Comment // Health

Debi Evans Blog: 30 August 2022

Another week has flown by and the information cascades continue. I can only cover a few topics, as the news is so fast and ever-changing. 

I have been intrigued to speak to people living in Canada, Venezuela, Norway and Italy. Their national news front pages are said to be reporting the UK’s rising cost of living and the unfolding collapse of Europe. Neither Canada nor Venezuela has been impacted by the fuel price hikes as the UK and neighbouring countries have. I am reliably informed that in Alberta, Canada, it costs the equivalent of about £45 to fill up a family Mercedes. Compare the prices: whilst the UK is certainly not the most expensive (Hong Kong receives that accolade), we remain very high on the list. 


From roast to toast

As the energy prices rise, so does the tone of the mainstream media. It is evident that there will be millions affected and many who will suffer hugely this winter. As many in the UK go from Sunday roasts to Sunday toast, there are things we all need to know. Anyone of pensionable age (66 years) cannot be cut off between October and March. It is that simple; it’s against the law. That is not to say that a bill will not accrue; a debt will exist.

Many trying to change tariffs will find out that as a condition of going over to a cheaper tariff, they may have to agree to have a smart meter installed. Those not wishing for a smart meter may be forced to pay higher tariffs. Those without smart meters may also be penalised by not being to claim back for electricity during peak hours as the Government has suggested. 

Many with smart meters complain that they are not smart at all and are in fact leading to arrears and credits being charged, due to their unreliability.  We would urge anyone considering a smart meter to do their own research. 

We would highly recommend anyone struggling with energy bills to contact their energy provider or the Citizens' Advice Bureau. We do understand that many energy companies are struggling with the sheer volume of calls.



Simmering in the background remains ‘monkeypox’, of which—according to mainstream media—cases are increasing. In Scotland, monkeypox vaccinations are in short supply. But remember there is no monkeypox ‘vaccine’; what is being touted is a smallpox vaccine with a dark history. Parents in the US are being warned of what to look out for, as an expected rise in cases in children is expected this autumn.

The UK has announced it will use a ‘mini’-dose of the ‘monkeypox’ vaccine owing to global shortages. Isn't it interesting that a reduced shot is just as ‘effective’—which prompts the question: why this this lesser dosage not considered the preferred dose for everyone?

I am reading reports that due to shortages, ‘regulators’ (alias pharmaceutical enablers) are working with Bavarian Nordic to assess whether some expired doses of its Jynneos vaccine can still be used. This is very worrying.   

As we are seeing a huge rise in cases of Herpes zoster (shingles), one must ask: could some of the ‘monkeypox’ cases be confused with Herpes zoster outbreaks following the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine (gene technology)?


DRESS Syndrome

Many will not have heard of DRESS syndrome, and whilst it may be insignificant in the bigger picture, I would like to take a few minutes to explain why we should have it on our radars.

DRESS syndrome is also known as ‘drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome’ (DIHS) or drug hypersensitivity syndrome. It is a severe reaction to certain drugs and affects skin and organs, and it has a mortality rate of 10%. However, DRESS syndrome is described as uncommon, with estimates of risk ranging from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 after exposure to the triggering drug. It typically manifests two to six weeks after first exposure to the drug.

There is a DRESS Syndrome Foundation in the USA, and—although they appear to be fully behind the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination—even they admit that reactions such as erythema multiforme (EM) and acute generalised exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP) have been seen as effects of the mRNA and the viral vector vaccine respectively. These have been self-limited, and with mRNA vaccines the syndrome was contracted on second dose in under 50% of cases. One to keep an eye, on I think.


World Health Organisation—what is the UK Government hiding?

Another great piece of investigative journalism comes to us from James Roguski, who has been keeping a sharp eye on developments within the WHO. As we have reported for many months, there is a strong possibility of a WHO power snatch whereby member nations effectively sign over sovereignty to them, so that in cases of a ‘global emergency’ we would all be ultimately controlled by the WHO. Freedom of Information requests have revealed that the UK Government appears to be withholding information that, in their words, ‘would likely harm relations between the UK and other member states’. So what are they hiding?



