication or that record keeping is four times less important but it is telling how the Service has translated those standards into practice.        I asked a sample number of Paramedics if they knew the number of bullet points there were about communication and then the number about maintaining records and I was not surprised at the answer where every single one answered that they thought there would be huge emphasis on records and forms but less on communication.

Standards of Practice – Paramedics

A Paramedic who documents well, notes everything and files it well will never be struck off and will probably succeed. The Paramedic bible has a famous parable on page one: “If it isn’t written down then it didn’t happen”.                                                                                                                                                        That is why the follow up paperwork and attention to accuracy of patient report (clinical record) can often take longer than the call it refers to, increasing the call cycle time of vehicles and affecting performance as much as many of the other contributory factor often cited as reasons for delays (excluding the number one reason of queues outside A and E).

Well, e mail now seems to be the equivalent and many have lost sight of benefits of e mail. For “if it isn’t written down it didn’t happen”read”if it isn’t documented in writing in an e mail thread then it probably didn’t happen”. The emphasis has moved from verbal communication to written. I have personal experience of a debate where I was told “well you didn’t say that in your e mail” to which I responded “well I am saying it now so I am saying it” to which the response from unnamed was “well I’m only acting on what you said in the e mail” to which i said “I’m the author of the e mail and I am the speaker of the words, they are from the same source …..me”. This is an example of how there is a hierarchy of communication, verbal at the bottom of the pile, then e mail the everyday preferred form, a letter and finally the most important words are that duly noted at a meeting with published minutes.

  1. The Chief mentioned that on the phone
  2. The Chief was walking down the corridor just now and told me that
  3. Ive received an e mail from the Chief about that
  4. The Chief has written a letter about that
  5. At the meeting the Chief had a slot and presented on that and it is minuted and published and will become policy

Because or in spite of my outspoken views on e mail I was privileged to be one of the two staff advisors at the NHS Partnership Forum Task group which authored the recent NHS E Mail Policy. Link here . My influence was taken into account rather than my words quoted. I think the abuse of e mail is complex and varied, the sheer numbers of unnecessary e mails, the presentee-ism, constant checking and flicking on e mails, people e mailing people sat opposite them in the same office or down the corridor on issues that could be better conveyed in a short chat, the reply all to prove that you have read the e mail, the “me too” agreers who reply all with “me too”, sending the wrong attachments or forgetting to attach the attachment at all and 100 other known and unbeknown abuses in e mails name. None of these things are in the policy and are beyond good e mail etiquette.

I remember an e mail which read “Will the person who owns the blue Volvo in the Staff car park please return to it as you’ve left your lights on”, it turned out this e mail was accidentally sent to 80,000 e mail addresses and crashed the NHS server for hours. Someone replied to all. Disaster. Promise it wasn’t me.

I could write a post three times as long as this one about how Twitter has made e mail virtually redundant for some who are leaders on it and relegated whole swathes of people to declare “Twitter, yes I’m on it but I just don’t get it”. These are the same people who haven’t quite got e mail over the past twenty odd years, no surprises there then.

There is a place for e mail and I see its place but in currency terms it is vastly overvalued.

I have been approached by some very clever people who are creating training courses as part of a suite of modules that will help leaders and others gain confidence in communication. There will be an e mail section and I have agreed to review the final version in a critical friend capacity. It was the tortuous and laborious amount of time I spent contributing to and importantly preventing some content and views from colleagues dominating the NHS group and the document we created that has given me the experience to have been asked. It has been something  that I have stated a number of times that “emails sent to you as part of a large distribution list requiring no action on your part, there is no need to reply to them at all”. In other words, if you agree there is no need to answer Reply All. Full stop. I will ensure that when I am able to assist others with training content I persuade them to include some of these as basics.

I will not be writing about NHS related matters on many future posts and as always welcome comments to this blog post as always but will not publish comments.

I will be pleased to receive e mails too but far prefer if you talk with me.


