Not sure if you’ve heard, but there was an election happening in Westminster this past month. With the dust now settling, the conservatives still reeling from a shock majority win and several parties ending up leaderless, everyone is looking to the next five years to see what is on the horizon for our small island. Let’s take a closer look at the health stories that made it through all the political jargon in May.
Obesity makes a reappearance this month and heads straight to the number 13 spot. The Daily Mirror ran a surprising story, revealing that one in five people who think they weigh a normal amount are actually overweight. Is the general increase in weight across the country affecting our perceptions of what ‘the norm’ is? And if we already have this level of complacency – what will the next generation think? Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, warned parents of the ‘rising tide’ of obesity complications, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes in their children. He urges parents to be aware of their children’s diet and weight in an effort to prevent obesity being the standard for their children’s generation. This may be in vain, as The Sunday Telegraph reported 94% of parents of overweight children do not recognise that their children are carrying excess weight. Despite all the advances in modern medicine, there still remains very few effective treatments for obesity. However, a recent study in Cell proved that extract from the Thunder God vine could reduce obesity by up to 45% in mice. Although in its early stages, this could prove an interesting tool to fight obesity. There certainly are still many secrets to be unearthed in the world of natural medicines. Can we find other successful, natural remedies for the treatment of other life limiting conditions such as heart disease, neurologic diseases or cancer?
Cancer treatment was at 18 this month, with the Sunday Express leading with a front page article revealing the success of using a combination of cancer therapies when treating skin cancer. The major breakthrough has led to further positive implications in lung, bladder, kidney, head and neck cancers. This is great news, as more and more research aims to reverse the effects of this awful disease. However, one can’t help but worry when new treatments are failing to get funding on the NHS, even with the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) set up. The Daily Mail reports that seven new treatments have been denied through this process. As a double shot of bad news, it goes onto report that the CDF has overspent by £100m resulting in cost-cutting reviews.
The aftermath of the general election was sure to provide plenty of discussion around the NHS and its funding (at the number three spot this month); after all it was one of the main battlegrounds for the political parties. The Daily Telegraph reported that a record £3.3bn was spent on agency nurses and doctors in the last financial year. With Prime Minister Cameron pledging to reduce spending in this area, only time will tell whether he is able to do so without directly impacting negatively on patients and permanent NHS staff. One thing for sure is that the funds will need to come from somewhere, as the NHS deficit could hit £2.5bn by the end of the year, The Guardian reported.
Now let’s turn our heads to something a lot closer to home. Aurora MD, Claire Eldridge, and resident Account Executive Aristides Bernard-Grau, along with our counterparts at Advocate Consulting, will be embarking on the Three Peaks Challenge this month. They aim to climb the three tallest peaks in the UK in 24 hours for the charity Chain of Hope, which carries out vital heart surgery for children in the developing world. This charity bears special meaning for Vashti, one of the team members whose daughter was very sick due to heart failure after birth. At 8 months old, her daughter underwent life-saving surgery, meaning she could grow up as healthy children should be able to. This surgery was performed by a doctor who had just returned from volunteering overseas with Chain of Hope. The inspirational surgeon, along with many others, help thousands of children recover from similar heart conditions, where they ordinarily would not have the opportunity.
We’d love for everyone who can, to contribute something, however small, to ensure that those who survive these conditions are not determined by the country they are born in. Please follow the link to donate. Thank you!