UK Column reported on the NHS Confederation a number of months ago. The NHS Confederation is the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mathew Taylor, CEO of the NHS Confederation (who used to be Tony Blair's advisor), has warned that honesty is the best policy when conveying a message to the public with regard to the capacity of the NHS this winter. He admits that the NHS may not be able to provide some of the services that it would like to. He is urging people to appreciate the pressures on doctors and nurses, as hospitals are already seeing huge levels of strain usually seen in winter. 

Hospitals will have capacity freed up by focusing on specific treatments where appropriate. 

Clearly, the NHS is broken. As it lies in ruins, we are still being told to take an experimental injection—to protect it. How can you protect a corpse? The sooner the British public wake up to the grim fact that they have no healthcare that they can rely on any more, the better. 

The Confederation warns that supply nowhere meets demand and that the added pressure of rising fuel costs has partially been responsible for driving (pardon the pun) staff away and putting services at risk even more. One community provider leader reported that some of their staff have been paying an additional £200 a month on travel costs to visit patients, whilst another said that 750 staff in their organisation have applied for financial help with their bills in the past three months.


Social care: no community without people

What are the staffing challenges facing community health services, and how can we address them?

A recent report warns that the Covid-19 emergency has exacerbated existing workforce pressures in the health and care system, with community providers facing chronic shortages across several staff groups. In March 2020, there were 100,000 vacancies across the Trust; and now, despite a soaring demand for services, as of the latest figures (November 2021) there were 110,000 vacancies and a current shortage of 4,200 full time GPs. This autumn, with the worsening cost of living crisis, that shortage is expected to rise, as thousands consider leaving the service.


Official government reports indicate Covid-19 vaccination is causing mass depopulation

Another damning report comes courtesy of the Daily Exposé. Government reports state that one in 73 Covid-19-injected people were sadly dead by the end of May 2022, and that these ‘injections’ are at least 75% deadlier than every other ‘vaccine’ combined.


Latest NHS news

It would appear that all of a sudden, thousands of people are flocking to the health service for jobs. Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May said (emphasis added):

The last two and half years have really shone a light on the extraordinary efforts of our workforce, as their skill, professionalism and tireless work made sure that hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 patients received treatment while continuing to care for millions of others. I’m delighted we are seeing more people joining us in healthcare support worker roles, working in the NHS is a fulfilling and hugely rewarding career and I welcome everyone who has accepted an offer to join us.

Again, I ask those reading: who are you seeing when you go to a hospital or a health practice? Who are these healthcare support workers whom trained nurses are getting replaced by? Do we have more healthcare assistants than trained nurses now? Who are the doctors? Are they as we remember them, or have they been fast-tracked into an ‘associate physician’ role or made a ‘noctor’?

On the one hand, we are being told the NHS is haemorrhaging staff; yet on the other, we are delighted to deploy thousands into relatively low qualified positions. Why?


Google—Deep Mind

London law firm Mishcon de Reya has filed a claim in the UK High Court alleging that Google’s access to 1.6 million people’s medical records broke privacy rules. The Royal Free Hospital in London struck an agreement with Deep Mind in 2015 to build a system for alerting clinicians for when a patient was at risk of becoming seriously ill. The five-year commercial partnership aimed to develop an app called Streams, which would, for example, alert clinicians if a blood test had been flagged.

However, this partnership drew scrutiny when the New Scientist found an agreement showing that the data was being shared far more widely than had been initially disclosed. An investigation by the National Data Guardian and Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found that the privacy agreement between the Royal Free and Deep Mind was not sufficiently robust and that a privacy impact assessment at the start of the project had not taken place. The Royal Free had not told their patients enough about the partnership.

The ICO found in 2017 that the Royal Free had breached the Data Protection Act when it shared its trove of data with Google.

