The healthmatters blog; commentary, observation and review
A small rise in duty imposed on alcohol sold in retail outlets, pubs and restaurants, of just 1% above inflation, might cut violence-fuelled A&E (emergency care department) visits in England and Wales by an annual 6000, suggests research published online in Injury Prevention.
This approach might be more effective at curbing the toll of injuries sustained through violence than minimum unit pricing for alcohol, suggest the researchers.
Worldwide, interpersonal violence was the second leading cause of death among young men aged 15-29 in 2012, and more than 210,000 people sought emergency care in England and Wales for injuries sustained during an episode of violence in 2015.
Excess alcohol consumption has been linked to violence, but the exact nature of the association is unclear, although the evidence also points to a link between pricing and consumption.
In a bid to clarify these associations, the research team assessed the impact of on-trade (pubs/clubs/bars) and off-trade (retail outlets) alcohol pricing, as well as socioeconomic and environmental factors, on the rate of violence-fuelled attendances at emergency care departments in England and Wales.
They did this by looking at anonymised data collected on adults who had visited a sample of 100 emergency care (A&E) departments across England and Wales between 2005 and 2012, as a result of injuries sustained during an episode of violence.
The researchers also looked at nationally available data on alcohol pricing and expenditure, and prevailing socioeconomic factors for the 8 year period.
Between 2005 and 2012, just short of 300,000 visits were made by adults to 100 emergency care departments in England and Wales as a result of injuries sustained during violence, equating to an estimated 2.1 million visits in total across all facilities.
Three out of four attendees were men, aged between 18 and 30; and monthly injury rates among men were around three times as high as they were among women.
Regional and seasonal variations were also evident, with higher violence fuelled injury in the North West and North East of England and in Wales, and during the summer months (June-August).
Analysis of the data showed that lower on-trade and off-trade alcohol prices were associated with higher numbers of violence fuelled attendances at A&E emergency care departments, after taking account of poverty, differences in household income, spending power and time of year.
The researchers calculated that an estimated rise in on-trade alcohol prices of 1% above inflation could cut the annual tally of violence fuelled A&E emergency care visits by 4260, while the equivalent increase in off-trade alcohol prices could mean 1788 fewer annual attendances, adding up to around 6000 fewer visits in total.
However, of all the factors studied, poverty and the disparity between the haves and have- nots were the strongest predictors of violence fuelled injury rates.
A 1% drop in the prevalence of poverty and a 0.01 fall in the difference between those at the top of the income scale and those at the bottom could result in 18,000 fewer violence fuelled visits to emergency care every year, calculate the researchers.
They point out some caveats: emergency care data on violence are likely to be an underestimate as patients may be unwilling to reveal the cause of their injuries while the data only reflect the more serious end of the spectrum. Furthermore, living close to an A&E emergency care department may influence the likelihood of using it for treatment.
And, given the high proportion of 18 to 30 year old men in the sample, it is likely that the data represent street violence rather more than domestic and other types of violence, say the researchers.
Nevertheless, their findings have important policy implications, they say, concluding that government policies targeting poverty and financial inequality in England and Wales “could lead to substantial reductions in violence nationally.”
But any such policy would need to increase the price of alcohol in both markets, especially on-trade, they emphasise, adding: “The additional tax revenue gained, estimated at close to £1 billion a year, would be at the Treasury’s disposal, and could be used to offset the cost of alcohol related harm to the NHS.”
And they suggest: “Reforming the current alcohol taxation system may be more effective at reducing violence related injury than minimum unit pricing.”
Macmillan Cancer Support responds to the governments response to the review of choice in end of life care published today.
In February 2015, advice from a government-commissioned independent review, A Review of Choice in End of Life Care was published. Today, the government responded saying, amongst other things, it would ensure that in England:
- There are end of life care experts available around the clock to help dying people and their families with symptom control and deteriorating conditions late at night or at the weekend
- Better community care through local urgent and emergency care hubs, new‘ care coordinator roles and pilots of community nursing provision
- Better training and education on end of life care for healthcare professionals
- Personalised care plans for those at the end of their life
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“As a cancer charity that has been pressing the government to prioritise end of life care it is very encouraging to see it committing to providing round the clock care to help dying people and their families day and night. Better training and education for nurses and healthcare professionals on end of life care is also a positive move that could make a huge difference to those at the end of their lives. We welcome the government’s plans to ensure that those who are dying get a personalised care plan. This will make it easier for relatives and healthcare staff to make sure patients gets the care they want and, where possible, die in the place of their choice.
