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Water for Health Alliance briefing 19 July 2005
Water for Health Alliance briefing – 19 July 2005
English Community Care Association join the Alliance – The ECCA have joined the Alliance as the largest representative body for community care in England. Working on behalf of small, medium and large providers, it speaks with a single voice on behalf of its members and the sector, and is seeking to create an environment in which providers can continue to deliver and develop the high quality care that communities require and deserve. Their team are already actively supporting the Water for Health Alliance to improve access to drinking water and promote drinking water consumption as a healthy choice. Copies of the new Water UK "Wise up on Water" fact sheets will go out to all ECCA members shortly alongside an article on the health and financial benefits of choosing healthy fluid options.
Unison join the Alliance – Unison bring their weight to the hydration work as Britain's biggest trade union with over 1.3 million members. It is also the major union in the health service, representing over 400,000 employees in the NHS and staff employed by private contractors, the voluntary sector and general practitioners. Their team represent nursing, ancillary, professional, technical, managerial, administrative, clerical and ambulance staff at all levels. Each Unison region has a regional health committee with representatives from local branches. Unison believe that health promotion and working with patients to achieve a healthier life style is a must. "Access to free, fresh, wholesome drinking water is essential for our members and everyone in society if we are to achieve this".
Care Homes guidance progress via the Lords – Alliance supporter, Baroness Greengross has played a vital part in securing water provision for the elderly by formally asking Her Majesty's Government "whether they will amend the national minimum standards for care homes to state explicitly that fresh drinking water must be available at all times to residents in addition to other hot and cold drinks as recommended by Care Standard 15."The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner) replied that "The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) is responsible for inspecting care homes in accordance with statutory regulations and national minimum standards (NMS). We understand from the chair of CSCI that it has issued guidance to their inspectors on the management of nutrition and dietary care for older people in care homes. This includes a set of triggers linked to NMS and focused on outcomes. If problems are identified, the inspector will take action to address these, including referring to a state registered dietitian, general practitioner or district nurse as appropriate. In 2004-05, just over 4 per cent of complaints about regulated services concerned food and drink. In addition, CSCI is liaising with Water UK to look at producing guidance, both for CSCI inspectors and care sector providers, on the issue of fresh drinking water in care homes for adults and the potential health benefits. The Department of Health is currently reviewing the national minimum standards for adult social care, including care homes. As part of the review, the department will now carefully consider the case for change to this standard. It plans to complete the review in 2006.
DWI put the safety of our drinking water beyond question – alliance members, the drinking water inspectorate have announced figures which show how tap water quality in England and Wales has measured up against the new more rigorous drinking water standards, which came into force on 1 January 2004. Its report revealed that in England 99.94 per cent of more than 1.8 million tests carried out in 2004 met all the national and European health based standards. The figures for Wales were 99.92 per cent out of more than 140,000 tests. Its chief inspector of drinking water, Professor Jeni Colbourne said: "The new standards reset the baseline for assessing and judging drinking water quality in the UK and across Europe at the beginning of 2004. These first year figures for public water supplies in England and in Wales put the safety of our drinking water beyond question."
Times say tap into your liquid asset – this Monday's Times carried a strong piece by nutritionist Jane Clarke that reinforces the messages of the Alliance and supports the available medical evidence. In a piece recounting the health benefits of water she also advises her huge reservations about the use of the word fluids rather than water when describing liquid intake. In the article, she also says that "In terms of their hydrating ability, there's no difference between sparkling and still, or tap and bottled water. But when it comes to health benefits, the bacterial and chemical composition of tap water is generally subject to much tighter regulations, making it a surer bet and far cheaper than many bottled waters."
New Water for Health Alliance communication network – more than 40 people have now joined the web based communication area that Water UK are providing for members and other health professionals to talk about water for health. Water UK had received many requests to increase the web site www.waterforhealth.org.uk so that it includes a dedicated Water for Health web based communication area where members and associates of the Water for Health Alliance can go to raise issues, ask questions, communicate with each other and post latest advice on the subject. It is a secure and password protected area.If you have not already contacted me and would like to have access to this network of contacts and advice, all I need from you is a return e-mail to tell me that you would like to be part of the network and that I can add your e-mail address to the system. Water UK will do the rest, and we will send you a confirmation/welcome e-mail to tell you when it is live. firstname.lastname@example.org
Caerphilly Big Cheese – Water UK has provided the local public health team at Ystrad Mynach Hospital with around 800 water leaflets to promote hydration to the young and old at The Big Cheese weekend. The town of Caerphilly will come to life with an extravaganza of street entertainers, music, dance, fire-eating and more at this year's Big Cheese festival. Portraying the history, heritage and culture of Caerphilly, last year's event attracted more than 80,000 people 100,000 people are expected this summer. Visit the website on www.caerphilly.gov.uk/bigcheese/for regular updates to the schedule.