It will be interesting to see where this lawsuit goes. Keep your eyes on it. As a Royal Free-trained state-registered nurse of the class of 1976, I must say that the more I read about the Royal Free Hospital's involvement, the more ashamed I become. I used to be incredibly proud of my training hospital and wore my hospital badge (in the shape of a Maltese cross; I was unaware of its significance back then) with pride. No longer.

For those of you who would like a masterclass in Deep Mind, look no further than Professor Hannah Fry’s podcasts. Yes, that Professor Fry: presenter and expert extraordinaire of the recent BBC documentary, Unvaccinated


The Topol Review

Who knew this existed? I didn’t until I came across it. The Topol Review was published in February 2019, well before the ‘pandemic’. It is an independent report on behalf of the Secretary of State and was entitled Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future. A fascinating paper, it maps out the next two decades in the NHS.

What can we expect of our NHS in the coming months? The NHS is changing beyond all recognition and the transformation will be unrecognisable to all we are used to. The main changes are that doctors will no longer be doctors and that the staff you may expect to meet may not be who you are expecting to see. As genomics, sensors and AI merge, wearables and predictive analytics are to become the norm in our NHS.

We must be prepared to use virtual outpatient clinics with telemedicine, smart apps, sensors, wearables, speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP), virtual and augmented reality, automated image interpretation using AI, predictive analysis using AI, and writing of the genome. This is the NHS of the future, the brave new NHS. Genomics, digital medicine, AI and robotics will change the roles of our clinical staff over the next two years.

So what do we have to look forward to; how will the role of the doctor, nurse and paramedic change in Britain by 2030?

Doctor in 2029: Sarah is a consultant aged 46; her specialist area is paediatrics, with an oversight role in Genomics England. Most of her patients have been genome sequenced at birth, allowing her much greater understanding of her patients’ pathology. Sarah’s team includes bioinformaticians and computer scientists—who bring expertise and learning from their secondments in industry. The whole team benefits from access to integrated interoperable electronic patient record systems supported by AI technologies. Machine-learning algorithms process the outputs from wearable sensors that remotely monitor metabolic markers to predict patient heath trajectories and model personal care plans.
As a result, early intervention followed by personalised treatments have markedly improved outcomes in conditions such as diabetes. Furthermore, cloud-based educational tools provide accessible ‘just-in-time’ learning resources that enable clinicians, patients and their families to better understand and manage their conditions. 

Nurse in 2029: Tom, aged 33, is a nurse who works in primary care. He has been appointed a Consultant in Respiratory Care and is a partner in the community health centre, opportunities he would never have believed possible when he left school. Tom offers dedicated coaching sessions with newly-diagnosed asthma and COPD patients. He shows them how smart inhalers and apps on their phones can help them monitor and optimise their own health. He co-designs personal health plans which incorporate genomic data, individual physiology, and the patient's desired clinical outcomes.
Tom’s multi-profession team receives patient alerts on clinical deterioration and medication adherence via a safe, AI-augmented remote consultation platform. The team triages patients promptly, nudges health behaviours, and recommends new care plans where necessary. Each month, Tom co-leads a two hour ‘hackathon’ where a variety of collaborators come together to co-design and co-produce technological solutions for local problems affecting patient care and service need.

Paramedic in 2029: Salma, a paramedic aged 58, has seen her work transformed by the impact of digital technologies. She is transported in an autonomous ambulance that drives the most efficient route to an emergency, thereby improving response times. On receiving the patient’s details, Salma gains immediate access to the integrated electronic patient record that is projected onto a digital display, providing information on medical history, allergies and pharmacogenomics profile.
Salma’s smartwatch and smartphone—enabled with mobile vital signs and an ECG reader and AI-augmented ultrasound scanner—facilitate real-time monitoring and diagnostics. All the data captured are immediately transmitted to the hospital-based team, who, with the help of machine learning algorithms providing decision support, can advise, plan and prepare any additional treatment prior to the patient’s arrival. Salma receives regular education and training updates on innovation in clinical practice hosted within clinical skills hubs; these updates model how technology and health data can best be used to improve patient care.

