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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Scotland

Sugary drinks tax appeal issued to help tackle obesity

June 5 2015

Doctors have called for a tax on sugary food and drinks to tackle the "obesity epidemic" in Scotland and raise revenue for health initiatives. Obesity is rising to the point where being overweight "may now be seen to be the norm" but the associated healthcare costs are spiralling, according to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. A 10% sugary drinks tax in Mexico is thought to have contributed to 10% reduction in consumption, Liverpool University chair of clinical epidemiology Simon Capewell will tell a conference in Edinburgh. The conference, entitled Obesity: A 21st Century Epidemic, will consider evidence on obesity, health consequences, the challenges of changing behaviour and how Scotland can learn from other countries. Professor Capewell said: "The successful introduction of sugar taxes in countries as diverse as Finland, France, Hungary, Latvia, the USA and Mexico have shown how effective a measure they can be in reducing consumption. "Furthermore, the revenues raised can then be invested back into initiatives to increase children's health in these countries, as is happening in Mexico. "It is now time to move forward on introducing a tax on sugary drinks in the UK as a central component of preventing the continuing escalation of obesity and spiralling healthcare costs. "Scotland has an excellent track record in addressing public health issues. Notable achievements include smoke-free public places and proposals for minimum unit pricing for alcohol. We need to explore how these developments could be repeated with sugary drinks. "The medical profession has learned valuable lessons from two centuries of public-health successes and it is clear that a duty on sugary drinks can play a vital role - alongside preventable interventions targeting the "3As" -affordability, acceptability and availability - in attacking this disease on all sides." Professor Derek Bell, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said: "Food and drink taxes are an important part of the discussion on obesity and public health more widely. "The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh is committed to playing a central role in this debate and has established its own health and wellbeing programme aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyles for all through promoting healthy choices. "The college also recently supported the Responsible Retailing of Energy Drinks (RRED) campaign and the City of Edinburgh Council's decision to remove energy drinks - many of which have high sugar content - from Edinburgh Leisure venues. "Only by systematically addressing these issues in the round can further progress be made."

Obituaries

Former Sunnyside Hospital physician Dr William Lyon

December 8 2015

A man who served as the physician superintendent of Sunnyside Royal Hospital in Montrose for 15 years has died, aged 94. Dr William Malcolm Murray Lyon was educated at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh and graduated from Edinburgh University. After service in the Royal Army Medical Corps in East Africa Command, Dr Lyon returned to the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh where he met his future wife Vera. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1948. In 1953 he was appointed Deputy Physician Superintendent of the then Dundee Royal Mental Hospital and assistant physician at Maryfield Hospital. He gained a doctor of podiatric medicine in 1955. During this time, Dr Lyon was also a tutor in clinical psychiatry at St Andrews University. Five years in Dundee were followed by a move to Northumberland where he was consultant psychiatrist and deputy medical superintendent at St Mary’s Hospital in Stannington near Morpeth. Returning to Scotland in 1964, Dr Lyon’s final position was as physician superintendent at Sunnyside Royal Hospital, Montrose. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1968 and retired in 1979. Away from work he was a self taught sailor and was a member of the small Sailing Club on the Montrose Basin. Following retirement he returned to live in Edinburgh. He is survived by children David, Rowena and Patricia, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

