…for every rule, there is an exception.

The public

This is going to be a bit irritating. I’m going to break a rule.

I know what irritates you, such is the barometer of my email inbox. But, as Cicero said;

‘…exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis…’

…for every rule, there is an exception.

My rule is, I try not to link to items in newspapers and magazines that are printed behind a paywall.

Partly because I don’t want to get sued and principally because I get emails from the outraged saying something along the lines of; ‘what’s the point in linking us to something we can’t read…’

Fair enough. That’s why I have the rule.

That’s why, today, I pray-in-aid Cicero.

It was early morning, well, early for me. The local Sainsbury had just opened its doors. There was a fresh smell of croissant and floor polish. 

I arrived just as the newspapers we being delivered. I haven’t read an actual newspaper for ages.

The headline in the FT (£walled) caught my eye… hence I have now reversed myself into the Cicero cul-de-sac.

Reading an actual paper… what a treat. 

Jeremy Hunt is being touted as the next PM and there’s a column from Steven Bush, telling us he smokes pot and drinks wine.


The actual piece I want to connect you with, which I can’t link you with, is a letter. It takes a certain type of person to write to a news paper.

Disgusted of Dungeness, outraged of Orpington. They are self defining. Like a vicar preaching to the choir. Totally futile.

Having said that, I am wondering who Dr Ian Greatorex of Salford is. He’s written to the FT.

If he is who I think he is, he’s got form. He had a run-in with former Labour politician Hazel Blears and also, got a mention in Parliament’s Hansard… he wrote a letter offering his resignation ‘as a matter of principle’ over something or other.

He’s got himself revved up again.

In terms; Dr Great-man is having a dig about money going to the NHS, it’s a ‘sacred-cow’ and a conclusion about the…

… distribution of scarce public resources between the pressing needs of the day and a more prosperous and healthy future for us all.’

To be frank, it didn’t make a lot of sense but it awoke a dormant thought; it might be better if we focussed a bit more attention on stopping people getting sick in the first place.

According to WHO, 60% of related factors to individual health and quality of life are correlated to lifestyle.

Metabolic diseases, joint and skeletal problems, cardio-vascular diseases, hypertension, overweight, violence, the whole shebang, can be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle.

Poor diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, drug abuse, (Stephen Bush, please note) stress and so on, are the up-shot of unhealthy life styles.

As undesirable, as any of these nasty habits may be, I can’t see there’s much the NHS can do about any of them.

If a GP asks; ‘how much do you drink’, most of us will say we have a small sherry before dinner.

What can the NHS do about any of this? Public health messages, karaoke and catch-phrases, don’t seem to work.

It is the law that changes behaviour. Seatbelts in cars, crash-helmets on motorbikes, smoking in the workplace, health and safety legislation… all made a difference.

The scourge of obesity? What laws? 

Weigh scales at bus stops? If yer too heavy, you have to walk two stops.

What about a law to make chip-shop doorways 18 inches wide, so only skinny people can buy chips?

Dr Great-man, might be right. 

There might be better things for us to spend our money on?

Aneurin Bevan told Parliament that investing in the NHS would create a healthier nation and NHS costs would come down.

Within two years the NHS had run out of money and HMG introduced charges for prescriptions and eye tests.

Public health’s job; to prevent disease, promote health and prolong life.

The NHS’ job; deal with disease, return us to health and some would say, avoid the distress, so often involved, in prolonging life.

Dr Great-man misses the point.

The greatest threat to resources and the success of both the NHS and public health…

... is the public.

News and Comment from Roy Lilley
Contact Roy – please use this e-address roy.lilley@nhsmanagers.net
Reproduced at thetrainingnet.com by kind permission of Roy Lilley.