“At the moment, end of life care for cancer patients is patchy, meaning that in some areas of England thousands of people each year spend their final days in hospital when they would rather be at home. Others suffer from unnecessary pain and discomfort. Dying patients should be entitled to high quality personalised care, have their pain controlled and be supported to die in the place they wish. Help should extend to family and loved ones so they feel supported at an extremely difficult time.
“It is vital that the recommendations in last year’s Review of Choice in End of Life Care are put in place to ensure this happens. Today’s commitment from the government is a vital first step. It is now up to NHS England and other health bodies to deliver these plans. And they will need the necessary funding over the coming years if we are to see patients at the end of their lives get the care and support they need.”
Today NHS England released breakdowns of Trust and CCG level data for the Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) in England (NHS England press release). Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that over 100,000 cancer patients in England are failing to receive a care plan of support after diagnosis. Dr Fran Woodard, Executive Director of Policy and Impact at Macmillan Cancer Support says:
“While on the surface cancer patients are having a good overall experience of care, a closer look shows there are still concerns. It is deeply worrying that more than half (54%) of cancer patients are failing to receive a care plan which sets out their treatment and could include information on potential side effects and where they can get vital support”
“It is also a concern that estimates suggest over 100,000 people may not be being told about the long-term side effects of their cancer treatment, and therefore may be unaware of debilitating side effects such as heart conditions or incontinence, and have no guidance on where to get support.”
“The results suggest that there is still a one-size-fits-all approach to cancer care and a lack of personalised support, with a third of in-patients (33%) saying some staff didn’t ask them what they wanted to be called. It is vital that cancer patients have a good experience of care from the moment they experience symptoms, through treatment and for as long as they need afterwards.”
“Everyone with cancer has different needs. Some may require support with long-term side effects, others with mental health issues or money worries. Everyone should receive personalised support through a care plan that is regularly updated as their needs change, so they are fully informed and can access the essential services they need.”
Forget running, walking and other traditional exercises for losing weight — if you want to get in shape you should go back to the playground, according to new research.
Old school works-out like star jumps, hopscotch and skipping burn more calories and use more muscles than the nation’s favourite ways to work out.
Experts claim those wanting to drop dress-sizes would be better off skipping for 15 minutes to lose 215 calories, rather than running for the same amount of time, which uses just 150 calories.
Similarly, those that enjoy a brisk walk would only lose an average of 50 calories in quarter of an hour, but could expect to shed 135 calories by doing star-jumps for 15 minutes.
And a few minutes of hopscotch will see Brits lose 88 calories, while an enjoyable game of tag would wave goodbye to 115 calories.
Kate Toland, Head of Marketing at Fitness First says: “The question is, are you as fit as a six year old?
“While it might sound like child’s play, this kind of exercise is not for the faint hearted. Functional training challenges your body in a new way every time, promising significant calorie burn – and its great fun!
“We applaud and encourage people to take any kind of exercise. But for those looking for the extra edge, we have brought this new school of thinking to life in our clubs which all boast giant playgrounds for adults called ‘Freestyle’ areas.
“Here you’ll see members doing everything from skipping and interval training, to using trampolines and throwing balls.”
Researchers found that bouncing on the trampoline with the children can see the average adult lose an incredible 100 calories in quarter of an hour.
Even a game of catch, something which doesn’t seem particularly energetic during play, can help Brits shed 120 calories over the course of one hour.
And riding a bike – something enjoyed by youngsters from an early age – will mean adults can lose an impressive 190 calories in just 15 minutes, or 740 in one hour.
Even A-list celebrities are going back to their school days by using playground games to keep fit – with Beyonce and Michelle Obama hoola-hooping to stay slim, while Kate Hudson and Justin Bieber regularly skip.
But Fitness First experts wanted to put the ‘playground games’ to the test by pitching a 6-year-old boy – Alec Apostu – against manager Andy McTaggart, 31 in a series of intense children’s exercises.
