Thursday, 20 December 2012

There's a Search Engine for that! Google backs injured servicemen's Dakar Rally Challenge

Google has today announced its backing for Race2Recovery, the group of injured soldiers aiming to become the first disability team to complete the Dakar Rally.  Google has offered the Race2Recovery team significant financial support to help benefit their final preparations ahead of their challenge.

Race2Recovery is a rally team racing to inspire people who are injured, disabled or facing adversity by being the first team of predominantly injured servicemen to complete the formidable Dakar Rally in South America, January 2013.  The team, whose motto is ‘beyond injury – achieving the extraordinary’, consists of people from all backgrounds and walks of life: injured servicemen, former soldiers, sailors and airmen, and generous people with no military background who have given their time and commitment to the endeavour.

Since appearing on the BBC’s Top Gear programme in 2011, the team has gained significant public and media attention and will be the subject of a five-part documentary, airing on Eurosport on consecutive nights from 24th December.

Through its racing activity, Race2Recovery has committed to raising money for a charitable cause close to the hearts of its team members – the Personnel Recovery Centre at Tedworth House. Based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, Tedworth House is one of five Personnel Recovery Centres that have been established as part of the Defence Recovery Capability.  

The Defence Recovery Capability is an MOD led initiative in partnership with Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion to ensure wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women have access to the key resources they need as they recover.  Race2Recovery has already raised well over £100,000 for the Personnel Recovery Centre at Tedworth House but has its sights set on achieving a much higher target.  Donations to the fundraising campaign can be made at

The Dakar Rally, formerly known as ‘The Paris-Dakar’, is an annual off-road desert race organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation.  The race is considered the ultimate driving, mechanical and navigational test, stretching over 9000km of extreme mountain and desert terrain with only 40%-50% of all competitors completing the course. Since 2009, the race has switched to South America, with the Dakar 2013 starting in Lima, Peru on 5th January and finishing, via Argentina, in Santiago, Chile on 20th January. 

The Race2Recovery team has already shipped its fleet of ten race and support vehicles to South America and the drivers, co-drivers and support team will arrive in Lima, Peru, on 1st January.

Dan Cobley, Managing Director at Google UK, said: "Google is pleased to be supporting the team’s racing endeavour and we will be following their progress with great interest. We wish them well."

Captain Tony Harris, 31, one of Race2Recovery’s rally drivers who is a below the knee amputee as a result of injuries suffered while serving in Afghanistan, said: “For a global brand like Google to support the Race2Recovery team in this way just shows how far we have come.  We are delighted that they have shown such faith in our team by making such a significant investment to our racing activity.  We have worked extremely hard over the last 18 months to build this team and, without the support of our sponsors, we would not have even been able to get to the start line.  As it is, Google’s sponsorship has given the team an extra lift ahead of our Dakar Rally challenge and we are all extremely excited to get to South America and start racing.”

People wishing to find out more about Race2Recovery or make a donation to the fundraising campaign should visit Or Google Race2Recovery.

Monday, 10 December 2012

What can a diabetic eat?

What can a diabetic eat? Well, pretty much what they like, so long as they do it in moderation.

A well-meaning acquaintance seems surprised at what I eat. I pointed out to him that the diabetes nurse at my health practice had told me that, generally speaking, a diabetic can eat any type of food they want, but must be careful as to the quantity.

She had also pointed out the dangers of consuming too much carbohydrates at the same time. She pointed out that if you had Spaghetti and a sauce that you would be advised not to have garlic bread at the same time.

She said that a glass of beer or wine with a meal should be OK too. But that drinking to excess would not be a good idea for a diabetic.

Another point that she made I found interesting. She advised that the sugar replacement fructose should never be used by diabetics and that it would be advisable to stop eating fruit. She advised that if you wish to continue with the 5 a day fruit and vegetable ideal, just eat extra vegetables.

As for sugar in coffee and tea? That is now a thing of the past. The fact that I can now no longer enjoy the rich and satisfying taste of brown sugar in my coffee (or can no longer enjoy myself at real ale festivals) is a source of disappointment to me, but it is a price that has to be paid to ensure my long term good health.

Slimsticks Launching At Boots

You can help your diet along with Slimsticks, which is launching at Boots stores all over the country.

Costing £24.99 for 30 Slimsticks, they are powder-filled sachets. You just mix them with warm water to make a tasty drink in either vanilla, strawberry or malt flavours.

The main active ingredient is Slimjac™, a blend of Konjac, palm oil and oat oil.

Within minutes of drinking a Slimstick, Konjac expands in your stomach to help make you feel full.

It's a natural source of soft fibre which will help regulate your blood sugar.  

After Three hours, the fine droplets of palm oil and oat oil will get to work, suppressing hunger pangs and reducing your desire to snack.  

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says Konjac, the main ingredient in Slimjac™, is proven to help with fat loss and fullness. But Slimsticks can only help with a calorie-controlled diet and an active lifestyle.

Franco Beer, the MD of Inovate Health, says: "With Slimsticks, you can eat what you like. You'll just feel like eating much less,  boosting fat loss minus the crippling hunger pangs."

Take one sachet of Slimsticks three times a day up to one hour before eating, by adding the powder in the sachet to 50 to 100ml of warm water and then stirring, knocking it back and following with one more glass of warm water. It takes one litre of water to hydrate one gram of Konjac, so drink plenty.

Slimsticks is being launched at a watershed time in the world of slimming supplements and aids sold across Europe. This is because from December 14 this year new guidelines from the EFSA come into force.  After this date products carrying dubious and unproven slimming claims, not been approved by EFSA will be withdrawn from the market.

Slimsticks has no adverse side effects. Vegans, vegetarians and those suffering from lactose or wheat intolerance, type two Diabetes and Coeliac Disease are safe to take Slimsticks.

(EDITOR: As a recently diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic I am keen not only to find out about new products that might be able to help me keep my blood sugar levels  under control, I also like to share this information  with fellow diabetics.)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


I am living with Diabetes 2. And living quite well, it has to be said.

With Metformin tablets morning and night, cutting extra sugar out of my diet and eating much fewer things like biscuits, my blood sugar is being kept on an even keel.

A blood sugar monitor is helping me keep track of that.

I will write more on how it is going in future posts.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Datix supports Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) 30th Anniversary Gala Event

Datix, a global supplier of patient safety software, is sponsoring a range of awards at the special Gala Evening to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity for patient safety and justice. The prestigious event takes place on 23rd November at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London and marks the progress that has been made since AvMA was founded in 1982. The evening aims to bring together key people from the patient safety and medico-legal worlds and promises to attract considerable attention and publicity among the clinical negligence industry.

Jonathan Hazan, Chief Executive of Datix, said, “There have been many advances in patient safety over the last thirty years, but {{there is always more that can be done to reduce the number and severity of adverse events}}, as well as delivering fairer responses when things go wrong. Today, more than ever, AvMA remains at the forefront of pushing for change and improvement on behalf of people affected by medical accidents and we are delighted to support the organisation as it reaches a momentous milestone in its history.”

AvMA continues to be a powerful voice on behalf of those affected by medical accidents, to improve patient safety and ensure access to justice. It provides extensive support and advice to families and individuals via a dedicated helpline and a team of specially trained case workers. It also plays a vital role in helping people during complex and often stressful processes such as inquests and compensation claims.

Peter Walsh, Chief Executive of AvMA said, “We are extremely grateful to Datix for supporting our awards for people who have contributed to patient safety and justice during the charity’s 30th anniversary year. Datix continues to make a substantial contribution to patient safety and this is symbolic of how businesses as well as health professionals and patients themselves have a valuable role to play.”

AvMA’s 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration will provide guests with the perfect opportunity to network and socialise in a relaxed atmosphere offering a drinks reception and three course meal with wine, live entertainment and dancing. To find out more or to purchase tickets, please contact AvMA’s events team on 020 8688 9555 or by email at

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Premier Inn reveals Sleep-o-Scopes research

A Premier Inn report has revealed sleeping positions can reflect moods, stress levels and even personality, with the most common way of sleeping being the foetal position (58%), reflecting that Brits are subconsciously trying to de-stress in their sleep.

The Sleep-o-Scopes research, carried out by the UK's best loved budget hotel chain, Premier Inn, alongside leading British body language expert, Robert Phipps, unveiled 'the log' as the second most common sleeping position with 28% of Brits saying they sleep straight with their arms and legs by their side. The report highlights that sleeping in such a rigid position can lead to individuals being very stubborn and set in their ways. 

