Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter Holidays and Planning Ahead

As the students go on their Easter break (and we have ours soon too) I have just finished giving feedback on 50 or so student group reports (one side of A4) on their community visits to local voluntary groups whilst on placement at Primary Care in Campus to Clinic Years 1 & 2. I am always impressed by the diverse range of visits that the students have chosen to carry out and their reports are usually a pleasure to read. It is also really good that some have chosen to visit homeless projects plus The Real Junk Food Café Projects and the diverse range of visits may help the students to think more holistically about healthcare as well as possibly helping to build links between practices and the third sector which is what voluntary groups are always asking for. I continue to maintain my links with a wide range of voluntary groups in the city and one group I am involved with, Leeds Men's Health & Wellbeing Network, in partnership with The West Indian Community Centre Charitable Trust (WICCCT) and The Al-Khidmat Centre, has just been awarded £25k by North Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group to promote social prescribing and healthy activities amongst diverse men in Leeds LS7. It is also great that the local group WICCCT will lead on this. In the meantime as always we continue to plan for future student sessions and I hope everyone has a really good Easter break as the weather seems to be improving! SO WHAT'S IN THE BMJ THIS WEEK? . Regulator takes action against four online pharmacies. . Half of patients with learning disability miss out on annual health check. . Patients needing urgent GP care could be seen at neighbouring practices under CCG plans. . Free condoms should be targeted at people with high STI risk, says NICE. . Support overseas doctors for first year, says leader of doctors' mental health service. . Canada announces plan to legalise recreational marijuana. . Government "must get tough" on food companies that miss sugar reduction targets. . BMA urges government to grant permanent residence to European doctors working in the UK. READ ALL ABOUT IT! With best wishes, Barry

Monday, April 03, 2017

Carl Hylton Community Champion

I am really lucky in my post as a community education development officer here at Leeds School of Medicine, University of Leeds and in the last 17 years I have met some wonderful community campaigners and activists and one such person was Dr Carl Hylton from Chapeltown, in Leeds LS7. Although I first actually met Carl in the 1990's when I worked at The School of Continuing Education at the University of Leeds (now the Centre for Lifelong Learning) and Carl was part of a group which were putting on brilliant Black education courses for the local African Caribbean community in the area and we were funding these. In fact Carl put together a piece on their work for a lovely booklet which we published in the 1990's called 'Voices from the Grassroots' (1995) which was edited by Dr Eileen Barrett and myself. I mention all of this because sadly Carl recently passed away and it was only a month ago that I was working with him (on behalf of Leeds Men's Health & Wellbeing Network) in a joint funding bid with The West Indian Community Centre Charitable Trust and The Al-Khidmat Centre which we have just heard was successful. It was interesting to later read that Carl was born in Jamaica in 1947 and came to London in in 1957 and was later to start work as a Building Technician but after 20 years in a career change he went into higher education gaining a BA (Honours) in Social Science, an MA (in Political Sociology) and a PhD. Carl was a talented freelance researcher and Project Director for Leeds Bi-Centenary Transformation Project plus was a Director and founding member of JUST-West Yorkshire. He was also a committed community activist and archivist. He had been recognised as a promoter and developer of policies that enhance cultural competences, care and understanding for Black families amongst health and social service providers. It was really good to have met Carl. With best wishes, Barry

Monday, February 27, 2017

Campus to Clinic Community Visits

The first years and second years go out this year in groups of four to Primary Care over 8 mornings as part of the Campus to Clinic part of the curriculum. Whilst they are at Primary Care we ask them to find a local voluntary group (ideally close to their practice) to visit so they can learn about local healthcare networks, as well as thinking holistically about healthcare. The visits may also help to build links between the practices and voluntary groups which is what the third sector is always asking for. Some of the student brief reports on their community visits are starting to come in and I am always amazed at the diversity of the visits that the students manage to carry out. I offer some brief feedback on these to the students and they are usually a pleasure to read. SO WHAT'S IN THE BMJ THIS WEEK? . MPs urge government to stop "bickering" with NHS leaders and solve funding crisis. . Four in 10 European doctors may leave UK after Brexit vote, BMA survey finds. . Support swells across UK in day of action for migrant workers. . Politicians will be "colluding" in unsafe care if they block NHS plans, says King's Fund chief. . NHS Trusts £900m deficit amid winter pressure. . Experts debate Trump's mental health in US press. READ ALL ABOUT IT! With best wishes, Barry

Monday, January 30, 2017

New Term 2017 Begins

I have just finished marking my 34 RESS Community Student Selected Project placement assignments and the quality as usual was very good. The placements were mainly with voluntary groups in Leeds and were interesting to read plus the medical students clearly get a lot out of these. The excellent Sign Language tutor, Ian Robinson, also gets his 24 medical students to come up with ideas for making the NHS better for Deaf people and I hope to share the best of the student's ideas in my March 2017 Community Newsletter. We also had our second set of IDEALS Inclusion Health - Valuing Diversity workshops on the 16th of January 2017 and the feedback from the facilitators and students is usually very good on these. In my two workshops on Working Class Doctors the students do an action-centred case study where they look at how the School and medical students can do more to attract working class students to medicine and I always send their ideas to the Widening Participation Team in the School to be acted upon. I continue to work with a number of groups in Leeds such as Leeds Men's Health & Wellbeing Network (who have just put in a funding bid for a project with diverse men) and at the Jigsaw Visitor's Centre at Leeds Prison and with this latter group it could be an interesting time as Visitor Centres are being put out to tender. I will be attending the next national Diversity in Medicine & Health (DIMAH) meeting in Birmingham on the 3rd of February as well as Leeds City of Sanctuary Health Network on the 23rd of February and both organisations do a wonderful job in promoting inclusivity. SO WHAT'S IN THE BMJ THIS WEEK? . GP Leaders in Northern Ireland to begin collecting resignation letters from practices. . Full time GP workforces fell by nearly 100 last year. . Trump expands antiabortion funding to include all global health funding. . Accepting patients in emergency departments takes too long, says watchdog. . Hunt wants "new relationship" with Europe on health after Brexit. . UK children have an "alarming gap" in health between rich and poor, report finds. . People with HIV face a care "time bomb" scare. READ ALL ABOUT IT! With best wishes, Barry

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

End of Term One and a Happy Holiday!

