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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Water for health update and briefing October 2007
Article Type: Food facts From: Nutrition
NHS North East joins Alliance The North East Strategic Health Authority has joined the Water for Health Alliance. One of ten strategic health authorities in England, they are responsible for the development of health services in the North East, on behalf of the Department of Health. www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/water-for-health-alliance/nhs-ne
Surrey NHS Primary Care Trust joins Alliance The successful team who continue to deliver the Thirst 4 Life hydration initiative across Surrey has joined the Water for Health Alliance. The objectives of their work include educating those working with older people in all environments so they are able to improve care, promoting and maintaining health, reducing AE admissions and medication due to dehydration or related conditions, and reducing falls in older people. www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/water-for-health-alliance/surreypct
British Dietetic Association joins Alliance The professional association for dietitians has joined the Water for Health Alliance. The BDA aims to promote health and well being amongst the population through the science and practice of dietetics. The BDA supports the efforts of the Water for Health Alliance in raising awareness of the importance of good hydration within a healthy life. www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/water-for-health-alliance/bda
Consumer Council for Northern Ireland joins Alliance The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland represents water and sewerage consumers by speaking up for them and giving them a voice. Independent of government, the water industry and its regulators, they run information and education campaigns, influence the public and private sectors, undertake research and produce publications. www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/water-for-health-alliance/ccn-ireland
British Dental Health Foundation joins Alliance The British Dental Health Foundation has joined the Water for Health Alliance. The BDHF has been providing free and impartial dental information to the public for more than 35 years, and runs the annual National Smile Month and Mouth Cancer Awareness Week campaigns. www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/water-for-health-alliance/bdhf
Water for Health Alliance Forum The National Water for Health Forum took place at Unison's headquarters in London, bringing together nearly 100 health professionals to discuss the latest hydration information from schools, care homes, hospitals, the workplace and for licensed premises. See the full reports and presentations at: www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/news-viewpoint/water-for-health-alliance
New Hospital Hydration Toolkit launched The Chief Nursing Officer for Wales has helped the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) to successfully launch the latest hydration best practice guidance at a press and stakeholder event in Cardiff. The resource was initiated as part of the RCN's commitment to the Water for Health Alliance, and delivering the work involved a voluntary coalition between the RCN, NPSA, Water UK, the Hospital Caterers Association, NHS Supply Chain, the Health Care Commission and The Patients Association. The information will look to provide nurses and other healthcare professionals with all they will need to understand the issues of water related malnutrition and introduce appropriate hydration solutions. www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/healthcare-toolkit
Thirst 4 Life keeps hydrating patients Thirst 4 Life was a campaign originally piloted at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire by two nurses. After a routine audit of AE admissions in over 65's, it was discovered there was a shocking number of people being admitted to hospital with dehydration related problems, such as UTI's and confusion. This spurred the nurses to raise awareness of this issue, highlighting a potential for avoiding hospital admissions by putting training into the community. The Buckinghamshire scheme was so successful it led to an amazing 45 per cent drop in the number of care home residents attending AE. www.woking.nhs.uk/intranet/Woking-PCG/News/April-2006.pdf
New Water Cooler Guidance for Schools launched Water for Health Alliance members, The Health Education Trust have launched their new hydration best practice toolkit through a partnership with Water UK, the European water cooler representative body EPDWA, ERIC and the National Governors Association. Water companies across the UK, and public health professionals all contributed to guidance through a structured consultation process. Everyone is working together to ensure that all schools are able to start providing free fresh water preferably chilled throughout the school day. The work will eventually be developed further through a partnership with the School Food Trust. www.healthedtrust.com/indicates/gdhelthinit.htm
Hydration for social care A Government led joint action plan for social care will be launched in October. It has been developed in response to strong evidence that older people are not receiving hydration and food, whilst being supported by health and social care services. The initiative has been led by the Social Care Minister, Ivan Lewis and produced by the team at the Department of Health. Developed in conjunction with a wide range of stakeholders, the group includes active contributions from the NPSA, Water UK and Water for Health Alliance members the Hospital Caterers Association, National Association of Care Catering, English Community Care Association, the Patients Association and the RCN. Good hydration will be a feature of the Government plan, and Water UK and Alliance members are calling for fresh drinking water to form a standard part of the basic minimum standards for care.