You can follow Joseph Conaghan on twitter @ConaghanJoseph and at his blog page Joseph Conaghan’s Blog:JOE BLOGS

My body and me

This has been a topic that I’ve wanted to discuss for a while, but I’ve always put it off. I’m not sure why I have done that, but I’ve decided now that I’d like to discuss it. Today, I’m going to be discussing my journey with my weight and body.

Note: This post is going to contain mentions of weight related issues, for example: self confidence, eating disorders. If this is going to trigger you in any way, please don’t read further.
If you’re a regular reader of chloetommo, you’ll know that I was bullied quite a lot between the ages of 10/11-18 years old. It was for a lot of different things, but mainly it was for my weight. I have (kind of?) broad shoulders, as well as the fact that I put on weight extremely easily, even though about 5 years ago I had a very high metabolism – as in when I ate food, I swear I lost weight (probably not true, but that’s what it felt like).
I also didn’t shift my ‘puppy fat’ very quickly when I went from child to teenager, so that didn’t help either really. It never really bothered me, until I started doing P.E. in high school. All the girls groups who were timetabled for P.E. in that period had to share the changing rooms then they’d split off into their allocated groups. This was hard, since the ‘popular’ and skinny girls would be there, and they’d mock people. It was irritating to me, because I didn’t think people could be that shallow, so I just brushed it off.
Fast forward to 2012, when I was 15 and this was when sh*t hit the fan. I was being bullied even more for my weight, and someone even had the audacity to say that I was pregnant, because I had a tummy. To clarify, I wasn’t pregnant and never have I ever been. This really upset me and I told my mum the day I went home after that rumour circulated, and she told me to sarcastically agree. I went in the next day and when I responded, I literally did an eye roll so painful, I felt like my eyes had detached from where it’s placed. I also said in the most mocking voice ever “Oh yeah, of course I am”. As idiotic as they were, they actually didn’t understand my sarcasm and took it as confirmation.
October 2012, age 15
In response to the rumours that kept circulating, I became so self conscious that I ended up not eating properly for a minimum of 14 days straight, and I weighed myself 4 times a day. This was awful, as I used to keep a journal (I disposed of it years ago) which had my weight recordings down everytime. It made me feel dreadful, especially because I’d have a breakdown if my weight went up or stayed the same. In my head, it needed to go down. Doing this had a drastic effect on me, as if made me get tired very easy, I lost weight off my breasts and I began to look ill. At this age, I wore make-up so it was easy for me to cover up parts of my face that made me look unwell, particularly my eyes.
When I realised what I was doing wasn’t healthy, I tried to coax myself out of it and got back to eating normally, eventually. Proven to be a struggle, my attempts weren’t as successful as I’d hoped, as whenever I went to eat, it was as if my body and stomach were rejecting the food. The thought, image, smell and taste of food was turning my stomach everytime, no matter what it was.
Moving forward to about age 18, my mental health wasn’t really that great and due to stress from exams and applying for university, I was flipping between binge eating all day, every day, or not eating at all. It wasn’t a good time for me, as stress, depression and anxiety were in the mix, and it was affecting everything. Luckily in sixth form, I had a bit more freedom with my uniform, as long as I wore black and white, so I got away with things I wouldn’t have when I was in lower school or upper school.
I was going to take this as an opportunity to be myself and to dress how I felt comfortable, as opposed to being in a uniform I was forced to follow. I bought a dress from Topshop to use as a pinafore, and it was honestly the most gorgeous thing ever. It was plain black with a deep plunge on the front which mirrored on the back as well. I wore it with a white short sleeve shirt and it really made my figure stand out (I have a quite exaggerated hourglass figure). It made me feel confident as a person, and this kind of turned my perspective a little bit.
First night out in my ‘pinafore’, as well as dealing with horrific anxiety!
Where am I today?
Currently, I’m between a size 12 to size 16 (varies for different clothing, a 16 due to bust, and 12 due to waist) and in all honesty, I’m happy. Sure, I go to the gym and I want to try and eat healthier, but I’m not worried about my weight anymore. I will admit, I do get days where I wish I was thinner, had a flat stomach, a more toned bum, less stretch marks… But I can’t live my life wishing I could nip and tuck every little thing I find ‘wrong’ about myself. I don’t even see it as wrong anymore, just different. I haven’t weighed myself since the weight issues, and it does make me feel good (also I refer to the scales as the naughty step, thanks Joe Wicks!)
A lot of the time, I look around at people and think “We’re all made the same way, and are all human, yet how can we all look so different?” And that sometimes honestly baffles me. We all have different shapes and sizes, we are all of different gender, race and religion, but we all have one thing in common, no matter how different we are.
We’re all human.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and if you have any questions at all, feel free to leave them in the comments or get in contact with me on Twitter!
Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @chloemtommo, Instagram: @chloetommo and Bloglovin.
Have an amazing day!

