Sunday, October 26, 2008

Report from the National Association of Links Members

A damning report was published by the National Association of LINKs Members (NALM) this month. Local Involvement NetworKs (LINKs) were set up to replace Patient Fora, which in turn replaced Community Health Councils. Each iteration has reduced the say that patients have over their local health services. The CHCs has some reasonable powers.

LINKs have been going for 7 months and I'm sure everyone across the country has heard of them and is itching to get involved...

The report from NALM has shown just how badly some councils have been at setting LINKs up. Members have not been paid expenses, some councils have top sliced high levels of funds and there appears to be a lack of training for members.

I am writing to Alan Johnson to express these concerns, I would encourage others to do the same.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Drugs in the water

Health Care Without Harm's latest newsletter has an excellent piece on the disposal of medicines and how they are contaminating water supplies.

Some of the effects of this problem have been known for a while, such as the effects on fish of the hormones in effluent. It is easy to suppose that this is just another in the long list of environmental polluters that we have to put up with - in the past we suffered with lead in the paint and the air, and there are plenty of more recent pollutants.

On of the frustrations with drugs being added to the list of environmental hazards is that they are not being disposed of / collected properly. HCWH state the low percentage of drugs being collected back when not used and it is reasonable to speculate that much of the rest is flushed down toilets.

The other key issue is the over reliance of drugs. I have blogged before on the problems of polypharmacy - which are many. Interactions are clearly the main issue but aside from increasing the profits of BigPharma we ought to add the pollution to water supplies to the list of problems.