With the closing date for registrations looming (30 August 2019) book now to attend our National Rural Conference, (in association with the CCRI), in Cheltenham on 3rd & 4th September) here. The keynote speaker for the conference is the Rt Hon Lord Foster of Bath, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy.

Hinterland - 07 January 2019

In Hinterland this week - Happy New Year to Hinterland readers. In my normal endeavor to avoid the Brexit miasma which seems to infect everything (whichever side you’re on) I’ve found a bevvy of public sector focused stories, although sadly few with very much festive cheer to them! NHS, health and a thwarted raffle innovation all feature. Read on...

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UK hospitals expecting 'mayhem' when cold snap hits, top doctor says

I don’t mean to cheer you all up so soon into the new year with this story but it is very topical. At the heart of the issues (and this article intimates as much) is the dislocation between adult social care and acute care – meaning hospitals are often too clogged up to manage extra demand.

This is further exacerbated by chronic under staffing and for rural hospital trusts, particularly those with multi-site operations, an unfair payment regime which fails to recognize the additional cost of delivering services in rural areas. You can read more about your individual acute trust’s record on delayed discharges at:

Hospitals will be hit by “mayhem” this weekend because of the coming cold snap, a growing number of people with flu and the NHS’s staffing problems, a leading doctor has warned.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said hospitals will face “severe difficulties” this weekend as lower temperatures lead to a surge in patients needing care.

“Influenza is here and is already impacting the NHS and, with colder weather starting to set in, this will further stress already stretched services.

“I and many colleagues across the country are anticipating mayhem this weekend as temperatures drop, but it will come as no surprise to us,” Scriven said.

Some A&E units and intensive care units are already full, especially with people who have serious breathing problems, he disclosed.

“Within the last week I have had colleagues warning of emergency departments and intensive care units being full, and that will only worsen in the coming weeks,” added Scriven.

 “Skeleton staffing” of social care services over the festive period has meant patients who were medically fit to leave had not been able to get home from hospital, he added. “The capacity problems this will cause will be profound,” he added.

Hospitals’ ability to withstand a sudden increase in winter-related illness will also be compromised by the NHS being “horrendously understaffed”, Scriven said. Official figures show that the NHS in England has 103,000 vacancies, including for 42,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors.

Farming chief calls for 'net zero' agriculture emissions in UK by 2040

Well there’s progressive. Ms Batters of the NFU is leading their new greener image. This article tells us:

British farmers must aim to effectively cut out all greenhouse gas emissionswithin the next two decades, according to the head of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

In a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference, NFU president Minette Batters said such ambitious measures were essential to compete with other nations on green standards.

She said emissions must reach “net zero” by 2040, meaning any remaining gases produced are removed from the atmosphere.

Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, and is responsible for 10 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gases.

Farm emissions come not only from CO2, but also from methane and nitrous oxides released by livestock and fertilisers.

NHS 10-year plan: Labour attacks Theresa May's proposals

I feature this story to raise the profile of this major plan which I suspect as with almost everything the NHS does will have no rural context. It tells us:

Theresa May's 10-year plan for the NHS lacks both the staffing and funding to succeed, Labour has said.

The PM has promised the publication of the plan on Monday will lead to "world class" care for patients in England.

Pledges on maternity care, mental health, elderly support and earlier detection and prevention of diseases will be included in the plan.

But shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Mrs May was just trying to "clear up a mess that she has made".

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Ashworth said: "The funding isn't sufficient and the staffing isn't there."

He added the NHS "doesn't need 10 more years of the Tories, it needs a Labour government".

However, Mrs May said that, coupled with the extra money announced last summer, her plan secured the future of the NHS.

The budget is due to rise by £20bn a year above inflation by 2023, though a detailed explanation of where that money will come from has not yet been provided.

England to tackle loneliness crisis with £11.5m cash injection

Great to see our old friends with the coffee caravan amongst a number of other key players benefitting from these additional resources.

A coffee caravan in rural Suffolk, furniture restoration projects for men and organised rambles for the recently bereaved are among more than a hundred initiatives being backed with a £11.5m fund to tackle the epidemic of loneliness.

One hundred and twenty-six projects have been chosen to receive up to £100,000 each in the first ever government-backed fund to tackle a problem that the prime minister, Theresa May, described as “incredibly damaging to our humanity” when she launched a national loneliness strategy in October.

The projects will target a wide range of groups across England from isolated Pakistani women in Bradford to young LGBTQ+ in Bristol and lonely elderly men in Cornwall.

The government believes the health impact of loneliness is on a par with obesity and smoking. It says loneliness is associated with a greater risk of smoking, coronary heart disease and stroke as well as an increased risk of depression, low self-esteem, sleep problems and Alzheimer’s disease.

Cyclists and pedestrians should be priority on any new road, says UK's health watchdog

If you needed more evidence of the predominance of an urban mentality in yet another important organisation here it is. I’ve no beef with encouraging more people to exercise more however it seems a big leap to suggest the solution is a blanket approach to discriminating against the private motor car – particularly where as we know it’s a lifeline to many people in rural settings. This story tells us:

New road projects should prioritise cyclists, pedestrians and public transport over cars to encourage more physical activity across the UK, the health watchdog has said.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is urging planners and developers to build “safe, convenient, inclusive” transport infrastructure, which will help people move away from cars to healthier modes of transport. 

In a set of new draft guidelines issued to councils and planners, Nice said the aim is “to get people to be more active in their day-to-day lives by encouraging safe, convenient, active travel that is accessible for everyone, including older people and people with limited mobility”.

The Department for Transport has said it supports Nice’s recommendations, and said its own guidance “is crystal clear that street design should explicitly consider pedestrians and cyclists first”.

In the UK physical inactivity is responsible for one in six deaths and is believed to cost the economy £7.4bn a year, including £900m to the NHS, roughly the same impact as smoking, Nice said.

And Finally...

Couple forced to close raffle for their £500,000 North Yorkshire home

I thought this was a brilliant idea – such a shame it was deemed this piece of great local initiative an invalid competition! This story of rural innovation tells us:

A retired couple who offered the chance to win their £500,000 four-bedroom home and swimming pool with a £10 raffle ticket have had to close the competition with “sincere regret and upset”.

Robert and Avril Smith announced last year that they were hoping to sell 60,000 of the £10 tickets, giving the public a chance to win their home in Grosmont, North Yorkshire.

The winner was originally to be drawn on Thursday, but the couple said they were “back to square one” after being told by the Gambling Commission that it was not a legal prize competition.

About the author:
Hinterland is written for the Rural Services Network by Ivan Annibal, of rural economic practitioners Rose Regeneration.


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