Tuesday 26 July 2011

Round Up

Today's post will cover a few bits and pieces - including Daisy's promised introduction to the NHS couch to 5k programme (she's going to keep us updated on her progress over the coming few weeks). There are also some news stories about disability or the NHS that I would like to highlight.

Hi, I'm Daisy and I'm Flo's fiancee. 4 weeks ago I started couch to 5k using the NHS choices podcast. I would thoroughly recommend couch to 5k to people who are interested in taking up running and don't know where to start. I can't believe I've been running for 4 weeks and I'm excited to tell you a little bit about why I decided to start running and to maybe review some running podcasts/apps for beginners. In my next post I'll explain how the c25k program works and why I started. I look forward to sharing this with you!

We've been asked to spread around this open letter to Iain Duncan Smith from the Broken of Britain, about how it feels to hear a life changing diagnosis, what it feels like to be ill, what it feels like to be a carer or to worry about a family member or friend and their health. It felt especially relevant yesterday, as we were getting our head around the fact that yet another thing has happened to make us feel vulnerable. Please consider sharing that link on your networks, to encourage people to remember that any of us could become ill at any time.

Today (I think) the Commons will release a negative report on ATOS "healthcare"(Guardian story here), the (IT) company who have been contracted to conduct "assessments" for DLA and ESA. There are some awful stories of bad practice out there, assessors are expected to deny people, and the huge number of individuals who are then granted at appeal shows how ridiculous the system is. Reports are almost always completely inaccurate, but it is hard to refute, as any form of recording is not allowed (without huge effort and expense as they require a trained engineer to examine the equipment beforehand). ATOS and the ridiculous system of computer assessment are the reason I have still not claimed for DLA (once I was aware of it), although I have been eligible at various rates for over 10 years now. And now everything's changing, to make these benefits harder to claim. I'm really scared about what will happen to some of my friends and patients, and to me - especially if the appropriate adaptations cannot be made to enable me to work.

Next, Bendy Girl has posted a great video showing what happened at the first 100 Voices conference (you should watch her keynote speech also, it was very well pitched)- a real first - the Brandon Trust (a Bristol based charity supporting those in SW England with learning disabilities) asked their clients with learning disabilities what they wanted their priority to be for the upcoming year. The video is a really inspiring example of facilitating people to make their own choices, rather than patronising them. It's made me think really hard about how I would try and facilitate an individual who was learning disabled to make decisions about their own care. Employment was the issue voted as most important (the variety of voting methods offered was really cool) and the Trust has committed to taking that forward.

This week, the government slipped out the first wave of privatisation of the NHS in the middle of the Murdoch enquiry. Luckily twitter is wise to that trick. Here Max Pemberton argues that this truly is the end of the NHS - because while any aspect is privatised, it is no longer a national, nationalised service. I'm worried, and mainly because any examples of private contracting of other services by the NHS, such as cleaning, seems to have been linked with a reduced quality, because people are treated like crap (but it's ok because it's not directly the NHS doing it...) and so it's not worth it and they're not motivated to do a good job.

I hope you find something to interest you in there. Following yesterday's A and E trip in my placement hospital, tomorrow I'm going to talk about different experiences of A and E. I also took part in my first twitter-based journal club on Sunday. I really enjoyed it, and will post about it later in the week. (Google for more info, their exact twitter name escapes me, but the tag is #twitjc)

Have you come across any stories this week you want to share?

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