Andy McTaggart comments: “Alec was tough competition, imitating his movements was a serious workout! The thing that struck me was the level of energy he displayed and the constant changing of activity was a challenge.
“As adults we tend to stick to either cardio, or weight training… but we’re missing out! With jogging for example, there’s very little Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which means you don’t burn as many calories afterwards.
“One of the biggest lessons we can take from the way the kids play is that they move in bursts. They accelerate quickly in one direction, change direction, slow down, stop and then speed up again. This is what we can interval training, and it means your body and metabolism function at a higher rate of burned calories for hours and hours afterwards.
“Equally, kids use more muscle groups on the playground because they move in all direction and naturally incorporate body weight exercises in their movement – they use their full range of motion rather than just practicing that forward linear movement that you get with jogging or similar.”
Playground games Calories burned in 15 minutes
Star jumps 135
Hoola hooping 83
Riding a bike 190
To help new and existing members incorporate functional training into their lives, Fitness First Andy McTaggart has designed a short #PlaygroundWorkout, which will maximize the number of muscle groups you use and burn more calories:
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Complete this four times for each move before moving onto the next one. This is 20 minutes of challenging and fun exercise.
1. Crawls: Start on all fours, ensuring your knees don’t touch the floor and maneuverer over a set distance as fast possible. This can be done moving forwards, backwards or even sideways. Great exercise that utilises your whole body and can be done anywhere.
If you have a training partner you can ramp up the competition by turning this exercise into a race!
2. Med ball throws: Squat with a weighted medicine ball and then straighten up, throwing the ball to a target on a wall or a person. This requires explosive power and incorporates the whole body.
3. Inverted mountain climbers: Put your hands on a box or step so you are in an elevated push up position. Drive the knees up to your chest one at a time as fast as you can.
4. Sprints: Set out an area which is long enough to allow for you to build up speed and sprint from end to end. This exercise incorporates speed, agility, power and coordination. The track that’s available at various Fitness First clubs is perfect for this.
5. Bosu bounds: Set out BOSU boxes as stepping stones, either in straight line or spaced out randomly. The aim is to jump from BOSU to BOSU as quickly as possible without falling off. This targets the lower body and improves your balance, agility and coordination.
Fitness First is encouraging people to share how they incorporate playground games into their workouts by tweeting @FitnessFirstUK with #PlaygroundWorkout.
Nearly half of NHS IT decision makers worry about meeting 2020 paperless deadline. With the deadline to meet the government’s paperless healthcare initiative looming, OpenText, a global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), has surveyed respondents from 115 NHS trusts and organisations, using iGov Survey, about whether they feel ready for 2020.
Nearly half of CIOs and directors (46%) are concerned over whether they can meet the government deadline in less than four years’ time, with two-fifths (39%) of respondents reporting that patient records are not currently digitised within their organisation.
However, the majority of respondents (78%) said that digitising patient records would benefit their organisation. Access to data and information from any location, at any time, and on any device (30%) and the ability to access data and information faster (31%) were cited as the main benefits.
Furthermore, it is clear that mobile and wearable technology is key to future strategy and unlocking these benefits. 70% of NHS organisations stated there is scope for wearables to be introduced in the coming years, and over half (55%) plan to increase the use of mobile and/or wearable technology used by staff members.
Yet despite this, there were several barriers to implementing a ‘paperless environment’ including:
· A lack of suitable technology already within our organisation (49%)
· A lack of in-house skills to implement a ‘paperless’ initiative (56%)
· Budget restrictions (75%)
Commenting on the research, Mark Bridger, Vice President of Sales UK at OpenText said, “It’s important to note that it’s not too late for organisation to start implementing digital strategies to meet the 2020 deadline, and the government’s paperless initiative should be seen as just one part of a journey towards fully digital healthcare provision.
“My advice would be to think about how your organisation is going to manage all this new data created in a digital healthcare system beyond 2020. Take a step back to see the enterprise as a whole – identifying where the paper is, engaging all members of staff at all levels and thinking about process flows. Only then can better business efficiencies be consistently delivered within the healthcare sector.”