UK & World

Queen ‘very on the ball’ on visit to Royal College of Physicians

February 20 2018

The Queen has been described as “very on the ball” after visiting the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) to mark its 500th anniversary.It was the Queen’s first public engagement outside of Buckingham Palace since she returned to London from Sandringham.Dressed in a duck egg blue Stewart Parvin dress and matching coat, the 91-year-old Queen was greeted by RCP president Professor Jane Dacre, who was impressed by her royal visitor.“Very on the ball, very interested, and a charming, graceful lady,” Prof Dacre said of the Queen after the event.In a speech, Prof Dacre – the RCP’s third female president – joked: “I hope I am not being presumptuous, Ma’am, in thinking that Ma’am will be most relieved that medical treatment has changed.“It’s moved on from when monarchs were treated with arsenic and bloodletting.”After the Queen left, Prof Dacre said: “She really seemed genuinely interested.”During her visit to the College’s Regent’s Park headquarters in central London, the Queen viewed an exhibition called Ceaseless Motion: William Harvey’s Experiments In Circulation.It celebrates the life and works of physician William Harvey whose discovery of the circulation of blood changed the face of medicine.Kristin Hussey, curator at the RCP, said: “She was quite keen to see the bloodletting. And she said that she thought it was really fascinating.”Ms Hussey said the Queen and Prof Dacre had a conversation “about the importance of diversity in medicine”.Prof Dacre said afterwards that there have been more Queens than female presidents of the RCP.Before the Queen arrived, Prof Dacre said: “One thing that’s very poignant for me is that I’m only the third ever female president.“And I’m very proud to be here on this occasion.”Asked about the NHS, Prof Dacre said: “I think the NHS is troubled.“However, every health system in the world is troubled.“And if you look at the Commonwealth Fund, it’s an American piece of research that looks at how healthcare systems are doing, it puts us right at the top.“So we are amongst the best health systems in the world.“We’re priceless to have healthcare for everybody free at the point of delivery.“The difficulties with that is that we’ve become victims of our success, because people are living longer and collecting more illnesses and we’re treating them all and so it means there’s a lot of pressure.“Having said that though, the job of being a doctor and caring for an individual patient in front of you is a huge privilege.”During the visit, the Queen also unveiled a plaque to mark the milestone and was shown the original charter document from 1518, granted by Henry VIII, which founded the College.It was established to help regulate the medical profession at a time when anyone could call themselves a doctor and start treating patients.Today the RCP plays an important role in improving patient care and shaping public health and is the professional membership body for physicians with 34,000 members and fellows across the globe.The Queen met staff and members of the medical profession, before unveiling the plaque and a new commemorative charter to mark the occasion.The College will be organising a series of events throughout 2018 to mark the 500th anniversary of the body’s original 1518 royal charter.It has also produced a commemorative RCP500 Charter, to reaffirm the College’s commitment to seek and champion excellence in healthcare – through research, training and support for members of the medical profession.The Queen laid the foundation stone for the College’s Regent’s Park building in 1964 and Tuesday’s visit came at the start of a year which will also mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

UK & World

NHS crisis worse than last year, say doctors

March 12 2018

Nearly two-thirds of doctors believe that patient safety has deteriorated over the past year, according to a report.The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) found four out of five (80%) are worried about the ability of their service to deliver safe patient care in the next 12 months.Even more (84%) believe that the workforce is demoralised by the increasing pressures on the NHS.Its latest report, NHS Reality Check Update 2018, saw more than 1,500 doctors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland given the same questions they were a year ago – and their responses indicated that the situation had become worse in nearly all areas of care.Doctors’ responses included one, who said: “Staff simply cannot deliver what is expected of them under current circumstances.“We are not robots.  We are human beings with limits.”Another concerned physician said: “I cried on my drive home because I am so frustrated and distraught at the substandard care we are delivering.” The report found 64% of doctors believe that patient safety has deteriorated over the past year – 10% higher than last year, while the most (93%) had experienced staff shortages across the team – 9% higher than last year.Nearly half (47%) cited lower-quality care over the past year – 10% higher than last year.The only measure to have improved was a 4% reduction in those experiencing delays in transfers of care from their service – 56%, down from 60% last year.The RCP, which has more than 33,000 members and fellows, said the picture painted by those who took part showed a system pushed to its limit.It warned that doctors are struggling against rising demand, the impact of an ageing population with increasingly complex medical needs, and the difficulties of maintaining morale when the NHS is underfunded, under-doctored and overstretched.The RCP said it wants the Government to relax visa restrictions for the healthcare workforce and build on successful schemes such as the Medical Training Initiative.The Government, NHS organisations, royal colleges, professions, trade unions, regulators, higher education institutions and think tanks must also all work together to make sure the NHS has the workforce and resources it needs.Funding for health and social care must match growing patient need, and there must be more investment in public health initiatives that reduce that need, the report added.RCP president, Professor Jane Dacre, said: “It is extremely worrying and depressing that our doctors have experienced an even worse winter than last year, particularly when so much effort was put into forward planning and cancelling elective procedures to enable us to cope better.“We simply cannot go through this again – it is not as if the situation was either new or unexpected.  As the NHS reaches 70, our patients deserve better – somehow, we need to move faster towards a better resourced, adequately staffed NHS during 2018 or it will happen again.”Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said it supported the recommendations made in the report.She said: “We have huge empathy with our hospital colleagues, and we know that GPs around the UK would echo their sentiments around increasing workload, and concerns for patient safety.“Our NHS is operating under immense pressures and we’re sure that everyone working in the health system can relate to this report in one way or another.“The combination of a depleted workforce, intense workload, and chronic underfunding has left our health service on the brink, putting both staff and patient wellbeing at risk.“We agree with the recommendations made in the report that we need to make the UK more accessible and attractive to doctors from other countries, and that public initiatives to reduce patient need must be properly funded if the NHS is to see any benefit.”A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are absolutely committed to making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, and more staff would now recommend their care to family and friends than ever before. “We know the NHS is busy, that’s why we supported it this winter with an additional £437million of funding, and gave it top priority in the recent Budget with an extra £2.8bn allocated over the next two years.”

