My wife, Janet Marsden, who has died aged 57 of cancer, was a nurse turned professor of ophthalmology and emergency care. She also had a unique specialty in the practice-focused education of healthcare professionals.
She wrote extensively about ophthalmic and emergency care and was involved in the development of the Manchester Triage System (MTS), now used in accident and emergency departments all over the world. In 2008 Janet was included in the Nursing Times’ Diamond 20, as one of the most influential nurses of the last 60 years.
A culture of openness has to be initiated to protect the vulnerable and the core caring values of the NHS
Seventy years after a leaflet dropped on the doormat of every household informing them of a new entitlement to free healthcare, the NHS remains our most cherished national institution. But as the country stands poised to celebrate its birthday, the independent review of patient deaths at Gosport War Memorial hospital is a tragic reminder of just how difficult it can be for relatives to get to the truth when things go badly wrong for the people who the NHS cares for.
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As Theresa May announces strategy such as ban on energy drink sales to children, analysis shows government must go furtherThe government’s obesity strategy is a welcome step forward in tackling one of the leading causes of early death and blighted lives. After smoking, obesity is the single greatest cause of early deaths in the UK: some 30,000 people die early each year because of it. It results in more years of unhealthy life, diminishing the quality of life for people across the country. Obesity increases the prevalence of many physical and mental health issues, from heart disease to diabetes to cancer and depression. That’s why it’s so costly to the NHS – around £5.1bn each year and rising. And its wider costs to society are estimated to be over five times that amount.
Related: Supermarkets targeted in the battle against obesity
Safeguards will ensure that it will never happen again – I think we’ve heard all this before
‘Please make comfortable.” This, we learn from the report into hundreds of hastened deaths at Gosport’s War Memorial hospital, was the term favoured by Dr Jane Barton, followed by: “I am happy for nursing staff to confirm death.”
Anyone with older friends or relatives, or even unable completely to rule out future ageing for themselves, may want to make a note of “please make comfortable”. This was a Gosport euphemism for early admission to the terminal care pathway, along with, “this patient is for palliation” and “going on a syringe driver”. As in a discussion between other members of staff about an annoying patient – “we agreed that if he wasn’t careful he would ‘talk himself on to a syringe driver’” (the patient did).
Checkout offer bans and TV advertising watershed are key steps to tackle health crisisNew laws to ban shops from offering special “two for the price of one” deals near supermarket checkouts for food high in sugar, fat or salt are to be introduced in an attempt to ease an obesity crisis that has made the UK the most overweight nation in western Europe.
Related: Obesity epidemic demands more action and investment to protect children
It is near impossible to shield children from exposure to unhealthy foods