The Anonymous Widower

The District Nurse Takes Control

As I said earlier my only problem was putting in the drops.

I told my GP yesterday, and saw him send a message to the District Nurses.

Today one of the organisers phoned me and an hour later she turned up and gave me an assessment.

She also put drops in my eyes and came back later to repeat the dose.

She had all the attributes one associates with District Nurses. She was professional, competence and well-turned out. The only difference from the stereotype was that she was probably younger than thirty.

She or one of her colleagues will come back tomorrow and she is trying to source a device that will enable me to do my eyes myself.

It is good to see, that with the pandemic still raging, I can get good care like that from the NHS.

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , | 6 Comments

People With Coeliac Disease Are At Higher Risk For Cataracts

The title of this post is the same as that of this page on Ocli Vision.

This is a paragraph from the article.

In a recent study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that people who suffer from celiac disease are at a much higher risk of developing cataracts than those who are not diagnosed with the disease.

On Monday, Boots identified that my cataracts had got worse and signed me up to a private hospital that could do them free on the NHS.

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Job Done – I’ve Now Had My First Covid-19 Vaccination

I arrived a few minutes early at the Francis Crick Institute, for my appointment to be vaccinated.

I had booked to be vaccinated there, as I wanted to have a look inside one of London’s new modern buildings.

I was told to enter from the North side of the building. As the pictures show there were no signs, but someone had spotted me and given me directions.

I was directed to stand in a particular place and then told to enter the building, by walking down a set of stairs to the basement.

  • I think my temperature could have been automatically checked before entry, as it certainly wasn’t anywhere else, that I noticed.
  • There was a stair-lift at the entrance, for those not able to manage the stairs.
  • Not that I saw anybody walking with more than the aid of a stick!

Once in the basement, I was asked to sit on one of about ten socially-distanced chairs.

Registration

There were a group of about six young ladies and perhaps a couple of young men, who then registered all those who had come for vaccination.

This was done mainly using your NHS number, so make sure you bring it.

Interview

Once registered, I was moved to another set of socially-distanced chairs, each of which was outside a cubicle.

I was then called in to the cubicle and given an interview by a young doctor.

She asked general questions and some about the drugs I take, so make sure you know what drugs you’re taking.

But otherwise the questions were ones everybody should know about themselves.

Vaccination

Once interviewed, I was moved to another set of socially-distanced chairs, each of which was outside a cubicle.

After about five minutes, I was called into the cubicle to be vaccinated, by a young lady.

I was only asked one question and that was whether I was right-handed or left-handed.

I am complicated, as because my left arm was badly broken by the school bully and I am right-handed, I prefer to have injections in my dominant right arm.

I also told her, that my unusual skin, means I don’t bleed from injections and she wouldn’t need a plaster.

She then said, that very few need a plaster with this vaccine.

The injection was quick and one of the few where the vaccinator didn’t say something like “Sharp scratch!”

I held a small cotton wool pad over the spot for perhaps thirty seconds, but despite being on Warfarin, my skin did its usual good job of stopping any bleeding.

I declined the sticker saying I’d been vaccinated and before I left, I was told I’d had the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Timings

From the time I arrived until the time I left was about half-an-hour.

Professionalism

It was all very professional and well-organised.

I’ve worked in factories and it was arranged very much how some factories are arranged, where the product being built is moved from one work-station to another until they reach Despatch.

It was also very relaxed and unhurried with lots of extra young people directing the patients around the various seats and cubicles.

Throughput

I have done my share of time-and-motion studies in the past and I suspect that, as time progresses, that the number of patients handled by this facility could be increased.

On the other hand, it may be kept a bit below capacity to make sure the relaxed atmosphere is preserved.

A Thought On The Staff

I must admit, I didn’t see all of the staff, but of the ones I saw, only one wasn’t white and she was Chinese and called Ying. Incidentally, she registered me, when I arrived.

A Thought On The Patients

All of the patients were white and with the exception of one other and myself, they were all female. As the patients were mainly over sixty and had probably made a choice to be vaccinated at the Francis Crick Institute on their computer, I find the ethnic distribution of the patients curious.

A Thought On The AstraZeneca Vaccine

I have a regular B12 injection and a flu vaccination every year, so I’m used to injections. The practice nurse is very quick, but the lady, who vaccinated me today was exceptionally quick.

  • She also had a couple of syringes ready-filled waiting for me and following patients.
  • She was able to vaccinate me, without my taking off my short-sleeved shirt and thermal vest.
  • I also hardly felt a thing.
  • I didn’t need a plaster.