Let’s Talk Bioresonance: Part 2 – My Experience So Far

First things first, I should just say that I wrote this a year ago, so any time frame mentioned is for back then, not now.

If you haven’t done so already, may I suggest you give Part 1 of this subject a read. It’ll help you understand (hopefully) what Bioresonance actually is. You can do that by simply clicking the link below:


Once you’ve read that, just come right back here & carry on reading Part 2.

Ok so you’ve read Part 1 & are now an expert in the field of Bioresonance but you’re still probably wondering what it’s like to actually experience this treatment.  Well don’t worry because that’s what this post ia all about, my experience so far. Be warned this will also be a long post, so I advise rests for my fellow M.E Warriors & again I’ve had to write this over a few days.

Right then, let’s begin shall we?

I had a couple months waiting time, from making my first appointment to actually getting there.  As you can imagine I was on count down, just willing the days to come & go fast, as by that point, my health had gotten worse & for the most part I was now housebound, only able to venture out a couple times a week & then that usually resulted in sheer exhaustion & pain. However, as the date (18th June 2014) drew closer, the nerves & stress of the unknown began to surface & this resulted in my body producing adrenalin. Now as all those with M.E know, this is like being injected with poison every single day, so by the time the day of my appointment arrived, I was feeling pretty bad to say the least.

So nausea at an all time high, we set off on the two & a half hour journey to Bramley, Leeds for my first two hour consultation.  I don’t remember much from the journey, I think I was a little quiet.  I remember taking a couple of pictures of the scenery & sending them to a friend that was texting me & I think I got a message off another friend saying they hoped everything went well.  But apart from that, the journey was a blurr really, I think that was because I was concentrating on keeping my stress & nerves down.

We got there with some time to spare, which was good because it meant I could have a breather, have a granola bar & my next lot of medication (a true spoonie is never without her pills & or a snack) I’ll add in here, that we were in one of the specialist’s houses, as the treatment was done in his conservatory at the time (they’re now in a little office unit)  So we meet one of my specialists, who is just lovely & has had M.E & used the Bioresonance treatment to make himself better!  I don’t often speak face to face to people that have experienced what I’m going through, but it was just so wonderful speaking to him & when I was telling him how I am with this illness, the nods of knowing, understanding & hearing the words “I know exactly what you mean” were so comforting & made me feel like I was in good hands.

Ok now let’s get down to business, the real reason you’re here reading this post: To learn what this treatment is like;

So I get comfy in the chair, feet on the metal plates, probes in hand & the machine is turned on. This first time is a full body check basically & as frequencies start to block & I’m told what’s being found, I’m then asked about certain symptoms & my health in general.  I’m not going to go into detail on every little thing that was discovered, they’re private & really things I only want my mum & my specialists to know about, not the whole world, as there are things that I would like to remain private regarding my treatment & what I’m being treated for in addition to the M.E.

