Health Matters – May 2022

Three Issues in this month’s Health Matters

  • Covid Update
  • People at Risk of Diabetes
  • Care Homes

1. Covid Update – If you remember last month I reported that the cases per 100,000 were bouncing around in St Albans District – we had a peak; then a new trough etc. We have actually seen 3 new peaks since Christmas – each one higher than the previous; and three new troughs (each one again higher than the previous); and throughout this time, St Albans has always been the highest in Hertfordshire

Since our May Podcast, it dropped like a stone – from 2,348 on APR 28th to 279 at the weekend – but guess what ……. It’s just started to go back up again! So maybe we’ll see a new peak! Tune in next month to find out!

Hospitalisation is down a bit on last month – 85 people in Watford and 73 in the Lister. And if you’re eligible for a jab please go and get it!

The cases now are mainly BA2 – that accounts for 94% of cases locally; but spare a thought for the southern hemisphere – South African cases are on the rise again as they move from Autumn to winter – they now have BA4 and BA5 variants which are even more infectious than BA2 (which in turn was more infectious than BA1!). But the continuing concern about BA2 is that it seems there is a higher probability of people going on to experience Long Covid than with BA!!

2. People at Risk of Diabetes – I want to start with a plea – this piece is very specifically targeted at people who DO NOT have diabetes but are at risk (even if they don’t know it yet!); So that could well be YOU Next week is National Diabetes Week and this year it is specifically targeted at people who are at risk of Diabetes. And here is a link where you will find a test that will establish whether you are at risk or not

I encourage you to try at! And if the result is that you are at risk, you can self-refer on to the programme – you do not need to go to your Doctor and wait for a referral.

There are two types of Diabetes (called, unsurprisingly Type 1 and Type 2!). Type 1 is not reversible whilst Type 2 is! This program is really aimed at identifying people at risk of Type 2.

Type 2 occurs when the body builds up a resistance to insulin. While the pancreas may still produce the hormone, the body’s cells cannot use it effectively.

In Type 1 which usually occurs in children, the Pancreas reduces its ability to produce insulin or stops completely. The treatment is to take insulin injections each day.

In our area of Hertfordshire (effectively covering the areas around St Albans, Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Potters Bar) there are around

  • 2,000 people with Type 1
  • 28,000 people with Type 2, and
  • 45,000 people who are at risk!

And most of those 45,000 people don’t know it yet! But they will if they follow that link to that simple test!

If you are at risk (whether your doctor has told you or you find out from that test) you are referred to the National Diabetes Prevention Programme

So what do you need to do to reduce your risk of diabetes? The simple answer is to have a good healthy diet and to lose weight! Here are 5 tips to employ – even if you aren’t at risk of diabetes:-

  • Weight is critical – lose 7% of your weight and you reduce your chances of Diabetes by 60%!
  • Be more physically active
  • Follow a healthy diet plan
  • Cut down on the alcohol

If you would like to know more about the programme, you can register for this free webinar that i shall be chairing

If you would like to know more about the programme, you can register for this free webinar that i shall be chairing here:

3. Care Homes  – During the Pandemic one of the issues that affected many people was their inability to visit relations or friends in a Care Home. With vulnerable residents and problems with PPE in the early stages of the pandemic it was clear that visits were going to be extremely difficult.

Now we’re in the phase of “living with Covid”, what exactly does that mean for Care Home visiting?

We all know that visiting a loved one in a care home is extremely beneficial, both to the care home resident and to the visitors, and depriving people of that benefit is extremely undesirable.

The new rule is that there should be no visiting restrictions unless at times of an outbreak of any sort, at which point, it is the care home’s responsibility to risk-assess the situation and decide their visiting policy.

In addition, the Government introduced the concept of a “Named Visitor” who should be able to visit a loved one in a care home at any point, including during outbreaks. However, there are questions around what this role actually means in practice, as well as concerns around flexibility with visiting.

If you have recent experience of visiting a Care Home can you please share your experience with Healthwatch Hertfordshire by

* Completing a short survey here;

* Calling Healthwatch on  01707 275978; or

* E-mail to express interest in talking to them one-on-one or attending a focus group

Thank you and I’ll be back next month

Alan Bellinger
18th May 2022

Alan Bellinger Written by:

Alan is a Trustee of Healthwatch Hertfordshire and very well engaged with all things related to Health & Social Care within the Community. After retirement from a successful career in the private sector (working in both training and Information Technology), Alan wanted to get involved in supporting local health issues and has an excellent understanding of what it takes to ensure a great patient experience, Alan has lived in St Albans for well over 65 years; he is a widower with two children and he especially enjoys the company of his five grandchildren – four of whom live in the local area.

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