Section: Health

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Japan’s prime minister resigned over 17,000 Covid deaths. Deaths in the UK now stand at 135,000. Will Johnson resign? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor-in-chief, Nearly a fortnight ago the Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, resigned after taking personal responsibility for nearly 17,000 deaths from Covid-19. This, in a country of some 126 million people which has recently hosted the Olympic Games. Many in Japan thought the games should be delayed again, but they compromised by not allowing spectators […]

The £20 UC cut: the final straw?

Valerie Huggins

At the beginning of August, the headline in the Guardian stated “Johnson faces rebellion over ‘intolerable’ hunger and poverty in home counties”. Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe in Buckinghamshire (and lead Brexiter) was apparently shocked by the crisis in food insecurity after a study by Sheffield University researchers revealed that his constituency is one of […]

Marcus Fysh talking (potentially dangerous) codswallop. Part 1

Anthea Simmons

MP for Yeovil Marcus Fysh has miraculously become a medic – and an epidemiologist and virologist to boot. Perhaps he’s piloting a new government strategy aimed at filling the shortages in experienced staff across a whole range of sectors whereby an individual has only to express a nodding acquaintance with a subject or a function […]

Covid-19 vaccinations for 12-15 yr olds: a detailed look at the JCVI decision

Emma Monk

After weeks of speculation on whether or not children aged 12-15 would be offered a Covid-19 vaccination, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) finally released their report on 3 September. As is often the case, the findings widely reported in the press didn’t fully reflect what the report actually said, and this has […]

The Brexit-exacerbated blood bottle shortage: why your doctor may not be able to offer you the blood test you need. UPDATED

Anthea Simmons

About a fortnight ago we saw medics and commentators expressing concerns over shortages of blood bottles. Research indicated that this was a worldwide phenomenon created by the massive hike in demand as a consequence of the pandemic. Now it appears that Brexit is exacerbating an already difficult situation with supply chains interrupted by border issues […]

The Möbius strip of government Covid-19 guidelines

Jane Stevenson

The south west now has some of the highest Covid-19 prevalence rates in the country. We run a small manufacturing business in Cornwall, and I am updating our business Covid-19 protocols so have the unenviable job of trawling through the government guidelines. It’s been like circulating on a Möbius strip. First up, when to isolate. […]

Mental health provision : a heart-rending story

Chris Morrison
girl alone, depressed

There is a lot to unpack in this story. We had just finished watching dramatic scenes on @TheBlock 2017 (#renovators highly recommend!), getting all tucked up into bed, when I heard a young woman crying outside our window. Living in a town centre, this sort of thing was not unusual. She was on a video […]

The rough stuff!

Jon Vernon
Rider's view from a mountain bike on Dartmoor

I realised a few weeks back that I’ve been riding bikes off-road, in one form or another, for well over four decades. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of a friend’s older brother rescuing rusty bikes from skips and the local scrapyard, and repurposing them as cow-horn-barred “tracker” bikes which we’d spend the summer […]

Early years forgotten again

Valerie Huggins
child playing with wooden toys in early years class

I listened to Johnson’s levelling-up speech with hope in my heart that he would at last focus on the sector that has the potential to make the most difference to children’s life outcomes – early years care and education. In the speech, Johnson acknowledged that after ten years of Conservative government: “If you are a […]

Lessons to be learnt from the southernmost tip of the British Isles

Emma Monk

The southernmost tip of the British Isles, Jersey, (until recently) had an exemplary track record for its handling of Covid-19. On the tiny island, with a population just shy of 110,000, the authorities started preparing their Covid-19 response before any cases were discovered on the island. They were monitoring their borders, held meetings with commercial, […]

Meet our Prime Monster

Anthea Simmons
caricature of Boris Johnson with text "Because the dead can't vote

If there is anyone out there who still believes that lovable rogue Boris Johnson has done his best, poor man, in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, we suggest they read this. .@BorisJohnson: “It’s only over-80s who’ll die.” 🏴‍☠️ Tomorrow’s @DailyMirror. Reminder of @BorisJohnson‘s record with care homes. 🏴‍☠️ @BorisJohnson 🧐 🏴‍☠️ Originally tweeted […]

Devon has a message for Johnson and Javid: get your hands off our NHS!

