Editorial – 25 Sept 2019

If you are a regular reader of the Editorial, you may remember that I wrote about my urgent admission to hospital on 24.07.2019.

You can imagine my surprise when I received an inpatient questionnaire through the post on 19.09.2019. This is a very detailed questionnaire of 82 questions (not all are applicable depending upon the circumstances of your admission).

The questionnaire was issued jointly by South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust and CQC. Now, I have no problem answering questions honestly and to the best of my ability, but I struggle to do this when I receive it two months later. My memory is rather hazy and to be honest, if I hadn’t made notes during my stay in preparation for the editorial, I would most likely have forgotten most of it apart from some key points that stick in my mind for one reason or another.

I would certainly urge that either the forms are given to patients with their discharge notes, or should be posted a lot sooner than 2 months after the appointment.  This will help both patients and hospitals by being able to answer the questions fully, honestly and to the best of their ability.

On a different issue, we are now seeing vaping injuries in the news.  E-cigarettes are deemed healthier because unlike smoking normal cigarettes, they do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, both being the most harmful by-products of cigarettes. Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes but is fairly harmless.  The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.  There is also no known evidence that vaping causes harm to people around you, as opposed to secondhand smoke from smoking.

Flavoured vapes appear to be popular with teens and young adults but we are now seeing lung injuries and fatalities in the news directly linked to vaping.

A study by scientists in the University of Adelaide in Australia, has discovered that fumes from three types of apple-flavoured vaping liquid could kill off bronchial epithelial cells. These cells line the respiratory system and are important for keeping the lungs and airways clean. Vapour has also been found to interfere with the immune system.

I therefore hope that there will be more research into the vape ‘flavourings’ and that the apple flavours are pulled from sale until a safe alternative is found.  Were these ingredients stringently tested beforehand?

Last but not least, I’m sure you have seen in the news by now, it looks like Parliament will be sitting again from today, so the Parliamentary updates will resume as soon as the House of Commons and House of Lords publish their business.

Lin Mason

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