Local health news and is Covid around again?


Local health news and is Covid around again?.

Alan Bellinger, our health correspondent, joins us with all the latest locally on physiotherapy and continuity of care locally, plus some information on what to look our for with blood pressure nd why it matters plus looking at the last Dr Michael Mosely’s 5:2 diet.

  1. Covid Resurgence? Anecdotally we are hearing of a resurgence of Covid cases. There’s very limited data on this, firstly because reporting systems such as Zoe have been discontinued, and secondly, because test centres have been disbanded. Reported figures seem to be around 5 per 100,000 but talking to my local networks over the weekend it appears the ocal figure for St Albans could well be three to four times that number. As ever, if you suspect that you have Covid, test, report it, and follow your Doctor’s instructions. There is advanced medication available for those people who are at risk.


  1. Blood Pressure there is a big NHS Campaign on at the moment over high blood pressure; let me put it into context. There are over 25,000 adults in St Albans that have high blood pressure and over half of them don’t know it – that’s 12,500 people in our area! So on average 1 in 10 people that you know are regrettably doing damage to their bodies right now – and they’re unaware of the problem!!

Having high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, and also doing damage to your kidneys and your heart.

In an ideal world, all adults in St Albans should know their blood pressure – and it needs to be on their GPs record!!! So how can you find out what your blood pressure is?

If your Blood Pressure check is done at the Pharmacy or GP Surgery they’ll tell you whether it’s good news or bad news! But if you’ve done it yourself then this is what you need to know:

  • If it’s under 140/90 then it’s good news
  • If it’s over 180/120 it’s very high – seek help urgently
  • If it’s between 140/90 and 180/120 it is too high and will respond to medication.

Many of the people who are in that range between 140 and 180 will be able to manage their high blood pressure by simple lifestyle changes; but your GP may well prescribe simple medicines that will bring it under control. So don’t panic ……. But do seek medical advice.


  1. The 5:2 Diet – with the sad death of Dr Mosely in the Greek Islands last week I thought we should do a piece on healthy eating – and particularly do a deep dive into his 5:2 Diet! Actually, it’s very simple to explain.

For five days each week, you eat normally and don’t have to think about restricting calories.

Then, on the other two days, you reduce your calorie intake to a quarter of your daily needs. This is about 500 calories per day for women, and 600 for men.

You can choose whichever two days of the week you prefer, as long as there is at least one non-fasting day in between them.

The way I did it was to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, with two small meals, then eat normally for the rest of the week.

It’s important to emphasise that eating “normally” does not mean you can eat anything you like! If you eat too much junk food, then you probably won’t lose any weight, and you may even gain weight.

You should eat the same amount of food as if you hadn’t been fasting at all.

Since calorie intake is limited on the two days — 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men — it makes sense to use your calorie budget wisely.

Try to focus on nutritious, high fibrw, high protein foods that will make you feel full without consuming too many calories.

Soups are a great option on fast days; they may make you feel more full than the same ingredients in their original form, or foods with the same calorie content, But they may not be ideal in a heat wave!

Here are a few examples of foods that may be suitable for fast days:

  • A generous portion of vegetables
  • Natural yogurt with berries
  • Boiled or baked eggs
  • Grilled fish or lean meat
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Soups (for example miso, tomato, cauliflower, or vegetable)
  • Low calorie cup soups
  • Black coffee
  • Tea
  • Still or sparkling water

So if you’re looking for a simple two diet do try the diet that Dr Mosely devised the 5:2 Diet


  1. Physiotherapy The ICB has commissioned a new Provider for physiotherapy services and we’re starting to hear some negative comments about the way the service is working. Now there are invariably problems during the initial stage of a new contract but the two issues we’re hearing are –
  • Long waiting list for services;
  • Poor treatment solutions

If you have had a poor experience of Physiotherapy services provided by your GP then please do please get in touch – you can email me at abellinger@gmail.com or through the station.

  1. Continuity of Care – this is really quite a complex area; we can break it down into
  • Current approaches to triage signpost to the Healthcare Professional best equipped to deal with your needs
  • They have access to your medical records and so can understand the circumstances
  • As a consequence continuity of care is lost!
  • The biggest complaint on social media right now is “I can’t get to see my Doctor”

The situation is that, for people who are chronically ill or have multiple conditions, the loss of the relationship that we traditionally had with our Doctor is lost, These patients, or more likely their carers, find themselves having to repeat again and again, their medical history, And that’s extremely frustrating!

And finally, last week we launched a closed Facebook group for everyone interested in Health and Social Care; if you’d like to join then go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/hwepef

More about: Health

You might also like