NHS Weight Loss
Surgeon - Junk Food in Hospitals - NO!
"WHY fill our hospitals with
vending machines and Costa coffee shops when we are fighting a
massive obesity epidemic?" is a question being asked by Dr
Sally Norton is a NHS consultant, specialising in weight loss and
upper gastrointestinal surgery, on a crusade to put herself out of
work by promoting healthier behaviour this week.
"We read every week, in The BMJ and other leading medical journals,
of research detailing the perils of sugar and fizzy drinks. We
frequently hear laments about the cost to the NHS of the epidemic of
obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is threatening to engulf us. And
yet, the NHS, which I understood to be an organisation that promotes
and supports health (rather than just treating disease), is actually
contributing to the problem.
As a weight loss surgeon, I find it frustrating and, frankly,
embarrassing to spend time in clinic, explaining to my patients how
sugary drinks and snacks are one of the biggest drivers of obesity,
when I know that just outside in our hospital foyer are not 1, but 2
Costa coffee shops, as well as vending machines stocked full of coke
When I try to grab a quick coffee from Costa, an obedient employee
always tries to tempt me into buying one of their huge, sugar laden
and calorific cakes to go with it, hard to resist after a stressful
morning in theatre or a busy night on call. If I did need a snack, I
would be hard pushed to find much that you could describe as healthy
there is very little fresh, nutrient rich food and next to nothing
that doesn't involve a load of refined carbs.
I no longer shake the hands of patients as they come in through the
clinic door more often than not, they are clutching their Costa take
outs, which they have been tempted into buying while waiting for
I know I can't be the only one who thinks that a hospital should be
setting a good example for its patients, visitors, and its staff.
As we recently heard from Simon Stevens, NHS England's chief
executive, many of our NHS staff are hardly role models for our
patients. And, from my own experience, I frequently hear the amazed
reactions from patients when they see morbidly obese staff members
providing advice on healthcare.
Of course, NHS staff are human too and subject to the usual lack of
willpower that makes these sugar laden temptations difficult to
resist, although we do have the education to know that we should be
trying to do better. However, the stressful environment in which we
work, coupled with the unsociable hours, means that we need to have
access at all times to good, nutritious food not a vending machine
promising us a sugary quick fix.
However, the old chestnut that it is all down to the individual, and
that people should be able to control their cravings, just doesn't
wash. With two thirds of the English population classed as being
overweight, we would be tarring a lot of people with the same "weak
willed" brush. The problem is as much the food environment that we
are constantly subjected to, as it is an individual issue.
The food we eat is now much more densely packed with fat and sugar
than it used to be, so we are passively consuming far more calories
than we may realise. The cheapness of the food, and the increasingly
huge portions, available wherever we turn, mean that we are actively
consuming far more too. In addition, more and more evidence is
accruing that sugar is addictive, and that we are in a downward
spiral of poor eating owing to the excess of highly processed carbs
that make up the vast bulk of our diets.
The government seems unable to take a significant stand against the
insidious pervasiveness of the food industry, but the NHS can and
should make a stand. If we can't be the leading light in promoting
healthy eating, then who can? Shame on us, for allowing most of our
hospitals to play willing hosts to the fast food outlets that are
contributing to our health crisis.
How can we have allowed hospitals to get tied up in contracts with
these providers who give away some of our control of good nutrition,
a fundamental tenet of health? We are giving tacit agreement that it
is OK to drink a coffee that contains nine teaspoons of sugar, or a
muffin that contains a quarter of our day's recommended calories.
Why do we allow these
vending machines to spew out coke and chocolate at the very patients
and staff who we may well be treating for diabetes, heart disease,
and knee arthritis before long and at increasingly crippling expense
Let's just go the whole hog and open a pub in the foyer too why not?
Surely our patients are sensible enough to know that we aren't
actually encouraging alcohol, just because we host outlets on the
More seriously though, the NHS has made it clear to our patients and
visitors that hospitals don't condone smoking on or around our
premises. When I was a trainee, I remember patients smoking on the
vascular ward. Why is that different to my bariatric patients being
offered chocolate and crisps from the hospital trolley while waiting
for their weight loss surgery?