The main point of interest really that was found, in keeping with the whole subject of this blog, is that I have a whole load of Epstein Barr Virus!  A lot of it was found in a number of glands in my brain (it sounds so weird!) so I was asked to place the smaller more intensive treating probe on my forehead to begin with. As soon as I did so, I could feel the treatment doing it’s thing.

The only way I can describe it, is if I you get two magnets & play with them, trying to fit them together, you can feel a force between them, one magnet rejecting the pole of the other.  It was the strangest feeling & with every passing moment, the pain I was feeling in my head was getting worse.  I’m not going to lie, this was quite a painful experience when it truly got going & I had a lot of time spent on my head. The Epstein Barr was sat in a whole host of places in my brain, that effected all different functions throughout my body, including my emotions & my nervous system.

When these points in particular where beginning to be clear of the virus, my adrenaline began to kick in as a reaction & I could feel that poison running through me & I began to shake.  As if that wasn’t enough, my emotions began to become more intense & out of nowhere I began to cry & as one of my friends would say, I was a “hot mess!”

I like to think I’m pretty tough, my tolerance for pain has improved a lot out of necessity over the past year, but my specialist looked at me at one point & said “you can take a break you know” I don’t remember really saying anything to this, I think I just nodded, all the while my body was still shaking & I had tears rolling down my face.  I was looking so attractive & very thankful I don’t wear mascara!  I took the probe off my head & he set the machine to work on calming down my nervous system for me. There’s no way I could have calmed myself as quickly as he got the machine too. I also went through a couple of lovely colour changes while this was all going on; from my usual pale white to the wonderful grey that every M.E Warrior knows & back to pale white.

I will point out here, that this wasn’t & isn’t the normal reactions to the Bioresonance treatment in general.  This was my own body reacting to what was being done & partially due to the virus fighting against the frequencies that were killing it.  Getting rid of the virus allows the effected parts of the brain to begin to heal & begin to work correctly again. That is what I was experiencing.

I’ve not had this intense a reaction since, yes at certain times, I’ve felt some pain when being treated for certain things but nothing like that first treatment. I’m actually very sensitive to the Bioresonance treatment, more than most people, so I can feel it working & can actually pin point which areas are being worked on. I also find, when the Epstein Barr Virus is being worked on, it sets off certain symptoms, my temperature goes through a number of variations, my nausea kicks in more & one that’s always fun, the muscle spasms multiply, especially in the tops of my arms.  Again this is more likely the virus fighting to stay alive than any adverse reaction to the treatment itself.

So after my treatment was over, I somehow managed to get from the house to the car, put on my hoodie, put my hood up, laid down in the back of the car & just closed my eyes pretty much until we got home.  I was a bit of a wreck for the next few days but by the following week I’d picked up a bit & one thing I did notice, was that my muscle spasms have lessened a little & they’re still not as bad as they used to be.  My mum has also noticed that I no longer go grey when I’m crashing, this isn’t such a good thing, as she can no longer read me & I’m now having to listen even more to my body & be even more open on how I’m actually feeling & when I’ve had enough.

One revelation (if you will) regarding this is that the second specialist I am now seeing said that the Epstein Barr is incredibly deep in the cells of my body.  He began to ask me when I thought I became ill; now I’ve always thought a bad case of swine flu triggered it off around 2008/2009.  But my mum said, that she wasn’t so sure, she remembers me hitting the age of 11/12 & becoming incredibly exhausted all the time, resulting in missing a lot of school. I would never make it through a full term without having time off.  She said after a while of this, as I got older, I seemed to get better but then after leaving school & going to work, I then went through stages of having no time off to missing on average a day a week from work due to sickness & exhaustion.  But again, I seemed to come right, until around 2009/2010. By the time 2011 hit I seemed to be struggling again, 2013 I finally got a diagnosis for what was wrong; M.E/CFS or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (to give it’s proper name & if you think it’s hard to say, you should try living with it) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

As my mum was relating this, my specialist was in full agreement & from what he could see as to how deeply the Epstein Barr is in me, I have likely had it since I was 11/12 years old, as my mum has figured out.  So with that revelation, I’ve actually had undiagnosed M.E for 18 years & diagnosed for a year now, in fact, it was a year last month since my official diagnosis.

