NHS hospitals and ambulance services face disruption far into the new year, a leading health testing expert is forecasting.
He says Government intransigence over pay and conditions means there will be further strikes staged by nurses and ambulance staff. In some regions, midwives and physiotherapists will also join the wave of NHS industrial action.
Dr Quinton Fivelman PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory, said, ‘There’s little sign that the Government is going to back down over NHS staff pay rises in England and Wales, despite the fact that even the former head of the NHS Pay Review body, Jerry Cope, last week told the BBC that the average 4% rise recommended for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is flawed. He claimed: “The world was a rather different place in February” and the review body’s evidence is “probably out of date”.
‘Unions such as Unison, together with the Royal College of Nurses, are now planning a fresh wave of strikes in the new year. In addition, midwives in Wales have voted to take action, as have physiotherapists in 112 organisations in England and every health board in Wales. While everything is being done to limit the impact on patients, inevitably there will be some disruption to services, including the postponement of planned operations and appointments.
‘With this in mind, it’s only sensible we don’t go mad this Christmas in terms of eating and drinking. Strong evidence suggests that rich foods, alcohol and restricted access to hospitals results in a higher frequency of heart attacks during the festive season.
‘Conditions from strokes to diabetes are also known to be linked to overeating fatty foods, excessive alcohol consumption and lack of exercise. That may sound like a typical Christmas but, knowing that there will be further disruption to the NHS, the best way we can support health services is by ensuring we remain in reasonable shape this winter.
‘The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says December and January are the most common months of death in the UK. That’s irrespective of any NHS workers’ action. What preventative actions can we take to get us through Christmas and the winter months? Obviously, going easy on fatty foods and alcohol are the most significant steps.
‘Additionally, if people have concerns about their heart health, they may want to consider access to GPs and hospitals before deciding to travel. They may feel it’s a sensible precaution to take a heart health blood test. London Medical Laboratory’s Heart Health Profile test can be done either at home or in selected pharmacies across London and nationwide.
‘A general health test might be a useful course of action for anyone concerned, to ensure they are in good health to fight infections and reduce the likelihood of needing access to health services this winter. London Medical Laboratory’s General Health Profile Test provides people with a comprehensive check-up of their general health, including vitamin D levels, diabetes (HbA1c), gout, liver & kidney function, bone health, iron levels and a full cholesterol profile.
‘It can be taken at home through the post, or at one of the many drop-in clinics that offer this test across London and nationwide in over 85 selected pharmacies and health stores. If done in-store, a full blood test can be added that can indicate a wide range of issues such as infection, anaemia and leukaemia.