Despite, over half of the nation sleeping in a way that shows they are stressed, a quarter say they sleep on their side with their arms stretched out ('the yearner'), meaning they are constantly on the hunt for new challenges to try and reach for their dreams.

Not only are sleeping positions revealing people's stress levels, but also that many are anxious and feeling out of control, with 17% saying they sleep on their front with their arms above their head in the 'freefaller'.

Premier Inn spokesperson, Claire Haigh, said: "Many people read their horoscopes, but we wanted to give our guests a more unique way to look at how their day might turn out by looking at how they sleep. We have worked with Robert to develop 'sleep-o-scopes' and were shocked that the research revealed just how stressed we are as a nation.

"It is important we try and wind down after a long day and get a good night's rest so we wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. Many of us experience a number of stressful things during the day and we offer a Good Night Guarantee to ensure our guests get the best possible sleep regardless of the day they have had."

Robert Phipps, Britain's leading body language expert, commented: "We all know a good night's sleep sets you up for the following day but I don’t think many people realise that the position they sleep in can determine how they will feel when they wake up for the day ahead.

"We have looked at four of the most common sleeping positions and developed Sleep-o-Scopes by looking at what the body language tells us about how you're feeling when you sleep and how that can affect the new day ahead from the moment you wake up."

Like predictions read from the stars and the moon, Premier Inn's Sleep-o-Scopes are open to interpretation and rely on other influencing factors, but hope to give guests an interesting insight to their day.

Whether guests wake up in 'the foetal', 'the log', 'yearner' or 'freefaller', Premier Inn offers all guests a 'Good Night Guarantee' - which means if guests are not 100% satisfied with their stay they can request a full refund. Premier Inn is so committed to its philosophy that everyone deserves a great night’s sleep, that they recently invested £70 million into refurbishing c. 13,000 rooms.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Lyng Pharmacy and Quit Direct: Rates now top 80%!

Lyng Pharmacy and Quit DirectSandwell in the Black Country of the West Midlands has amongst the highest rates of social deprivation and health inequalities in the region.
The number of smokers in Sandwell are some of the highest in the region. In the six months since Lyng Pharmacy teamed up with Quit Direct to provide a ‘one-stop –shop’ for patients and customers who want to stop smoking, it has averaged impressive quit rates of over 80%.

Since April 2012, Lyng Pharmacy in West Bromwich has been working closely with specialist smoking cessation organisation Quit Direct to further improve its healthcare offering. Quit Direct was awarded a structured contract to supply smoking cessation services for NHS West Midlands in September 2011.This enables it to provide its services for free to many organisations and at public clinics throughout the region. The move has already paid major health dividends for the community served by Lyng Pharmacy.

Pharmacist Jay Sahota said: "Lyng Pharmacy is an independent pharmacy that truly belongs to the community. We provide a range of specifically catered healthcare services for our patients and have always delivered to an exceptional standard. I am pleased to say that our partnership with Quit Direct has proved to be an even greater success. Stephanie Haynes has worked integrally with our pharmacy team to achieve high quit rates. Patients receive a complete end-to-end service that works very well. We will be expanding the service to cater for the growth in demand of the smoking cessation service.”

Lyng Pharmacy has proudly served the community for over 10 years. The community has also actively supported Lyng Pharmacy - particularly following the controversial period in 2006 when it was announced that one of Europe’s largest health centres was to be built on the Lyng estate.

Although compulsory purchase forced a move – and a major multinational competitor secured Lyng’s preferred location (prompting a petition signed by 2000 residents) – Lyng Pharmacy went on to flourish. The site of an old engineering works at the back of the health centre eventually became the new Lyng Lane centre of operations in 2007.

In the words of Jay Sahota:
“We won't quit but we will help others to!"

Quit Direct’s on-site Advisor Stephanie Haynes said:  “Giving up smoking is really the most important health resolution any smoker can make. I’m available at the Lyng Pharmacy every Friday from 10.30 am until 2pm – each client has twelve free sessions and I offer the particular level of personal support each smoker requires. The sessions help us build up a real rapport with the clients, which helps them to sustain the motivation to quit. We are delighted to have 22 clients on board at the moment with new people wanting to quit signing up most weeks. The pharmacists are incredibly proactive in referring clients – so when people come for their NRT products they are generally advised of the smoking cessation support we offer as well.”

Quit Direct’s programme includes behavioural counselling aligned with the recommended Nicotine Replacement Therapy product best suited to each individual. As well as free weekly group or 1:1 sessions, additional support is provided as required by telephone, SMS text and Skype on-line.

West Midlands pharmacies wanting to empower their customers to stop smoking, should first call Natalia Robinson at Quit Direct on 08000 33 75 06.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Monitoring your diabetes at home

When it was finally confirmed that I was diabetic I decided that I wanted to do more than just take the Metformin and hope for the best.

I decided that I would be pro-active and that I would actively monitor my own blood glucose levels.

I and my wife visited a branch of Boots Chemists and looked at the range of home blood sugar test kits. The range was impressive and after some examination of what was available, my wife and I decided that we would buy an Accu-Chek unit by Aviva.

The one we decided to buy cost just under £16.00 and was able to add points to our Boots card!

The kit comes with a certain amount of sterile lancets and test strips to get you started with testing your blood sugar levels. The lancets and test strips are commonly available from all good chemists and pharmacists.

Although the test kits themselves aren't available on prescription the lancets and the test strips are available on prescription.

There is a comprehensive instruction handbook that comes with the kit and an equally comprehensive Quick Start Guide which had me testing my blood sugar levels within minutes, it really is that simple to operate.

It consists of the test unit itself which looks a little like a mobile phone and which sits very comfortably in the hand; a chip to put in the unit and a finger pricker which has a variable strength setting.

You fix the test strip in the unit, you fix the lancet drum on the finger pricker, prick your finger with it and then place the test strip end into the blood. Within approximately six seconds your blood sugar level appears on the tester.

The instructions carry information about error codes that might appear and how to deal with them.

To find out more about this and other blood glucose monitoring devices that Roche Diagnostics make you can visit or (in the UK) call 0800 701 000 or in Eire 1 800 709 600.

Monday, 24 September 2012

£31K Raised for the Oscar Knox Appeal by Wee Oscar 4 Life Campaign

Over £31K collected by Green Bucket Army Collecting Funds At Scottish Premier League Match on Saturday 22nd September to Support Oscar Knox in His Brave Fight Against neuroblastoma

Glasgow, Scotland – 24th September 2012 – At last Saturday’s (22nd September) Celtic game against Dundee at Celtic Park over 200 volunteers collected money on behalf of the ‘Wee Oscar 4 Life' campaign as part of the Oscar Knox Appeal. Wee Oscar’s Green Bucket Army raised an astonishing £31,918.05 in just two hours between 13.00 pm and 3.00pm before the Scottish Premier League game.

This campaign was launched by supporters of Celtic Football Club (the Celtic family) to raise money for Oscar Knox, a four year old boy who has recently been diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma- a rare form of cancer which mainly affects children. All funds raised on the day through the bucket collection will go directly towards helping to fund immunotherapy treatment abroad for Wee Oscar to help him beat cancer for good.

On the day, the campaign team and family were also joined by four supporters of Rangers and one supporter of Hearts. Oscar’s dad Stephen flew over from Northern Ireland and he also brought along some of Oscar’s family. Also taking part were the partners of Celtic players, Lisa Hague (Partner of Kris Commons), Alana Roe (Girlfriend of Charlie Mulgrew) and Debbie Lawlor (Girlfriend of Tony Stokes).

Lisa Hague has just been appointed Patron of the Wee Oscar 4 Life campaign and commented on the day: “It was fantastic to take part and get involved on Saturday. I was overwhelmed to be asked and amazed at the support offered by the fans. I jumped at the chance to be Patron, even though I am 7 months pregnant, because this charity really stood out to me, not only because of wee Oscar but the level of support from Celtic fans. I’m determined to do as much as I can to get wee Oscar the treatment that he so desperately needs.”

Oscar’s family are from Belfast and Stephen Knox commented: “We are totally blown away with what happened on Saturday, I flew over myself with a couple of friends and I am so pleased that I witnessed the generosity of the fans first hand. In particular I want to thank the entire Wee Oscar 4 Life team who led this campaign and made it happen. I would also like to thank each of the 200 strong bucket volunteers who are playing a huge part in helping to save our little boy’s life.”

