Section: Health

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The UK’s drug policy failure. Lessons from Portugal

Paul Delaney

We must consider alternatives to criminalisation and incarceration of people who use drugs, and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply. We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies. –Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General, on World Day Against Drugs, 26 […]

Future prospects blighted by the pandemic – a student writes

Bella Enoizi

The impact of Covid-19 on university students has been overlooked by both government and the media throughout the pandemic. Neither has support been received from the governing bodies of Higher Education institutions, in terms of either policy or financial relief. Where students have been mentioned by the media, it has only been to blame them […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 1 – Covid-19 is NOT a hoax!

Emma Monk

Along with thousands of others, I have watched with increasing anger, sadness and frustration as misinformation has been allowed to spread so freely in the last year, not just on social media but across mainstream media outlets too. I have found myself repeatedly engaging with Covid-19 deniers and lockdown sceptics on social media, trying to […]

Gavin must go; but that’s only the start

Mick Fletcher

No part of this government comes out of the Covid-19 pandemic well, and the staggering death toll is the tragic summation of a whole raft of failures. Probably the most expensive of these failures in terms of financial cost and, more importantly, human life, is ‘Test and Trace’ on which the Department of Health has […]

Something lost to find again

Catrina Davies

Catrina Davies discovered her true self in Europe. In September she left Cornwall for Portugal, from where she reflects on severance, belonging and betrayal. When I was ten my parents took me and my sisters to France for a week. We drove onto the ferry at Plymouth, all squashed into our Citroen AX, disembarked in […]

All eyes are on vaccination, but testing failures must not be forgotten

Sadie Parker

In my own small way, I was caught out by the closing of the borders the weekend before Christmas. Matt Hancock ran around Britain’s TV and radio studios telling stunned presenters and audiences that Covid-19 was “out of control” in London and the South-East. That’s the modern-day equivalent of screaming it from the rooftops. It […]

From Churchill to Asquith – Johnson’s tribute act is no joke

Robert Saunders

Quiz question: of which prime minister was it said, “the P.M. never moves until he is forced, and then it is usually too late”? Answer: H.H. Asquith in World War One. It’s a parallel that tells us something, I think, about Boris Johnson’s current predicament. Asquith was a lifelong Liberal – the last man to […]

The disinformation pandemic

Tom Scott

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, Dr Matthew Lee, a young medic working at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, tweeted a video of the scene that confronted him when he stepped out of the hospital after completing a late shift in A&E. As he described it: “Hundreds of maskless, drunk people in huge […]

Awards part two: some more good people, thankfully!

Anthea Simmons

Most dogged defenders of our food & farming standards: Devon MPs Ben Bradshaw, Luke Pollard and Dorset MP Simon Hoare stand amongst those who braved the government to demand standards be enshrined in law and not on the table in any future trade deals. (Devon MP Neil Parish almost made it into this select group, […]

People of the year part one: the good guys

Anthea Simmons

Humanitarian of the Year: Marcus Rashford. As an example of altruism, generosity of spirit, determination, focus and just plain being right, Rashford has become an icon of hope for the persistence of compassion and kindness in our communities. He tackled and outplayed Johnson at every (U) turn and scored powerful political goals. Visit his website […]

The Potemkin hospitals

Tom Scott

With desperate frontline NHS staff warning that the health service is in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by surging Covid-19 admissions, it appears that the government’s much vaunted Nightingale hospitals were built largely for PR purposes – yet another example of government by vacuous gesture. The news that the government’s flagship Nightingale hospital at London’s […]

A pinprick of hope

Vicky Rosier

It was bright when we drew up outside the Eastway Clinic at Sunday lunchtime. Since I don’t drive and the buses are infrequent, I’d allowed us the privilege of getting a taxi. And, on balance, taking a taxi involving greater proximity to one masked driver probably involves no greater risk than sitting on a bus […]

Case for closure of Teignmouth hospital “not credible”

Editor-in-chief

Press release 20 December 2020 Save Our Hospital Services Case for closure of Teignmouth hospital ‘not credible’ says Devon CC Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee A special Spotlight Review meeting took place on 14 December to consider Devon CCG’s recent consultation on closing services at Teignmouth Hospital. Its report to the CCG states: “Members […]

Box set: a pot pourri of delights

Anthea Simmons

We’re not all about politics, climate change and Covid-19 at West Country Bylines. We try to bring you some deliciously diverse fare. Here’s a selection of articles you may have missed. Please enjoy and share!

Masks in supermarkets: am I a man or a mouse?

Tom Scott
Man shopping in supermarket wearing a mask

A couple of days ago I was doing some Christmas shopping at a local supermarket near my home in Cornwall. As I scoured the shelves for stollen (a favourite festive treat in our household), I couldn’t help noticing that quite a few of the other customers were not making any attempt to socially distance, and […]

Covid-19: the effects on rural churches and communities

Susanna Metz
Sheepwash Church, Devon with thatched cottage.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The opening of A Tale of Two Cities came to mind when I was asked to write about the effect these very difficult past ten months have had specifically on ‘the Church’ in rural areas. If I were not too old to start […]

Is callousness a vote winner? Rees-Mogg appears to think so.

Anthea Simmons

Self-professed man of faith gave an interesting demonstration of Christian charity yesterday when he took a pot shot at UNICEF. The government he represents appears to be in denial about the record levels of child poverty, but does not take kindly to being forced to confront the truth by the likes of Marcus Rashford and, […]

Nationally acclaimed health campaigners speak to Devon

Editor-in-chief

This is aan official press release from Save Our Hospital Services: On 10 December, health campaigning group Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) held a webinar, inviting the public to listen in to both local and national campaigners who are deeply concerned about the NHS. SOHS was founded in north Devon in 2016 but have spread […]

The Covid-19 herd immunity scandal: you need to know

Fionna O'Leary

You might want to look at this Sunday Times article @ChrChristensen @chrischirp . TENGELL, Sweden’s COVID lead, with GUPTA and HENEGHAN, U.K. herd immunity fans, met secretly with Boris Johnson & Rishi Sunak (U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer) at Sunak’s request) on 20th Sept. 20th Sept is highly material as it was the day before […]

No deal takes UK back to the 70s and food anxiety

Robert Saunders

No apologies for reproducing yet another Twitter thread. Everyone should have the chance to read this. Ed The 1970s was a decade of serious anxiety about food supplies. Norman Tebbit, of all people, urged the government to consider rationing basic foodstuffs. That played a significant role in the decision to join the EEC, and raises […]

Protect the NHS in trade deals! House of Lords to the rescue yet again

Anthea Simmons

Great news, but what’s the betting the Conservative super majority means that all the Lords’ good work will be thrown out, just as food safety, level playing field for farmers and measures to stop government breaking international law were also rejected? Keep writing to your MP. Ask them to vote to keep the Lords’ amendments. […]

Plagues, public health and politics

Terry Riordan

“And my Lord Mayor commands people to be inside by nine at night that the sick may leave their domestic prison for air and exercise”. Samuel Pepys’s diary 12th August 1665 Throughout recorded history plagues and pandemics have had the capacity to cause massive loss of life. Those in power have sought to control or […]

Cornish beaches top anthropogenic litter league

Bernard Deacon

It is becoming ever more starkly apparent that human activity and over-exploitation is having a disastrous effect on species and habitats in the marine environment. Pollution, particularly by plastics, over-exploitation of fishing grounds and climate change are producing a lethal cocktail of habitat degradation and loss of biodiversity – at sea as well as on […]

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