Anyways, I’ve had four treatments so far over the course of two months & I’m going to my fifth this coming Wednesday.  Each treatment has become easier, less painful & the amount of things I’m being treated for is becoming less each time, which means more time can be spent on clearing my Epstein Barr Virus, which is the main reason I’m having the treatment in the first place, it’s the main thing that stops me having a normal life.  I will admit the improvements haven’t been massive so far & I’m still very much up & down daily, but that is to be expected as my body is dealing with a lot right now & it’s still early days.  Plus the traveling is a bit of a killer for me, I can be exhausted by a 20 minute car journey, so a two & half hour one there & back leaves me dead for a good few days.  The day I see improvement in my PEM (Post Excursion Malaise) from the journey, that’s the day, I will know that I’m beginning my recovery but until then, I’m just doing my best to get through the bad days & enjoy the good.

Due to this fact, I’m still on very strict rest, which is driving me crazy!  I get out a couple times a week but not really any more than that.  I’ve been told that although in time, I’ll likely begin to feel much better & feel like I can have days where I can do more, my body is simply not up to it & I will set my treatment back & likely do more damage. The repair stage of this treatment hasn’t begun yet, that will start once everything that shouldn’t be in my body is pretty much gone.  After all you can’t begin to repair something if the cause of the damage is still there, the repair work would be futile!

So I think that pretty much covers my experience so far with Bioresonance, please do not be put off by my reaction during my first treatment.  I’m sharing this to help anyone considering this treatment to be aware of what may go on, as I didn’t have a clue.  Everyone’s experience with this treatment will be different, the way my body reacted will likely be completely different to someone else & it’ll also differ from illness to illness.  Even cases of M.E will likely all have different reactions to this, I mean, that one isn’t hard to understand considering how variable M.E itself is from person to person.

I hope after reading this & Part 1 on the subject of Bioresonance treatment, it has made it at least a little clearer as to what I’m having done & how it’s been for me so far.  I hope this post finds all my fellow M.E Warriors as well as they can be & all the non M.E Warriors staying healthy & doing well.

Thank you for reading & take care everyone.

Let’s Talk Bioresonance Part 1: What Is It?

