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Archive for July, 2009

Afghanistan: PRimage support Tory call for exit strategy

Monday, July 20th, 2009
The ongoing row over military funding in Afghanistan continues apace. Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team note that Conservative leader David Cameron has rightly criticised the government for not providing more resources, or developing a clear exist strategy from the region. We totally agree! And we have previously commented on this in a PRimage blog post last week.
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Swine Flu – conflicting advice concerns: PRimage comment

Monday, July 20th, 2009

The new health secretary has come under fire with claims that conflicting advice had been issued to pregnant women over swine flu … but he maintains the NHS had dealt “fantastically well” with the virus and claims that the UK’s preparations for tackling the illness were the best in the world.andy-burnham-3

 

As a specialist healthcare communications agency, PRimage believe that it is vital that the DoH and all health professionals ensure that clear, unambiguous advice about swine flu is made available to the public – but especially to vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women. pregnancyWe know that a recent poll on Netmums, a parenting website, found that 30% of respondents were “really worried” about swine flu. The poll found that 48% of the 3,446 respondents were “concerned, although I know most people who get it don’t suffer much and I generally think we’ll be OK”, while 18% were unconcerned.

 

Judy Viitanen notes that amid increasing concern over the impact of swine flu on expectant women, the Department of Health has now posted a new document on its website reiterating previously issued advice. It has also stressed that it is no longer telling women to delay conception. The DoH was forced into a clarification after women appeared to be given conflicting advice. The DoH has also said that pregnant women should not alter their behaviour – but should avoid crowds and unnecesarry travel.  Elsewhere, holidaymakers suspected of having swine flu will be prevented from checking in and will be required to provide doctors’ notes to say they are fit to fly.

NHS Funding: PRimage comment – ‘tax or axe’ ….

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Judy Viitanen has seen the new report from the King’s Fund and the Institute for Fiscal Studies – warning that the NHS has to act now to prepare for an unexpected funding shortfall after 2011. sterlingTheir analysis suggests that NHS spending in England may have more than doubled in real terms since 1999/2000, but the prospects for future funding now look bleak. Although there is consensus that the NHS faces a tough financial future, there is no agreement about just how cold the financial climate will be. Starting with a look at historical funding for the NHS, The King’s Fund and the Institute for Fiscal Studies set out three plausible future funding scenarios and their consequences. The paper concludes with an assessment of each scenario and the options for funding up to 2017. 1201725_nurse_doctor_patient

PRimage hope that politicians and policy makers heed these warnings from the two influential think-tanks.  It seems that their red alert that the NHS has to act now to prepare for an expected funding shortfall after 2011, is the “inevitable” consequence of commitments by both Labour and the Conservatives not to cut NHS funds from 2011. We agree that only large improvements in NHS productivity are likely to alleviate the need for “hard decisions” over whether to cut other budgets or raise taxation over the period to 2017.  And few would argue with the King’s Fund assessment that the NHS is facing “the most significant financial challenge in its history”.   4244886Protecting the NHS budget will mean tax rises and/or spending cuts in other government departments – and PRimage believes will clearly put additional pressures on the mandarins of Whitehall!  Judy Viitanen can foresee a great deal of future financial pressures and political problems on this thorny issue …. watch this space!

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team feel that most people will be concerned to learn that extra tax income of around £10.6bn – equivalent to £340 per family – would be needed if the NHS budget were frozen. What’s your view?  Please post a comment.

Retailers predict gloomy prospects: PRimage comment

Monday, July 20th, 2009

PRimage has read news reports of a survey of 100 of the world’s biggest retailers which indicates that they do not expect any recovery in the economy for up to two years, squashing any hopes of green shoots. Two thirds of retailers said they are experiencing difficulties with suppliers, resulting in stock shortages, while almost three quarters were not communicating frequently with their suppliers’ credit insurers.  shopping-mallThe survey also found that store groups are surviving the recession by taking short-term action, such as paying suppliers late, as well as more long-term structural action, including store and warehouse closures and staff cuts.

PRimage ‘Thought for the day’ ….

Friday, July 17th, 2009

love“When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace”

 

HH The Dalai Lamadalai-lama

Afghanistan – are more troops needed?

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The deaths of 15 British troops in the last 12 days in the Helmand province have been a tragedy – and now it seems that the prime minister is under pressure to boost Britain’s long term presence in Afghanistan, and to outline his plans for the future in the region.  There are also rumours in the media that troops have been left short of manpower and kit.  Extremely disturbing if this proves to be true – and gives added resonance for the belief by some people (Judy Viitanen included) that Mr Brown and his defence ministers have some difficult questions to answer.troops

 

‘Fat Map’ reveals childhood obesity!

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

As PRimage has often commented on this blog site, obesity is a major public health issue – and news today shows that one in six children in Britain are obese by the time they start school!fat-baby

DoH rejects pharmacist pay recommendation – PRimage view

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

pharmacist-2Judy Viitanen has heard that the government will not implement the recommendations of the NHS pay review body on pharmacists’ pay.  PRimage believe that the Government’s action is misguided, given that there is currently a 22% vacancy rate among NHS pharmacists across England and Wales. The pharmacists’ pay review body proposed a premium of up to £5,000 a year in order to improve recruitment and retention.

 

And according to Unite, implementing the body’s recommendations would cost £12m a year. This is just half the £24m a year the NHS spent on locum pharmacists last year.  However, health secretary Andy Burnham rejected the proposal. andy_burnham-4

He said money was short and the recruitment crisis wasn’t severe enough to justify it!   Judy is sure that the various pharmacy representative bodies, such as the CCA, NPA and PSNC have evidence to the contrary. Quite rightly, unions have reacted with fury to the move, which now raises the chance that the government could also ignore rulings from other pay review bodies such as the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB).  Watch this space …..

Johnson vs Brown? ….. PRimage viewpoint

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Reading the Sunday papers this morning, Judy Viitanen is interested to see reports of a potentially damaging new rift which has opened up between Gordon Brown and Alan Johnson after it emerged that the Home Secretary tore up a key government policy on identity cards …. without consulting Downing Street.  5502528PRimage has long believed that Alan Johnson would be the best politician to lead the Labour Party – and the Country!

 

In two weeks time Parliament breaks for its long summer recess, and it’s likely that we can expect to see some moves afoot to topple Brown.  It’s going to be an interesting summer on the political front, for sure …. With dangerous dynamics at the Party Conference in Brighton!   Watch this space ……_45798146_brown5555555

PRimage ‘Thought For The Day’ …

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

positive-thinking“The power of positive thinking can chase away the dark clouds” J