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)...
My view is being able to access EHC discreetly and conveniently online is a good thing, so long as it is provided by reputable providers who are registered with the Care Quality Commission. What concerns me is that some people are accessing medication from sources that may not have suitable checks in place.
Three quarters of people would be annoyed if they had difficulty walking, getting dressed, or doing basic household tasks like cooking, cleaning or washing dishes. Two thirds would be annoyed if they could not open containers. And more people would be frustrated if they had difficulty making a cup of tea versus having sex.
Back pain can affect anyone at any age and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It is the UK's leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness absence.
We all have a stake in helping people to quit smoking, because the chances are that each of us knows and cares about someone who smokes. Even though smoking is less widespread than it used to be, roughly one in five of us still smoke.
The original silicone myth was that 'deadly substances' could enter your bloodstream if your breast implants ruptured. It's important to note this is not the case with the majority of well-made, modern implants.
As I flew out from Stockholm to Denver last Wednesday it occurred to me how far we had come in HIV Cure research since the International AIDS Society held the first HIV Cure workshop at the AIDS 2010 conference in Vienna.