Oscar is fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer which affects 1 in every 100,000 children. He is currently responding very well to treatment but unfortunately neuroblastoma has a very high relapse rate and so to give him the best chance of survival he needs immunotherapy. This helps to stimulate the immune system, so that if the neuroblastoma was to return, his own body can recognise and attack it. The treatment is not currently available to Oscar in the UK and so the family needs to take him abroad to get it. The treatment is likely to cost up to £250,000. Sadly Oscar was also born with Jacobsen Syndrome, an extremely rare chromosome disorder. There are little over 250 confirmed cases in the world, and as far as we are aware, Oscar is the only child in the world ever to have Jacobsen Syndrome and then be diagnosed with neuroblastoma. The odds of this are about TEN BILLION TO ONE.

Future planned events include:

Wee Oscar 4 Life Celtic Quiz Night
This will be held on Saturday 29th September in The Phoenix Bar (X Eastenders Bar) Gallowgate Glasgow from 19.00 pm onwards. Tickets cost £5 (over 18's only). Teams will comprise of 4 or 5 players but the organisers are happy to take individual bookings and for these people to be placed in a team.

To book tickets for this event, please email quoting 'Quiz' in the subject field.

Wee Oscar 4 Life Race and Auction Evening
This event will be held on the Saturday 17th November in the Kerrydale Suite at Celtic Park from 19.00 onwards. Tickets cost TBC (over 18's only). To book tickets for this event please email quoting 'Race' in the subject field.

Glasgow to Belfast Cycle Ride
Wee Oscar 4 Life organisers are planning a cycle from Glasgow to Belfast for St Patrick's weekend in March 2013 and will be looking for cyclist to take part in this event. Interested parties should email quoting 'Cycle' in the subject field and the organisers will get back to you with more details.

For more information please contact the Wee Oscar 4 Life campaign team by emailing

Sunday, 23 September 2012

It's a run for money as insurance staff take on Macclesfield Marathon for Blood Bikes charity

Staff at Altrincham motorcycle insurance broker Carole Nash are set to give a run for money – and raise much needed funds for charity North West Blood Bikes Manchester (NWBBM).

A team of eight staff, including chief executive David Newman, are to take part in the Macclesfield Half Marathon next Sunday (September 30th) in aid of the recently founded charity. They aim to add to the £1,700 already raised this year by staff at Carole Nash in support of NWBBM’s work in transporting emergency medical supplies to hospitals across the North West.

They are tackling the demanding 13 mile course as part of a 12-month campaign for NWBBM which has been nominated as the company’s charity of the year.

Mr. Newman, who once trekked across the icy wastes of the Arctic in aid of charity, says that the race nonetheless represents a challenge. “The course is officially described as ‘undulating’ which, of course, means hilly. That’s never good news for a runner to hear. Still with no pain there’s no gain and we’ll not lose sight of the fact that it will be a great charity which will be gaining from our exertions.”

NWBBM was set up in January by members of Hyde’s Rising Moon Motorcycle Club who saw that the North West, unlike many other regions, was not served by a blood bikes group. Blood bikes have been established in the UK for over 30 years and provide an invaluable support service to the NHS. Blood bikers swiftly transport blood, breast milk and other urgent medical items such as samples, results, equipment, medication and files.

Having raised enough funds to secure two specially adapted motorcycles – one donated by Carole Nash – and a 4x4 support vehicle, NWBBM completed its first run in July, collecting blood from an NHS blood bank in Longsight, Manchester and urgently delivering it to Tameside hospital in Ashton-under-Lyne.

NWBBM trustee and co-founder Steve Ryder thanked the Carole Nash runners for backing the charity, saying: “David and his colleagues are literally putting their best feet forward to support us! We are entirely dependent on charitable donations so we’re most grateful not just to those taking on the Macclesfield Half Marathon but those people kindly sponsoring them.”

• To sponsor the Carole Nash runners visit:

• For more details on North West Blood Bikes visit:

Start your party season diet today say experts

The 12 week countdown begins as 2.7million Brits start their little black dress (LBD) diets to get ready for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Brits planning to get their bodies in shape for the party season should start their diet today, say experts. This allows dieters sufficient time to lose weight the healthy and sensible way over a 12 week period, so by the time Christmas celebrations are in full swing, dieters will have achieved their winter weight loss goals. With research by new XLS-Medical, a naturally derived, clinically proven weight loss aid, revealing more than half (51%) of the population want to lose weight in the run up to Christmas,1 the LBD diet countdown is officially on!

Drop a dress size
Nearly half (46%) of people are aiming to drop at least one dress size by the time the party season begins with 27% aiming to lose two dress sizes and nearly 1 in 10 (9%) aiming to reduce their wardrobe by three dress sizes.

The research also found that a lady’s ideal dress size increases with age. Those in the 18-34 age bracket stated that they would like to fit into a size 10 while women aged 35+ said they would feel most comfortable as a size 12. Elise Lindsay, celebrity personal trainer and fitness advisor to XLS-Medical ‘s ‘123 hello me’ support programme comments: “We are all different shapes and sizes and there’s no one perfect dress size. Dieters should focus exercise efforts on the parts of the body which will be on show during the party season. Work on your shoulders and biceps if your dress is strapless or get
working on those legs if your dress is short – extra squats before you party will do no harm at all! Dieters looking for extra weight loss support should consider trying XLS-Medical which can help keep those Christmas pounds at bay.”

Diet motivations
54% of festive dieters want to shed the pounds to look good in party outfits with 36% admitting that they diet to impress their friends and family. And with Christmas being the season of indulgence it’s not surprising that two thirds of people diet beforehand to help counteract the weight they put on during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Dr Matt Capehorn, Clinical Director at the National Obesity Forum, comments: “Starting a diet now gives dieters a reasonable timeframe in which to lose weight steadily by Christmas. It’s important not to fall into the trap of last minute crash dieting, which is often unsuccessful and can play havoc with blood sugar levels and appetite cravings. As a result, dieters can end up gaining weight as they struggle to cope with changes brought on by such extreme measures. Undertaking a healthy eating and exercise plan now with a realistic goal in mind will ensure dieters are not only looking good but feeling great this party season.”

Leading UK dietitian Helen Bond and consultant to the free XLS-Medical online support programme ‘123 hello me’ comments: “The festive season is full of edible enticements that often prove hard to resist. From office chocolates to impromptu drinks and rich meals it can often seem like a struggle to avoid the almost inevitable expanding waistline. Aim to strike a balance with what you choose to eat and drink and don’t feel like you are saying no to yourself all the time – otherwise you are at risk of giving in completely!”

XLS-Medical Fat Binder is the first naturally derived, clinically proven over-the-counter weight loss aid. When taken regularly, XLS-Medical has been shown to help dieters lose up to three times more weight than dieting alone in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet.2 XLS-Medical has created a free online weight management programme,, which incorporates three easy steps to help dieters successfully lose weight – eating sensibly, keeping active and taking XLS-Medical Fat Binder regularly.
elen Bond’s top tips for getting started on the party season diet:
1. Set a realistic weight loss goal. A weight loss goal should be challenging and require you to make an effort, but not be an impossible mission. Over ambitious targets can be easily broken! But by setting smaller goals, which you have a real chance of reaching, you can boost your confidence in your abilities to keep on track until you arrive at your destination. Aim to lose about five to 10 per cent of your initial body weight over a three to six month period. Once you've reached your goal, congratulate yourself and set another weight loss target.

2. Keep a food and mood diary. Most of us literally don’t know what we are eating, or how all the things we unconsciously eat are adding up – canapés at the Christmas party, nibbling on the odd biscuit or pinching a chip! For long term weight loss you need to identify problem foods and ‘areas of weaknesses’ in your day. By keeping a food diary, you will become more aware of your eating patterns and the changes you need to make. Carry a small notebook with you and write down all the things you eat and drink on a typical day, along with any associated feelings. According to research in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, dieters who jot down everything they eat and drink lose twice as much weight as those that don’t.4

3. Forget crash diets. Whilst rapid weight loss can certainly be an appealing prospect, ‘crash’ or ‘fad’ diets don't work for long-term weight loss, and most aren’t healthy. The only way to lose weight is to eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet with appropriately sized portions and burn off more calories than you eat.

4. Eat regularly. You are far more likely to raid the biscuit tin if you’re starving, so make sure that you aim to eat three meals a day, spread evenly throughout the day and choose healthy snacks in between meals, such as a low fat yogurt, a piece of fruit or handful of nuts. For example, if you are allowed 1500 calories a day, you could have 300 calories for breakfast, 400 calories for lunch, 500 calories for dinner and two healthy snacks of 150 calories.

5. Balance your plate
To ensure that you are getting a good mix of nutrients, make sure that you are eating foods from the four main food groups in every meal. One third should be fruit and veg, one third, starchy fibre foods (such as wholegrain cereals, brown rice or wholewheat pasta), one-sixth protein rich foods (lean meat, fish (white and oily fish) poultry, pulses, nuts and seeds, eggs) and the remaining sixth reduced fat dairy products. Meanwhile keep fatty and sugary foods to a minimum.

