health and safety
Petition to The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Prof Dame Sally Davies, Dr Duncan Selbie
Provide tests for Group B Strep to prevent any more avoidable deaths of newborn babies
My partner Scott and I should have been sharing our son Edward Gili’s first birthday last month. But instead of having that exciting first year to celebrate and many more to look forward to, we had just 9 precious days to spend with our beautiful son. Edward was cruelly taken from us as a result of contracting group B Strep infection at birth. On average, one newborn baby a day in the UK develops group B Strep infection. One baby a week dies from group B Strep infection. One baby a fortnight who survives the infection is left with long-term disabilities - physical, mental or both. It is the UK’s most common cause of severe bacterial infection in newborn babies, and of meningitis in babies under 3 months. Group B Strep is a normal bacterium carried by around 1/4 women, without symptoms and usually unknowingly. It can be passed from mother to baby around birth with potentially devastating consequences for the baby. But these consequences are usually preventable and that’s why I’ve started this petition with the charity Group B Strep Support. Unlike many other developed countries including Germany and Spain, the UK does not routinely offer tests to pregnant women specifically to check for Group B Strep carriage during late pregnancy. If doctors know a mum is carrying GBS, they can administer simple antibiotics during labour to prevent the infection - over 80% of these infections could be prevented. However the GBS-specific ECM (enriched culture medium) test is rarely available through the NHS. Since 2003, the UK has used ‘risk factors’ to guess which pregnant women might be at risk. Risk factors are poor at predicting which babies will develop the infection -- the number of babies infected is growing, we need to stop guessing and start testing. The ECM test costs the NHS £11 each and the antibiotics used in labour (usually penicillin) cost the NHS pennies. Had we had ECM tests in place, Edward Gili could be here today for us to see his first steps and hear his first words. We can’t afford to lose any more lives, we can’t afford not to do this.
Petition to Rt Hon. Matt Hancock MP, Mr Simon Harris
“Think Aorta” the implementation of NHS diagnostics and awareness for Aortic Dissection
STOP THE MISDIAGNOSIS OF THIS KILLERAortic Dissection Awareness“Think Aorta”In 2015, our father Tim Fleming suddenly became very unwell, presenting all of the classic symptoms of Aortic Dissection; severe and sudden onset of pain in his back, chest and abdomen. Sadly, it appears to us that all of the markers and indicators were missed. The correct diagnosis of an Aortic Dissection was not made when Dad initially presented to A&E. Dad paid the ultimate price with his life. This petition is an urgent call to parliament for the implementation of a robust policy, diagnostics and awareness for Aortic Dissection within the NHS and HSE. ----- "Think Aorta" is a campaign to lower the unacceptable high rate of misdiagnosed Aortic Dissections in Accident and Emergency Departments and GP Surgeries across the UK and Ireland. Aortic dissection is the most common life-threatening disorder affecting the aorta. It occurs when a tear inside of the aorta causes blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for survival. Aortic Dissection can quickly lead to a painful and frightening death as a result of reduced blood flow to the heart or rupture of the aorta. A&E medical staff must immediately rule out Aortic Dissection. It is a known fast killer where the death rate increases 1% for each hour that diagnosis and surgical repair are delayed, therefore advanced medical care is needed immediately. Aortic Dissection IS one of the top deadly three chest pain entities and very often mimics a heart attack. ECG and chest x-rays are routinely used to diagnose heart attack but cannot rule out Aortic Dissection, as both can appear normal in a patient with a life-threatening Aortic Dissection. A&E health care professionals and medical staff MUST remain suspicious at all times - until aortic dissection is ruled out. The condition, "Aortic Dissection" is well documented since the early 18th Century. But AORTIC DISSECTION continues to be misdiagnosed by our A&E medical professionals and GP’s despite well established treatment guidelines but where no medical policy exists. The rate of misdiagnosed Aortic Dissection is unacceptably high. ---- TIME FOR CHANGE This is an urgent call for the government to implement the following actions across the NHS in the UK and the HSE in Ireland: 1. POLICY - The introduction of policy and guidelines for timely identification and treatment of Aortic Dissection for emergency services and A&E departments across the NHS and HSE. 2. DIAGNOSTICS - The implementation across the NHS and HSE of consistent, routine emergency diagnostics for Aortic Dissection – once a heart attack is ruled-out, doctors should routinely check for Aortic Dissection. 3. EDUCATION - Training, awareness and education for our medical professionals to ensure rapid, consistent adoption of the identified best practice 4. PROCESS - Organisation of emergency cardiac surgical services so that patients with aortic dissection are always treated by surgeons with the appropriate experience. PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION TO STOP THE MISDIAGNOSIS OF THIS KILLER “Think Aorta” Timely detection and treatment of Aortic Dissection will save lives.