Over a year ago now, I was put in touch with a couple of Bioresonance specialists (don’t worry I will explain what it is in the course of this post) through a good friend, as one of the specialists had said they could definitely help me. In fact he said they could cure me! Now I don’t like the word cure in relation to myself.  For such a small word, it can give you very big hopes that may not happen.  So I, instead, (I guess to protect myself from further grief & disappointment related to my M.E) think of it as, it can make me better or put me in the recovery stage of this illness. Actually as I’ve learned more about the main virus that causes M.E, (the Epstein Barr virus) that is more accurate I feel & here’s why;
The Epstein Barr virus piggy backs onto other viruses, such as the flu virus or the one that causes Glandular fever, it likes to get itself deeply (the longer you have it, the deeper it is) rooted into all the body’s systems & cells (this is why there are so many symptoms with M.E) So, even though the Bioresonance treatment can eliminate this virus over time, I am still at risk at picking it up again, actually I’m at a higher risk due to the fact I’ve got it now & therefore more susceptible to getting it again. This means once the virus is completely gone, I will still have to see my specialists a couple times a year to be checked.
Now I don’t like comparing illnesses, but you could think of it this way; A person sadly gets cancer, they have treatment & the cancer is gone, (I know there’s a lot for to it but I’m making it a simple comparison) some will say they are cured, others will class themselves as being in remission or recovery.  However, because the person has now had cancer, they are at a higher risk of getting it again & so have to undergo regular checks as a precaution.  This is how it will work with me, (I will be in recovery) & I’m ok with that as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I said above that I would explain what Bioresonance Treatment actually is, so here we go & I’ll try my best to explain in simple terms (I’ll explain it to you as I had it explained to me) as it can be quite difficult to get your head round at first.  I also ask that you keep an open mind to this as well:
Our bodies were created to “run” at certain healthy frequencies. Unfortunately, due to our current imperfect condition, our bodies frequency can be effected in a negative way by the things around us. Anything we have around us that emits it’s own frequency (mobile/cell phones, T.Vs, computers & the like) can knock off our own healthy frequency.  The viruses, parasites & bacteria that we may come into contact with & contract also run on their own frequencies. Their frequencies, also have a negative effect on our own, this causes us to become ill.
The Bioresonance machine can identify these wrong, unhealthy frequencies, tell you what the found frequency actually is (wifi radiation, geopathic stress, viruses, to name a few) & eliminate these.  It also uses healthy frequencies to get the body to start it’s natural healing process & then can help the body repair the damage that has been done by the viruses, parasites, radiation or whatever it is, that decided to live inside you. Once this is all done, your body is back to its normal healthy self. The time this can take varies depending on what illness, viruses, parasites, bacteria or radiation it’s dealing with.
Just a point of note: There are a few of makes of the actually Bioresonance machines & they differ in the frequency wave form that they use.  One sends the frequencies through your body in the form of a curved wave, (think about how you draw rolling waves of the sea) this method is completely harmless & does no damage to the body cells & tissue at all. This is how the machine I’m on works & it’s made by a company called Rayonex, I’m not in anyway endorsing them by the way, just passing on helpful information.  The other machines send the frequencies through the body in a block form wave & although this is still effective in treating you, I’ve been told that it apparently can damage the bodies tissue & cells, which is likely to cause more problems.  So if you do want to check out having this treatment, I suggest a couple of questions to be asked: What the wave form of the frequencies are? & what make the Bioresonance machines are?
This is the shortened, hopefully easier explanation of what Bioresonance is & does, but for more information, I suggest having a look at the following sites, as they might help explain it better:
This is the site for the makers of the machine I’m having my treatment on:
I think that about covers what or how the treatment works, well hopefully.  Now I’ll tell you about the actual machine, as in what you do to be treated;
Firstly, here’s what one type of the machines actually looks like:
Now let’s move to what goes where. So for starters, you get nice & comfy in your chair, (the one I’m in now is a recliner, which for me that’s great as I am better with my legs up for a prolonged length of time) But originally I was in a normal comfy chair. I had to put my bare feet on two metal plates:
Then I had to hold in each hand, two metal probes (in want for a better word) like these:
These are the contact points from which the waves produced by the Bioresonance machine enters the body.
I also had another probe, that I held but then was asked at times to place it on different parts of my body, mainly on my head, as that’s where most of my Epstein Barr resided, the crafty thing!
This probe is used when the waves need to be more intensive in certain areas of the body.  The exact location in the body is shown by the frequency given on the screen of the machine when the waves hit a problem.  It’s also with this probe that you feel machine doing it’s work, but I’ll go into that more in part two of this subject.
There is also something called a Poloariser, or Aerial, that is attached to the machine as it works:
This is also used to indicate when the frequencies hit a problem.  When all is going well & the frequencies are quite happily moving freely through your body, the Poloariser will move round in a circular motion.  When the frequencies hit a problem, the aerial will begin to move vertically & will continue to do so until the problem begins to clear & once cleared, it again goes back to it’s normal circular motion.
So you basically just sit in your comfy chair, feet on the plates, probes in hand & let the machine go about it’s work. You can even nod off if you are so inclined, unless you are like me & want to know what’s going on, what’s being checked & what the problem is when the polariser is frantically giving up & down, which it does quite strongly with me at times – Thanks Epstein Barr!
One side note, which I think is actually pretty cool, (that might be the nerdy geek me talking) is that because of the way it works, you can actually add certain frequencies to water & then when you drink it, you are essentially putting those frequencies into your body. Yes I know that does seem a bit “out there” & hard to comprehend but come on in the medical age we live in, it’s surely not that unbelievable? A couple of weeks ago, one of my specialists gave me two bottles of water that contained cellular energy (I’m not allowed energy in any other form as he doesn’t want me running around before the damage in my body is completely repaired) in them to help my cells & Mitochondria gain some extra energy.
He also asked that I bring to my next appointment, a few 2litre bottles of water for him. This time, while I was having my treatment, he had the pack of water stood on two of the metal plates your feet to on & the treatment I was getting, the water was also getting. So I’m now drinking the water (it doesn’t effect the taste) & having extra treatment until I go back in two weeks time!  Mind.Blown!
So there you have it I guess, that pretty much sums up Bioresonance Treatment in the least complicated way I could possibly master.  As you can see, I’m certainly no expert on this, but I feel like I’ve got a decent understanding of it & what it’s doing to me in order to make me better. I really hope the information & explanation I’ve given has helped & if you want to know more, please feel free to ask me. Also don’t forget to check out the links I’ve given, they will hopefully help.
In Part two, I will be sharing my own personal experience with this treatment, my diagnosis & how it actually feels while having it. My first experience of it was pretty interesting to say the least & I feel like sharing that will at least let anyone who is thinking of trying this, know what to expect, as I wasn’t sure at all & as such, my adrenalin levels were through the roof leading up to my first treatment. But anyways, enough of that for now.
I hope you are all doing well, or are as well as can be & taking care.
All info provided by Louise