This is not the future; this is the present. Read more here.


Gender-affirming hysterectomies on girls

As if things can’t get any worse! "Gender-affirming hysterectomies" is a fancy euphemism for the hacking-out of a girl’s reproductive system because she is confused about her identity. It is a permanent, irreversible procedure that makes it impossible for her to bear children in later life. These barbaric procedures on minors need to be criminalised. Instead, they’re being promoted and widely encouraged by hospitals such as this one in Boston, Massachusetts.


Cash gone in five years

Are we heading for a cashless society within five years? Already, we have seen a rapid disappearance of ATMs (cash machines), banks closing, and many retailers not accepting cash. How will this impact the elderly, those on benefits, and those on low incomes who have no access to a bank account?

John Howells, chief executive at the UK’s cashpoint network, called Link, has said that the use of notes and coins is down by 40 per cent since Covid and still falling as people switch to plastic (how ironic; I thought we were getting rid of plastic!). He warns that approximately 5 million people may be left behind as they either refuse or find themselves unable to transfer to digital money.


Tomato flu

Yes, you read that right: there is an outbreak of tomato flu affecting children in India. Tomato flu is less sensationally known as a suspected new variant of hand, foot and mouth disease. Most of the children affected are under five years old, with symptoms that include high temperature, intense joint pain and a rash. They also suffer with an eruption of red painful blisters that grow to the size of a tomato, hence the name.

There have so far, thankfully, been no serious cases or deaths and everyone appears to be recovering. Doctors are still unsure what is causing the illness and have speculated that it may be the result of some exotic-sounding virus transmitted by mosquitoes, such as dengue, chikungunya or even chickenpox. Perhaps it may even be monkeypox. So far, the jury is out.



The next Board meeting is looming. 20 September is the date; get your tickets here.

I continue to ask questions but remain stonewalled by the MHRA: none of my questions have been answered and I am not receiving any replies.  


Unvaccinated documentary—Professor Hannah Fry

Recently, UK Column had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Norman Fenton and, separately, participant Luca Barbarossa about the BBC documentary Unvaccinated.  Professor Fenton has complained about the documentary to the BBC and the broadcasting regulator Ofcom, and his letters and reply can be seen here. As usual, the BBC is coming up with excuses; however, Professor Fenton is not giving up and is absolutely right in all of his observations. We support him fully; we hope you do, too.



Are we seeing infighting within Big Pharma? Moderna is going on the offensive: in an aggressive move, it is suing Pfizer and BioNTech over their mRNA injection. Moderna is alleging that Pfizer/BioNTech have copied parts of Moderna’s technology that it had patented between 2010 and 2016 when it was already developing an mRNA vaccine for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

This is not the first lawsuit with regard to patent infringement and certainly won’t be the last. It appears a lot of rival companies have Pfizer/BioNTech firmly on their radars.


Autism ‘sexuality training’ goes digital

Autism-spectrum conditions are my expert area of speciality, so I was very interested to learn about this new app developed in conjunction with the United Nations to help young people with autism learn about their bodies. I expect you can already feel the prickling of the back of my neck.

Yes, you guessed right: it includes gender equality. The lessons will cover different kinds of relationships, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender identity, and healthy, positive relationships. The black-and-white drawings help young people see the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships and the accompanying text discusses how to recognise and identify abusive behaviour or violence. 

ACCESS-ABILITY is an innovation project (it calls itself a ‘boot camp’; never a good look) that set out to develop materials to help young people with autism spectrum conditions (we don’t like the term ‘disorder’) access comprehensive sexuality education. The scheme was dreamed up by Jovanka Brajović Grigoriiević and Irena Spirkovska, members of of the UNFPA North Macedonia team; the Balkans are the laboratory of preference yet again.

