One of the great challenges within an ageing society is maintaining connectivity between the generations. Far too much of our society exists within a silo mentality, and that is also true when it comes to issues of family geography. With our global economy, many family members are often geographically isolated from each other - potentially connected only via digital communications.
If so, you really have my sympathy. Tinnitus is a distressing condition for an estimated 10% of the world's population including the UK and 50 million people in the USA. The medical profession have many theories as to the cause, but few concrete answers or effective treatments. More often than not, sufferers are sent away and just told to learn to live with it.
In a bid to improve quality the Government has taken its eyes off the money. Back in 2010 the health service was set the mission of improving productivity by £20 billion. As many leading independent voices and the Government itself recognised, achieving such savings would only be possible by fundamentally transforming how care is delivered and organised.
Anyone adverse to blogging and social media might be rather cynical about any initiative linked to improving frontline health and social care that has grown out of a blog post and numerous 140 character interactions between total strangers.
Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), says in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, that patients should be more pro-active about their health and 'pushier' with their GPs. How realistic is his view, and where does our responsibility towards ourselves as patients start and that of a medical professional end?
I have mixed feelings about National Obesity Week, which begins today. On one hand, it shines the spotlight on a serious issue that undoubtedly affects young people I work with - one in three youngsters leaving primary education is obese. On the other, it can also serve as a distraction.
Last year wasn't a great one for the NHS. In fact, it was often downright shocking. A barrage of bad news, from care scandals to A&E crises and much more besides, meant its reputation took a battering and left a whole host of issues to deal with in 2014 and beyond.
I started running when I was nine years old and have really never stopped. My running life has been amazing and has taken me to two Olympic Games and some of the world's top races. I'm also a busy Mum but running is still very much a part of my life. I know it's not like that for everyone. I meet many women who say running simply isn't for them. More often that not they'll say they don't have time, they are not built to run, they don't like running or they simply 'can't' run...
Some of us have a very delicate, sensitive and finely tuned internal radar that picks up signs of danger. Others are more or less constantly tuned to the 'attack and defense channel', always ready to expect the worse, tense, anxious, highly irritable and stressed. Probably for good reason.
Resolutions take determination, tenacity, strength and commitment. Too often we feel bad about ourselves or ashamed if we don't make it or delay a resolution. Whereas there is another way of looking at it.
The Friends and Family Test is helping the NHS become safer - steps have been taken at Hillingdon to make sure patients with Parkinson's' Disease get their medication on time, by using a simple alarm clock to remind staff when medicine needs to be taken. And Lewisham and Greenwich Hospitals NHS Trust has improved communication with patients by making sure every day each nurse introduces themselves to the patients they will be responsible for, and has a discussion about what the patient can expect to happen during the day. Those are just a few examples of positive change. There are many more.
Life isn't simple and things aren't generally black and white. The public sector is part of life and, as such, it's just the same. But even so, wouldn't it be nice if we could just simply focus on doing things for the right reasons?
In healthcare, I would describe innovation as anything that creates new opportunities for improvement or development. This has long been recognised in industry... But the truth is we are still a long way from providing the right conditions for innovation to thrive and permeate across the NHS.
My work generally involved helping run workshops and sitting in on one-to-one counselling sessions for pupils who had either been referred by a teacher or who just wanted to drop in and chat. I was really surprised at the range of issues and problems that can affect younger children.
Another significant barrier to being more inclusive comes from the lack of capacity in the system, with NICE Deputy Chief Executive and Health and Social Care Director, Professor Gillian Leng admitting at the recent Westminster Social Policy Forum that they are hugely over-subscribed with would-be 'Experts by Experience' who are interested in working with them.
The north-south divide is a powerful trope within popular English culture and it's also evident within the country's health. A recent report by Public Health England showed that between 2009 and 2011, people in Manchester were more than twice as likely to die early (455 deaths per 100,000) compared to people living in Wokingham (200 deaths per 100,000)...