School food, backs, work and nurses – what we are thinking…

Why do we make food so complicated? New DfE guidelines for school food are supposed to be simpler, will be mandatory for some and not others but we are are unclear as to whether they have  closed loopholes. We visited a ‘healthy school’ recently to look at general well-being and found whereas the lunchtime menu was indeed healthy, pizza and donuts were served at break-time! (Ofstead didn’t check the break-time service) . Christine Blower of the NUT is right, quoted in Graeme Paton’s comprehensive piece in the Telegraph: it is a “missed opportunity that the standards will be legally enforceable only in those academies and free schools opening from this month”.

ankyspondthumbYesterday and today we have launched reports which both highlight the importance of early diagnosis and employee support so people can remain in the workplace. Ankylosing Spondylitis: hard to say, hard to see, need to hear focuses on the back condition that few have heard of despite its most famous sufferer, JFK, and being twice as prevalent as MS or Parkinsons. It is under-diagnosed and under-treated – Huw Irranca-Davies has written of his personal experience as the forward to the report for which we are very grateful.

The Daily Mail covered the joint report with the NRAS yesterday on Rheumatoid Arthritis,Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 23.04.04 ‘Invisible disease – Rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue’ which detailed the wide-ranging and significant impact that chronic fatigue has on quality of life and work for people with RA, not least on the capability for work. 50% of respondents of working age said that they were unemployed. 71% of working age unemployed respondents said fatigue had contributed to their inability to work.

Care in the community requires district nurses but as Denis Campbell importantly reports in today’s Guardian, numbers have fallen by almost half in the past 10 years. My impression is that their role remains isolated and unreformed with few examples of the sensible use of technology in place to e.g. enable easy, real-time access to patient’s records. Interestingly the article quotes DH as saying that they are committed to training 10,000 more ‘front-line community staff’ without committing to nurses per se. The chief nursing officer has her work cut out.


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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