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It’s 50 years since Ken Loach’s groundbreaking film, Cathy Come Home, documented the inhuman effects of homelessness. Without a home, as his heartbreaking film shows, families collapse, children are deprived of a stable childhood in which to thrive and individuals – Cathy herself – are put under intolerable mental and emotional strain with tragic and unjust consequences.
Announcing £1 billion increase in funding to mental health, David Cameron rightly said that there needs to be a ‘revolution’ in mental health care. Much of the money the Prime Minister is pledging is to flow into acute mental health services; £250 million for emergency mental health in A&E and £400 million for investment in crisis resolution.
So manifestos are out and for those working on charities’ general election campaigns, the anxious wait is over. Of course we know that, even in a typical election, manifestos are only really of interest to policy wonks and the likelihood of a further coalition in May makes them less significant still.
Over the last few decades safe and effective new medical technologies have been widely welcomed by patients and health care professionals alike, and helped to transform life expectancy. Asthma inhalers are one of these major medical technology success stories – launching in the 1970’s they enabled the delivery of new active compounds to the lungs to fight asthma attacks in a highly portable unit.
The Coalition Government should be commended for its efforts to drive the life sciences agenda. After setting down an early statement of intent with the Strategy for UK life sciences, last year’s re-launch of the Office for Life Sciences, operating across the departments of business and health, signalled a clear intention to harness the potential of modern technology to create a health service fit for the 21st century.
Our health and social care systems are at a crossroads and of the wide-ranging health challenges currently facing the UK, one of the most unsettling issues is the persistent health inequalities experienced by populations across the North of England.
As we approach polling day, I believe the choice we are facing on the future of the NHS is becoming ever more clear. The choice is simple: between the focus of Jeremy Hunt and the Conservative Health team on supporting NHS leaders to improve the culture of care and transparency, promote patient empowerment and accelerate access to new treatments by unlocking the power of the NHS as a pioneer of medical innovation, and the depressing sight of Andy Burnham determined to ‘weaponise’ the NHS for partisan advantage.
Last week, in London – one of the richest cities in the world – the Mayor announced a “Level 7 Warning” on air pollution. High levels of pollutants like NO2 and particulates fill the air, causing a perceptible haze in areas like St James’s Park.
A joint report by Candesic and the College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) analysed over 3,000 patient records who visited twelve Emergency Departments (A&Es) across the country and found that most people (85%) who attended A&E needed to be seen in an emergency setting.
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