As a friend, who also had the AstraZeneca vaccine, also said he didn’t feel a thing, I wonder, if AstraZeneca have designed this vaccine and its delivery system, so that patients can be quickly vaccinated.

Imagine market day, in a very populous country like Brazil, India or Nigeria! Has this vaccine has been designed to handle mass vaccinations in an environment like that?

It should be remembered that this is AstraZeneca’s first vaccine.

I have a feeling, that this vaccine could have been designed to a new set of rules, so that teams can vaccinate large numbers of people quickly.

 

January 28, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 9 Comments

Is The NHS The Cause Of The Rise In The Covids?

I was lying in my morning bath thinking this morning and I had the heretic thought, which is the title of this post.

How many prominent people in the UK have died from an attack of the covids? There have been some at an advanced age, but generally they were suffering from something else as well!

The highest profile person to be hospitalised by the covids, has been Boris. But despite his weight and obesity, he came through it unscathed, due to excellent care in an NHS hospital!

I’m 73 now, but if I look back to my twenties and thirties, I see an optimistic, fit, slim guy, who felt he was immune from health problems. I can also only remember one of my peers at Liverpool University in the 1960s going into hospital and it was so memorable, I can’t remember what he had.

The youth of the UK, don’t think the covids will happen to them and growing up in an NHS, which has looked after their every need, when they look around them, they feel it will get them through, if they catch the virus.

So the fact that the NHS is there and got the fat Boris, through it, means that they think, they’ll be alright in the end.

Conclusion

The success of the NHS could be a factor in the rise of lab-confirmed cases of the covids.

Are other countries with good health systems, that coped with the first wave, xperiencing a second one?

October 7, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , | 3 Comments

Should The NHS Adopt A Whack-A-Coeliac Policy?

The Wikipedia entry for Whac-a-Mole, says this about the colloquial use of the name of an arcade game.

In late June 2020, Boris Johnson based the UK’s COVID-19 strategy on the game.

Because of the high number of diagnosed coeliacs in the Cambridge area, I believe that I was diagnosed to be coeliac, by possible use of a Whack-a-Coeliac policy at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, in the last years of the Twentieth Century.

  • I was suffering from low B12 levels and my GP sent me to the hospital to see a consultant.
  • It was only a quick visit and all I remember, is the speed with which the nurse took my blood.
  • A couple of days later, I received a letter from the hospital, saying it was likely I was a coeliac and it would be confirmed by an endoscopy.
  • A point to note, is that I had my endoscopy with just a throat spray and this must have increased the efficiency and throughput and reduced the  cost of the procedure.

The only way, I could have been diagnosed so quickly would have been through an analysis of my genes and blood. But I was never told, what method was used.

I have a few further thoughts.

My Health Since Diagnosis

It has undoubtedly improved.

Cancer And Diagnosed Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet

Joe West of Nottingham University has shown, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a 25% lower risk of cancer compared to the general population.

That is certainly a collateral benefit of being a coeliac. But is it being a coeliac or the diet?

I’m no medic, but could the reason be, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a strong immune system?

Coeliac Disease Is A Many-Headed Hydra

I have heard a doctor describe coeliac disease or gluten-sensitivity as a many-headed hydra, as it can turn up in so many other illnesses.

Type “coeliac disease many-headed hydra” into Google and this article on the NCBI , which is entitled Gluten Sensitivity: A Many Headed Hydra, is the first of many.

This is the sub-title of the article.

Heightened responsiveness to gluten is not confined to the gut

My son; George was an undiagnosed coeliac, who had a poor diet consisting mostly of Subways, cigarettes and high-strength cannabis. He died at just thirty-seven of pancreatic cancer.

Did George have a poor immune system, which was useless at fighting the cancer?

Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease In The Over-Sixty-Fives

In A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, I used data from Age UK and Coeliac UK to estimate the number of coeliacs in the UK over the age of sixty-five. I said this.

Age UK has a figure of twelve million who are over 65 in the UK. If 1-in-100 in the UK are coeliac, that is 120,000 coeliacs over 65.

But some research shows that the number of coeliacs can be as high as 1-in-50.

If that 120,000 were all diagnosed, I would have several coeliacs amongst my over-65 friends. I have just one and she is self-diagnosed.

Are all these undiagnosed coeliacs out there, easy targets for diseases like cancer and COVID-19?

The Ease Of Testing For Coeliac Disease

I was worried that my granddaughter was coeliac and I asked my GP, how difficult a test is to perform.

He said, that a genetic test is usually quick and correct and only a few borderline cases need to be referred to a consultant.

Diagnosis has moved on a lot in twenty years.