fracking and the death of the green society

So the Tories got there way and marched back in to power this time all on their own to do whatever they please ok it’s a slim majority but with the abstain party in opposition sorry the Labour party it seems they have taken this as a green light to do what they want . Speaking of green we have all read and heard about the cuts to disability to screwing of the Scotland bill or the welfare but what has slipped under the radar is their attack on the green policies.

The Government has all but abolished the flagship green homes scheme which encouraged homeowners to cut down on their energy bills through new boilers insulation as well as other ideas gone and they plan to replace it with well nothing .The Green investment bank often used by Cameron and Osbourne as there card to say they were green friendly is to have 70% of it sold off according to Sajid Javid the business secretary.

Scotland as we know are big fans of onshore wind farms as a way forward but that is also getting axed as Amber Rudd the energy and climate secretary says it should pay for itself and has no future, lovely even though it has attracted a lot of investment and can be the most efficient way of producing low carbon energy. Solar power is for the chop too even though the sector has seen it grow steadily over the last couple of years and don’t mention Tidal power still waiting for Government funding .

So what are we going to do without solar, wind or tidal well the Governments big plan is FRACKING yes fracking the one thing every environmental group says we shouldn’t touch with a barge pole. John Ashton a former special envoy on climate change said “you can be in favour of fracking and you can be in favour of tackling climate change, but you can’t be in favour of both”. New York State banned fracking after a public health commissioner found serious health risks it has even been banned in Denton, Texas known as the birth place of Fracking and if it’s too dangerous for the Americans that’s saying something.

With the media seeming oblivious to the dangers of fracking and the lack of coverage on television the public are still dead against it 43% at last poll where against it and over a quarter of a million people signed a petition against it but still the government want to press ahead. There has even been talk that the Government will relax laws to allow fracking under our national parks which is an utter disgrace. So what can be done well get in touch with your local MP to protest against it or get in touch with any anti fracking groups near you I’m sure you will find them on social media or on the internet. Fracking is a real danger to our environment and our health and as the government is proving they don’t give a damn, the only green they are interested in is your money.

featured image link to Enviroment

The Common mistake

Lipoedema is often wrongly misdiagnosed as lymphoedema

~ but there are differences between the two conditions.