• XLS-Medical Fat Binder is the first naturally derived clinically proven, over the counter weight loss aid. XLS-Medical Fat Binder is made with the clinically proven fat binder, Litramine®, and essential fat-soluble vitamins
• XLS-Medical Fat Binder has been proven to bind up to 27.4% of fats from food before it replenishes the body with fat-soluble vitamins
• This makes XLS-Medical Fat Binder an ideal weight management tool. XLS-Medical Fat Binder has a well-established safety profile and is gentle on the system. It has no added artificial colourings, flavourings, salt or preservatives
• The recommendation for weight loss is to adopt a reduced calorie, lower fat diet in addition to regular exercise and to take 2 tablets 3 times a day after meals – with up to 6 tablets taken per day
• XLS-Medical Fat Binder is available nationwide: 30 tablets RRP £14.99, 60 tablets RRP £24.99, 120 tablets £47.99 and 180 tablets £64.99 (retail and promotional price is at the sole discretion of the retailer)
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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A spa fit for a Paralympian

Ragdale Hall
Ragdale Hall's Thought Zone
Claire lighting the flame
Claire lighting the flame
Being someone that isn’t that into watching sport on TV, I found myself truly engrossed in the Olympics and yes, I agree the Olympics was truly inspirational and we’re very lucky that we have experienced it on home turf during our lifetime! However, whilst watching the Paralympics the same thought kept crossing my mind over and over again – these people are something else!

The amazing things the Paralympians achieve with the huge obstacles that have been put in their way due to serious injuries, illnesses and being born with physical disabilities, is absolutely awe inspiring.

The sheer determination of the superhuman contestants made what they achieved in The Games look effortless. By competing in the Paralympics proves that they face life with a ‘can do’ attitude and do not let their disabilities stand in the way of their everyday activities – a positive outlook on life that I’m sure, if adopted, many of us could benefit from!

Claire Lomas, our very own local superhuman, described as the Bionic Lady, was paralysed from the waist down in a riding accident in 2007. Claire now wears a re-walk suit that uses motion sensors and onboard computers to help her walk and even climb stairs.

Claire has displayed incredible determination, and certainly has a can-do attitude in everyway possible, proven by her completing the London Marathon this year. It took Claire 17 days and along the route she was supported by her husband Dan, her parents, and her daughter Maisie as well as several high-profile celebrities, sports stars and TV personalities.

To highlight Claire’s amazing achievements she was invited to light the Paralympic flame in London.

Claire is a huge spa fan and feels time at a spa helps her truly relax, something which isn’t always possible at home. Spa breaks enable her to completely switch off and unwind.

Claire is an Ambassador of’s Spa for All initiative, launched on 28th August 2012, which aims to make spas and spa breaks more accessible to anyone with a disability.

Claire visited Ragdale Hall recently to see how accessible Ragdale Hall is to someone with disabilities.

Read Claire’s interview following her visit below:
After the marathon challenge – which not only took me 17 days to complete but 12 weeks of training (which was very challenging and stressful at times), and also looking after my 15 month old lively girl there was nothing I needed more than a bit of relaxation at the beautiful Ragdale Hall, an opportunity for me to unwind provided by, which believe me is an unusually difficult task!

A friendly, relaxed atmosphere instantly made me feel at ease and in the mood for taking time out from the hectic lifestyle so many of us live. My friend and I had a tour of the facilities which blew me away, totally stunning and so many different areas to explore. Even better is the fact I could use so many of the heat rooms, I could get my wheelchair in and easily transfer on to the more comfortable seats. We really enjoyed using the thermal experience before our treatment. After that we had a half hour facial which was bliss; the treatment rooms are gorgeous, and the couches could even be lowered making it easier for me to get on to them!

We enjoyed a delicious, healthy lunch followed by a yummy slice of cake as well.
The whole experience was faultless, and as a result I left refreshed and ready to start more intense bike training for my next challenge cycling from London to Paris. I find I just can’t get this kind of relaxation at home – to turn off your mobile phone and laptop, and not have anyone disturbing you is a real treat – it was so easy for me to get around too! The only thing I could have wished for was more time there! I am already thinking about my next spa day!

Click here to view Ragdale Hall’s Disabled Guest Info

(EDITOR: This article was kindly supplied by Vicki Taylor)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Action Duchenne welcomes appointment of Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary and Norman Lamb as Care Services Minister

Charity calls for new Health Minister to adopt the Internationally agreed Standards of Care for Duchenne throughout the UK

Action Duchenne, a leading national charity focused on finding viable treatments for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy today applauded the appointment of Jeremy Hunt as Secretary of State for Health and Norman Lamb as Minister of State for Care Services during the Coalition Government’s first cabinet reshuffle. The charity welcomes the new appointments, particularly in light of Mr Hunt’s campaign for a better deal for parents of severely disabled children and for carers of disabled people. Mr Hunt has also pushed for the simplification of the highly complex benefit system, and for the removal of disincentives within the system that prevent or discourage disabled people from working.

The families of those living with Duchenne often have to dedicate themselves to caring for their child on a full-time basis, whilst also campaigning for the services they require and navigating round a complex and regionally variable benefit system. This can lead to additional strain on families.

Andy Soar, Campaigns Officer at Action Duchenne commented, “Action Duchenne welcomes the appointment of Jeremy Hunt and Norman Lamb to their new positions. We hope that Jeremy Hunt will continue to focus on the difficulties which carers and parents of severely disabled children deal with, particularly when trying to access new services.”

Earlier this summer, young people living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, their families and supporters lobbied the Department of Health and MPs at Westminster and the devolved governments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Northern Ireland. They were asking for:

• matched funding for Action Duchenne’s ground breaking research programme
• improved multidisciplinary medical care to be delivered via Centres of Excellence throughout the country
• access to specialist educational support and support for independent living

In their message, the families called for the commissioning of more multidisciplinary centres of excellence as seen in Denmark. These centres provide holistic care and monitoring services, tying together the complex care requirements of those living with Duchenne. Such care has been shown to both improve life quality and extend life expectancy by up to 10-15 years.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy affects one in 3,500 male births in the UK, and is the most common and severe type of muscular dystrophy. Sufferers are diagnosed, usually, by the age of five and rarely live past their twenties. Since being established in 2001, Action Duchenne has successfully campaigned to increase awareness of the disease to improve standards of care and raised several millions of pounds to fund medical research and partnerships.

For more information on Action Duchenne and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy please visit:

Carewatch Wyvern rolls-out Advanced’s electronic call monitoring to improve care quality, transparency

Carewatch Wyvern, part of the Carewatch network, which is a leading national provider of care and support to people in their own homes, has rolled-out electronic call monitoring solution, iConnect, to its 45 care workers. The go live was Saturday 15 September 2012.

Carewatch Wyvern, based in Taunton, is using Advanced Health & Care’s iConnect mobile solution to improve two-way communication with care workers. iConnect is also being used to record real-time arrival and departure times at all 90 of its service users’ homes, improving both care quality and transparency.

Ru Newman, Managing Director of Carewatch Wyvern, says, “We are one of the first home care providers in Somerset to implement electronic call monitoring, putting us a step ahead of the competition.”

“The use of iConnect will improve communication to and from our care workers, ensuring that they are fully aware of the appointments they are attending and the tasks they need to complete in each case. Knowing exactly when they are arriving and leaving service users’ homes will also improve accountability and lone worker safety.”

Advanced’s iConnect delivers real-time task lists and service users data to care workers via their mobile phones and records actual arrival and departure times using near-field communication (NFC) technology. To prove attendance, care workers simply touch in and out at each visit, using their NFC-enabled iConnect mobile devices coupled with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags fitted within service users’ homes.

The data that is collected from iConnect is fed back to Carewatch’s rostering system (Advanced’s StaffPlan Roster), giving managers a holistic view of workers’ schedules. The iConnect time and attendance data will also be used for billing purposes, ensuring that commissioners are invoiced as accurately as possible.

Newman says, “With iConnect, we’ll instantly know if care workers are running late for appointments and so will be able to inform service users and their families to prevent unnecessary worry. As we have replaced paper-based notes and time sheets with encrypted electronic data, this has improved security. The issues associated with asking service users’ to sign time and attendance sheets have also been removed.”

Newman adds, “By eliminating paper-based administration, this will improve efficiency and allow care workers to spend more quality, face-to-face time with service users.”

