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 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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