As we have reached the end of the first term 34 of our second and third year medical students have just completed RESS Pre-Xmas Student Selected Projects at diverse community organisations (largely voluntary sector but some statutory sector) mainly in Leeds. A feedback session was held with the students on Friday the 16th of December 2016 on what went well and if anything could have been done differently and apart from a few minor suggestions the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The students have until the 9th of January 2017 to complete their individual reflective diaries and joint 500 word community newsletter articles (which are assessed) and some of their pieces will go into our actual School of Medicine Community Newsletter in March 2017. 24 medical students also did a Basic Sign Language course in the School and the excellent tutor (Ian Robinson) sets them the innovative task of asking for their ideas (one side of A4) on making the NHS better for the Deaf community and again I hope to report on these in our March Community Newsletter. So I hope everyone has a lovely holiday and comes back refreshed for term 2 in January 2017! SO WHAT'S IN THE BMJ THIS WEEK? . State sues generic drug makers for alleged price fixing. . Suicide strategy has failed, and GPs need better training in assessing risk, say MPs. . Syria violence is condemned as evacuation begins. . Raising council tax to pay for social care is not acceptable say critics. . Hunt says health spending must rise as part of GDP over coming decades. . NHS approach to investigating patient deaths is poor, says regulator. . Doctor's leader calls for government to rethink plans to replace Human Rights Act. . E cigarettes are a major threat to young people's health, says US surgeon general. . Hospital doctors warn of massive job losses if Obamacare is repealed. READ ALL ABOUT IT! With best wishes, Barry

Monday, December 05, 2016

LTHT Movember Bros

In the last day of #Movember, a month long series of activities to raise awareness of men's health and highlight the fact that many men die before their time and are reluctant to talk about their health or seek help. Quite a few Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust 'bros' have been growing facial hair throughout the month and have been fundraising for men's health causes. Three of those taking part are: Manley de Preez, James Ingrey and Sam Gaunt, all from the Patient Experience team, who've raised over £250 so far! The three elected to grow beards as well as moustaches, and while James and Sam are literally itching to shave theirs off, Manley has pledged to continue his personal fundraising efforts through December. Manley is a regular Movember bro. He explained: "Every year I set a target and when this is reached, there is a twist. This year I have pledged to grow my beard until Christmas and dye it white for this amazing cause." "I have also told my young boys that I am growing my beard because Father Christmas has asked me to help him with a secret mission and they are very much excited by this. Our goal is to raise £400 and your support will be much appreciated." If you'd like to help please visit the fundraising page at: SO WHAT'S IN THE BMJ THIS WEEK? . When the price is right: drug costing and NICE approval. . Third of partners have vacant GP posts for 12 months or so, survey finds. . Clinic on Turkey-Syria border awaits influx of refugees from Allepo. . Eleven million people are in line for HIV tests through routine NHS contacts. . Hunt rebukes NHS leaders for asking for more cash. . Tobacco companies consider next move after failing to overturn plain packaging ruling. . South Africa begins first HIV vaccine trial in seven years. . Wales approves new hepatitis C drug whilst England deliberates. . First case of Zika virus spread through sexual contact is detected in the UK. . Bill to boost medical research funding and speed drug approval passes US house. . Junior doctors' low morale is putting patients at risk, Royal College of Physicians warns. READ ALL ABOUT IT! With best wishes, Barry

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


THE DFG POJECT (Disabled young people and research by students at the School of Law, Leeds University). William is 14 years old (not his real name) is a big lad: tall and much loved by his family. Because of his autism he is non verbal, has incontinence, he eats stones and dirt from the back yard and is always suffering from sickness with severely challenging behaviour. William has two younger sisters who suffer from his unpredictable aggression and often can't get to sleep at night because he is awake shouting at the top of his voice. His family could cope if there was more space in their home - where William could spend time on his own to calm down and the family could have some private space and time to relax and have a friend round like normal families. Their house is small and they are unable to afford this building work: it would cost about £45,000 for a small extension to provide him with the necessary space (a bedroom and bathroom). Without this adaptation work they will be unable to cope. It looks like the only option is for the local council to provide residential full time care. This will cost a minimum of £3,000 per week to £9,000 - times by 52 weeks a year the costs are alarming. The loss to the family will be devastating as will the impact on William. You might think that councils across the country would go out of their way to help with adaptations of this kind - but the research being undertaken by students at the School of Law, Leeds University (funded by Cerebra - a National Charity that supports children with neurological disorders and their families) suggests that this is not the case. The law entitles families to grants for such work (Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) and the Government has significantly increased the allocation of these funds. And yet families throughout England experience great difficulty in obtaining support of this kind because Councils (contrary to law) often refuse to provide extensions for autistic children who don't have any mobility problems. The student researchers working with a local Disabled People's Organisation - the Access Committee for Leeds - are assessing the cost effectiveness of DFGs when families with autistic children are successful in obtaining DFGs to cover the cost of providing home adaptations. They are visiting and interviewing families who have had adaptations, and families who are in desperate need of such grant support. The report will be published in February 2017. For further information contact: Joseph Hilton at Leeds University Law School.  See also