How could food fix a broken NHS?

The Good Life Letter

5th January 2018
  • Discover what drives me on
  • Why politicians will always lie
  • The reason to keep smiling through it all

Happy New Year to one and all, and I hope you all enjoy a happy, prosperous and healthy 2018.

Iíve been writing the Good Life Letter for over a decade now and over the last few weeks Iíve looked back over some of the topics and issues that have piqued my interest and found that food has been the most common.

Whether it is the state of the national diet; the role played by mega corporations in growing, distributing or manufacturing our food; the paucity of knowledge about making good healthy meals from basic seasonal ingredients; food as medicine and the role played as a natural remedy or the laughable attempts of successive governments to legislate for a better world Ė this has been a rich source of material for me.

To be honest I canít see that this is going to change because the issues tend to be ones that I feel passionately about but also offer hope for everyone that we can make improvements in what we do every day.

Building upon ancient teachings and knowledge about food and its role in health makes real sense, and also has a natural logic as to why we can all benefit from knowing a little more and doing things differently.

Our world is now one where a quick fix is demanded, a short explanation required and the chance to share this knowledge in 140 characters the stuff of presidential power.

This is not where the Good Life Letter is going to go.

My view is that topics need to be properly explored, especially when it concerns health, and quick fixes only lead to bad outcomes.

That is why fad diets and celebrity endorsements are such a scourge on our lives leading to individual failures and collective misery.

Each topic I enter into has to be properly researched rather than accepted from a brief Google scan or worse taken directly from a PR companies press briefing.

This is therefore once again my New Yearís resolution Ė whilst I may not always be right I am going to have a damned good try at telling you what I believe.

A lesson to be learned

If only our political masters could offer us the same promise.

Just this week we heard that the NHS is not in crisis but is going to cancel tens of thousands of Ďnon-urgentí operations to ensure the services can cope with an increased demand over the winter.

Earnest spokespeople were wheeled out to explain that they were not in trouble but that this was part of careful and strategic planning to make the best use of resource.

Do they really think we are so stupid that we canít see what is happening?

If they were capable of strategic planning then they might have looked at the last three censuses and seen that our population is getting older; they would have seen that fewer people are going into medicine in the UK and that more and more of our doctors and nurses are being imported from overseas; they would have seen that those that do get trained in the UK prefer to leave our shores because they see better futures elsewhere in the US, New Zealand and Australia; they would have seen a failure in preparation for social care and maintenance of the elderly and infirm and they might have logically concluded from these few bits of information that they needed to do something about the issues long before January 2018.

If they had seen any of this coming Ė and to be fair they didnít need a crystal ball Ė they might not have closed all the cottage hospitals, downgraded local services and tried to centralise care into mega hospitals built with private finance and awarding contracts worth billions of pounds to Ďoutsourced providersí.

It is not that the need to support the NHS isnít already known.

Clearly someone saw the potential for investing more into the NHS after the gurning fools of the leave campaign stood in front of the bus that said £350 million pounds a week was being given to the EU and we should be spending it on the NHS instead Ė arguably this was one of the most powerful reasons why the vote went their way (even though there were others).

Now I am not saying that the country was wrong to vote to leave the EU, thatís not my point, please donít write in to take issue on Brexit with me... that is for others to comment on.

My point is that politicians from all hues and backgrounds recognised the need to invest in the NHS, but didnít highlight their failure to do so.

Fiddling whilst Rome burns

Radical changes are needed in healthcare in the UK and I believe that it has gone beyond a single party issue.
We need a cross party group who control the NHS and hold whichever party is in power to account for it.

Health needs to be taken in the round, considering all aspects of care and approach and this includes natural remedies and cures.

Just last week I heard that the Royal College of GPs was urging patients to be certain that they need to see a doctor by checking other sources first Ė online, pharmacies and self care which is not bad advice, however, we all know how confusing these routes can be.

Imagine if the NHS actually told the truth about natural remedies and self care so that colds and flu were cured with honey and lemon rather than having a queue at the doctors demanding antibiotics.

Ginger could be offered for upset stomachs and winter kale used to lower blood pressure plus hundreds of other proven and researched remedies too.

These are the things that I have been writing about for the last thirteen years, and will continue to do so.
I donít claim that these will fix a broken NHS or bring harmony to political divide but it might help a few people live a longer and healthier life... and at the very least have a laugh or two at my expense.

Dear friends if you look for it there are always unpleasant and scary things happening in this world, but here I hope you continue to enjoy my ramblings and keep a smile on your face.

Happy 2018 everyone.

Yours, as always


Ray
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