Petition to Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt
Call on the NHS to stop buying antibiotics from polluting factories
Hi, my name is Will and I’m a nurse. I've been working in this field for over five years now, mostly within childhood cancer nursing. This is an area of work I'm passionate about and find hugely rewarding on a daily basis. You'd be surprised how much fun can be had in what is thought to be such a tragic area of nursing. I love my job; the patients I help and the staff I work with are amazing. One of the first things I learnt training to be a nurse is that antibiotics are vital for maintaining the health of our population and saving lives. However, over the past few decades we’ve been taking them for granted. As a result, they aren’t working as well as they used to, and drug-resistant infections (also known as superbugs) are becoming more and more common. This is causing well over 25,000 deaths every year in Europe alone. Experts predict that by 2050, 10 million people will die worldwide as a result of untreatable infections. Antibiotic pollution from Indian and Chinese pharmaceutical factories is one of the factors fuelling the rise of drug-resistant infections worldwide. How? The majority of the world’s antibiotics are made in China and India. Factories producing drugs for EU and US markets at low prices often cut corners, dumping industrial waste into the environment. This creates a ‘breeding ground’ for the creation of superbugs, which can infect the local population. In our globalised world, these superbugs can quickly travel across the globe. So when major purchasers, such as the NHS, buy antibiotics from these companies, they are inadvertently spreading drug-resistant infections worldwide. Every year the NHS spends millions of pounds on tackling superbugs yet at the same time sources antibiotics from companies that are helping to create the problem in the first place! The irony is painful: through irresponsible drug procurement the NHS is unwittingly fuelling a public health crisis which is already having a dramatic impact on lives and compromising life-saving treatments such as chemotherapy. It can be done a different way! Countries like Sweden have started including environmental criteria in their guidelines for drug procurement, ensuring that they do not purchase drugs produced in ‘dirty’ factories. Furthermore, the NHS already has ethical procurement criteria relating to labour standards, so this would be an extension of existing NHS policy. Please sign my petition to ask NHS officials to make the pharmaceutical industry cleans up its supply chains. We have to do everything in our power to stop drug resistance, but compared to other causes, pharmaceutical pollution is relatively easy to solve, and does not cost much: companies must become more responsible and put in place better production processes that already exist. Calling on the NHS to stop buying drugs from companies that recklessly pollute the environment and profit at the expense of our health will send a clear message to the industry that such practices will no longer be tolerated. Sign the petition now and tell the NHS to stop buying drugs from dirty companies. Thank you for your support. Yours sincerely, Will
Petition to Simon Stevens, Jeremy Hunt
Don't stop funding only drug for pancreatic cancer on the CDF
Pancreatic cancer took my husband in 2009, at the age of 48, leaving me and our son behind to face a future without him. I felt distraught to lose him, just a few days more would have meant the world to me, our son and the rest of our family. Back then there was no drug that could give us that, but now there is. Abraxane is the ONLY drug for pancreatic cancer on the Cancer Drugs Fund. It can offer a person an extra few months and sometimes even years. But, from 4 November 2015 this drug will lose its funding. Pancreatic cancer is a disease which has made hardly any progress in over 40 years. Despite pancreatic cancer being the 5th highest cancer killer in the UK, it receives less than 1.5% of the research spend. This cancer has been overlooked for way too long. Abraxane represents the greatest improvement in survival for pancreatic cancer in almost 20 years – when used in combination with the standard chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer it has been found to extend patients’ lives. Taking the one glimmer of hope away from a cancer that has very little hope associated with it is wrong. The average metastatic pancreatic cancer patient is given between 2-6 months. When your life is cut this short, any amount of time is significant. What Abraxane offers if invaluable -- time to make memories, to tell loved ones how much you care for them, to do a favourite thing one last time. The drug isn’t being removed in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales or most of Europe. To disadvantage pancreatic cancer patients just because they are based in England is outrageous. Please help us to raise the profile of this injustice by adding your name to our petition. Last year 106,000 signed our petition on funding for pancreatic cancer, and we managed to force a debate in Parliament. Petitions have helped us to win support for this disease before, let’s use public pressure again to help people who deserve more time. Please help us to get this petition heard by adding your name and sharing so that we can get Abraxane reinstated on the Cancer Drugs Fund. Thank you
Petition to Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Health
