Saturday, 9 September 2017
UK and Thailand medical activity disabled?
It's horrifying news that the United Nations has castigated UK for failing on disabled rights.
The latest UN disability report cites numerous concerns over accessibility and liveability that affects the UK's ageing society.
For the UN to issue the most recommendations for improvement to any nation ever is an astonishing UK failure.
The failure all the more concerning as UK has often been at the forefront of disabled rights and welfare. Disabled access has been much improved with new-build lifts and ramps and zebra crossing paving stone bobbles and signage for the blind and hard of hearing that are the weft and weave of much municipal town planning.
Indeed writing in The New European newspaper, Alastair Campbell former Downing St official under PM Tony Blair - and vigorous mental health campaigner -and UN Education chair Gordon Brown, and SOS International charity CEO and former Cabinet Minister David Milliband, wrote eloquently on glasses charities expanding their efforts for the world's c.40M blind and partially-sighted people.
Here in East Kent, Ramsgate's Specsavers and Poundland and Boots the Opticians needing no lessons in their charity work on providing spectacles and sunglasses.
Astonishingly Poundland almost effortlessly living upto it's promise of providing basic reading spectacles for just £1 - about $2 or 50 baht.
With UK DFID aid funds rightly under regular scrutiny, in achieving the UNSDG30 target of 0.7% of GNP and c.$20BN, surely 40M partially-sighted people can't be deprived of $60M of spectacles - the work of moments in any spectacles factory - and some shipping or DHL costs?
DHL Express are not just a key facet of Thailand's SME work but a feature on Ramsgate, and every UK High St, within WH Smith the UK's largest newspaper and bookshop.
Along with coordinated cancer and dementia treatments (surely every one of UK's 130 universities and c.200 hospitals must have a specialism on each of the 200 cancers such as colon and liver as a minimum?), and graphene knee and hip joints, cataract surgeries are a key facet of any ageing society's medicare policies.
And if basic NHS dental care seems to have slipped backwards into pricing out a free service and increased children's sugary fillings, then Operation Smile expertise on cleft palate surgery could be easily expanded.
The UK rolling out its world-class Moorfields Eye Hospital to the Gulf states and India proves such medicare co-operation is possible - along with the debate over what NHS services are provided for free abroad. Wider linkups between the NHS and Thailand's 30 baht health scheme can't be impossible.
While Thailand's chain of Blue Flag welfare shops and e-cards for discounted food and toiletries and medical products would be a step change, as popup shops or shelfspace, for both UK foodbanks and banks and retailers.
But the almost daily reports of repulsive disability welfare and work testing - and the dozens and dozens of resultant suicides are a UK national scandal.
Much as the recent UK election (was it really just 3 months ago?) appalling potential policy of old people having to sell their houses for medical care, in effect crippled the PM May government.
While UK learnings and failures on disabled access must surely be relevant for Thailand such as the Missing Link rail station and disabled lift from Bangkok's main airport.
Even East Kent's biggest boondoggle (second only to the $2M fire station garage on sports fields or Stack megacarparks and megatowns overbuild incoherence), the bizarre $30M Manston Parkway airport-railway-station-without-an-airport limps on, but was planned with wheelchair access and disabled lifts.
As an aside, a rail project even more delayed than the Poipet Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam link - surely UK TH-KH support, along with EU and Japan and Australia could release further ADB/AIIB/EU/JICA/AusAid development funds to end the logjam of the last kilometre and keep the project on track?
And the flow of train carriages and rail-buses and rail stations hopefully with full disabled access. It's especially apt with President Jokowi railing against the slow pace of development and FDI in Indonesia and urging greater enabling efforts.
But the road safety implications of fewer zebra crossings and semi-privatised skywalk overpasses are serious. Flights of stairs in the scorching heat, and without disabled lifts as at Mahboonkrong, essentially create a disabled and elderly no-go zone in central Bangkok if not in other major Thai cities too. As do the cluttered and broken pavements that reduce wheelchair or zimmer frame access to Thailand's buzzing street food scene.
The excess of concrete and absence of greenery also contributing to Climate Change floods.
Recent horrifying Daily Express reports of NHS and council waste of millions of dollars of wheelchairs and zimmer frames, crutches and bed lifts left to rust in nearby Sussex, instead of being refurbished and reused, could as a minimum be shipped to Thailand or Cambodia and Laos for Third Sector development.
The 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death highlighting her work on landmines - and HIV and leprosy and Prince Harry's Invicta disabled games - so rusting wheelchairs and crutches and artificial limbs is a horrifying UK failure.
And BBC reporter Chrissie Reidy's dynamic reporting on a $60,000 NHS Kent training CPR mannekin for use in road safety accidents or asthma - and NHS Sussex burns units - suggests the UK's tsunami of medical innovations could be more fully opened not just to Thailand, but within other Kent and UK hospitals and public sector organisations such as Kent Police and Kent Ambulance.
A Kent Police Innovation Fund on the CPR mannekin for example could ensure regular and round the clock paramedic training - the Dorset and Cornwall police merger certainly not the last nor with the Fire and Rescue service, requiring paramedic expertise - without the dangers or delays of using real patients. Video links and training films with Thai police and ambulance would undoubtedly help reverse the road safety deaths and injuries and expand translation work between the two nations.
Only Britain could possibly consider frittering away its disabled and medical and English language expertise.
While the expansion of defibrillators for heart attack and stroke victims must be both a police and town centre imperative in UK and Thailand even before the first responders respond.
The glum statistic of over 8,000 Thailand road deaths so far this year and cited as over 4x UK road deaths must surely call for UK support as a Road Safety Superpower? Only 4% of Thai citizens using the seatbelt in the back of taxis (if the seatbelts are there) highlights the road safety education work needed that UK has rigorously invested in over decades.
And BBC South East reports on DJ Mike Dowder of Ministry of Sound establishing a soi dog charity in Thailand for vaccinations and neutering and surgery - one dog so crippled as to be dragging itself along the streets until provided with a doggy wheeelchair - must surely also be a UK support facility, for public health and animal health, as well as ensuring a Thailand focus in the Home Counties.
East Kent's MP Roger Gale a keen patron of an animal charity to rescue animals not just in the day to day scandal of soi dogs, but in the Resilience floods now affecting India and Bangladesh and Nepal, from the repeated Isaan and Deep South floods, as well as Texan cattle.
I'm no great animal lover at all, with the exception of Felix the Cat or Hello Kitty, but surely with the monstrous absurdity of at least 20,000 Indian citizens dying each year from venomous snakebites and rabies, plus the dangers of both human and animal TB, UK and Thailand should be active on ramping up the whole range of medical activity?
Discovery Park here in East Kent as the largest USA inward investment in Europe with Pfizer, along with Sittingbourne Science Park and 4 universities and 6 major hospitals within an hour's drive must be the beating heart of UK and Thailand cooperation with Pfizer and Glaxo and Novartis, Watson's and Boots etc.
The new UK Biopharma strategy rather weak in its overreliance on Oxbridge and overcrowded Silicon Fen.
At the moment, UK and Thailand medical activity looks to be disabled.