Technology will play an increasingly important role in improving outcomes of care and there are already solutions and devices available which offer multiple benefits for the healthcare service. Earlier this year, the NHS Confederation’s Commission on Improving Urgent Care for Older People released a report stating that older people are being “let down” by the NHS.
Rather than being given fast access to quality care when they first fall ill, older people are all too often forced to go to A&E. The report outlined the scale of this problem – over-65s now account for 3.7 million A&E visits each year, equating to about one in six of the total. This means that older patients ultimately face longer stays and loss of independence once they are in hospital. The report also revealed that most hospital beds are occupied by people over the age of 65 and, once admitted, over-85s stay in hospital for 11 days on average – twice as long as the average for all ages.
With A&E waiting times getting worse, the NHS needs to ensure vulnerable patients get the quickest care possible. Creating a system that provides older patients with the prompt and efficient care they need and deserve will take many years of hard work and radical change in management and clinical care. But by acting quickly, we can begin to tackle the issue before solvable problems become insurmountable.
Technology will play an increasingly important role in facilitating the provision of care and there are already solutions and devices available which offer multiple benefits for the healthcare service, which improve patient care.
For example, Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) is a hosted solution which utilises high definition videoconferencing and sharp audio connections to eliminate the distance between patients and clinicians. This telemedicine solution enables patients to be remotely assessed, diagnosed and receive treatment before their problem becomes severe and potentially life threatening, necessitating distressing and costly hospital admission.
VaaS is already being used to help older patients in nursing homes across Lancashire and South Cumbria. It allows residents with dysphagia to be assessed by a qualified speech and language therapist from their care home, rather than having to travel, wait for a hospital appointment or book a home visit. This is enabling very limited resources to be spread across a large geographical area without the need for travel. In turn, this also significantly reduces patient distress levels and aids the recovery process.
It isn’t just VaaS technology that can improve access to care or prevent older people from lengthy stays in hospital. Wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular, with many companies adapting these devices specifically for use in healthcare. A great example of how these can help to look after older people is wearable sensors – these can be used to monitor a range of things from heart rate to balance and used to alert doctors, families or caregivers when an older person falls, is feeling unwell or needs emergency assistance. Sensors can also be fitted to household objects to monitor someone’s daily routine and wearable tech can provide reminders to take medication on a regular basis – all of which help older people live an independent, healthier and safer life.
Technology is already providing accessible care, monitoring health conditions and offering potentially life-saving rapid response services. This is enabling patients to be treated more quickly, reducing the severity of many conditions and removing the need for long-term care in many cases. Secondary benefits of this include massive time and cost savings for the healthcare service and a reduction in bed blocking.
Health and care spending on over-75s is already 13 times higher than that on younger people. With over five thousand registered nursing homes in the UK, and an anticipated exponential increase in the older population in the future, it is inevitable that delivery of healthcare will require a different approach. Telemedicine is a fast growing area of innovation in healthcare, and if technology is embraced and adapted specifically to treat those who make up the vast majority of the NHS patient population, we will be able to improve delivery models and patient outcomes to benefit all parties.
Veronica Southern, clinical consultant at Imerja, a specialist provider of IT infrastructure, IT security and business communications services, with particular expertise in the public sector. http://www.imerja.com
This is the arresting title of a piece by Glasgow General Practitioner, Margaret McCartney, in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal ( BMJ2016;353:i2822). It is one of her weekly “No holds barred” series and is characteristically forthright and insightful.
“Doctors used to have much autonomy, leading to innovation, excellent care, and high job satisfaction – but also to exhaustion and a few doctors taking advantage of minimal oversight. We now have a bureaucracy, intrusive checking of often irrelevant “performance” data, and an entire industry professing to regulate us. We no longer have a moral contract to practise medicine but instead have an angst ridden, nit picking one that assumes the worst and tries to find it.”
“ I won’t resentfully add up the extra hours I worked this weekend or before my official start time, as long as I’m doing a useful job that’s valuable to patients and I retain some control over my working life. If my work feels crammed with conflict, if I’m routinely pleading for referrals to be accepted, or when organisations change without consultation or consideration, then clock watching and declaiming that “it’s not my job” will become natural.”
