Section: Health

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Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 5 – a closer look at Lateral Flow Tests UPDATED

Emma Monk

One of the areas where I keep coming across a lot of misinformation relates to Covid-19 testing. I covered all the various misconceptions surrounding polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, including what it can and can’t detect, whether there are lots of false positives and whether the inventor of PCR really said PCR shouldn’t be used […]

Black mums don’t matter

Anna Andrews

“I kept saying ‘I’m in pain, I’m in pain’, but I was completely dismissed and fobbed off – no one looked at me,” says Tinuke Awe, “I was just left feeling like I didn’t matter, that no one really cared about me.”  In Britain, black women are almost five times more likely than white women to […]

Listen to our debate on the future of the NHS and healthcare

Anthea Simmons

On 24 March, WCB ran the second of a series of Zoom Q&A events on hot political and socio-economic topics. In the wake of the publication of the Government’s white paper on the future of health and social care, the sale of GP practices to a US healthcare provider, privatisation of test and trace, the […]

How the government killed and maimed us in Feb/Mar 2020

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is calling for an inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. He has asked people to share this piece widely. Please sign this petition, calling on the government to hold that vital inquiry. Feb 3 2020Boris Johnson – speech in Greenwich “And in that context, we are starting to hear some […]

Walking for health

Barbara Leonard

Just over a year ago I was one of small group of volunteer walk leaders sharing thoughts about a new virus being talked about on the news in the UK. Some of us had just returned from visits abroad where warnings about Covid 19 and measures to limit its spread were already happening, in sharp […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 4 – taking a look at testing

Emma Monk

One of the areas where I keep coming across a lot of misinformation relates to testing ‒polymerase chain reaction (PCR), lateral flow tests (LFT), false positives, false negatives, and whether the inventor of PCR really said PCR shouldn’t be used to test for Covid-19! It is easy to get confused by the different molecular biology […]

Trolled by our own government

Anthea Simmons

Ever get the feeling that this government starts each day wondering what it can get away with? It must seem easier than taking candy off a baby to dole up a heap of lies and cruelties and get us to swallow them and say we’d vote for more. I mean, what are those polls about? […]

On feast and famine

Anthea Bareham

Throughout my childhood we had a feast almost every day – not just on special occasions – every day. I expect you did too. We ate meat. Almost every day. Last week I attended a Guardian online webinar, one of Fairtrade Fortnight’s events. The topic was ‘The impact of the climate crisis on global food […]

Letter from America: healthcare in the US box set

John from across the pond

As Centene Corporation, an American health insurance giant, takes over 49 NHS GP surgeries and practices and the very real fears of creeping (galloping?) privatisation grow, we thought it was a good time to remind ourselves of what US healthcare looks like for ordinary people. Editor

The truth behind Government’s healthcare ‘reforms’

Rosie Haworth Booth

Have you heard about the new health and social care ‘reforms’? The reforms which are restructuring the administration of care across the country, and which claim to overturn the worst aspects of those set up by Andrew Lansley in 2012? Are you glad to hear that these new structures, known as Integrated Care Systems, or […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 3 – taking a look at vaccines

Emma Monk

Much of the misinformation and confusion surrounding Covid-19 relates to whether the vaccines are safe and effective. It is completely understandable to have questions, and no-one should be dismissed for wanting to find the best information out there. I will do my best, using all the available evidence, to cover some of the questions I’ve […]

Steve Baker: from St Austell to Austrian School

Tom Scott

A leading figure in the so-called Covid Recovery Group, Baker is a disaster capitalist with an impressive string of disasters to his name. In recent months, a group of hard-right, ‘lockdown-sceptic’ Conservative MPs has been lobbying vigorously for an early exit to lockdown. And one of the loudest voices in the so-called ‘Covid Recovery Group’ […]

The hamster and the python

Anthea Simmons

Do you remember this from June 2016? Like us, you may feel a chill as you view it in the context of the report on the NHS from the influential, hyper libertarian thinktank, the Institute for Economic Affairs (‘IEA’), and the announcement of new ‘reforms’ to the NHS from Matt Hancock today, 11 February 2021. […]

Yet another fox in the NHS chicken coop?

