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Easter planning guidance: towards co-discovery

 

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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Easter planning guidance: towards co-discovery

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published joint guidance on the safe enjoyment of the bank holiday weekend (BHW). A “safer, healthier, more sustainable Easter” was one of the key pledges of the NHS Long Term Plan.

“We can’t stop people looking forward to the long weekend. We just want them to be able to enjoy it responsibly,” said a spokesman.

Planning for this Easter started in most areas after Christmas when STPs were instructed to produce credible Easter readiness plans as part of their five-year weekend and public holiday continuity and disaster recovery plans.

The high-level strategy is mirrored by local CCG assurance plans, which bring together public health data, prevalence data for bank holiday related conditions, A&E data and extracts from the Radio Times. The plans are used to RAG rate CCG areas in terms of their suitability for a large Sunday lunch and an afternoon walk.

The health secretary Matt Hancock said that users of the NHS App would soon be able to check for the nearest “bank holiday wellbeing hotspot” and go there rather than risk ill-health or injury at home. “It’s unacceptable that in this day and age we still see a big variation in the quality of long weekends depending on where you happen to live. This great innovation means that people will now be able to go somewhere else for the weekend in the comfort and convenience of their own cars,” he said.  

NHS England has published a new Bank Holidays Indicator Set 2019/20 (BHIS), described as a “tool for evidencing key deliverables in the three overarching domains of bank holiday achievement: commitment, buy-in, and timely shopping”.  The BHIS meets the stated ambition of the NHS Long Term Plan for more meaningful metrics for holiday periods, part of a bigger drive to make the NHS a world leader in the production of pointless monitoring and assurance data.

Public Health England has provided large sections of the new guidance, devoted to Easter weekend public health warnings. These include:

  • Chocolate eggs – all-year round availability means that chocolate eggs are now a perennial danger, but the risk of exposure increases sharply at Easter. Public Health England suggests a small bowl of carrots with a reduced-fat hummus style dip as a healthy alternative to chocolate this Easter, in line with the main recommendation of the government’s obesity strategy.   
  • The health and safety risks posed by barbeques, which include immolation through inappropriate handling of accelerants, minor burns, cancers linked to processed and red meat, violent arguments about animal welfare exacerbated by the presence of alcohol and/or vegans, and social exclusion particularly for middle aged men dressed in non-SuperDry T-shirts.
  • Pollen – incredibly dangerous at any time of year, this tiny menace is particularly active at long weekends. Public Health England’s advice is to stay inside with the windows closed and preferably with a face mask covering your nose and mouth. If you must go outside, take sensible precautions, consider taking portable breathing equipment or wait until it rains, when the pollen count is lower.
  • Biting insects, including mosquitoes, are unlikely to be out in great numbers, but to be on the safe side enlist the help of friends and neighbours to fill in ponds and wells, drain any swamps or other sources of  standing water and empty water butts. Netting your garden with fine mesh and regular fumigation will help you to enjoy your time outdoors safely.
  • DIY and gardening – These activities are responsible for the premature deaths of millions of people every day. Eradicating them is one of the main goals of the NHS Long Term Plan.
  • Crucifixion – Except for high-risk groups such as hospital bosses, the threat of being nailed to a cross has been falling steadily over the last two millennia. 

The guidance also deals with the way seasonal messages are conveyed to avoid giving offence. “Take care to avoid racial, sexual or gender stereotyping of the Easter bunny, which is too often depicted as male, white and heterosexual,” it says. “Use an inclusive range of different animal characters to reflect the diversity of beliefs, backgrounds and life choices of those around you.”

The document goes on to warn that some long-standing Easter traditions are no longer acceptable. To discourage bullying and aggressive behaviour, “Easter eggs should not be 'hunted' but co-discovered collaboratively with other members of the bank holiday community”.

Editor: Julian Patterson

websupport@networks.nhs.uk
@NHSnetworks

 
Anonymous says:
Apr 18, 2019 01:30 PM

Yet another great blog post Julian. The bbq associated risk of violent arguments about animal welfare exacerbated by the presence of alcohol and/or vegans made me smile.
A. Vegan, Warwickshire

pam enderby
pam enderby says:
Apr 22, 2019 11:20 AM

Truly Brilliant Julian!!Thank you!