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June Health News

Dear Surrey Circle Health Reader, Good to catch-up with you for your regular monthly Health News bulletin! As summer starts to kick-in, with football morphing into the cricket season, I’ve rounded up five interesting health-related articles from the news & media world this past month of May which I trust as always that you enjoy reading up upon;

12th May COVER “UK wellbeing plummets to a 10-year low: LifeSearch

Ethnic minorities most effected

LifeSearch’s latest Health, Wealth & Happiness Index has found the mental, financial, and physical health has deteriorated to a 10-year low, with those from ethnic minorities the most adversely effected.

Commissioned with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and supported by consumer insights from among 500 UK ethnic minorities and 2,000 adults in the UK, the annual report has found that despite health levels returning to almost pre-pandemic levels, financial wellbeing and mental health levels have continued to drop. The index calculated an overall score across health, wealth and happiness factors of 84.4 for 2021, 15% lower than the score of 94.4 recorded two years earlier.

19th May COVER “Sedentary lifestyles could derail UK’s health recovery: Bupa

Risks associated with sedentary lifestyles, missed doctors’ appointments and the wider impact of the pandemic may hold back the UK’s health recovery journey, Bupa has warned.

Research among 8,000 UK adults in the Bupa Wellbeing index found that for those adopting hybrid working models, one in five (19%) are exercising less with fitness levels ranking lower than mental health, physical health and wellbeing scores. Internal data from 58,000 Bupa health assessments during 2021 showed that 41% of people were overweight, 21% were obese (based on BMI) and eight in ten (81%) were having musculoskeletal issues, while one quarter (24%) reported spikes in anxiety or depression.

24th May – Metro “Monkeypox cases up to 56 in England”

CONFIRMED cases of monkeypox in England have more than doubled to 56.

The figures, released by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), was significantly up on the previously confirmed 20 cases. Scotland also confirmed its first case, but Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency reported none.

Health officials said, while the current outbreak is ‘significant and concerning’, the risk to the UK population remains low and smallpox vaccines are being offered to very close contacts of those who have been affected.

The UKHSA’s Dr Susan Hopkins said: ‘Because the virus spreads through close contact, we are urging everyone to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service if they have any symptoms.’

Those at the highest risk are being asked to self-isolate for 21 days. Monkeypox, which is often found in West Africa, is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases. Symptoms include fever, headache, aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.

25th May – Metro “It’s important to talk about mental health … I know my triggers now”


BBC GARDENER’S World presenter Mark Lane, 52, was born with spina bifida and became a wheelchair user after a car accident 20 years ago. The UK’s first disabled gardening presenter, Mark was asked – ‘How have the three national lockdowns due to the Coronavirus pandemic impacted you, both positively and negatively?’ – “Life was slower and much quieter, but, fortunately, the pandemic didn’t really impact me. As a key worker in TV, I still presented on QVC and BBC Morning Live. Plus, working from home meant that I was able to make a clear distinction between work and downtime. Fortunately, during downtime, I was able to get outside in the garden and do more gardening. We Have just under an acre, so there is always something to do”.

‘Has your work contributed to a healthier you?’ – “Most definitely. TV work keeps my brain active and healthy and gardening provides an immeasurable sense of wellbeing both physically and mentally.”

‘How’s your physical health?’

“I am generally in very good health, but there is heart disease and diabetes in my family, so I have to be careful what I eat, and go for regular check-ups for these serious health conditions.”

‘How is your mental health these days?’

“I have lived with co-morbid depression for over 20 years, following the accident. I know the triggers now, that could send me in a downward spiral, but through meditation and medication (prescribed anti-depressants) my mental health is both positive and bright.”

‘Have you spoken to your doctor about your mental health?’

“Yes, of course and I have worked with psychiatrists and psychologists, followed cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and kept diaries. It is so important to talk about mental health. There is no shame in admitting or acknowledging you might need help. The important thing is that you do something about it, and that you don’t bottle it up, as the bottle, will one day burst.”

‘What steps do you take to improve your mood?

“Going outside. For me, as soon as I go outside my shoulders drop, my breathing slows down, my heart rate decreases and my mind starts to wander or focus on something like a flower, a buzzing bee or watching the birds eat. Also, getting my hands dirty in the soil releases serotonin in my brain, the feelgood chemical.

I also like to eat if feeling a little down, but try to keep it fresh, healthy ingredients like fruit, though every now and then a chocolate bar might find its way into my hand.”

27th May The Times “Huge rise in patients turning to private GPs”

The number of people turning to private GP services has soared over the past two years as patients struggle to get appointments with family doctors.

About 1.6 million people have used a paid-for GP for the first time, polling for The Times suggests, amid record lows in public satisfaction with NHS family doctor services as growing numbers decide to work part-time, with 3.7 million turning to them overall in that period.

Meanwhile almost half of GPs have said they would consider private work for an online service. Private work can be a well paid option. A GP picking up two full days per week with the virtual GP Livi, which promises “flexible hours and less admin” could expect £50,000 in pay. Another job advert for an unnamed online GP service offers between £80 and £90 per hour, with a minimum requirement of four hours per week.

Growing numbers of family doctors are deciding to work part-time. Currently 58.4 per cent work three days a week or less, compared with just 31.4 per cent in 2010. GP leaders say going part-time is often a designed to prevent burnout. Around a third of GPs say they are likely to quit direct patient care within five years. A survey of GPs by magazine Pulse recently found 1.3 per cent already worked for an online private GP service part-time, and 0.4 per cent full-time. A further 47 per cent said they would consider doing so.

There are 70,595 doctors on the GMC’s (General Medical Council) GP register and so this equates to about 1,200 already working as private online GPs. Doctors have no obligation to work for the NHS after completing their training. Many patients say difficulty making an appointment has pushed them to private GP services. Analysis of GP opening hours data from the NHS website revealed 12 per cent of surgeries were closed over lunchtime, and in some cases open for only half a day, every weekday. The analysis is based on 2,115 practises who have updated their reception opening times on the site since 2020.

GPs have been told they must offer appointments from 9am to 5pm, on Saturdays and on weekday evenings from October, as part of their NHS contract. These may not be at a patient’s own surgery but would be in the local area. Providers of independent GP services report significant increases in demand. Spire healthcare said there were almost 23,000 appointments with its GPs, almost twice as many as in 2020. Others reported increases of between 30 and 76 per cent in recent months.

So, there you have another month’s Health News round-up dear reader! By regularly keeping your ear close to the proverbial ground on these health related articles it not only enables an ongoing and updated general medical knowledge but also gives a focused outlook as to the future of medical health and how to look after it here in the UK. Until the heady heights of summer July News, please continue to take care whether you’re fortunate enough to be enjoying that well-deserved holiday or break, or perhaps enjoying a music-festival, make the most of the sunny days as we know they don’t last forever!

Kind regards,

Daniel Donoghue

MD, Surrey Circle Health

Specialist PMI Brokers

June Health News

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