Gonzo
artist illustration of a fox stalking a hen

When the late Captain Sir Tom Moore walked around his garden to raise over £39M for more than 240 NHS-linked charities last year, he exemplified a rich and long vein of philanthropism that runs through the UK. The idea of giving to charity to support those who are less well-off (or indeed other things like […]

Thank EU for our speedy vaccine approval?

Sarah Cowley

So much vitriol and gloating about the fact that (having signally failed in every other aspect of pandemic management) the UK government has a vaccine rollout plan that is proving so much swifter in delivery than the one across the Channel in the European Union (EU). Sluggish, rule-bound European Medicines Agency (EMA), the naysayers say: […]

Pecs, flags and vaccines

Anthea Simmons

Action Man Johnny Mercer, Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View (or ‘less view, please’ as one wag tweeted) is quite keen on posting shots of himself in various stages of disrobement, albeit often at the beach. He has even appeared semi-naked lathering up Dove shower gel for an ad run in the USA. He’s rather […]

Cornish gems – a box set of articles

Editor-in-chief
Cornish tin mine on the coast

In case you missed them, here’s a collection of articles from Cornish writers or on Cornish (or Isles of Scilly) subjects. Please share! You are our distribution network! If you have a story to tell, please get in touch: cornwall@westcountrybylines.co.uk; devon@westcountrybylines.co.uk; dorset@westcountrybylines.co.uk and somerset@westcountrybylines.co.uk Look out for box sets from Devon, Somerset and Dorset!

Seesaw Corona war

Terry Riordan

As a retired microbiologist I’ve watched events over the last year with horror and anger. Following the recent excellent Debunking Covid Myths by Emma Monk and the inimitable piece by Femi Oluwole, I want to discuss some grey areas and the significance of new developments, and suggest how we move forward. In many ways the […]

Between Two Worlds

Doro Williamson

Doro Williamson is 11, and lives with her parents on the southern edge of Dartmoor, Devon, UK. This poem was written while schooling at home, as part of her English work, assigned by her year 6 teacher after looking at alliteration and juxtaposition. Between Two Worlds The liminal lockdown kept us at homeFraying our tempers […]

Sunshine smile and soulfood from Syria

Anthea Simmons

“I say to fellow immigrants ‘put in to this country. Do not take out. Put in.’” Khaled Wakkaa has been living in Exeter since March 2017, when he arrived from war-torn Syria and years in refugee camps in Lebanon, with his wife Dalal and young daughter Lemar (now joined by a little sister born in […]

Vaccine ‘wars’? What on earth is going on?

Sadie Parker
globe, syringes like missiles doing battle

“EU vaccine war explodes,” screamed the Daily Mail in its first edition. Then hours later its headline had changed to “EU Jabs Climbdown” as it accused the EU of performing a ‘screeching U-turn’. Wait. What? There had been a war and it was all over eight hours later? What on earth was going on? It […]

Misinformation costs lives, David Warburton. Spread facts, not fiction

Emma Monk

On 8 January, MP for Somerton and Frome David Warburton gave an interview to the Somerset County Gazette containing a great deal of misinformation. Short of a small link to a fact-checking website in the middle of the article, his views were printed uncontested. Is it right for an MP to be given a platform […]

Teignmouth Hospital: the trail of failure and betrayal just got longer

Editor-in-chief

Scrutiny – not a word that this government either likes or, being charitable, understands. Scrutiny. It’s essential for a healthy society. It is essential if citizens are to have any trust in their public servants and institutions. Scrutiny, trust and truth have all been damaged in the course of the past few years and their […]

100,000 dead. “We truly did everything we could”. REALLY?

Femi Oluwole

With 100,000 Covid deaths, Journalists better mention that Boris Johnson: Feb 2020 Said he wanted UK to have the loosest reaction to Coronavirus. Skipped 5 Cobra Meetings. March 2020 Told people to shake hands Allowed mass crowds May 2020 Denied the Stay Home order existed to save Cummings Seriously!? This was a #DowningStreetBriefing SPECIFICALLY on […]