Opinions, hopes, dreams and discussions – on every topic from health to welfare, me to you, politics to parenting. Ready for some conversation?

THE NHS: Things that need to be said – or do they?

Written by  |  March 13, 2015  |  Blog, Lambert Likes  |  No Comments Yet

After alternately scowling and then nodding in agreement at Iain Dale’s short book The NHS; Things That Need to Be Said (Global; £8.99), I have to hand it to him: this will be uncomfortable reading for some.

bookieI was – to be fair- quite surprised at how often Dale and I agree: we both think that staffing needs to be looked at more closely. That there are managers who are paid far too much, a creeping tendency to over-qualify all staff, and that if we don’t find ways to get women back into general practice (indeed all specialities) after maternity gaps, the country is throwing away knowledge and skills.

I don’t agree with him about NICE – I’ve interviewed scientists and doctors around the globe who envy us NICE. They salivate over a scientifically respected truly independent group of experts who are prepared to make the hard choices the rest of us baulk at.

Anyone who watched the #NHS2billion series on Channel 4 will be grateful surely that they don’t have to decide between patients.NHS 2bill

And I think Dale chooses soft targets in asking if we should treat binge drinkers and the regretful tattooed. The true choices are between this expensive cancer drug and that expensive cancer drug.  Whether you think a patient with late stage liver cancer or late stage kidney cancer is more deserving will very much depend on your personal history and experience.

NICE does save us from those inevitably partial decisions.

But I agree with him that Health Secretaries should be kept in place longer. And that we badly need to get our act together regarding mental health care.

The best bit about this book (sorry, Iain, all those chapters and then my eyes lit up with joy at the list on P95 – love a list!) is his ‘’50 Things Which Could Make the NHS Better’’.

FullSizeRenderI scored 29/50 – possibly more than I thought I would. I still don’t agree with Dale on quite a few core points – for example: that I should

13: Accept that the profit motive is not anathema in healthcare

And I have never been able to get my head around the Localism Agenda to even understand why:

16: The NHS should accept the localism agenda

BUT the entire short book (though pricey! there’s the profit motive in action for you) makes for really thought-provoking reading.



Get The Happiness Habit

Written by  |  January 26, 2015  |  Blog  |  No Comments Yet

Get The Happiness Habit – or at least, get this book by Christine Webber, recently re-published as an e-book (£1.79) – if you’re suffering from the January blues, and give yourself a chance at feeling brighter.


Happiness, explains medical journalist Christine,  is what we all want – whether for ourselves or our loved ones. But do we all have the same expectations of what that happiness entails?  She points to an interesting study by University College London which suggests that our feelings of happiness depend not just on how well things are going, but how far they exceed our expectations. Happiness is therefore scientifically subjective – not a matter of maths.

Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet get happy

Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet get happy 

The book is full of useful tips as well as explanations about why we feel less than happy, all explained in Christine’s signature no-nonsense style.

Natural Eeyore – or temporarily tamed Tigger, Get the Happiness Habit is a very worthwhile read.





Inca oil

Written by  |  January 26, 2015  |  Blog, Lambert Likes  |  No Comments Yet

A great antidote to winter hair – Inca oil’s Pandora Oil is a really useful winter styling product if your hair is getting too fluffy or frizzy due to the effects of too much central heating

Inca oil (Pandora)

Inca oil (Pandora)

Stroke on a tiny amount of the deliciously scented oil on damp or dry hair, then style as ever, or use it as a sleep masque.  Inca calls it ”the handyman in your toolbox of haircare products”  – and recommends, after application, setting the dryer to cold and giving hair a quick blast for sleek, shiny hair without using straighteners.

Inca oil range includes: the Natural Shampoo (250ml – £13.00) a ”go-to” product if you wash your hair every day. The Oil Shampoo (250ml – £15.00) is a treatment for people with dry, damaged or, strangely, even greasy hair – and The Filler Mask (300ml – £24.00) is a hydrating treatment to nourish and revitalise hair.

Pandora Oil – cost: £5.45: 10ml; £30 for 100ml

More info: