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 Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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