UK & World

Queen to visit Royal College of Physicians for its 500th anniversary

February 19 2018

The Queen will visit the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) to mark the 500th anniversary of the organisation.During the visit the Queen will be shown the original charter document from 1518, granted by Henry VIII, which founded the College.It was established to help regulate the medical profession at a time when anyone could call themselves a doctor and start treating patients.Today the RCP plays an important role in improving patient care and shaping public health and is the professional membership body for physicians with 34,000 members and fellows across the globe.At the College’s Regent’s Park headquarters in central London the Queen will meet staff and members of the medical profession, before unveiling a plaque and a new commemorative charter to mark the anniversary.To mark the 500th anniversary of the body’s original 1518 royal charter, the College will be organising a series of events throughout 2018.It has also produced a commemorative RCP500 Charter, to reaffirm the College’s commitment to seek and champion excellence in healthcare – through research, training and support for members of the medical profession.The Queen laid the foundation stone for the College’s Regent’s Park building in 1964 and the visit comes at the start of a year which will also mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

Obituaries

Pioneering professor Kenneth Lowe

August 19 2010

Professor Kenneth (Ken) Lowe, a pioneer in cardiology and former physician to the Queen in Scotland, has died. He was 93. Born in Arbroath and educated at the town's high school, he achieved first place in open bursary competitions for St Andrews University and University College Dundee and was awarded a Harkness Residential Scholarship. In 1942 he assisted Professor Dan Cappell in the pathology department to set up Dundee's first blood transfusion service before joining the Royal Army Medical Corps, where he specialised in tropical diseases and served in the Caribbean, India, Egypt and Panama. Rejoining his family in London after the war, Professor Lowe resumed postgraduate training and was medical registrar at the Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital from 1947 to 1951. While there he worked with Graham Bull and Mark Joekes on Britain's first artificial kidney machine, invented by Kolff in the Netherlands. Their pioneering studies on the pathology, outcome and treatment of acute renal failure were published in The Lancet and in Clinical Science. Professor Lowe was awarded the Rutherford Gold Medal for his MD (Honours) thesis on these studies by St Andrews University in 1950. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1951 and a fellow in 1954. In 1952 Professor Lowe was appointed senior lecturer in medicine at St Andrews and honorary consultant physician at Dundee Royal Infirmary, later Ninewells Hospital. He became a full-time NHS consultant physician in 1961 but continued in the university as honorary reader, then honorary professor. Professor Lowe was president of the St Andrews and Dundee University medical societies and took a keen interest in his students and trainees many of whom continued to visit him and correspond with him for years. In 2003 he received an honorary Doctor of Science award from the St Andrews Medical School. Professor Lowe was also a founder committee member of the Scottish Society of Physicians and was its president in 1973. He was a member of the Dundee General Hospitals board, the first chairman of its division of medicine and also the first chairman of Tayside Regional Postgraduate Medical Committee. Professor Lowe was appointed physician to the Queen in Scotland in 1971 and was made Commander of the Victorian Order on his retirement in 1982. Predeceased by his wife Nancy, he is survived by his daughter Alison, sons Gordon and Graham, and five grandchildren.

