** Dido Harding has said she is “thinking about” applying for the NHS England chief executive role, although she has not done so yet.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, the NHS Improvement chair said: “I haven’t applied for the NHS job yet, and I’m thinking about what I want to do with my life.” When pushed by presenter Emma Barnett on whether this meant she would be applying, the conservative peer added: “It means I’m thinking about it. I have loved working in the NHS for the last three and a half years. It’s been a privilege of my life to work alongside our NHS people.”
In April, Sir Simon Stevens announced he would be stepping down as NHSE CEO in July after seven years in the role. A job specification was posted last month, asking for applicants to apply by 14 June 2021, with final interviews to be held in the week beginning 19 July.
NHSE has said it expects Sir Simon’s replacement to be in place by the time he leaves. The job advert states NHSE is looking for somebody with “a proven track record as a chief executive, leading a large complex organisation through transformational change, employing digital technologies and innovation” and “experience of the healthcare sector, or other complex consumer-facing environments”.
Baroness Harding led NHS Test and Trace until standing down in April. Speaking on Woman’s Hour, the former TalkTalk CEO defended Test and Trace. She said: “When Test and Trace was set up, everyone had incredibly high hopes that testing and tracing and isolating on its own would stop the course of the disease. If there’s one regret I have, it’s that those expectations were set too high.”
Early in the coronavirus pandemic, prime minister Boris Johnson pledged Test and Trace would be “world-beating”. When asked by Ms Barnett whether she wished Mr Johnson had not said this, Baroness Harding replied: “Yeah, of course.”
She continued: “I think all of us had a lot of hope invested in Test and Trace a year ago, and what we’ve learned — and the world has learned this, every country has learned this — is that testing and tracing and isolating is a part of the response. It’s not the silver bullet.”
Source: Health Service Journal, 7 June 2021
See also: BBC Sounds - Dido Harding, Friendship between gay men and straight women, Foreign aid cuts ([link removed] ) . Available for over a year.
Read Article ([link removed] )
** Rebecca Jane, an author, has argued that smoking should be banned everywhere and not just outside the pub in a heated debate on Good Morning Britain.
During the show, Rebecca said: “The point of this is that we are coming out of a pandemic based on a respiratory virus, and we’re still talking about smoking.
“And Rebecca argued people need “guidance” and rules in place instead of being entitled to make their own choices.” She added: “If you want to talk about a burden on the NHS and going out to clap for them every Thursday, let’s start with something that actually contributes to 75,000 people dying every year.”
Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “Our surveys show that two-thirds of the public want areas outside pubs and cafes to be smoke-free. It is not like this is not on anyone’s radar. People complain a lot that if they go outside, they have to sit among smokers.”
And Hazel Cheeseman, the charity’s director of policy, added: “It’s right for councils to consider where it’s still acceptable to smoke – two-thirds of the public already believe there is no place for smoking where we eat and drink. Removing smoking from places where we socialise, congregate, eat and drink will contribute to the cultural change needed to make smoking obsolete. But no one measure is going to end smoking in the next decade. To do this, we need further regulation and, crucially, funding for the support England’s 6 million smokers need to quit.”
Source: The Sun, 4 June 2021
See also: YouGov - Would you support or oppose banning smoking on pavements outside pubs, restaurants, and cafes? ([link removed])
This YouGov survey of over 5000 GB adults found that 59% of Britons support banning smoking on pavements outside of pubs and restaurants, compared to 33% who oppose. The move is supported across all age ranges and voting groups.
Read Article ([link removed] )
** Two local authorities – Stockton Council and Middlesbrough Council - have confirmed that they will restrict smoking in outdoor drinking and dining areas.
Stockton Council will require pavement licences granted to bars and restaurants to include both smoking and non-smoking areas. A Stockton Council spokesperson said: “The council considers a number of factors when considering licensing applications for outdoor dining, and this includes the impact of smoking. Where seating is required for diners, applicants must provide separate areas for smokers and non-smokers, clear signage, ashtrays in smoking areas only and a two-metre space between smoking and non-smoking areas where possible.”
However, Middlesbrough Council says it has banned smoking in outdoor dining areas completely, joining North Tyneside, Durham, City Manchester, Newcastle and Northumberland.
A council spokesperson said: “We’ve also stipulated this as a condition in our street pavement licences. In essence, it's to reflect that during the covid pandemic external drinking and eating areas have become an environment used by all customers.”
** Blackpool Council has no immediate plans to follow other local authorities in banning smoking in pavement pubs and eateries – but the resort’s health chief says he will look at steps being taken elsewhere to control tobacco use.
There is already a smoke-free seating condition as part of the council’s pavement licensing policy which states licence holders “must make reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted.” This is regulated in line with national guidance.
Dr Arif Rajpura, the council’s director of public health, said: “We recognise how harmful to health smoking is. Over the years, we have adopted a number of initiatives and introduced measures to encourage smokers to give up for health reasons, including the designation of some areas of Blackpool as smoke-free zones. The council will continue to with our community to try to reduce the numbers of people who smoke and avoid harming others via passive smoking. We are keen to assess and review ideas and policy proposals from [the] national government and other organisations that might help as part of our wider Blackpool tobacco control strategy.
“All information and learning would, of course, need to be considered and evaluated by the council before implementation.”
** According to new research, smoking can impair the ability to learn and memorise things, particularly among women.
The study authors from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in America analysed data representing more than 70,000 individuals worldwide — generated through TGen’s online cognitive test called MindCrowd. The researchers investigated whether sex modifies the relationship between smoking and cardiovascular disease with verbal memory performance.
Findings from the study reveal that cigarettes can do significant damage to the brain, with the impact seemingly more pronounced among women than men.
Dr Matt Huentelman, the lead author, said: “These results suggest that smoking and cardiovascular disease impact verbal learning and memory throughout adulthood, starting as early as age 18. Smoking is associated with decreased learning and memory function in women, while cardiovascular disease is associated with decreased learning and memory function in men.”
Dr Brian Tiep, director of pulmonary rehabilitation and smoking cessation, said: “This study points out some unpredicted but important differences between the sexes relating to cognitive decline. The impact on mental acuity seems progressive over time – some more rapid than others. Living habits related to diet, exercise and smoking certainly are consequential and may differ between men and women. People undergoing cancer care may be cognitively affected by cancer and its treatment. This study supports the importance of maintaining cardiovascular health and quitting smoking not only in support of their cancer care but to improve brain function.”
Source: Diabetes.co.uk, 6 June 2021
See also: Scientific Reports Journal - Smoking is associated with impaired verbal learning and memory performance in women more than men ([link removed])
Read Article ([link removed] )
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