Cambridge, Oxford and Covid-19

Six weeks ago I wrote Oxford And Cambridge Compared On COVID-19, to try to find out why the number of Covid-19 cases are so much lower in Cambridge than Oxford.

Checking today, the rate of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents is as follows.

  • Cambridge 336.6
  • Oxford 449

So why the difference?

In the related post, this was my explanation.

Is the large number of diagnosed coeliacs around Cambridge, the reason the area has a lower COVID-19 rate than Oxford?

It sounds a long shot, but it could be a vindication of a possible Whack-a-Coeliac policy at Addenbrooke’s in the last years of the Twentieth Century.

Conclusion

I think the NHS should seriously look at a Whack-a-Coeliac problem!

  • The health of a large number of people would improve.
  • There would be less cancer in the UK.
  • A better combined National Immune System might help in our fight against the next virus to follow COVID-19.

It would be a very simple testing program, that would be mainly in the hands of the GPs.

 

 

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Delivery Drone Flies Medical Supplies To Britain’s Isle of Wight

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Reuters.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new drone service will reduce delivery times for urgent medical supplies to a hospital on the Isle of Wight, which lies about 8 kilometres off the south coast of England.

In some ways the most remarkable thing about this project, was that the drone was developed by Southampton University to deliver medical supplies in remote parts of Africa.

  • It is twin-engined.
  • It has a range of 100 km.
  • It can carry a 100 kg payload.
  • It can take off and land on short grass runways.

More details can be found on this page of the Southampton University web site.

This is a video of the first delivery.

May 13, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NHS Procurement

I first had knowledge of government procurement in the 1970s! Then it was defence procurement, which was shambolic!

Nothing appears to have changed.

Perhaps, we should ask Tesco or Screwfix to source PPE and PCWorld to source ventilators?

April 16, 2020 Posted by | Business, Health | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

High Speed Two And Brexit

This article on the BBC, is entitled HS2: High-Speed Line Cost ‘could Rise By £30bn’.

Brexiteers like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage have said in the past, that they are minded to cancel the project.

But surely Boris and Nigel believe that we’ll all be better off under Brexit, so we will have the money for the NHS, kicking the foreigners out of the UK, building a wall to stop the emigrants walking across the Irish Border and High Speed Two.

They can’t have it both ways!

Or is it that both wouldn’t be seen dead on a train?

July 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Double Database Cock-Up From The NHS

At three on Sunday morning, I phoned NHS 111 to ask for a bit of help with my terrible cold that was stopping me from even getting to sleep.

I had some advice which helped, but I was also booked in to see a doctor at 09:00 in a surgery a short bus ride away.

So far so good and no complaints.

I duly saw the doctor and he prescribed several drugs, which I took to my local Boots later in the morning.

I should say at this point, that four years ago, I officially changed my name from the one my parents gave me to the one I’ve used continuously since 1968. I was starting to get problems with some airlines, where my passport had a different name to my bank account. My current GP has only ever known me by the latter name and I’m registered with their surgery using it.

When I got to Boots, they initially rejected the prescription, as for some reason it showed by old name, although my address, NHS number and other personal details were correct.

How did the wrong name get on the prescription?

Luckily, Boots were pragmatic and as they recognised me, I got some of thew drugs.

But not all!

The pharmacist recognised that two drugs were incompatible with the Warfarin I take.

So why did the NHS computer system allow the doctor to prescribe the drugs?

As someone who was at the forefront of database technology, I believe, these two problems are inexcusable.

My incorrect name could have led to failure to obtain needed drugs.

The lack of interaction checking, could have led to serious problems for a patient.

January 7, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , , | 4 Comments

NHS Is Still Reliant On Fax Machines

The title of this post as the same as that of an article in The Times last week.

This is the first paragraph.

Hospitals are still using 9,000 fax machines according to a survey that highlights the NHS’s with modern technology.

Other points from the article.

  • The survey was done by the Royal College of Surgeons
  • Newcastle on Tyne NHS Foundation trust had 603 machines.
  • Barts Health uses 369 faxes.
  • Only ten trusts said they didn’t own any faxes.

Coupled with another report last year, which showed that NHS hospitals still use an estimated 130,000 pagers, it surely shows the NHS is stuck in the past, as far as communications are concerned.

But this is not all!

A friend told me, he is trying to analyse the computer network of a trust, that stretches across three English counties.

These days, computers and complicated equipment usually have an address on the network, which in most organisations follow a logical pattern controlled by a sensible comprehensive specification.

But the NHS does things differently, with each county relying on one person in their area to create idividual node names.

How much could the NHS save, if they sorted out their communications and computing?

 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Health | | 2 Comments