Is it fair to blame the doctors and nurses for a failing healthcare service? Society need to take responsibility for our own healthcare, obesity and alcohol abuse are the top two biggest costs to the NHS.
Is it Fair to Blame Doctors and Nurses for a Failing NHS
Is it Fair to Blame Government for a Failing NHS?
Every day it seems there are endless stories about the huge pressures
accident and emergency departments are facing throughout the UK.
More patients than ever, longer waiting times and systems that just can't
cope anymore! Just go along to your nearest A&E and you'll see it's
bursting at the seams.
With the general election just four months away, each party is claiming to
be the saviour of our beloved health service, trying to win the hearts and
minds of voters with promises of a better health care system for all. But is it
us - the general public - who need to take responsibility for our health and
stop putting unreasonable demands on the NHS?
Some of the largest costs borne by the NHS are due to obesity and
alcohol abuse. Obesity costs the NHS £6.2 billion pounds each year and
this figure is set to rise. According to he Department of Health (2014) 61.9%
were classed as obese in England alone. In most cases, obesity is purely a
lifestyle disease, which for many people can be controlled by eating
sensible portion-sizes and by exercising on a regular basis.
A recent study conducted by scientists at Cambridge University looked at
the effects of obesity and exercise on 334,161 European men and
women. The research measured the link between physical inactivity, and
premature death and its interaction with obesity. Their progress was
followed for 12 years and the findings were revealing: people who
engaged in physical activity, e.g. a brisk 20-minute walk or bike-ride, were
less likely to die of an early death. The study found that twice as many
deaths were caused by physical inactivity compared to the number of
deaths attributed to obesity.
In addition, by being not physically active, we're putting ourselves at a
significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. But
by integrating exercise into our normal routine, we can significantly
reduce these health risks. Adam Strong, author of 'Move it or lose it' says:
“Adults should aim to exercise moderately at least three times a week for
a minimum of 20 minutes. Many people make the mistake of thinking they
need to commit to a major exercise regime to make an improvement but
you can incorporate exercise into everyday life in just simple ways, such as
taking the stairs instead of an escalator, or going for a brisk 20-minute walk
or bike-ride. This type of exercise can have significant health benefits,
making smaller incremental changes over a period of time is by far more
This is backed up by a recent BBC report, health experts guidelines of 150
minutes per week of physical activity is frankly unrealistic especially in
older adults. Prof Philipe de Souto Barreto at the University Hospital of
Toulouse, points out to previous studies which show even short periods of
walking or just 20 minutes of vigorous activity a few times a month, can
reduce the risk of death, compared to people who do no exercise.
It's clear that Government, the NHS and employers should be working
together to stem the tide of obesity. For example, there are over three
million people commuting into London each day and most of them will
typically spend seven or eight hours sitting down for long periods of time
during their working day. Not only does this sedentary lifestyle contribute
to increased obesity levels and poor fitness, but it can also lead to
common ailments, such as back pain and poor posture, and also affect
our mental health and wellbeing. So physical activity isn't just good at
keeping the flab at bay, it can change the way we feel, increase
happiness and improve our wellbeing.
“I work with a variety of organisations to address the importance of
physical activity in improving the wellbeing of their employees," says
Adam. "My corporate wellness programmes are focused on putting
employee health at the heart of the organisation - with resulting benefits
for everyone through improved employee fitness, greater engagement
and effective work-life balance”.
If most people recognise the benefits of exercise, why don’t we all
increase our physical activity levels? If you have recently taken up
physical activity, what benefits and advice would you give to someone
who is not physically active? Do you think we need take some
responsibility and get ourselves exercising more? Any comments greatly
received and feel free to connect with me via social media.