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Tessa Richards

Tessa Richards: Schools and health—could do better

13 Jun, 12 | by BMJ

Tessa Richards
To what extent are we sabotaging the future health and wellbeing of our children through ignorance, neglect, and misguided policy? And what can we do to redress this? Discuss.

Discuss? The education and public health experts participating in an international cross-sector meeting convened by the Salzburg Global Seminar in Klingenthal, near Strasbourg last week, scarcely drew breath. But there was a lot to talk about.  Improving the life trajectories of children, particularly disadvantaged ones, through changes in policy and practice across the spectrum of child development and education is a challenging task. more…

Tessa Richards: Now is the winter of our discontent

14 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

Tessa RichardsStorm clouds hovered above Brussels. Europe’s heads of state battled away, yet again, to try and save the eurozone from collapse. Down the road an international group of clinicians, researchers, and policy makers questioned how Europe’s beleaguered health systems can cope as demand for care soars and workforces shrink.

The European Commission warned member states they would be short of a million skilled healthcare workers by 2020 over a year ago. Over the past three years it’s stumped up several millions of euro’s to support three vast quantitative and qualitative data mapping projects on Europe’s workforce. Information from these provided the backbone for a recent meeting on workforce planning and mobility. more…

Tessa Richards: Responding to the ageing “crisis”

9 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Tessa RichardsIs our increasing life expectancy something to celebrate or despair of? It’s a question that’s exercising several sectors right now and it’s not hard to see why. All societies are ageing, but the fastest population increase is among the “oldest old,” and their projected need for health and long term care is daunting.

Currently around 1.4 million UK citizens are over 85. By 2035 the UK Office for National Statistics estimates it will be 3.6 million. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) paint a similar picture and in its recent report, entitled Help Wanted, it estimates that the proportion of people over 80 will increase from a current  4% to 10% by 2050. more…

Tessa Richards: Prioritising patient’s views reaps rich rewards

27 Jun, 11 | by BMJ Group

Tessa RichardsWhat will it take to persuade monolithic health systems to put patient’s priorities at the heart of what they do? As researchers, health professionals, and patients debated this question at the sixth international “shared decision making” meeting in Maastricht last week, the frustration was tangible. A survey to inform the meeting *reveals that while many countries are nominally signed up to initiatives to provide patients with the opportunity to participate in shaping services and making informed and shared decisions about their care. In practice, care on the ground is far from patient centred. Medical paternalism is alive and well. more…

Tessa Richards: Patients as cost savers?

23 Dec, 10 | by BMJ Group

Tessa RichardsMight patients hold the key to putting the brake on spiralling healthcare costs?  If you had asked me that question a few days ago I’d have said no. We all know about the problem of spiralling demand for healthcare and rising patients’ expectations. But after participating in the Salzburg  Global Seminar,  where the  thesis that” better decision making by patients will result in better and cheaper healthcare” was debated,  my views have shifted. more…

Tessa Richards: Run a lot, laugh a lot, and sometimes go hungry

12 Oct, 10 | by BMJ Group

Tessa RichardsIn the mountain resort of Bad Hofgastein in Austria, exercise is King. In early October the power walkers head for the mountains and noticeably less fit conference goers head for the European Health Forum Gastein.

Attending conferences which start early, finish late, and include lunchtime workshops as well as a smorgasbord of parallel sessions, can be hard work. But good speakers make the going easier and this year an optimistic one cheered the horses. more…

Tessa Richards: What does the EU do for you?

9 Aug, 10 | by BMJ

Tessa RichardsBritish doctors worrying about the impact of the chilly financial climate should spare a thought for their European colleagues. In Greece, the Baltic states, Spain, and Ireland, doctors, along with other public sector workers, have had their salaries and pensions cut by up to 15%, drug budgets have been reduced, and some services put on hold. Several poorer countries are also having to cope with an exodus of health professionals, exercising their right, courtesy of EU law, to quadruple their salaries by moving to work in a richer member state. more…

Tessa Richards on volcanic ash disrupting the conference circuit

20 Apr, 10 | by BMJ Group

Tessa Richards Iceland’s unpronounceable volcano has much to answer for. The  economic impact of its ash cloud has been immense and its growing. Thousands of  airline  passengers are still stranded. Quiet skies may be a treat and  politicians’ Dunkerque gestures a diversion, but lives are being disrupted, and attendance at international medical conferences decimated….. more…

Tessa Richards: Jobs for health

6 Oct, 09 | by BMJ

Tessa RichardsAs UK participants returned from last week’s European Health Forum in Gastein (read more), Austria, newspaper headlines calling for “Cuts in wasteful NHS bureaucracy” and “Pay freezes for high earners” will have reinforced the messages they heard. Debate focused on the impact of the financial crisis on health and what governments should do about it. While saving money by reducing waste in Europe’s” inefficient health systems” was one message, the central one was that health is largely determined by factors outside the health system, and that the rallying cry’s should be “social justice” and “jobs for health.” more…

Tessa Richards: Paying for health in Europe

19 May, 09 | by BMJ

Tessa RichardsTwo years ago health ministers in the Czech Republic decided to focus on the financial sustainability of health systems during their six months at the EU presidency helm. Was this foresight? Did the ministers know what the bankers did not- that economic Armageddon was round the corner? Either way, the financial crisis was certainly concentrating minds at their recent conference on how countries can continue to meet their rising healthcare costs. more…

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