Sex, drugs and profligacy… just alcohol to go.

Laura Donnelly got a great scoop in the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend detailing the extraordinary amounts being spent by NHS Trusts on agency nursing. This not only demonstrates that certain hospitals’ management is out of control but also that the essential radical changes to the way care is delivered are not being implemented. This has to include staff reductions as too much care is labour intensive – a point made succinctly by Nigel Hawkes in last week’s BMJ.

Either side of this profligacy have been sex and drugs. Last week Melinda Gates put family planning firmly back on the agenda last week at the International Family Planning Summit. A new commitment was made to enable another 120 million women in the developing world to access contraception. I blogged from the event here and wrote an article on the premise for ConservativeHome here. 2020health fully supports the initiative and we know that being able to delay pregnancy and to plan for smaller families will transform opportunities for women in developing nations. Our caveat is the fact that many young girls are becoming pregnant and are simply thrown out of school with no questions asked about the surely coercive circumstances in which they became pregnant. Until we change the ‘acceptability’ of the culture in which young girls are seen as collaborators rather than victims, we will not have delivered them any new power.

And this week Channel 4 announce they are pushing the boat out with a ‘documentary’ featuring on-air drug taking. Keith Allen is the happy guinea-pig, which as I point out in my Daily Mail online article here completely undermines any scientific credibility. As a seasoned drug user we are not going to get an accurate view of the impact of drugs – and an ‘instant’ view is hardly the balanced approach that C4 claim this will be.

Well, that just leaves alcohol to go this week. Roll on Thursday for the Health Select Committee report on the government’s alcohol strategy.

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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