Monday, October 29, 2007

Told you so...

Organic produce IS better for you (and better for the environment / people living where the crops are growing / kinder to the animals etc.) according to Newcastle University. It has always been a no-brainer for me, things are alway better the closer to working with nature that you get. This is from the BBC:

"Researchers grew fruit, vegetables and reared cattle on adjacent organic and non-organic sites across Europe, including a 725-acre farm attached to Newcastle University.
"They found levels of antioxidants in milk from organic cattle were between 50% and 80% higher than normal milk.
"Organic wheat, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions and lettuce had between 20% and 40% more nutrients."

I expect there will be backlash and organic deniers funded by the agrochemical co.s and the oil industry against this, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.


NHS Demo 3rd Nov

This is the quote from Unison, the union that still provides massive funds to Labour:

"Help us campaign to defend the NHS and to celebrate its founding principles. Join us on the march and rally in central London on Saturday 3 November and send a strong message to the government that big business and the profit motive have no place in our health service."

Of course the health lead, Karen Jennings is going to be a Labour candidate too.

However, do try to get to the rally. The Greens will be there - the NHS is too important to be messed with in the way Labour are.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Letter to the Telegraph

Sent this to the Telegraph some time back in response to this piece, sadly it was not published.

Sir, Karol Sikora's approach to health care fills me with dread, treating cancer patients like customers in a pizza parlour is hardly what patients need or want. As for suggesting that the NHS is hopelessly inefficient - he is so far from the truth as to be laughable. The NHS has been the envy of the world's health care systems for decades, despite below average funding levels and continuous reform. How anyone can claim the NHS is inefficient when it is an organisation that can cope with high levels of change and a consistent lack of money yet still be a high performer internationally is beyond me.

Sikora's approach to cancer care would simply line his pockets and give us olives with our chemo.

Stuart Jeffery
Health spokesperson for the Green Party

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Obesity, climate change and alcohol

So Alan Johnson reckons that obesity is as big a threat as climate change. True, it will have a massive impact on the health of people in this country, meaning that children could die before their parents, with the first time that life expectancy has fallen in the last 200 years. But is it a bigger threat than climate change?

The straight forward answer is of course not, but the solutions to both have a lot in common. Localisation of food, eating fresh, in-season produce, reducing meat consumption, using the car less, cycling and walking more will reduce our impact on the environment as well as the impact on ourselves and our families. The thing to do is consume less!

Obesity may hit the UK more quickly than climate change, but its effects are confined to the West and are moderately easy to reverse. Climate change threatens the lives of billions and will be almost impossible to reverse in any real sense

While I am on the subject of consuming less, the Guardian has reported a massive rise in alcohol abuse over the past 5 years.

"The figures reveal the number of people who have had to be admitted as emergency cases to hospital as a direct result of their own or someone else's drinking."

"The number of men admitted nationwide has risen from 714 per 100,000 in 2001-02 to 909 per 100,000 in 2005-06, a rise of 27.3 per cent, while, over the same period, the number of women has gone up from 396 per 100,000 to 510 per 100,000, a jump of 28.9 per cent."

In a society which is beholden to consumption, the problems of excess seem to be becoming very obvious.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

C Diff

I have deferred blogging about the C Diff scandal at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, partly because it was a massive story, covered by everyone, partly because it was so shocking, partly because I think there was little that I could add, and partly because it is my local trust and I know quite a few people there.

It is difficult to estimate the shock of the tragedy and certainly there is a lot of anger among people in Maidstone (and across much of West Kent). My heart goes out to all those who have suffered and died.

The focus on targets and finances that has been at the forefront of blame, seems likely enough. Clearly the NHS had a rough ride during that period with money. Star ratings were everything.

We must put people at the heart of care, but what happens when the money runs out? What happens when we are pushed to meet targets at the expense of care? People suffer...

Other countries manage to find more cash for their health services, the UK still lags behind in investment in health care. But the British electorate doesn't want to pay more taxes. Look how the inheritance tax bung from the Tories swung the polls. Of course most people don't have to pay more tax for us to have a better society. Sure, lets tax the rich more and the poor less - you can't do it the other way round, but lets stop building more roads / airports / nuclear power / arms / armies and stop fighting illegal wars before we say there's not enough money around to look after sick and vulnerable people properly.


Thursday, October 4, 2007


The Green Party today responded to the interim Darzi Review. Supposed 
to set the NHS's priorities for the next 60 years, with key themes
being access, quality and safety, the review was commissioned just
three months ago.

"This review recommends yet more privatisation of the NHS, the last
thing we need. (1)

"Giving people easier access to GP's is an admirable goal, but using
private companies to provide that service is a disastrous idea.

"The NHS is already operating at a loss, hiring profit driven
businesses to provide services will only make that worse."

"The challenges of delivering a world class health service over the
next decade mean we must take private corporations out of the the
picture - the Green Party believe the NHS should be publicly funded,
publicly owned, and publicly accountable."


Notes for Editors:

(1) Page 5 of the Executive summary states: "New resources should be
invested to bring new GP practices – whether they are organised on
the traditional independent contractor model or by new private