I notice many of Britain's bigger autism charities are also leaping on the gender bandwagon, including the National Autistic Society. There is much to say on this subject and the workings of the National Autistic Society, and I feel an article coming on.


Glove misuse during the ‘pandemic’

The Nursing Times has recently published an article on a 2021 academic paper observing ‘glove misuse’ during the Covid-19 pandemic which contributed to an accumulation of pathogenic organisms on gloved hands. Prolonged glove use and double-gloving have compromised hand hygiene, which has caused infection transmissions. Overuse of gloves is highly likely to have contributed to the increased number of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections and antibiotic-resistant organisms that have occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please note that UK Column has been reporting on the issue of antimicrobial resistance for many months and has warned that in the near future there is likely to be an antibiotic shortage. 

In the 2021 paper, several factors were believed to contribute to the transmission of multi-drug-resistant microorganisms, including: lack of staff training in caring for intensive care patients; under-compliance with standard and contact precautions; physical reconfigurations of intensive care units; and glove misuse.


Global medicine shortages

Global shortages of essential medicines are causing alarm across the world, forcing HIV patients to forgo treatment in India, leading to heart surgery cancellations in Vietnam and causing British patients to endure longer post-operative recovery times.

There are complex medicine supply chains that are global in nature and may involve many countries. Shortages are often caused by manufacturing issues or raw material shortages in India and China. China has continued its zero-Covid strategy, and as a result many of the world’s largest container ports have been shut for months on end. India, one of the world’s major medicine production centres, sources 70% of active pharmaceutical ingredients from China.

The UK Column has been warning of the backlog of thousands of container ships stranded off the coast of China, which is leaving the rest of the world cut off from many vital goods, drugs and components for vital equipment. I thoroughly recommend keeping an eye on MonkeyWerx on YouTube for the latest news.



What a surprise. As we have reported, it appears that flu has flown back with a vengeance. We are being warned that it will return as early as October. We reported a number of weeks ago that Australia was seeing an early flu season that was overwhelming its hospitals. Regular readers will perhaps remember the NHS Innovation Board Meeting where Stephen Powell warned that all eyes were on Australia and if this happened here it would overwhelm the NHS even more. 

As you would expect, NHS leaders and scientists have called for millions to get their flu jab against the disease as soon as possible. Around 20 million people in the UK, including all the over 50s, will be offered a ‘free’ jab (aren’t we lucky?) this winter as ministers fear the combination of Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis could lead to a spike in deaths.

Flu is normally seen in December; however, in line with Australia's current winter season, it appears to be running ahead of time and is expected in the UK in October. Don‘t worry, though: if you are not one of the eligible groups, apparently you can purchase one privately on the high street! Flu, Covid, monkeypox and polio jabs—a veritable feast to choose from this autumn.


Covid, HIV and monkeypox—this man got the lot!

There’s more to this case than meets the eye. A 36-year-old patient in Italy returned from a sexually-active trip to Spain and presented with symptoms that led doctors to carry out multiple tests which revealed that he was the first patient so far to have Covid, monkeypox and HIV at the same time. Coincidence? Monkeypox or Herpes zoster? Given the man was doubly vaccinated, there are more questions to be asked.


Toilet to tap: our water companies consider turning sewage water into drinking water

You couldn’t make it up—and I can’t resist including water, sewage and water companies in my blog. Those of you who know my story will realise that water companies are high on my radar.

Britain’s water companies are now considering a toilet-to-tap system that will see old sewage being used again to provide drinking water—to prevent water shortages in future heatwaves, so that using recycled wastewater will make it easier to solve droughts by reducing the dependence on water taken from rivers and our vanishing stock of reservoirs.

Sir James Bevan, CEO of the Environment Agency, has written in the Sunday Times that Britons need to become less squeamish about the possibility of drinking recycled lavatory water, as it could become commonplace over the next twenty years.