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Hospital non-compliance risking joint patient safety, NJR report finds

40% of NHS Trusts and Health Boards ‘red’ rated for submissions to mandatory National Joint Registry

Local NHS Trusts and Health Boards could be putting the long-term safety of patients at risk in failing to comply with the now-mandatory NJR.

The NJR records data on hip, knee, ankles, elbow and shoulder replacements for England and Wales. Analysis of this information for all patients provides clinical evidence to surgeons and the wider healthcare community in order to protect patient safety and improve patient care. With over 1.3 million records, the NJR is the largest registry of its type in the world.

For the first time, today’s publication of the 9th NJR Annual Report includes individual hospital data which reveals that 40% (59 out of 148) of relevant NHS Trusts and Health Boards submitted between 0% and 79% of the hip and knee replacement operations they performed in 2011 – classifying them as ‘red’ in the NJR’s red, amber, green analysis classification.

The Department of Health made NJR compliance mandatory as of 1 April 2011, and the figures above cover the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011. But while the first three months of 2011 were non-mandatory, during this time hospitals were strongly encouraged to comply fully with the NJR.

NJR National Development Lead Elaine Young comments: “The data we receive are essential for healthcare professionals in deciding which prostheses and procedures are right for which patients at what time to ensure patient safety. The fuller the picture provided by hospitals, the more robust the data quality, which can only lead to further improvements in patient care.”

Young continues: “The situation has improved since mandation and many best practice examples exist. But, going forward, data from English NHS Trusts and Welsh Health Boards failing to comply will be escalated to the regulators, the Care Quality Commission and Welsh Government respectively. We would encourage any hospital in need of support to contact the NJR.”

The NJR is also for the first time issuing individual annual reports to NHS Trusts, Health Boards and independent and private sector management covering mortality by unit (individual hospital) and joint replacement survivorship (how long a device lasts before it needs replacing or modifying) by unit and surgeon.

Professor Paul Gregg, Vice Chair of the NJR Steering Committee and Chair of its Surgeon Outlier Sub-committee added comments: “This will play a vital role in improving patient safety and overall outcomes of joint replacement surgery. However, the NJR relies on hospitals to help maximise data quality - it is therefore highly disappointing that not all Trusts and Health Boards are currently registering all operations as this will have a negative effect on this process. If managers want a precise picture of what is happening in their units, they must act now and not wait until issues are escalated.”

Other indicators for the new Trust-, Health Board- and hospital-level data analysis include patient consent and linkability as well as mortality rates, hip revision and knee revision rates for the period 2003 (when the NJR began reporting) to 2011.
Hip joint replacement: key trends 2011

For hip replacements, the average body mass index (BMI) score for men and women was ‘overweight’ and the score has consistently increased within that category since 2004 but is consistently lower for women than men. In the same period, the proportion of patients with a normal BMI has fallen by 7%.

Correspondingly, the proportion of patients rated fit and healthy (P1 - an ASA grade rating general health and fitness to undergo surgery) decreased again to 15%, from 16% in 2010 and 37% in 2003.

Despite some anecdotal suggestion that hip replacement patients are getting younger, NJR data describe a consistent age range of patients. For example, patients under the age of 50 represent 6% of the total which has not changed since 2003 and patients over the age of 80 remains around 14%. The average age of a hip replacement patient was 67.2 – unchanged from last year.

Key facts (hips)

* 80,314 hip replacement procedures were carried out – an increase of 5% over 2010 (76,759)
* 5% of this total represents resurfacing and metal-on-metal total hip replacement procedures, a decline from 2010 (8%)
* Patient age and gender unchanged: average age 67.2 years and 60% were female
* In 93% of patients, the indication for surgery was osteoarthritis however in patients less than 30 years of age, 22% were recorded as having diagnosis of congenital dislocation/dysplasia of the hip and 20% of patients has a diagnosis of avascular necrosis

Knee joint replacement: key trends 2011

For knee replacements, the average BMI score was again ‘obese’ for men and women – 30.82 up from 30.66 last year and with year-on-year increase since the average reached ‘obese’ in 2008. Women have scored a consistently higher BMI since 2004, the opposite trend to that shown for hip replacements. Again, the proportion of patients rated fit and healthy prior to knee replacement surgery has fallen by 1% from 12% in 2010 and since 2003, a decline from 31%.

Key facts (knees)

* 84,653 knee replacement procedures carried out – an increase of 3.3% over 2010 (81,959)
* Patient age and gender was largely unchanged: average age was 67.4 and 56% were female
* In 98% of patients, the indication recorded for surgery was osteoarthritis

Ankle joint replacement: key facts

* Ankle replacements have been recorded on the NJR since April 2010
* 492 ankle replacements were recorded and compliance rate overall for this type of joint replacement is 64% (358 were recorded in 2010)
* Diagnosis was recorded as osteoarthritis in 88% of cases and of these, 19% had a previous history of fracture and hence post-traumatic osteoarthritis
* 75% of procedures were carried out in the NHS sector
* 56% of patients were male and average age of patients was 68 years old
* The average BMI score was overweight, a higher score than hip replacement procedures but lower than the obese score for knee procedures

Helen Lederer: “Being fat held me back”

Research shows Helen is not alone, 1/3 of overweight women say they feel they have been treated differently as a result of their weight.

Almost half (47%) of British women surveyed said they find themselves faced with endless teasing, 43% believe that others deem them to be lazy while 28% say they have actually been excluded from a social occasion – all because of their size.

The research by XLS-Medical Fat Binder, a new naturally derived, clinically proven weight loss aid, also found that 1 in 10 say not having a ‘healthy figure’ has meant they have missed out on job roles and a fifth said people consider them to be unintelligent.

Top reasons where people say they are treated differently when overweight include:

• Not complimented on their appearance (51%)
• Teased about their weight (47%)
• Thought of as lazy (43%)
• Excluded from social occasions (28%)
• Considered to be unintelligent (20%)

Helen Lederer, one of Britain’s best known comedy character actresses and comedy writers, who turns 58 this month, can identify with this and is concerned that her profession will not accept her being old and fat!

The fat ceiling
Helen is more than aware that her weight has impacted on whether she is considered for high profile acting roles as well as her other work in the public eye. Three months ago she embarked on losing weight with support from new XLS-Medical Fat Binder. She comments: “I have always been curvy and conscious of my weight. In the acting industry you have to get used to rejections but as my weight crept up I became more aware that I was being asked to fewer auditions and was most definitely being overlooked for mainstream jobs. Being rejected affected my confidence and my self-esteem took a real knock. I am thrilled to report that I have lost two stones in the last three months by following a healthy balanced diet, exercising and taking XLS-Medical Fat Binder which has helped me lose more weight than I would have lost on my own.”

Age is not just a number
The research also found that nearly three quarters (74%) of people find it more difficult to lose weight as they get older, something that Helen can also attest to: “When I was younger my weight used to fluctuate a lot more and it was easier to shed a few pounds in time for my next audition or social occasion. But as I’ve got older I’ve really noticed how much more effort I need to put in. Finding the motivation to get started on my weight loss journey was the real difficulty as the pounds don’t drop off as easily as they once did.”

Leading UK Dietitian Helen Bond and Consultant Dietitian to the XLS-Medical free online weight management programme, ‘123 hello me’, comments on why older women find it more difficult to lose weight: “Your body changes as you get older and your metabolism gets slower. Many people find they are less active than they were in their 20s and if you haven’t altered your diet to reflect this then you are likely to find yourself putting on weight. Helen Lederer has demonstrated that you don't need to make drastic changes; just a few small steps can make a real difference.”

Eliise Lindsay, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness Advisor to the XLS-Medical weight management programme comments: “This research has shown that there are some real prejudices against people who don’t have the stereotypical perfect figure. We are all different shapes and sizes and there’s no one perfect size. What is important is for people to feel happy and comfortable with their bodies. By following a healthy balanced diet and taking regular exercise people will find themselves getting in shape without any unnecessary pressure,” adds Eliise. “Light to moderate exercise at least twice a week will help people to feel fitter and healthier. And a weight loss aid like XLS-Medical can help dieters lose up to three times more weight than dieting alone – a useful support to help people on the way to reaching their weight loss goals.”

To support dieters on their weight loss journey, the 12 week XLS-Medical weight management programme, 123 Hellome, provides a wealth of advice and exercise tips as well as tools such as diet and exercise trackers.

Helen Lederer is one of Britain’s one of Britain’s best known comedy character actresses and comedy writers, most recognised for her role as the dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous. She is also an author and broadcaster.