Let’s All Opt In to Introduce the Opt Out Organ & Tissue Donation System
My name is Lucy Ryan and was incredibly lucky to receive a life saving heart transplant 25 years ago aged 2 years-old. I am also fortunate enough to have a lot of fellow transplantees as friends due to someone somewhere being generous, selfless and brave enough to donate either their own organs & tissue, or those of a relative at an unimaginably difficult time. But heartbreakingly I have lost friends along the way who waited for a transplant they never received. Imagine waiting to live, being on the transplant list unable to lead a normal life just waiting in hope for that bittersweet call for months even years! 96% of the UK population have expressed a desire to receive an organ donation. If they needed one yet only 36% are signed up to the current Opt-in system. (The Opt-in system is where to become an organ and/or tissue donor those of us living in Scotland, Ireland and England must make the effort to sign up to the organ donor register.) Yet despite it being so easy to sign-up e.g. spending 2 minutes online, many of us still have not “opted-in”! Even with all the fantastic work charities and organisations do to raise awareness. I know from my own experience it is often something we keep meaning to do, but it never quite reaches the top of the “To-do” list! In the past few years I have been becoming increasingly frustrated with the growing organ donation crisis and decided it was about time to do something. I researched the best way to try to improve the situation settled on the introduction of the “Soft Opt-out” system in all of the UK (alike Wales did in December 2015) is what we need (Scotland & Northern Ireland have already proposed the same idea). Once the system is reformed we will wonder why on earth it took us so long to do it like banning smoking in restaurants! The Soft Opt-Out system would mean would everyone automatically becomes an organ donor as an adult unless they decide to “opt-out”. Relatives would be consulted at the time of death, and to see if their loved one ever ever expressed a wish to opt out but for some reason hadn’t. I believe the majority of those whom do not wish to become organ donors are far more likely to make the effort to opt out, than the 60% of the current UK population who would like to become organ donors but have not yet "opted-in". By becoming a donor you can save almost as many lives as cats apparently have. 3 people die everyday waiting for a transplant—Let’s all Opt in to Opt out and end the donor crisis! Thank you for taking the time to consider my proposal and hopefully sign up. With your support we can make this happen. Yours Sincerely Lucy Ryan
Petition to Department of Health
To ensure a coordinated package of aftercare for all families following the loss of a baby/child, which will involve Midwives, GPs and full support networks.
In December 2012 we lost Charlie Arthur Curtis to Potters Syndrome after 19 minutes of life. Whilst in hospital the care we received was excellent, however once we stepped outside the hospital doors we found that there was little or no support out there for bereaved/grieving families. The support we received fell well below any standard a grieving family should receive. We want our experience to help improve the support available to other parents and families in the future. In Leeds alone there are 32,000 people awaiting bereavement counselling. The wait for counselling can be anything from 6 - 18 months. Surely this cannot be right. Bereaved families need support as soon as they leave the hospital. If each family were to be given a carefully coordinated personalised aftercare package their journey through grief could be made easier. We need your support to help get the Health Department to change their bereavement services throughout the UK. We know we can make a difference with your support. Already we have been able to generate much discussion within the NHS in Leeds.
Petition to Ms Melanie Walker, Peter Leggatt
Save St. John's Court Community Mental Health Team Base in Exmouth, Devon campaign supported by Ruby Wax
St. John's Court Community Mental Health Team Base for Exmouth, Devon is due to be closed by Christmas 2015. As a part of local NHS cost cutting to save £6 million a year for 3 years, they are selling off their buildings and propose to sell off St. John's Court, meaning Mental Health Nurses will have to hot desk at Exeter or Honiton and patients not seen at home would have to travel to Exeter for their support sessions with their Mental Health Nurse. Since most people who are mentally ill take medication and cannot drive they must travel an hour on a bus to get to Exeter. As an alternative, as part of SMART Recovery, the local NHS plan to issue some mentally ill people in crisis with an electronic tablet to video conference their Mental Health Nurse in order to save money on travelling time for nurses. Saving St.John's Court will mean a vital base for Mental Health Nurses in Exmouth is retained as it is desperately needed. It should be added that there continues to be a long waiting list to be seen at St. John's Court, which further emphasizes that it is imperative to save this life saving facility. Thank you for caring and signing our petition. Please spread the word.
Petition to Theresa May MP, The Prime Minister Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Michael Gove MP
BAN all crop spraying of poisonous pesticides near our homes, schools and playgrounds!
