Category Archives: Health

Barker Commission ‘lights the blue touch paper’ over paying for better health and care

Older woman with carerYesterday the Barker Commission published its report on the future of the NHS and social care. Established by the Kings Fund, the Commission was led by Dame Kate Barker, a renowned economist.

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Government aiming to transform primary care

On the 14 April, the Government and NHS England announced two programmes aiming to improve primary care.

The first, the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, was in reality a re-launch. In October last year, GP practices were invited to bid for a share of a £50 million pot to improve access to their services.

This could involve extending opening hours; setting up systems for online consultations, using Skype for example; creating new services such as care coordination for people with complex needs.

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#nomakeupselfie: Where are the older women?

Photo: sunshine city (Creative Commons)

Social media has experienced another one of its phenomena over the past couple of weeks – the #nomakeupselfie. Thousands upon thousands of women have been posting photos of themselves on Facebook without make-up. Initially aiming to raise awareness of cancer, this movement, if it can be called that, has led to donations in their millions for the UK’s cancer charities.

It feels like this activity has reached its peak and is beginning to quieten down, with the inevitable analysis taking place about how it happened, how charities jumped on it, and whether it was truly a force for good. But there seems to be one question that no-one has yet asked in all of this: where were the older women?

Certainly, in my experience of the #nomakeupselfie, I did not see any older women. The oldest selfie that appeared on my Facebook feed was from a woman in her forties. Why was it that a campaign emerged to raise awareness of a disease that predominantly affects older people without any involvement from them? Continue reading

Checking Reading’s temperature…

A thermostat

Age UK is distributing free room thermometers to older people in Reading this winter

Shockingly, Reading had the highest rate of excess winter deaths amongst those aged 65 and over between 2007 and 2010 – that’s equivalent to an average of 109 deaths per year.

With this in mind, Age UK is running a thermometer pilot project across Reading from December 2013 until the end of March 2014. We are enlisting the help of Gas Safety Engineers and health professionals (occupational therapists and intermediate care workers) who frequently visit older people in their own homes.

They are offering two free room thermometers to older people, along with advice on what to do to stay warm and well at home this winter. The aim of the pilot is to help raise awareness of the negative impact that the cold has on older people’s health and help make a positive difference to the 17,900 older people (aged 65 and over) who live in Reading. Continue reading