About XLS-Medical Fat Binder2
• XLS-Medical Fat Binder is the first naturally derived clinically proven, over the counter weight loss aid. XLS-Medical Fat Binder is made with the clinically proven fat binder, Litramine®, and essential fat-soluble vitamins
• XLS-Medical Fat Binder has been proven to bind up to 27.4% of fats from food before it replenishes the body with fat-soluble vitamins
• This makes XLS-Medical Fat Binder an ideal weight management tool. XLS-Medical Fat Binder has a well-established safety profile and good tolerability. It has no added artificial colourings, flavourings, salt or preservatives
• The recommendation for weight loss is to adopt a reduced calorie, lower fat diet in addition to regular exercise and to take 2 tablets 3 times a day after meals – with up to 6 tablets taken per day
• XLS-Medical Fat Binder is available nationwide: 30 tablets RRP £14.99, 60 tablets RRP £24.99, 120 tablets £47.99 and 180 tablets £64.99
• Visit for more information

Monday, 10 September 2012

Spa Secrets Sept/Oct issue sees launch of new frequency

September/October 2012 issue out now
NEW six-issue frequency begins
— interview with Christine Bleakley, great subs offer & a chance to win a spa break
See the 22-page ezine

The 172-page Sept/Oct issue of Spa Secrets – the first of a new six-issue frequency – is out now and is packed full of all the tips, products and features you’ll need to see you through into the next season.

Katie Reich-Storer, editor, says: “The latest issue of Spa Secrets sees the launch of our new bi-monthly frequency, ensuring we keep our readers well-informed on a more regular basis. The modern woman’s essential read for fashion, beauty and wellbeing is now an even more faithful companion. Make sure you get your fix!”

Inside this issue
• The Big Question: The changing nature of friendships – making, keeping and growing your friendships has never been easier… or harder.
• Beauty and Wellbeing features include – how to achieve the perfect complexion and a look at the bold lippys for this season. For those reminiscing about their summer holiday, the wellbeing feature looks at all the ocean-inspired treatments and products that are making a splash in the spa world.
• Travel: The ultimate spas in the Indian Ocean; how to combine a safari adventure with relaxing spa treatments; the best in Parisian spa chic; five of the best airport spas; and a whole lot more…
• Fashion: If you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe this autumn, try mixing different textures for an edgier look. You’ll find the latest coats, clutches, watches and swimwear packed into our fashion pages.
• Superb Subscription offer: Subscribe for only £10 and you could receive three Jemma Kidd products worth £40.

• Win a three-night spa break for two to Costa Navarino, Greece staying at the Westin Resort in a Deluxe Room, with breakfast and spa treatments included.
• Win two three-day passes to the OM Yoga Show at London’s Olympia plus two workshop tickets to Contemporary Dynamic Flow with David Olton. Twenty runners up will win two-day passes to the show. To enter, visit

Regulars inside
• Trends: Tackling the latest fads from fashion to beauty and nutrition.
• The scene: What are the latest beauty, spa and salon innovations? We round up this season’s best new products and update you on the latest news.
• And our usual round of spa and hotel reviews…
• Expert tips: Make-up artist Jemma Kidd picks out four key looks for this autumn.
• Interview: Christine Bleakley is frank about fiance Lampard and her Reebok workouts.
• Fitness & Health: From the latest exercise classes to try, foods to boost your brain power and autumn ingredients to add to your menu.

Take a sneak peak at the 22-page ‘teaser’ magazine at:
For more information visit
• Subscribe to six issues of Spa Secrets magazine for £10 (+P&P for overseas readers) and you could receive free gifts worth £40.
• To subscribe call +44 (0) 20 7253 9909 or email your details to
• For any editorial enquiries please contact the Editor, Katie Reich-Storer, or +44 (0) 20 7253 9906.
• Absolute Publishing Ltd is a London-based publisher, with over 10 years’ experience in travel, sports, consumer, business-to-business, customer and direct response publishing.
• For any sales enquiries please contact the Spa Secrets team on +44 (0) 20 7553 7384 or email
• For any other general editorial enquiries please contact the Editorial Department, Absolute Publishing Ltd on +44 (0) 20 7253 9906 or email

Botox Rise Linked To Digital Lifestyle

Medical experts at Court House Clinics believe the number of women in their 20s seeking Botox treatments is in part due to the rise of daily computer use and smart phone technology. The analytics company IDC recently reported smart phone shipments of 144.9 million in the 1st quarter of 2012 compared to 101.7 million units in Q1 in 2011. These figures along with societal pressure to look eternally young has led to a massive increase in the number of young women seeking Botox treatment.

""We have to accept that our lifestyles are changing as fast as the technology boom is altering our lives. Look around and we see people immersed in their mobiles. Also most people now work with computer screens. When you look at people using these devices they are concentrating hard. The natural reaction of the face when concentrating is the "frown" or screwing up of the eyes. If you over use any part of your face lines will develop. This can be seen with, for example, smokers where the lip area becomes more lined and creased.

"The new generation of young women are spending more time on these devices with the resultant consequences. Women are now more aware that they can help prevent these lines deepening with the use of treatments like Botox. It's not about age, it's about treating the individual and what is happening to their face and there has been a noted increase in younger women troubled by static frown lines in the last five years."" Dr Patrick Bowler - Medical Director Court House Clinics

Dr Bowlers’ theory is one supported by Dr Sebagh of the US who amongst other things has been responsible for treating celebrities like Cindy Crawford for wrinkles.

“The phenomenon of increased facial wrinkles can be seen on anyone who has and regularly checks a Blackberry or iPhone” Dr Sebagh, Quoted by in 2011

Constantly peering down at a small screen such as the ones found on an iPhone, Blackberry or other handheld device has caused more facial wrinkles to appear in young women. Dr Bowler believes that the continued overuse of this technology will lead to more and more people seeking Botox treatment at a far younger age then they normally should.

"From 2008 to present day we at Court House Clinics have seen a 410% increase in female patients who are taking up Botox in their 20s"

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Advanced Health & Care launches integration engine to extend iNurse use

‘Advanced Integration Engine’ to help healthcare providers overcome mobilisation challenges

Advanced Health & Care (Advanced) today announces the launch of Advanced Integration Engine (AIE), powered by Blue Prism. AIE enables Advanced’s market-leading mobile patient management solution, iNurse, to integrate with all major community patient management systems and clinical patient administration systems (PAS).

iNurse integrates tightly with Advanced’s own systems, Adastra, Crosscare and Advanced Community. However with AIE, iNurse can now link with other patient management and PAS systems, enabling even more healthcare providers to enjoy the mobilisation benefits of iNurse.

iNurse enables community clinicians and nursing teams to record and communicate patient care information using handheld devices. Patient care information and records can be accessed, recorded and communicated using iNurse at the point of care, thereby increasing both the time spent with patients and the number of patient visits.

AIE is built on Blue Prism technology, which is already widely used within the NHS. The solution allows case, appointment and outcome data to safely and reliably flow from the Community PAS to and from iNurse.

The AIE is so flexible that users have the option to change their patient management/PAS system and still continue to use iNurse for mobile working. This is essential in this climate of change.

Jim Chase, Managing Director of Advanced Health & Care says, “AIE is a useful technology as it allows providers that are currently locked into community systems without mobilisation to benefit from iNurse without having to negotiate costly and complex software interfaces. Providers and patients can now take advantage of mobile technology quickly and at lower cost.”

Advanced’s mobile solutions are already in use by over 13,000 health and care workers. With the launch of AIE, the number of iNurse users is expected to increase considerably over the next 12 months.

Blue Prism NHS Edition Software provides a robotic automation technology platform that enables rapid integration with any application, regardless of technology through leveraging the presentation layer of existing applications.

Blue Prism's proven technology has been chosen by over 20 NHS Trusts to leverage and orchestrate existing applications, including Patient Administration Systems which have previously proved challenging and costly to integrate with.

Based in the UK, Blue Prism was formed in 2001 and provides technology and services for the Financial Services, Energy, Telco, BPO and Healthcare sectors.

For more information please call +440 870 879 3000 or email

Monday, 3 September 2012

Alcohol and pregnancy. New warnings, new help

On the 9th September, to symbolise the nine months of pregnancy communities around the world hold events to raise the awareness of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders which are estimated to affect at least one percent of our population can be caused if a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy. FASD is an umbrella term that covers foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorders (ARND), alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD), foetal alcohol effects (FAE) and partial foetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS). The exact prevalence of FASD in the UK is not known. International prevalence studies in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Finland, Japan and Italy state that at least 1 in 100 children are affected. This would equate to at least 6,000–7,000 babies born with FASD each year in the UK.