Dundee

Councillor says air pollution report adds new urgency for action in Dundee

February 25 2016

A councillor is calling on Dundee City Council to double its efforts in challenging harmful air pollution. Richard McCready’s warning comes after a report on the issue suggested air pollution could be linked to 40,000 deaths in the UK each year. The report, published by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, indicates that low air quality may play a part in tens of thousands of deaths across the country. Commenting on the findings, Mr McCready, Labour’s environment spokesman, called on the administration to be proactive and take steps to improve Dundee’s own air quality standards. He said: “I have been calling for Dundee City Council to take air quality more seriously for some time now. “I think that it is unacceptable that the same streets in Dundee are named as air pollution hotspots year after year. “Reports from Friends of the Earth and the British Heart Foundation have pointed to the health impact of poor air quality and now this report from the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health makes very similar claims. “I will be speaking to officers of the council to see how best we can bring together the relevant people to ensure that we are taking the appropriate action. “According to this recent research the impact of poor air quality is totally unacceptable and we must do something about it rather than dismissing the research and hoping that the problem will go away.” A council spokesman said: “While air quality is influenced by numerous factors that are not directly in the control of the local authority, a report will be considered by the council soon on a detailed transportation and air quality study for the Seagate and north-west arterial route to try to further improve the situation.”

Politics

Assisted Suicide Bill may be at odds with human rights legislation, says Law Society of Scotland

January 13 2015

Proposals to legalise assisted suicide could be “incompatible” with the European Convention on Human Rights, according to the Law Society of Scotland. Holyrood’s Health and Sport Committee will scrutinise the Bill on Tuesday, brought forward by Green MSP Patrick Harvie in the wake of the death of campaigning politician Margo MacDonald. Politicians will hear from the Faculty of Advocates, Law Society of Scotland, Police Scotland, Crown Office, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland. Others, including palliative care specialists and faith groups, will be given the opportunity to make their views known at later sessions. The Law Society of Scotland cites the Bill’s failure to “define what assisted suicide is, or what it is to assist suicide”, the fact people as young as 16 can both request assisted suicide and act as the licensed facilitator, and a lack of provision for conscientious objectors. It also questions whether or not it is competent under the Scotland Act as well as European law. In submitted evidence, the group representing lawyers said: “The Billmay be in direct contrast, and possibly incompatible, with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life.” The Faculty of Advocates said more clarity was needed when it came to defining “life-shortening” illnesses, pointing out common conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and hepatitis could fall into this definition. It also wants a more precise definition of precisely what assistance constitutes assisted suicide to make sure no one ends up facing criminal proceedings through ignorance. The group’s evidence said: “The faculty considers it is important that such legislation is clear, readily understood (and not just by lawyers), that key terms are well-defined and not open to a variety of interpretations, and that the penalties for breach of the requirements of the legislation are spelled out.” A vote on the principle of the Bill is expected to take place in the spring. Mr Harvie said: “People in Scotland are currently being given no clarity over what action might be prosecuted if someone finds their suffering intolerable and seeks help to end their own life.”

Dundee

McManus museum team on the trail of Royal Arch remnants

February 20 2015

The presence of huge chunks of Dundee’s once iconic Royal Arch within the grounds of D&A College is now being explored by some of the city’s leading local history experts. A team from The McManus Dundee’s art gallery and museum plan to visit to photograph and record the stones. They discovered an article in the museum’s archives, dating back to 1964, which shows the stones in situ at the newly-opened college’s Kingsway campus. Curator of early history Christina Donald believes the article verifies links between the college and the maligned structure, which was demolished that same year. “Back in 2010 when we were doing research for the redevelopment of the museum, I came across the People’s Journal article while looking for something else,” she said. “As we have the clock from the Royal Arch in the museum’s collections, I filed it away for future reference. “When I saw the photo of the stones at the college in The Courier, I forwarded on the article so that they could confirm that their finds were indeed the stones from the Royal Arch.” As well as contacting D&A College with her find, Christina is keen to get in touch with the city archivist to see if there is any more information about the Royal Arch stones. The curator is also eager to have museum staff visit the Kingsway Campus to photograph and record the carved stones. According to college legend, three pieces of Royal Arch stonework have been around the campus since the 1960s. One has now been moved to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland’s Robin House, in Balloch, where college staff and students recreated an award-winning show garden. The most easily-identified piece is by the science block while a third piece is shrouded in mystery as only the top is visible the rest being buried in the ground in the former caretaker’s cottage at the campus entrance. Anyone who may be able to shed further light on the stones should contact Christina at the McManus. An online petition to have the Royal Arch replicated and reinstated was opened two weeks ago. Nearly 1,300 people have since signed the petition which as a target of 20,000.

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