Unison workplace hydration initiative The Water@Work hydration in the workplace campaign, developed by Alliance members Unison, has continued to increase its impact. Partners directly supporting the project now include Water UK, Northumbrian Water, Essex and Suffolk Water, Welsh Water, Anglian Water, the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, WaterAid, EPDWA, and water quality specialists WRAS. In addition to the Government level endorsements for the project, the work is promoting the Health and Safety Executive Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations (1992) which places requirements on the employer with respect to the provision of drinking water. The Unison team and Water UK also recently met with the Healthy Workplace Czar, Dame Carol Black, to encourage wider promotion of the role of good hydration in employee health. www.wateratwork.org/
Water@Work Regional Launches Northumbrian Water became the first company to hold a regional launch event for the Water@Work campaign, when it brought together business leaders from across North East to hear more on the health benefits of hydration.
Access to Tap Water in Government Buildings The Water for Health Alliance and supporting environmental charities, are challenging the continued promotion of less healthy beverages and expensive mineral water in Government and public agency buildings. Whilst the Home Office and Defra have switched to tap, a Parliamentary Question recently revealed that the Department of Health is spending around £200,000 of public money on mineral water alone every two years. Had they chosen the public water supply, the equivalent cost of tap water would have been £98.60 and the impact on the environment greatly reduced. The Food Standards Agency has made half a switch, transferring to tap but explaining that they use filtration systems for their drinking water. The Parliamentary Estate in London still spends around £50,000 a year on mineral water. If we are to help the public to understand the quality of their water supply, promote good sustainable hydration, and do it with the environment in mind, then we will need our Governments to lead by example. www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/parliamentary-questions
Liverpool Council move to tap water Thanks to the team at United Utilities for the news that Town Hall staff in Liverpool Council, now has a workplace ban on expensive and environmentally wasteful bottled water. Council staff and politicians in the city are being asked to make the switch to tap water to help save the planet. Last year, the council spent £48,000 buying commercially bottled water for its staff and councillors instead of using its local supplies of high quality tap water in jugs.
Hydration best practice on the high street Alliance members, the Consumer Council for Water, are developing an initiative that will recognise and praise the high street retailers that make fresh tap water available to their customers in trading hours. The hydration best practice certificate is endorsed by the Health initiative of the Welsh Assembly Government and Water UK, and was built in full coordination with Welsh Water. The initiative is further supported by a range of posters that retailers can use to let their customers know that they are happy to hydrate them, and these are now available as free downloads on the Water for Health website. www.water.org.uk/home/water-for-health/resources/hydration-posters
McDonalds, We're lovin' it following enquiries by Water UK and a group of the Water for Health Alliance members and supporters, McDonalds Customer Services Department has now agreed that "Tap water should be available free of charge, upon request from our UK restaurants". This is welcome news generally for public health in the UK, but is also a useful marker for the future, as McDonalds are one of the lead sponsors of the 2012 Olympic Games. Do not forget to test this water challenge out if you are in a UK McDonalds restaurant, and let their customer services team know if water is not available on request along with your other purchases. McDonald's Customer Services Department, 11 59 High Road, East Finchley, London, N2 8AW.
Tap Water in licensed premises There is nothing in the English Licensing Act 2003 which requires a licensee to provide drinking water free of charge to his/her customers it is at the discretion of the landlord or landlady. However, the provision of free tap water is often made a condition of a premises licence, as there are public safety issues surrounding the nature of the entertainment being provided (for example, dehydration from a mix of dancing and the consumption of alcohol and the possibility of the availability of drugs). Water UK is studying the number of local councils that have imposed this condition, and we have noted more than 50 regional examples already meaning that a majority of licensed premises are already bound to provide free tap water on request. Public safety is one of the four licensing objectives underpinning the 2003 Act. An interested party such as a local resident or a responsible authority such as the police or environmental health can ask a licensing authority to review a licence at any time based on any of these objectives. You can read more about this on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website by following this link: www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/Alcohol_entertainment/advice_and_guidance/residents.htm
The Coca-Cola Company has agreed to acquire Energy Brands Inc, also known as Glaceau, for $4.1 billion in cash, in a move to boost its presence in the enhanced water and energy drink markets (high sugar and caffeinated soft drinks deliberately dressed as water). The enhanced water market is predicted to make up a large portion of the beverage industry's growth in volume and gross profit through 2010 (in North America).
General Medical Council The General Medical Council is the regulator of the medical profession, and they recognise the importance of practicing good hydration and giving patients continued access to fluids throughout their day. www.gmcpressoffice.org.uk/apps/news/mediabrief/detail.php?key76
Southern Water for Health Southern Water has now opened a new area of its website advising customers on the importance of water for their health and hydration. The water company is encouraging communities to make small changes to their lifestyle to stay fit and healthy. www.southernwater.co.uk/homeAndLeisure/drinkingWater/waterForHealth.asp
The full Water for Health information is available at: www.waterforhealth.org.uk