“Treat workers as mere disposable cogs in the corporate wheel, and they won’t imagine or invest their future as part of it. So, no one will innovate, create or challenge. No one will feel ownership of a shared destiny. All of this will have to come from external management consultancies with variously laughable grasps of medicine.”
“If truth is the first casualty of war, the NHS is fighting for its moral life. Meeting the needs of everyone, free at the point of need; do this first, and then we can talk. We need an evidence based NHS, released from the stranglehold of party politics that causes so much waste and angst. But we also need to backtrack, to take advantage of professionalism and to allow staff to use it.”
Powerful stuff but is she right?
Was medical professionalism really a good thing? Many years ago when I worked for a regional health authority I had a particular responsibility for trying to ensure that our consultant employees fulfilled their contractual obligations in terms of productivity and quality. I assumed that human nature being what it is some consultants would work hard and deliver high quality care whereas others would operate at the other end of the spectrum. The problem was how to identify the latter. In practice this was very difficult as consultant colleagues rarely gave the game away and most managers clearly considered it not their business to spill the beans. During the 7 years that I fulfilled this monitoring role at no time did anyone approach me about a consultant’s poor performance. However, I soon came to realise that when a group of consultants came to see me to discuss the early retirement “on medical grounds” of a colleague it was often an admission that productivity and/or quality had deteriorated so much that urgent action was needed, albeit action which gave no direct hint of failure and which was easy to accomplish as who better than fellow doctors to testify to acceptable medical grounds?
So, as Dr McCartney nicely puts it, these were the “few doctors taking advantage of minimal oversight”. I did worry however that those put forward for retirement were probably the tip of an iceberg of unknown dimensions. So I am not certain that Dr McCartney’s few were really so few. And how reliable was the implicit guarantee provided by professionalism? Not very reliable in my experience.
Turning to the recent junior doctors’ strike, alluded to by implication in Dr McCartney’s piece, the idea of striking would never have occurred in my day. We were happy to work all hours for peanut pay in the sure and certain knowledge that what we were doing was valuable and that in due course we would have very well paid high status interesting jobs which would also allow a normal private/family life. Although the junior doctors made great play of their concern for patient safety we know from leaked emails that in truth the real reason for striking was pay. But why should today’s junior doctors be so different to those of my day? Evidence perhaps of the angst ridden, nit picking NHS culture that assumes the worst and tries to find it, as described by Dr McCartney.
I totally agree with Dr McCartney’s condemnation of the changes to the NHS done without proper consultation or consideration. Having started my medical career in 1965 I have lived through many reorganisations only one of which – the 1974 one, as slightly amended by the 1982 one – improved the Service. Putting community health services under the same management as hospital services made sense though it was a great pity that the transferred community services did not include adult social services. But transferring the non environmental elements of the public health function was a mistake that set back community medicine as the medical element of public health was then called by at least a decade. Introducing supermarket style general management into the NHS was also misguided – I speak as one of the few doctors who were foolish enough to take on general management roles in the wake of the Griffiths Report. The replacement of a directly managed regionally planned service by an internal market was similarly ill conceived. The latest Andrew Lansley changes seemed to be based on a personal whim, little understood and much regretted now even by the government that introduced them. What other national institution would be treated in such a cavalier fashion, I wonder?
As for new regulatory industry my own brief experience of this as a member of an inspection team leads me to believe that it serves only as a gravy train for the vast army of inspectors and that their conclusions are more or less meaningless.
So, if professionalism failed in the past, over bureaucratisation and regulation is failing now and the continuing level of political interference causes waste and destabilisation, what is the answer?
The last thing the NHS needs at the moment is another major reorganisation. A long period of system stability would, all other things being equal, be a good thing. But other things are not equal and nothing short of radical change will rescue healthcare in England from the sad state it has been driven into.
Paul Walker, June 2016.
In September last year I commented on my experience as a recent visitor observing the care received by a close relative as a hospital inpatient. This is an update based on another episode as a visitor observing yet another episode of hospital inpatient care experienced by the same close relative.
Many years ago I formed the view that rehabilitation was the cinderella of the NHS. The numbers of staff – physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists – were small, predominantly female and with little political clout compared with the much more numerous nursing profession and doctors. And, importantly, in the main doctors were ignorant about its method and potential and disinterested.
