Pandemics - changing in the wrong direction

Endemic, Epidemic and Pandemic - are things really getting better?


At a meeting with the Chair, and some senior staff, of the NHS Forth Valley, in 2015

I asked what I consider, and still consider, a pertinent question. It was this:- “Why, with

all the advances in modern science, advances in medical treatment, in drugs and the nature

of surgery, why do we still have epidemics, pandemics, and more people living unhealthily

than hitherto?”


The Chair’s slightly but immediate angry response told me I had hit a nerve and  he told 

me to get my facts right that none of that statement was true.

His reply told me how out of touch he was and as none of his senior staff, CEO,

Medical Director, Nursing Director, sought to challenge him, by their actions they

showed themselves to be to weak to either agree or add their voice, or too compliant with

his so-called power and positional authority. But it was clear he was ill-informed and out of touch.


My retort was to say I had done my research, and I did have the facts. But when an NHS hides from these, then I feel that is one of the strongest reasons for a change in the way we do medicine and the medicine we do.




I think to start it is worth just having a look at language and how we use the following terms , often inappropriately.


Endemic means of or relating to a disease (or anything resembling a disease) constantly present to greater or lesser extent in a particular locality, region, or population. But intransigence, ignorance (ignoring of different models of medicine and treatments), and denying facts of pandemics could also be said to be endemic in the NHS.


An epidemic is the slow spread of infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less.


A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that has that has spread through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. Pandemic is increasingly used to refer to more than


Infectious - capable of causing infection , communicable by infection <an infectious disease> — that which corrupts or contaminates eg invades or corrupts the body’s defence mechanisms, spreading or capable of spreading rapidly to others


Contagious -  (of a disease) spread from one person or organism to another, typically by direct contact, (of a person) having a disease that can be transmitted by contact with other people, (of an emotion, feeling, or attitude) likely to spread to and affect others.


But back to my point to the Chairman


I mentioned the Pandemic – ie the global situation regarding diabetes, now out of control in Scotland itself. I maintain I am not helped one bit to treat or cure my diabetes but simply to manage symptoms and delay death as best I can. I am constantly reminded by practitioners that it is a terminal condition! That is the NHS approach.


But we cannot deny that Diabetes, worldwide, has reached hugely worrying proportions for many. So let’s not argue any more if it is endemic, pandemic, or epidemic. It is a sad indictment of western medicine. But we the people can uprise and challenge the present paradigm of thinking on diabetes in the medical world.




World Health Day 2016 , 6th April, was dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes in the hope that we can finally beat it. That same day the BBC reported:-


“The world is facing an "unrelenting march" of diabetes which now affects nearly one in 11 adults, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

In a major report it warned cases had nearly quadrupled to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980.

High blood sugar levels are a major killer - linked to 3.7 million deaths around the world each year, it says.

And officials said the numbers would continue to increase unless "drastic action" was taken.

The report lumps both type 1 and type 2 diabetes together, but the surge in cases is predominantly down to type 2 - the form closely linked to poor lifestyle.

As the world's waistlines have ballooned - with one-in-three people now overweight, so too has the number of diabetes cases.”


WHO projects that by 2030, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in the world so it is easy to understand why the disease is being highlighted in the 2016 World Health Day.


Much could be done if the NHS and Governments took a different attitude to diabetes. Much can be done to prevent it, and treat it, and it CAN be reversed using a different attitude, approach to eating, and lifestyle. But not once in 20 years of living with diabetes have I heard any of that from the NHS. It’s all been about medication, injections, and doom and gloom.




This is another area where the NHS turns the blind eye.


This from 


Being diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain tumour, is considered a death sentence by modern medicine.


Despite a decades-long war on cancer, and the “most advanced” treatments known to 21st century oncologists, people who develop this aggressive, fast-growing cancer are given a prognosis of about 15 months to live — if they’re lucky.


Aggressive treatment, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, is often started, even though oncologists know it won’t cure the disease. If you ever find yourself in this type of nightmarish scenario, you can imagine the desperation you would feel to find something, anything, that might offer hope.


Most people turn to their oncologists or neurosurgeons with such requests for possible experimental or outside-the-box treatments, but you’re unlikely to receive any help that deviates from the hospital’s standard protocol.


It’s not that such treatment options don’t exist; they do. The problem is that the oncologist can’t, or won’t, prescribe them. To do so would risk his or her reputation and even medical license, should you decide to sue.



Due to regulatory red tape, drug-company greed, failures in the scientific process and lack of a universal will to do what’s best for each and every patient, modern cancer care fails an unacceptable percentage of the time.


As Albert Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This describes modern cancer treatment in a nutshell.”


The above is from an American website – but in most part it sums up exactly what we as a family faced with NHS Lothian in 2015 when my younger sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer… outdated knowledge, drugs that created huge side effects on a body whose immune system was already compromised, food given that simply fed the cancer, her diabetes, and candida. And any suggestion of complementary approaches was treated with derision. This ignorance is killing patients. And  it costs a fortune to fund such a system.




Back in October 2004 it was reported that the global epidemic of obesity was completely out of control, according to leading specialists at the first international obesity meeting in Africa.


The warning came on the closing day of the conference, which had been addressing the growing number of obese people across the developing world.


Obesity rates are escalating everywhere and 12 years later are still doing so. More than 300 million adults worldwide in 2004 (now in 2016 it’s almost 2 billion) were overweight and most of them are suffering from weight-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and sleeping disorders.


The World Health Organisation, WHO, posts key facts on its website:-


Key facts


  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980 ie in 25 years

  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.

  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.

  • Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

  • 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013.

  • Obesity is preventable.


Doctors at the meeting in 2004 warned that unless something was done, health care services in both the developed and developing world would not be able to cope with treating people with diseases linked to obesity. Yet exactly what has been done 12 years later?


Why has it taken us in Scotland, Government and NHS, to only now in 2016 begin to get worried about the rise in these figures? Why are we even still debating them and arguing over them as a separate silo? And why does the Chair of Forth Valley NHS believe there are no epidemics, pandemics, or pancakes? This intransigence has to stop. The endemic of setting up yet another committee, review body and waiting for yet another report has to stop and the money put into direct intervention. And doctors need to stop their simplistic advice of eat less, walk more! Glib advice is no longer acceptable. People are dying because they entrust themselves to a health service that cannot cope, and cannot help because it's medical model is not fit for purpose. And yet we plough money into it withoutm question.


The public responsibility


But the public need to play their part, to take personal responsibility by making radical changes in lifestyle; yes through exercise, and also by eating more healthily, stopping refined sugar and fizzy drinks and many other things besides.


Dieticians need to stop their outdated advice on counting calories and eating carbohydrates and proclaiming fat as evil. Their advice flies in the face of the most recent research and evidence.


And we as a public must challenge Government and NHS and demand answers as to why they continue to financially support this out-of-date, unfit-for-purpose medical establishment.


Those are just three areas where the facts speak for themselves, which underline we are getting sicker, not healthier.


What will it take for those in charge to wake up? When will we as the public rise up and say "enough of this medicre approach to health!"?