A midwife writes – a midwife from worthing in West Sussex contacted Water UK to ask for more information and to give her professional views of the importance of hydration to those with child. She advises "Working with pregnant women everyday, I see the effects of not drinking any where near enough water. Dehydration and urinary tract infections which can also be a big factor in premature labour, with the obvious outcomes to the infant. I'm very interested in raising this issue and promoting the drinking of tap water in pregnancy, as the mineral levels are usually safer".
Tinnitus relieved – Penny Hume, a hearing therapist at the Royal South Hants Hospital, contacted water UK to ask for information to support her tinnitus clinic. Penny has been using lots of information from the alliance medical evidence website for her patients, and is now encouraging them to drink the correct amount of water with excellent remedial results. Following her own advice on drinking more, Penny advised that she "has found the change from caffeinated drinks to water such a health boost, and has helped to find energy, reduce my tinnitus and now hopefully with a healthy diet, lose weight as well! My patients see a huge glass of water on my desk when visiting me, and I do try to encourage my colleagues to drink more particularly in this lovely warm weather". Penny will be providing feedback to the Alliance on her success with tinnitus cases.
Kids will pay anything you ask! – The Point magazine (European Point of Use water cooler journal) ran a recent report on the Automatic Vending machine industry view on Healthy Vending (Issue 16, June 2005, Page 33) and it contained some interesting commentary. In a section called "Wealth Seen in Health at AVEX" it explained how the industry can make money out of the drive for kids health and quoted the FSA Vending machine report as something "which explains how a whole range of different products, including water, can be substituted for fizzy pop and still make money". The magazine goes on to say, "What's more, according to Jan Podsiadly, Communications Manager for AVEX organisers the Automatic Vending Association (AVA)…. One of the key findings to come out of all the research that's been done recently has been the importance of the cool factor, said Jan. This has given the industry an important angle to exploit, since cool seems to matter at least as much as taste in vending to youngsters. "The sports cap, for example, is cool. If you put a sports cap on a bottle of water, kids will pay anything you ask for it."The Alliance is fortunate to have The Health Education Trust battling in this area, with Director, Joe Harvey and his team, long time campaigners for children to have access to free fresh water throughout the school day, alongside the healthy vending options.
Sustainability challenged? – For the third consecutive year Highland Spring and Government backed VisitScotland, are teaming up in a joint marketing campaign Pure Scotland, to promote Scotland as the homeland of pure and natural Highland Spring as well as an ideal place for a short break. Shown as "an example of both the public and private sector working together for the benefit of Scotland's tourism industry" this year will see a specially produced haulage vehicle leaving from the Highland Spring base at Blackford in Perthshire "loaded with promotional bottles" featuring a joint Highland Spring and VisitScotland initiative and travelling around the UK. At 1kg of weight for each litre of Highland Spring trucked around the UK, the food miles cost and sustainability impact will be vast. Alliance members and water companies are responding to the initiative.
Yorkshire Youngsters – from nine West Yorkshire schools have taken the message from Jamie Oliver's School Dinners to heart, arranging their own conference to underline the importance of a healthy diet. The Year 6 children have used a grant from BT to cover the cost of a day-long programme of events designed to educate more than 200 of their classmates on food for fitness at the Holmfirth civic centre. Yorkshire Water performer S-Cool will also be visiting in the morning to make a song and dance about the importance of proper hydration and handing out the company's icytonic bottles which youngsters can use to carry water with them into the classroom or out onto the playground. The energetic interactive show encourages children to think about what they drink, underlining the message that tap water is healthy and contains no E-numbers, calories or sugar – and costs less than half-a-penny a litre. "Fizzy drinks have their place but we do not think it's in the classroom. So far, we have installed more than 700 mains-fed water coolers on almost 400 schools across Yorkshire but we want to see more and would be delighted to hear from other schools who would like to join the network."
Yorkshire Forward – Alliance members, the Focus on Food team organised a major launch for its third cooking bus, which now takes to the roads across Yorkshire and Humber. Supported by Yorkshire Forward, the progressive regional development agency, the bus will deliver its ambitious programme by visiting primary and secondary schools, colleges, exhibitions and community groups. At the Halifax launch, top chef Brian Turner gave an excellent speech on his background and aspirations for food, whilst all the children attending the days launch were provided with Yorkshire Water "S-Cool" water bottles. The accompanying Cook School Food Education Magazine carried detailed reports on the health benefits of water and the key policy issues.
No to Crohn's – The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has published a study that suggests there is no link between drinking tap water and Crohn's disease. Dr Peter Mardsen from the DWI said: "The study was designed to investigate the role water, milk and dairy product may, or may not, play in developing Crohn's disease. Its findings are welcome news. Commissioned by the drinking water inspectorate (DWI) and carried out by the University of East Anglia, the report found no sign that drinking tap water increases the chances of developing the disease, and also appeared to rule out a link to dairy products. 218 Crohn's sufferers were asked about their lifestyle and eating habits, and although the study did not look in depth at a link, a statistical link appeared to exist. The supplementary questions asked as part of the study also suggest that travel abroad and visiting farms do not increase Crohn's risk. However, these findings, like the meat one, only suggest a statistical, or lack of statistical association, and further work would need to be done to confirm any of these supplementary findings."