I didn't know it was World Mental Health day when I booked a rare GP appointment last autumn. I found out later, after I'd emerged from my ten allotted minutes with the clock-watching locum, clutching a prescription for Citalopram and feeling surprisingly peaceful at having finally said it out loud...
My cancer has made me a more anxious person, compared to the incredibly confident young woman I was before. Nothing ever worried me. Now I get upset easier. I've had a big reality check. But I'm working, I'm living my life, and as you read this I'll be fulfilling a lifelong dream by travelling around Asia for three months with my best friend. This is what I should have been doing when I left university. This is why I've been so frustrated.
When the practical and economic feasibility of a routine 7-day NHS has been roundly debunked by senior doctors, service providers and analyists, it is only natural to ask how this is going to happen. Maybe, we ought to be thinking a little more naturally ourselves, and prepare for our complementary secretary of state for health to give us a very complementary 7-day routine NHS.
In order to save money in the future and to make our NHS sustainable, I believe the evidence shows that we must invest more in preventative medicine and in informing the lifestyle choices of the public. Supporting people to live independently healthy lives is just as important as treating ill health when it occurs.
Voices and ideas from the areas of food, land, travellers, domestic violence, poverty, asylum and debt are all vital to finding grains of truth that allow us to face up to our Hidden Civil War. To face difficult truths in troubled times, we require deep collaboration, reflection and above all, listening.
Too many members of the gay community, with our hard-won marriages, our adopted kids, our newfound respectability, regard the guys who haven't yet got there as traitors. Letting down the side. Tainting the gay brand. Doing what the homophobes accuse us of. Let's not be Pharisees. Let's welcome our gay brothers into the fold and protect them from what is still the most serious consequence of sexual risk. Let us save them from HIV. Let us offer them PrEP.
I lied to a patient today. I didn't feel good about it, but I didn't know what else to say. It was a man I was visiting at home, let's call him Stan. An elderly patient who is normally in excellent health and rarely comes to the surgery. He was down for a home visit to check his chest after being unwell for a few days. Before I went out I looked at his notes, and saw we hadn't seen him for a good six months. Quite uncommon for a lot of older patients. He isn't a smoker, isn't on much in the way of medicine, and had rung the surgery last week. The notes were from my colleague. They were brief...
Junior doctors already have in their armour all the advantage we will ever need. We have already spent every day of our working career balancing and respecting the needs of patients against our own. We know that mainstream media may chose to be our friend or foe. Indeed, as history has taught us, their allegiance may change on a daily basis. We are grateful for an immense amount of public support, yet we could never forget and so will continue to respect that there are millions of vulnerable, sick patients and their families who do not have the luxury of prioritising anything but their next few hours.
The NHS is a system we all take for granted and I cannot begin to express its worth, or the worth of its employees. However, when faced with the all challenges it has had, the NHS struggles to provide the help nurses deserve, much less adequately address and support staff with chronic health problems. Nurses struggle, and their health suffers.
Dear George, I've had a chance to digest your new budget and it seems clear to me that you are the one politician who is in sympathy with me and my issues. I too have bitter enemies who I wish to undermine and destroy by any means necessary, regardless of the impact on anyone else. So here are my problems, George, maybe you can help me.
Earlier this month, with the stroke of a pen, the Chancellor reduced the Department for Health's annual budget by some £200 million. These cuts were explained simply as "non NHS savings" - a point which may be technically correct, but neatly articulates the Government's position that where the money comes from is more important that what it actually does.