I had thought that over the years this truth had been recognised – not because I had pointed it out but because it was self evident – and that the rehabilitation arm of the NHS had been strengthened and given more prominence. In fact I think there has been a sea change in the recognition given to rehabilitation but in practice this has had little impact on what happens on the ground.
However, another recent experience of a hospital inpatient stay of an elderly close relative was profoundly depressing. Being bed bound is bad news for any patient but it is particularly so for the elderly. So, as soon as the medical condition which had occasioned the hospital admission was under control I expected the physios to come into their own in getting the patient out of bed and mobile. But this didn’t happen. For two reasons in my view. Firstly, there just weren’t enough of them to be able to spend time with the patient; and secondly, there seemed to be little encouragement from the nursing staff as having patients sitting out in chairs and being mobilised disturbed their routines and made giving drugs and attending to toilet needs more time consuming and difficult. So, many days were spent lying in bed with muscles and joints becoming weaker and stiffer; and pressure points put at risk.
The shortage of physiotherapists was also very evident when my relative was admitted some months ago to a community rehabilitation unit. I was led to expect that the rehabilitation regime would be really intensive and that this would be needed to recover the mobility lost through many weeks of being bed bound. In fact the rehabilitation regime was extremely low key because of a lack of physiotherapy input. I was told by the unit manager that the patient would do better at home where they would be able to access the community physiotherapy service and supplement this if necessary with private physiotherapist sessions. A remarkable admission I thought.
My conclusion from these exeperiences is that rehabilitation is still a cinderella service but that the main reason for this is not so much lack of priority and recognition of its importance as lack of funding.
On the basis of my recent experiences as a patient at one remove there is no doubt in my mind that the NHS is significantly underfunded and that this impacts very adversely on the quality of patient care. The aim must be to bring the level of funding up to the average level of other European countries – why should we think that we can deliver an acceptable service on fewer resources than our neighbours? To achieve this the country faces a difficult choice. Either we accept higher taxes to pay for this or we accept that “free at the point of use” is no longer sustainable and that patient contributions must be levied as they are for dental and opthalmic services. Or, that we change the whole basis of funding to an insurance based model.
It seems to me that this truth is now increasingly recognised. Unfortunately, it is only a Labour government that could get away with doing something so revolutionary to the NHS. The likelihood of a Labour government having the opportunity to do this in the near future seems rather low so meanwhile the quality of healthcare will continue to decline through increasingly severe underfunding. It will not just be a case of dreading needing to use the NHS at weekends – it is a source of amazement to me that the lack of a seven day service in the NHS has been allowed to exist for so long without evident complaint – but rather of dreading needing to use it at any time. A grim prospect indeed.
Dr Edmund Wycliffe, June 2016
UK NURSING SECTOR STUCK IN 19TH CENTURY: GENDER INEQUALITY IN SENIOR POSITIONS AS STRONG AS WHEN NIGHTINGALE WAS ALIVE
- Nearly a quarter of female nurses say employer attitudes hold them back from applying for senior positions
- Meanwhile, over 8 in 10 female nurses haven’t asked for a pay rise in the past 3 years
The Royal College of Nursing Congress 2016 starts this week but, from a gender equality perspective, it may as well be 1816 – just a few years before the birth of Florence Nightingale – according to new research from recruitment company, Randstad.
Women make up nearly 90% of the UK’s nursing workforce and are paid an average 14% less than their male counterparts. Now, a new Randstad report, Assessing the Lack of Senior Opportunities for Women in Nursing, may finally reveal why women get paid less and occupy fewer senior positions:
- Nearly a quarter (23%) of female nurses surveyed by Randstad said their employers’ attitudes were holding them back from applying for senior positions
- Over a third of male and female nurses (36%) said they believe a glass ceiling still exists for female nursing professionals
- Over a third of female nurses (35%) said a lack confidence in their own abilities prevented them from going for senior positions
- Half of the male and female nurses surveyed (45%) said not enough was being done to encourage women into the top jobs within the sector
The Randstad research also found that an astonishing eight in ten (84%) female nurses had never asked for a pay rise.