Anthea Simmons

The government’s health and social care bill passed its second reading with barely a murmur from the mainstream media, much less any proper public scrutiny. Amongst a number of proposals which open up the NHS to private health providers is the carving up of the NHS into 42 ‘integrated care systems’ (ICSs). One of these […]

Package pile-up as 70 postal workers self-isolate in central Devon

Anthea Simmons

The image above shows the growing backlog of undelivered parcels at Ashburton Post Office and library as a consequence of covid-related staff shortages, with 70 of the 100 sorting office and delivery staff self-isolating following Covid-19 notification ‘pings’. Deliveries in a number of areas in Teignbridge and the South Hams are similarly affected. Ashburton Post […]

“Get Britain on its bike”- part 3: E-asy cycling!

Mike Zollo
two mountain e-bikes

In Parts One and Two of this Cycle-paths series, we covered the subject of cycle routes, both on and off-road, for commuting and for leisure. However, ‘leisure’ can be a misnomer where the physical effort to cover distances and climb hills is concerned. If you, Dear Reader, feel a degree of cynicism stemming from concern […]

On the frontline: the safety of shop workers is being ignored – again

Vicky Rosier
smashed bottle of red wine n supermarket aisle

Shop workers go unnoticed by much of society. They toil away mostly unseen in the background so that the rest of us can get our groceries, ready meals, beers or clothing in well-stocked, pristine-looking stores. They work for some of the big, long-established companies in the UK – Sainsbury’s, Asda, Next, M&S, John Lewis, WH […]

Kleptocrats’ playbook: the seven ‘D’s

Robin Alexander
man holding stolen gem

You may have seen a recent article and video by the brilliant journalist Jon Danzig, titled: Boris Johnson is asked: “Did you sack Matt Hancock?” He replies: “Here’s a story about a bus.” It features the inadequate attempt by Chris Bryant MP, in a select committee hearing chaired by the insidious Bernard Jenkin MP, to […]

A dangerous masquerade

Anthea Simmons
Johnson outside No. 10 on a giant St George flag

If England win tonight, you just know that Johnson will muscle (!) in to claim credit. I have a vision of him, having been woken up by a sharp poke in the ribs by Carrie, shambling towards the dais, hellbent on snatching the trophy from Kane’s hands. The worst foul you’ll ever see at Wembley. […]

People’s Covid Inquiry – a report on the recent webinar

Chris Ambrose
doctor in PPE in front of union flag

People’s Covid Inquiry Webinar 7 July 2021 The People’s Covid Inquiry was called by campaign organisation Keep Our NHS Public. The Inquiry heard testimony from many witnesses and took place with support from a wide variety of individuals and organisations. The panel (all members giving their time on a voluntary basis) was chaired by Michael Mansfield […]

Why I won’t stop wearing a mask post 19 July

Clare Knight
toddler in a face mask

Johnson is going to repeat the stunt that briefly had ineffectual Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle showing a bit of backbone, and bypass parliament to tell us all about ‘Freedom Day’ on TV. Freedom Day! The day this government officially frees itself from all responsibility for the health, welfare and financial security of […]

Lack of action on active travel in Somerset

Mick Fletcher

Somerset County Council (SCC) have contacted us over our article on cycle paths in Somerset. They asked us to add three points giving the perspective of the County Highways Department on some of the key issues raised. We are pleased to set out their comments here in the interests of balance and to quote in […]

Serco in Cornwall – a lesson unlearned

Tom Scott

People in Cornwall learned about Serco the hard way more than ten years ago. Yet a company with a record of serial failure and dishonesty has just won another massive government test and trace contract. Some 15 years ago, the Scott household had its worst ever family Christmas here in Cornwall. On the day that […]

Sajid Javid: a safe pair of hands?

Tom Scott

Media outlets have been parroting the line that by appointing Sajid Javid as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Boris Johnson is putting the NHS into a “safe pair of hands”. This is no doubt exactly the line that Johnson’s government would like to hear, and it is an epithet that has been […]