We can set a similar example to our anti smoking policy with a focus
on healthy eating. Why don't we adopt an NHS policy to only
commission fresh, locally sourced food to sell on our premises? What
a message to give our patients: that we support the "real food"
producers in our local community, not multi million pound chains
profiting at the expense of our health. Why can't we show them that
it is possible to eat delicious, fresh food, rather than the sugar
laden, heavily processed offerings that are their current choices?
Enough is enough let's face up to our responsibilities as a health
promotion service and a role model, and" actually practice what we
preach. We must ensure that these new recommendations are actioned
quickly and properly."
So do you agree with this?
Email your views on this hot topic and let us know what you really
think. Please send your email to:-
Death at property on Park Avenue, Southport
MERSEYSIDE Police have
confirmed that on Monday, 15 September emergency Services were
called to a property on Park Avenue, at around 11.30am, following a
report of concern for the safety of a woman. Paramedics attended the
property and found the 54 year old woman. She was taken to Southport
and Formby District General Hospital, but died a short time later. A
post mortem to determine the cause of death of a 54 year old woman
from Southport has now taken place. The results of which have been
withheld pending toxicology. At this time her death is being treated
as unexplained. Merseyside Police have told us that the woman has
been identified and her next of kin have been informed.
Group Annual Exhibition 2014 Winners!
ON 6 September 2014 the
Formby Photo Group held it's Annual Exhibition at Holy Trinity
Parish Hall, Formby. The event attracted around 150 visitors, with
over 200 images on display, taken from all over the world, including
some taken close to home. The result of the People's Choice for
2014, as voted by visitors to the show where:-
1st place "It's a Wrap"
by Dave Person
2nd place "Liverpool
Fireboat" by Graham Whitehead
3rd place "Harbour Light"
by Ian Murren
Formby Photo Group said that they would like to:- "thank all
those who atttened and those who also voted."
More details available on the group's
website and Facebook
following the sentencing of Allan Christopher Hulse
MERSEYSIDE Police have
confirmed that Allan Christopher Hulse, 39 year, from Coney
Crescent, Thornton, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum
tariff of 7˝ years after pleading guilty to a number of firearms
offences on Friday, 12 September 2014. Allan Christopher Hulse,
pleaded guilty to:-
Grievous bodily harm with intent after a man was seriously injured
during a firearms discharge at a house on Eden Vale, Netherton, on
Tuesday, 21 January 2014.
Possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life after a firearm
was discharged at a property on Old Quarry, Woolton on Friday, 15
He has also been sentenced to 8 years for possession of a shotgun
and a handgun after a number of firearms were discovered at his
address on Coney Crescent, Thornton. This sentence is to run
concurrently with the life sentence.
Detective Inspector Ian Hussey, Matrix Serious Organised Crime Major
Investigation Team, said:- "This court case is the culmination
of an extensive and complex investigation led by MSOC. Allan Hulse
is a highly dangerous offender who used firearms to intimidate and
frighten people. His behaviour was reckless in the extreme and he
never gave a second thought to the consequences of his criminality.
During the incident on Eden Vale, Hulse shot an innocent man in the
face at point blank range. It has had a devastating impact on the
victim, who has lost the sight in his left eye and has to live with
both the physical and psychological consequences of this for the
rest of his life. During the incident in Woolton, Hulse shot at a
house, smashing a window and sending glass flying inside the
property. Thankfully a woman in the room at the time wasn't hurt,
but she was terrified and is still afraid to come downstairs at
night. This case clearly highlights the devastating impact that gun
crime can have on people's lives. Hulse used firearms to cause fear
and intimidation and I hope the fact he is now facing the sobering
thought of a life sentence brings his victims some sense of closure.
I also hope it sends the clearest possible message to other
criminals of Merseyside Police's determination to bring those
responsible for serious and organised crime to justice. Firearms
have no place in our communities and we will be relentless in our
efforts to take guns and the people who use them off our streets.
Information from the community often plays a vital role in our
investigations and I would urge people with any information, however
small, to get in touch with us."
People can call Officers from Matrix Serious Organised Crime on:-
0800 230 0600 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111.