Welsh woman with terminal breast cancer campaigns for more awareness

One person will be diagnosed with breast cancer every ten minutes in the UK. But if symptoms are spotted early enough many can survive. One woman with terminal breast cancer has been campaigning for more awareness around the symptoms. Dawn Wilson from Hengoed in the Rhymney Valley has been rallying politicians and doctors to create a lasting legacy.

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Calls for more diversity training for medical staff

Healthcare staff would benefit from more diversity training in the workplace – according to a leading consultant. It comes as a group of visually impaired patients in South Wales say cultural barriers – including language and traditions – can cause problems when they’re speaking to doctors during appointments.

Mental illness affects nearly 8,000 NHS workers in Wales

Mental illness is the biggest reason for staff missing work in the NHS in Wales.

That’s according to a freedom of information request by the Welsh Conservatives.

According to the figures obtained from the seven NHS Boards in Wales staff,  staff at Cardiff and the Vale have missed the highest number of working days in Wales as a result of mental health issues.

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The Shadow Health Minister, Angela Burns AM, says, “To our horror, we found it was mental health reasons that were coming out top as the reason why people were taking long and short term absences from work. The work is very tiring, very taxing, and very physically demanding. There’s a huge amount of pressure. The results point to a lack of support to help staff through these crises.”

Cardiff and Vale Action for Mental Health says mental health problems affect one in four adults in the UK. It says mental illness can affect people in any career.

A Welsh Government spokesperson says, “NHS Wales is taking action to support staff and reduce sickness rates. This includes promoting the health and well-being of staff and providing staff with practical support to remain in work, or to return to work following an illness.”

Students Fight for Veggie and Vegan Options at University

Originally posted on Huff Post Young Voices.

2016 is the biggest ever year for vegans, with brands such as Quorn releasing egg-free products, Guinness planning to create a vegan beer, and Ben & Jerry’s announcing dairy-free ice creams. Universities are generally known as places that advocate this sort of forward thinking and embrace positive change. Why then do so many British universities seem so behind on providing vegetarian and vegan options in their student unions?

Students at the University of Birmingham were recently appalled to find that the Guild of Students altered the only vegan option on the menu in Joe’s Bar (vegan wedges) making them unsuitable even for vegetarians. This came as a huge blow to vegan students, especially as it followed the decision to introduce milkshakes to Joe’s Bar rather than providing more vegan options. Lizzy, a French and Drama student at Birmingham, commented:

 

‘I think it really speaks volumes when an accessory food option such as a milkshake is chosen over introducing a new vegan option (when no others exist). Also for a uni that claims to be going green, they’re not really attempting to fight climate change at the heart, with food and agriculture. It just feels like a punishment for being vegan (as usual) and that the university doesn’t take the lifestyle seriously, viewing it only as a fussy eating habit which they are not obliged to cater for, when it is so much more than that. Also, Joe’s can’t even give you the 14 allergens when asked which is pretty awful considering it’s a legal requirement in restaurants and bars now. This makes it very difficult to find an unlabelled vegan option on the menu when the staff cannot tell you if it may or may not have dairy or egg etc in it. It’s not very nice to have to sit and watch all your friends eat in Joe’s every day while you have to hope that there’s a vegetable samosa left in Spar.’

Rosie, a second year English student, was also disheartened by the change in menu at Joe’s Bar. She said, ‘it’s outrageous that I can’t eat in my own student union, they shouldn’t only bring the wedges back but there should have been many more options in the first place […] Veganism is a growing worldwide phenomenon and to not support it really illustrates an outdated element of the university as well as highlighting its failure to cater to all students. The uni claims to be inclusive but really falls short at this particular element.’

 

It is not just Birmingham that seems to be struggling with providing for vegans and vegetarians. Students at both Huddersfield and Middlesex University have started petitions to include more vegan and veggie options on campus. Mark from Huddersfield said that there is only so much cheese or hummus a vegetarian can have. In his petition he requested that the SU shop provide a wider selection of veggie options considering there are so many vegetarians at the university. 74 students liked the motion and it had no dislikes. In the comments, students seemed concerned that there were not enough dairy-free options, aside from just chips. Last year, Jack started a similar petition in Middlesex. He noted that the choice of vegetarian food was poor at best, not even catering to those who were lactose intolerant. Jack commented, ‘I have no choice personally but to bring my own food due to this. I’m sure that others will agree.’ The petition gained 48 likes and no dislikes. Students from Middlesex also noted that vegan options, as well as being few and far between, were extremely expensive, making them far less accessible.

 

However, it is not all doom and gloom; universities such as Bristol, Sussex, Sheffield and UEA are introducing more and more vegan and veggie options every year. Bristol SU offers a veggie Sunday roast, UEA have vegan sandwich options in the Grad Bar and Unio every day, and Sussex have a vegetarian café on campus serving Quorn Bolognese, mezes and quiches. Sussex also holds Go Green Week, the UK’s largest week of student climate action, where you can get vegan hot chocolate, vegan-friendly cider, and vegan bean burgers. Alastair, a final year Drama student at the University of Birmingham, said ‘I can remember eating in the Sheffield SU back in October and the vegan options were incredible!’

 

If you would like to see more vegan and vegetarian options at your SU, start a petition, and remember that you are not alone.

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Fading Memory

My mum has a new plan, inspired by the film 50 First Dates, to explain to my Granddad what has happened in his past and what is going on now, due to his short term memory loss. He doesn’t remember spending seven weeks over summer in hospital, he doesn’t remember that he’s wearing a catheter and that carers visit his home four times a day and he doesn’t remember taking his antibiotics, so he took two extras overnight.

Interestingly, my Granddad still has a pretty good long term memory and was telling my mum and about his school and university and showed us a column that he wrote when he first moved to America. He was published in a local paper every week under the headline ‘An Englishman’s Impressions of US.’ He used to cut out these snippets and post them to his mother, who then wrote the date on the top of each one.

I didn’t meet my mum’s father until I was a teenager. He lived in New York with his second wife and we wrote letters to each other, until she passed away and he decided to move to Wales to be near the rest of his family. He’s not one for small talk, but that doesn’t mean that he has nothing to say anymore. He loves discussing science, religion, meditation and other things like that.

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