In lymphoedema the sufferer’s lymphatic system is compromised and not working correctly, either due to surgical intervention or radiotherapy treatment (secondary lymphoedema) or an unexplained failure in function or even missing lymphatic vessels (primary lymphoedema).

In lipoedema the sufferer has a healthy lymphatic system, but the lymphatic fluid is being impeded in its passage by abnormal fat deposits.  Without diagnosis and treatment, over time the lymphatic system may become compromised and lipoedemics then, unnecessarily, develop lipo-lymphoedema – lipoedema with lymphoedema.

Lipoedema is a disorder of adipose tissue that occurs almost exclusively in women; it has also been called ‘painful fat syndrome’.  Lipoedema causes limbs to enlarge, mainly affecting the legs and thighs but may present in the upper arms also.  Lipoedema is thought to occur as a result of an abnormal accumulation of fat cells in the tissues under the skin.  Unlike lymphoedema, lipoedema occurs symmetrically in both legs.  Lipoedema can in some cases be familial, more than one woman in a family can present with the condition.  Lipoedema usually manifests itself at puberty, but can occur or worsen during any hormone ‘spike’ in the body eg pregnancy, peri-menopause, menopause.

If left untreated, lipoedema may cause multiple health problems leading to mobility issues.  Sufferer’s quality of life may be depleted, emotionally and physically, as they are often dismissed as simply obese.

Lipoedemic’s hips, thighs and buttocks present as disproportionately larger than their upper body.  They experience heavy dragging feelings in their legs, often with extreme tenderness and aching within the affected limbs, their mobility often being affected.  Lipoedema does not affect the feet.  Lipoedema causes a classic ‘bracelet’ effect round the ankle, a prominent fatty ankle ring develops.  Lipoedemic fat does not usually respond to dieting or exercise.  Lipoedemic’s can lose weight, but only from the non-lipoedemic areas.

Lipoedema causes sufferer’s to experience sensitivity to touch, with pain being a main symptom of the condition.  Pain is not always a factor in lymphoedema. With lipoedema, the skin bruises easily and often with little pressure.  Excessive pain may be experienced on the shins and knees.  As the condition progresses, this pain may increase due to the continued blockage of the lymph fluid, which can lead to the tissue hardening.

Lipoedemic’s affected limbs can develop an ‘orange peel’ appearance due to the loosening of the tissue.  The subcutaneous fatty tissue has a soft consistency, but small nodules can be felt under the skin.  As the condition progresses, the skin surface will become uneven and harder due to the increasing nodular structure of the subcutaneous fatty tissue.  Unlike lymphoedema, pitting of the skin is not present in lipoedema.

Why do I think lymphoedemics and lipoedemics should support each other?

Although they are two different conditions, what we share with each other is the need to access the same treatment.

people mistake Lipoedema for people just being fat, which is not the case
people mistake Lipoedema for people just being fat, which is not the case

Both lipoedemics and lymphoedemics require compression and manual lymphatic drainage.  Resources for both conditions are not plentiful, however most lipoedemics struggle merely to obtain a diagnosis let alone treatment.

There is a shameful lack of treatment available for lipoedemics through the NHS.  The only lipoedemics who I know have managed to access (a very little) amount of MLD are ones who have developed lipo-lymphoedema.  How sad it is when I hear those women tell me that “they are fortunate that they have developed lymphoedema” because now they can access some treatment.  That’s not to say that treatment for lymphoedema is plentiful.

What pains me is the number of women out there who are just written off as ‘obese’ or ‘fat’, they are not believed when they say they have been unsuccessfully trying to diet for years.

Written off, so many of them live in pain, with a condition that they cannot control, with ever decreasing mobility.

I was one of those women.  We need to be standing together, making a larger voice, to ask for access to the treatment we all need.

you can follow Louise Farquharson on twitter at @zaman1966

if you want to learn more about this lipoedema click here

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