When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol in her blood passes freely through the placenta into the developing baby’s blood. Because the foetus does not have a fully developed liver, it cannot filter out the toxins from the alcohol as an adult can. Instead, the alcohol circulates in the baby’s blood system and can destroy brain cells and damage the nervous system.

Effects can be mild or severe, ranging from reduced intellectual ability and attention deficit disorder to heart problems and even death. Many children experience serious behavioural and social difficulties that last a life time.

Many children born with FASD are not diagnosed, or do not receive a correct diagnosis, which makes calculating the prevalence of the condition extremely difficult. NOFAS-UK is a charity dedicated to supporting people affected by foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), and their families and communities. It promotes education for professionals and public awareness about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. There is no consistent clear message on safe levels of alcohol during pregnancy; therefore they promote ‘no alcohol means no risk of FASD’.

Addiction Helper, an independent service based in the UK for people with addictions take around 3000 calls per month on their help line, mainly from the loved ones of addicts looking for advice on treatment programmes. Daniel Gerrard the Founder of Addiction Helper is concerned about the number of women struggling with alcohol intake prior to conception and during pregnancy, he says, ‘Because there is no proven safe level for alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the only risk-free approach is to avoid alcohol completely – during pregnancy, when trying to conceive and when breastfeeding.’

• Daniel Gerrard has a certificate in counselling and pyschotherapy from Regents College and has also spent time as a volunteer in various rehab centres around the UK and at Drugsline.
• Addiction Helper helps over fifty addicts a month into bespoke treatment programmes.
• A team of trained addiction counsellors handle caller and email enquiries 24/7 offering confidential free advice to anyone affected by addiction including family members, loved ones, friends and colleagues.
• Addiction Helper is a division of The Recovery Healthcare Group
• Calls to Addiction Helper are free 0800 140 4823
• For more information on foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) please visit
• Call the NOFAS-UK helpline on 020 8458 5951

Sunday, 2 September 2012

IPC and Ottobock Healthcare continue Paralympic Partnership

Ottobock and IPC
Ottobock and IPC
Cooperation agreement extended for Rio 2016 and beyond

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Ottobock Healthcare, the Official Prosthetic, Orthotic and Wheelchair Technical Service Provider to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, have extended their worldwide partnership up to and including Rio 2016. The partnership, signed at the IPC Hospitality Centre next to the Olympic Park, solidifies Ottobock’s role as a dedicated partner of the Paralympic movement, helping to write sports history which is currently reaching new heights in London.

Ottobock has been a partner to the Paralympic Games providing technical service since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, and has completed approximately 10,000 repairs for athletes during Paralympic competitions since then. IPC President Sir Philip Craven and Professor Hans Georg Näder, CEO and owner of Ottobock, both emphasised the importance of their partnership, which is based on trust, shared values and vision for the future of the Paralympic Movement and sport as a driving force to promote inclusion.

Sir Philip Craven, President of the IPC said: “I am delighted that Ottobock has extended its relationship with us. They are a much valued worldwide partner of the IPC.

‘Through our partnership they bring a wealth of experience and knowledge which benefits the whole of the Paralympic Movement. We look forward to working with them through to Rio 2016 and the first Paralympic Games in South America.”

Professor Hans Georg Näder emphasised that the athletes have an impact as role models far beyond sports. “With our means, the technical know-how of a global market leader and the enthusiasm shared by my employees around the world, we want to do our part to continue writing the success story of the Paralympic movement.”

The Games in London come to an end with the Closing Ceremony on 9 September in the Stadium. This Paralympic movement began in 1948 with the Mandeville Games organised by Sir Guttmann and we celebrate under the motto ‘The Games are Coming Home’. And they are better than ever. With the signing of the agreement at the IPC Hospitality Centre next to the Olympic Park, the course has been set for their future.

(Pictured caption: The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Ottobock Healthcare, the Official Prosthetic, Orthotic and Wheelchair Technical Service Provider to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, have today extended their worldwide partnership up to and including Rio 2016.)

Ottobock is a world leading supplier of high quality, innovative and practical solutions that restore human mobility and help people to rediscover personal independence. Ottobock Healthcare is part of the Ottobock global group of companies established in the UK in 1976. Its wide product range includes high quality prosthetic and orthotic components, wheelchairs, rehabilitation and mobility products available through the country's leading clinics and dealers. With a highly motivated and skilled team of professionals offering expert advice, product sales, service and support, Ottobock solutions enhance the physical comfort, confidence and mobility of the individual. Ottobock aims to achieve the best possible outcome for its customers, combining the latest technology with cutting-edge products and services.

Ottobock is also the Official Prosthetic, Orthotic and Wheelchair Technical Service Provider of the 2012 Paralympic Games. It has been supporting people with disabilities to participate in sports and recreation for more than three decades, and has been a Partner of the Paralympic Games since 1988. Ottobock has been an official ‘Worldwide Partner of the Paralympic Movement’ since 2005.

Olympic Skier Alain Baxter To Support Ski 4 Cancer Charity

Alain Baxter - Patron of Ski 4 Cancer
Alain Baxter, the first Briton to win an Olympic medal for skiing is to become a Patron of Ski 4 Cancer, the skiing charity which provides alpine holidays for British families affected by cancer.

Ski 4 Cancer, pronounced ski for cancer, also makes grants to UK care centres and funds research into the positive effects of exercise and how it can assist in both cancer prevention and recovery.

Alain Baxter remains the best slalom skier in British history after climbing from a world ranking of 960 in 1992 to just 11 in 2001. He remains a hugely respected figure in international ski racing with a string of skiing credits to his name including a fourth place at a World Cup in Sweden.

Andy Hayward, Trustee of Ski 4 Cancer said “Alain is one of the most talented slalom skiers this country has ever produced. It’s a real boost to have him involved. Alain joins former British downhill skiing legend Graham Bell and Everest summiter Rhys Jones. The momentum is growing... we hope to announce some female patrons in the not too distant future as well.”

Andy continued “Like Alain, I spent much of my early years on the slopes in Scotland. Given we plan to host respite breaks at both Nevis Range and Cairngorm in the years ahead, I wanted to find a fellow Scot to spearhead our presence in the Highlands. I’m delighted Alain is involved... I just hope he doesn’t challenge me to a charity ski race any time soon!”

Since retiring from skiing in 2009, Alain has gone on to do a lot of work for charity having been closely involved with the spinal injury organisation The Backup Trust for many years. Aside from appearing on national television from time to time (he won the coveted BBC’s Superstars series), Alain has also trained with the GB track cycling team in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics.

Alain recently took part in the Home Nation Challenge for Sports Relief where he cycled, ran, rowed and sailed his way around Britain and Ireland totalling over 1,000 miles. Despite this, Alain still has had time to set up his own ski and snow sports shop in Stirling where he provides a state-of-the-art ski boot fitting service and stocks a wide range of clothing, helmets, glasses and ski tuning equipment.

Commenting on the announcement, Alain said “Like most skiers I have known a lot of people, skiers and non-skiers alike, who have been affected by cancer. I really like Ski 4 Cancer’s approach to helping people. The mountains are a magical place to visit at any time of year and a holiday gives families in tough circumstances something to look forward to. It’s a good fit for me and I look forward to supporting the Ski 4 Cancer team in the years to come.”

For more information, visit or call 0845 408 1849.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

ES Skincare Skin Recovery Cream naturally calms & relieves eczema

Timely advice ahead of National Eczema Week (September 15-23, 2012)

Dry, itchy and scaly skin can be calmed and treated naturally without the use of parabens or steroid creams. Skin Recovery Cream from ES Skincare is a synergistic blend of essential oils and plant extracts that work together to calm and sooth itchy, dry skin conditions relating to eczema and dermatitis.

Developed by clinician and skincare expert Elizabeth Somapala, Skin Recovery Cream contains the calming and healing Lavender and German Camomile essential oils along with other pure plant extracts including Cornflour, Roman Camomile and Calendula.

The product is suitable for children from the age of one year and adults: it can be used on both the face and body.

How it works
The product is designed to soothe and repair the skin and underlying tissues. The essential oils and herbal extracts can help to both soothe irritated skin and improve the circulation to the area. The essential oils have been chosen for their healing, anti-allergen and rejuvenating effects on the skin. Essential oils have the ability to penetrate to all layers of the skin, including the dermis and subcutaneous layer, due to their small molecular size. From here, they are able to speed up the process of cell renewal and enter the capillary network in the skin.