Victoria Short, Managing Director, Randstad Care, commented:
“This week sees the beginning of the Royal College of Nursing Congress 2016 but, in terms of gender equality at the top, the sector hasn’t progressed much from when Florence Nightingale was alive.
“A lack of confidence is clearly holding back a significant number of female nurses from applying for senior roles, and in many cases this is almost certainly a result of the attitude of their employers — and the deep-rooted perception of a glass ceiling.
“The nursing sector, and by extension the wider healthcare profession, urgently needs to address these equality issues, or at the least the perception that they exist, or risk a mass exodus of female nursing talent.”
London, 15 June 2016
Becoming an everyday athlete could boost life span by more than three years.
- People can improve their life expectancy by more than three years by increasing their daily activity levels
- Health and life insurer Vitality launches UK wide ‘Everyday Athlete’ campaign to inspire the nation to make small changes to realise lasting health improvement
- Partnership announced with RAND Europe to investigate the long term implications of a lack of everyday exercise on health and life span
Making small improvements and behaving as an ‘Everyday Athlete’ can improve life span by more than three years*, according to Vitality, the health and life insurer. Based on analysis of 6,600 members over the course of 12 months, Vitality found that previously sedentary members who increased their activity levels to the Government recommended 150 minutes a week saw their life expectancy boosted by more than three years (3.1 years). Members who increased their activity levels to 90 minutes saw an increase of almost three years (2.7 years) and exercising just 60 minutes a week saw an increase of more than two years (2.4 years).
The research was calculated through analysis of each individual’s ‘Vitality Age’, an aggregate measure of wellness that evaluates the gap between physical body age and actual age. By surveying members before and after they made changes to their everyday behaviour, the data pinpointed the impact of behaviour on life expectancy.
Further research** conducted by Vitality found the main barriers preventing people from taking part in sport or exercise include time constraints (31%), the expense (21%) and people not enjoying it (19%).
This insight is at the heart of Vitality’s new nationwide campaign, ‘Everyday Athlete’, which aims to inspire people to make small changes to everyday behaviour to realise long term health improvements. The Everyday Athlete campaign wants to show the nation that activity needn’t be time-consuming, expensive or unenjoyable and seeks to encourage people to understand the positive small steps that can be easily incorporated into everyday life.
The multi-channel campaign, which includes national TV and press advertising, launches from Monday 13th June. The TV advert will show a range of ordinary people doing everyday activities, such as walking up the escalator rather than standing, which can make a big difference to their overall health. The campaign is supported by Vitality Ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill, who took time out of her busy Olympics training schedule to raise awareness of an issue that is close to her heart.
The Vitality analysis also found that rewarding physical activity has a direct impact on both kick starting activity and encouraging people to continue being active. Since introducing rewards such as cinema tickets and Starbucks beverages for completing exercise, more than a third of members (34%) who had previously been registering as inactive are now engaging in physical activity. This was even more profound for those members who were already active, with the introduction of rewards prompting a six fold increase in those reaching weekly activity targets.
Vitality Ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “I am delighted to support the Everyday Athlete campaign – it’s a fantastic way to spread the message about the benefits of health and wellbeing in a fun and inspiring way. I truly believe in the core message of the campaign, which is that everyone, regardless of their current health and fitness, can take small steps to live a happier and healthier life.
“Being an Everyday Athlete doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or climb a mountain, it just means changing everyday behaviours such as walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift, or getting off a bus stop or two early to walk the rest of the way to where you want to go. This campaign shows how easy it is for people to make small changes that can really benefit their short and long term health.”
Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Vitality, said: “Our analysis of more than 6,600 Vitality members over the course of 12 months reveals the direct positive impact that small changes to behaviour combined with rewards can make to long term health. It is extremely encouraging to see how people can increase their life expectancy through moderate increases in activity levels.
“Motivating and then rewarding people to exercise results in lasting health improvements, which is why we have launched this campaign. We believe everyone has the potential to be an Everyday Athlete.”
To support the Everyday Athlete campaign, Vitality has also announced a partnership with RAND Europe to conduct research into the long term health effects of moderate exercise. This research will be launched later this year and provide definitive insight into the impact of changing lifestyles in the UK.