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Archive for March, 2009

Happy Spring Equinox!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

This is the Spring Equinox, a day of equal light and dark, and the first day of the astrological year. The beauty of Spring is its promise of new life and new beginnings. Nothing is certain. Tremulous shoots of grass and sweet crocuses pop their heads, days are warmer, but nights can freeze. New life, new ideas, creativity, and hopes can be dashed — yet, if nourished, can take deep root and create long standing foundations.And this first day of Spring is a lovely, sunny day — enjoy! 

PRimage supports calls for prescription charges to be dropped

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Judy Viitanen agrees with the call by Doctors’ leaders for the government to abolish prescription charges for all patients in England. As a specialist healthcare lobbying and PR consultancy, with indepth knowledge on the issues surrounding the system of prescription charges, PRimage has long maintained that the current system is inequable and needs reviewing. PRimage have consistently lobbied and supported the well-argued case for a total abolition of prescription charges: it is an important issue that has growing public support: a BBC poll of 1,000 people last year found three quarters wanted prescriptions charges to end.

The British Medical Association (BMA) says the current system is not working and is “iniquitous” for many patients. It said the Government in England should follow the example of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and make prescriptions free for everyone. The BMA’s submission to the review calls for all remaining charges to be scrapped. And it questioned the value of expanding the list of exemptions, given the complexities involved and the fact that only 11 per cent of prescriptions currently attract a charge.

Judy has campaigned on this issue for many years – and is very aware that charging people can act as a disincentive to them taking medications necessary for their health. Community pharmacists have evidence of this on a daily basis!

A review of payments for prescriptions is ongoing with a view to extending the list of conditions currently exempt from payment.Prescriptions are free for everyone in Wales, will be free in Northern Ireland by 2010 and in Scotland by 2011. Some age groups, pregnant women, people on benefits and patients with certain conditions remain exempt from the £7.10 charge.

Diabetes doubles chances of postpartum depression: PRimage comment

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

PRimage read a news report this morning that pregnant women and new mums with diabetes are nearly twice as likely as other women to become depressed, putting both mother and baby at risk. This report was based on a new study from U.S. researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Postpartum depression is a very serious illness that affects between 10 and 12 percent of mothers every year. It may have long-term negative impacts on the women it affects, but also on their children and families. If not addressed, women with postpartum depression can become so despondent they attempt suicide, and some harm or neglect their newborns. Judy Viitanen knows very well how awful post-natal depression can be: she suffered for almost a year, following the birth of her daughter. In Judy’s experience, it is very important to have the help of a sympathetic GP and health visitor, as well as loving care from family and friends.

It can be life-changing when a mother suffers from postpartum depression. But a woman should realize it is not her fault and she is not alone. Brooke Shields suffered from the same illness and she was even able to write a good book about it. When a mother suffers from postpartum depression, she should focus on the fact that things will get better.  Until then there are many support systems like friends and family, medical professionals, peer groups, counselors and hotlines. She just has to hang in there. The Association for Post Natal Illness provides invaluable support – including a telephone helpline, information leaflets for sufferers and healthcare professionals as well as a network of volunteers (telephone and postal), who have themselves experienced postnatal illness. Their contact details are: 145 Dawes Road, Fulham, London, UK, SW6 7EB. Tel: 0207 386 0868.