I have lived in the locality of pesticide sprayed crop fields for over 30 years and have suffered both acute and chronic adverse health effects from exposure to the innumerable mixtures of pesticides sprayed on crops near to my home. In 2001, I started my campaign, the UK Pesticides Campaign, to expose the fundamental failure to protect rural residents from agricultural pesticides. Many millions of rural residents who live near conventionally farmed cropland have absolutely no protection at all from any of the poisonous chemicals that are permitted under Government policy to be sprayed on crop fields all over the UK. In fact, there is actually no protection for rural residents and communities in the majority of other countries around the world either! This is due to the fact that there are fundamental failings in the way that pesticides have been approved here in the UK, and across Europe, as well as on a global scale. As to date, the official method produced by regulators in the UK (and then subsequently used by other regulators around the world) for assessing the risks to people from crop spraying - and under which many thousands of pesticide products have been approved - has been based on the model of a short term 'bystander', occasionally exposed, for just a few minutes, and to just one individual pesticide at any time. Yet this clearly does not address the real life exposure of people who actually live in sprayed areas, as exposure for residents is both repeated acute and chronic exposures over the long-term, it is cumulative, and is to innumerable mixtures and cocktails of pesticides used on crops, throughout every year. (NB. There are approx. 2,000 pesticide products currently approved for agricultural use in the UK alone). This means that pesticides have been approved for decades without first assessing the health risks for rural residents and communities who actually live in crop sprayed areas which obviously includes babies, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people already ill and/or disabled. This situation is, without a doubt, a catastrophic public health and safety failure on a truly scandalous scale. EU law is clear that it must be established before a pesticide can be approved for use, on the basis of all the required risk assessments, that there will be no immediate or delayed harmful effect on human health. The absence of any such risk assessment for the real life exposure of rural residents and communities means that no pesticide should ever have been approved for use in the first place for spraying in the locality of residents' homes, schools, children's playgrounds, amongst other such areas. Whilst operators will be in filtered cabs and/or have personal protective equipment when using pesticides, rural residents have no protection at all. Instead millions of rural citizens have been put in a massive guinea pig-style experiment and for which many of us residents have had to suffer the serious, devastating - and in some cases fatal - consequences. Throughout my 15 year campaign I have continued to receive reports of both acute health effects, as well as chronic long-term effects, illnesses and diseases, from rural residents and communities (and not only from here in the UK, but also from many other countries around the world). There are so many more horrific stories of people being poisoned from crop spraying near to their homes, and many involve children. The acute effects reported are the same types of acute adverse health effects that are recorded in the UK Government's very own monitoring system. They include, amongst other acute effects: chemical burns (including to the eyes and skin); rashes and blistering; throat irritation (eg. sore and painful throats); damaged vocal chords; sinus pain; respiratory irritation; difficulty swallowing and chest discomfort; coughing; breathing problems; shortness of breath; asthma attacks; headaches, dizziness, nausea; vomiting; stomach pains; flu-type illnesses; and aching joints. The most common chronic long-term effects, illnesses and diseases reported to my campaign from residents living in the locality of crop sprayed fields include neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Motor Neurone Disease, and neurological damage, as well as various cancers, especially those of the breast and brain, leukaemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, amongst many other chronic conditions. It is now beyond dispute that pesticides can cause a wide range of both acute, and chronic, adverse effects on human health. This includes irreversible and permanent chronic effects, illnesses and diseases. The pesticide manufacturers product data sheets themselves can carry various warnings such as "Very toxic by inhalation," "Do not breathe spray; fumes; vapour," "Risk of serious damage to eyes," "Harmful, possible risk of irreversible effects through inhalation," and even "May be fatal if inhaled." High quality, peer-reviewed scientific studies and reviews have concluded that long-term exposure to pesticides can disturb the function of different systems in the body, including nervous, endocrine, immune, reproductive, renal, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. Such studies have concluded that exposure to pesticides is associated with some of the major chronic health conditions affecting public health in the 21st century. The economic costs of the health conditions that pesticides can cause are massive. Obviously it goes without saying that the personal and human costs to those of us suffering chronic diseases and damage, and the impacts on all those around us, cannot be calculated in financial terms. I myself have also known a number of residents lose their lives, or the lives of their husbands or wives, sons or daughters. It has been heart breaking to watch this happening, especially knowing that if pesticides were not sprayed in the locality of residents' homes then such health conditions would have been totally preventable. Many more residents will inevitably also succumb if the Government continues to fail to stop the spraying of these toxic chemicals in the locality of residents' homes. The first duty of any Government is supposed to be to protect its citizens, especially those most vulnerable, rather than the multi-billion pound pesticides industry and big business. Therefore the UK Government must now finally act to put an end to the scandalous failure to protect rural communities from the cocktails of poisons sprayed on crops. The Government must as a matter of urgency secure the protection of people in the countryside by banning the crop spraying and use of any pesticides and other agrochemicals in the locality of our homes, schools, children's playgrounds and other such areas (eg. nurseries, hospitals etc.) This must be in substantial distances, as small buffer zones won't protect anyone considering how far pesticides are known to travel. For example, scientific studies have found pesticides miles away from where they were originally applied and calculated health risks for residents and communities living within those distances. It is an absolute no brainer that no pesticides should be sprayed where people live and breathe, especially babies, young children, pregnant women, people already ill and/or disabled, and the elderly. A complete paradigm shift is needed to move away from the use of pesticides altogether to the adoption of non-chemical farming methods, as it goes without saying that no toxic chemicals that can harm the health of humans, (as well as other species such as bees, birds etc.) anywhere in the world, should be used to grow food. Enough is enough! This chemical warfare in the countryside has to stop for the protection of us rural citizens now, and also for all future generations! Please sign my petition to the Prime Minister to help stop this public health scandal. Thank you for your support.