National Eczema Week Special Offer
Skin Recovery Cream normally costs £19.95 but is on special offer during National Eczema Week @ £9.95 for 100ml. It is available from

National Eczema Week – September 15-September 23, 2012 -

Changing perceptions: the role of laser eye surgery

Wearing glasses today doesn't have the same stigma attached to it as it did for many when we were growing up. Indeed the involvement of some of the world's leading fashion designers has made something of a trend to have the best looking spectacles, although these certainly do not come with a cheap price tag.

Beyond any fashionable aspect, wearing glasses can still be a tiring experience. Contact lenses do away with some of the drawbacks, but many people find them uncomfortable and yearn for the simplicity of better vision that is not in need of assistance.

The lenses in a pair of prescription glasses are made of standard shapes with an optical performance that is made to fit an average, as opposed to being specifically designed for you personally. Laser eye surgery is a procedure that can be made to a bespoke programme, which is designed around your individual requirements. It therefore has the potential for far greater results than those offered by glasses or lenses.

Technological advances
The vast improvements in technology and the use of lasers in many surgical procedures has led to improved results in areas which need the precision and delicacy that only laser implements can achieve. Optimax uses the all new IntraLase Femtosecond Laser, which is state of the art laser eye surgery equipment.

Having 18 of these lasers led Optimax to become the first company able to offer this technology nationwide, meaning that treatments can be taken at the convenience of the site closest to you rather than requiring a potentially long journey to a specific location. All suitable patients now have the opportunity to be treated with bladeless laser technology, which not only eliminates potential complications but means that more patients achieve 20:20 vision or better.

Only healthy eyes that are free from disease are operated on by corrective laser surgery and 95% of soft and 85% of hard contact lens wearers are suitable candidates for the procedures. 85% of glasses wearers are also usually suitable. Potential patients must also be over 18 years old. You can call Optimax’s Customer Services Team for your personal laser eye surgery suitability assessment.

Accurate diagnosis
Optimax use one of the most advanced diagnostic machines available, the Nidek OPD (Optical Path Difference) device, which measures the progress of 8,000 waves of light as they pass through different parts of the eye. When the light rays are reflected back from the eye into the Nidek OPD, it digitally analyses the differences in wave paths and assess how they would need to be corrected in order to result in perfect vision capability.

Optimax’s duty of care to their clients doesn't stop after treatment and immediate recovery. The company offers all laser patients aftercare and remedial treatment for as long as it is needed – totally free of charge, even after you have been discharged with a satisfactory result. Personal aftercare is included as part of the costs of treatment and the Optimax dedicated aftercare advice line is available for patients to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving complete peace of mind.

For more information on the treatments available at Optimax visit

PruHealth, Mercer launch UK's Healthiest Company

PruHealth, the health insurer and Vitality wellness programme provider, has partnered with Mercer, the global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments, to launch Britain’s Healthiest Company. This is the first index of its kind aiming to find and celebrate the country’s most outstanding organisations demonstrating best practice and innovative approaches to looking after the health and wellbeing of their staff.

Britain's Healthiest Company will survey employers and employees at organisations with over 100 employees to gain a deeper insight into some of the biggest health risks and trends at the heart of the corporate nation's health. It will also highlight those that are delivering real and measurable benefits, not only in the health and wellbeing of their people, but also in the health of their balance sheets.

Neville Koopowitz, CEO at PruHealth said: "With an ageing population, rising retirement age and the increase in chronic diseases linked to lifestyle it is becoming more critical than ever to ensure a healthy long-term workforce. Organisations are starting to recognise the link between a healthy workforce and a healthy bottom line, as those that encourage health and wellness within the workplace see lower sickness absence, lower presenteeism and greater productivity.

"The Britain's Healthiest Company Index will give vital insight and understanding into how healthy today’s workforce is and which organisations are holding the gold medals when it comes to safeguarding their employees' health and motivating them to lead a healthier way of life."

As well as trophies for the winners, each participating organisation will receive a Corporate Health Report detailing the main health risks facing their organisation, tailor made recommendations on how to improve* and how they are benchmarked against other companies. Employees will also receive a Personal Health Report providing a unique insight into their health and recommendations on lifestyle changes they can make.

The overall winner will be named Britain's Healthiest Company and there will be further commendations for other top performing companies, with the top organisations in each category appearing on the Britain's Healthiest Company Index.

Britain's Healthiest Company launched on 26th August 2012 and the closing date for entries is 7th November 2012. The results will be announced early in 2013. Further details on how to enter can be found at:

Ottobock Technical Service Team complete 845 repairs to athletes’ equipment at the London 2012 Paralympic Games before competition begins

845 repairs before Paralympics opened
845 repairs before Paralympics opened
Ottobock Healthcare prepares flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony and completes repairs to wheelchairs, prosthetics and orthotics in its first week of operation.

Ottobock Healthcare, Official Prosthetic, Orthotic and Wheelchair Technical Service Provider to the 2012 Paralympic Games, has completed 845 repairs before the Games were declared open, since opening the workshop doors on 22nd August.

Following the announcement of the flag bearers in the lead up to the opening ceremony, Ottobock technicians worked quickly to attach flag pole holders to over 60 wheelchairs.

 Working behind the scenes in a 6,500 ft2 workshop in the Paralympic Village and nine other workshops next to the field of play at nine competition venues, Ottobock technicians are responsible for repairs throughout the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The team of technicians come from 18 countries and speak 23 languages and all were required to lend a hand with the influx of athletes ahead of the Opening Ceremony. Each technician was matched to their home country – to attach flag holders to the athletes’ wheelchairs. An emergency team of technicians was also on hand at the Opening Ceremony to make last minute alterations to the flag holders. Four repairs were carried out in the Olympic Stadium, due to the high wind experienced.

“The Opening Ceremony day is always a busy one, and today we were flooded with requests for attaching holders for the flag bearers”, said Ken Hurst, Technical Director, Ottobock International Leadership Team at 2012 Paralympic Games. “Following our experience in Beijing, we came prepared with 55 flag holders, however when over 60 athletes walked through the door, we were required to do some quick thinking and sent our mobile unit to the hardware store to pick up some more material. In the end, it was a great success”.

On arrival in London, Paralympians from many of the competing countries visited Ottobock workshops to have their equipment repaired by the Technical Service Team ahead of competition, following damage to equipment during transit or training. Jobs were carried out by the team of experts including repairs to running blades, sockets, orthotic devices and rugby wheelchairs. Ottobock is supporting all 4,200 competing athletes with a team of 80 expert prosthetists, orthotists and wheelchair technicians, including 12 welders, who have all volunteered their services.

Athletes competing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games can all have their equipment checked and repaired by Ottobock experts before or during competition. Like the services provided by mechanics during a pit-stop in motor racing, Ottobock’s technical service team are located next to the field of play responsible for the repair and maintenance of equipment used by Paralympians and getting athletes back into the competition as fast as possible.

Ottobock has been a partner to the Paralympic Games providing technical service since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, and has completed approximately 10,000 repairs for athletes during Paralympic competition since then. Records for most repairs completed in a single Games were set at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games where technicians worked over 10,000 hours, completing 2,188 repairs, including 183 in a single day.

(Pictured caption Ottobock Healthcare, Official Prosthetic, Orthotic and Wheelchair Technical Service Provider to the 2012 Paralympic Games, completed 845 repairs before the Games were even declared open. Following the announcement of the flag bearers in the lead up to the opening ceremony, 80 Ottobock technicians worked quickly to prepare and attach flag pole holders to over 60 wheelchairs.)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Chris Tarrant launches Kidney Cancer Monthly Lottery

"This lottery may not make you a millionaire but it will go a long way in helping us support kidney cancer patients."

‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ host, supporter and friend of the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer, Chris Tarrant has confirmed his interest in supporting the launch of ’The Kidney Cancer Lottery ’

The Lottery has been designed to assist in the funding of the Patient Benefit Grant, which aims to help those suffering or in treatment for kidney Cancer, ease their financial strain and help access to things that can add to or maintain their quality of life. For example, if a patient requires continued access to television or broadband, or needs to pay to have a pet cared for due to a period of hospitalization etc., the Fund, on a case by case discretionary basis, can award funds of up to £1,000 per annum per patient.

Tickets are price at £1 each and one winning number is drawn on the last Friday of every month and the winner will receive a cash prize in proportion to the number of entries. 40% of the money collected will be given back in the cash prize and the remaining 60% will go to the charity.

Broadcaster James Whale, founder and Chairman of the James Whale Fund and a kidney cancer survivor, said: "We hope that many Kidney Cancer patients will directly benefit from this new initiative of the Fund and look forward to our lottery launch being well supported. The aim of the lottery is to have the chance to give something back to those that are generous enough to donate."