The first paragraph of the Department of Health press release reads:
People with a chest cancer related to exposure to asbestos will receive a boost today, as a new framework for improving their care is launched by Health Minister Rosie Winterton.
Here’s the prognosis for mesothelioma (from Wikipedia):
What are the long-term effects of the disease? A mesothelioma is a highly aggressive tumor that is generally deadly. Current treatment of malignant mesothelioma is designed to make the person with cancer comfortable. Although long-term survival cannot usually be expected, the case of famed paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould is a noted example.
So patients should be happy because the British government is observing “Action Mesothelioma Day”? The survival rate after 5 years is less than 10%, but don’t worry, The Government Has A Plan.
There is some competition from the Department of Health for the most inane press release. Only today, I learned that “Sneezing or coughing without covering your mouth is more annoying than people talking loudly on their mobile phone and more annoying than people who don’t say please and thank you – yet nearly half of people do not always carry a tissue outside the home, a new survey has found.”
You guessed it: The Government Has A Plan. Enter the “Carry a Kleenex for Victory in the War on Sneeze and Cough-Related Cold Infection” or CKVWSC-RCI Action Day.
You think I’m making it up? Here’s from the same press release:
a new Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases campaign has been launched in a bid to halt the spread of germs, diseases and infections through simple hygiene steps.
Here’s where some of the money will go:
Campaign posters are being distributed to a wide variety of health and public settings including GP surgeries, health centres, pharmacies, schools, libraries and workplaces. In addition, retail organisations and major employers are also being encouraged to support the campaign by raising awareness amongst employees.
A survey has provided insights into the current hygiene practices of the nation. Women are almost twice as likely than men to have tissues with them outside of the home whilst nearly half of all people surveyed said they caught colds at least twice a year. The North West was found to be the region where people washed their hands the most while London proved to be the place were people were less likely to wash their hands.
Professor Lindsey Davies, National Director of Pandemic Influenza
Preparedness, Department of Health said:
“Washing your hands regularly and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze are simple actions which stop the spread of infections yet our research has shown that many people are forgetting to carry out these basic hygiene steps. This campaign will serve as a timely reminder of correct coughs and sneezes etiquette and will help people get into good hygiene habits. This is particularly important now, as February and March are traditionally the months for coughs and colds.”
Professor Brian Duerden, Inspector of Microbiology and Infection
“Many people don’t realise that a cold or flu virus can survive on
the skin for several hours and thus spread to others, but they can easily be removed by regular hand washing. This is why respiratory hygiene is so important. You can reduce your chances of transmitting a cold or flu virus, and may even prevent catching the infection in the first place by: always covering your cough and sneeze with a tissue, binning the tissue afterwards and ensuring that you regularly clean your hands”.
It’s so reassuring to know that the National Health Service, which failed to provide influenza vaccine for most of the people its managers decided should have a jab this winter, is focussing on priorities like poster campaigns for Kleenex and opinion polls.