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Medical cannabis should be legalised, says Royal College of Nursing 

3 min read

Medical cannabis should be legalised, says Royal College of Nursing 

 

Cannabis should be legalised for medical use, nurses have voted.

They argued patients should be allowed to take the drug if it helped reduce their pain or controlled symptoms of conditions like epilepsy.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing voted overwhelmingly in favour of lobbying the Government to change the law around the drug.

Nurses argued that painkillers such as morphine and fentanyl were both legal despite being from the same family as heroin, so cannabis should be treated no differently.

Legalising the drug would protect patients from disreputable dealers and prevent them being treated as criminals, they added.

Tracey Risebrow, a nurse from Suffolk, said: “Surely it is better to have patients using cannabis being monitored by health professionals able to pick up on any adverse effects quickly.

“It is inhumane to have people suffering when there is something that can help… We are making criminals out of people who only want to do what is best for their loved ones.”

Speaking at the union’s annual congress in Belfast, nurse Fallon Scaife said she had lost “the man I loved” to cannabis use but had since moved to a cancer ward and seen the benefits the drug had for patients.

Geoff Earle, from Edinburgh, added: “Our patients are often forced to use irresponsible dealers and risk prison sentences.”

Nurse Catherine Gault said she suffered from a chronic condition which may require treatment with cannabis in future, adding: “There is strong enough evidence to support the use of cannabis to treat pain. It would not be a recreational drug for me, it would add quality to my life.”

After the debate, RCN chief executive Janet Davies said nurses found it “frustrating” they were not allowed to give patients a drug which could help them.

She said the move would protect vulnerable patients who were currently self-medicating with cannabis from illegal sources.

“It’s about protecting people who are actually breaking the law, but they are also putting themselves at risk because they don’t know the content of what they’re taking, they don’t know where the original source is from, they don’t know if people are putting something else in it,” she added.

Nurses voted in favour of the “complete decriminalisation” of the drug in all its forms, including “cannabis and cannabis resin”.

But the union’s chief said medical professionals would not advocate smoking the drug and making it available as a medicine would lead to fewer people smoking it.

As a Class B drug, cannabis cannot be prescribed, administered or supplied to the public.

Although the cannabis-based drug Sativex has been approved for MS sufferers, it is only available from specialist doctors in special circumstances and is not widely prescribed.

Over 40 countries, including Italy, Finland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and half of the United States have decriminalised cannabis in some form.

Last month, the Royal College of Physicians – which represents 26,000 doctors in the UK – also called for the drug to be decriminalised, claiming the threat of jail meant addicts were put off seeking help.

Responding to the RCN news, Peter Carroll, of campaign group End Our Pain, said: “We welcome this bold and decisive move from the RCN. People who find relief from their symptoms by using medical cannabis should be treated as patients, not criminals.”

And Peter Reynolds, of cannabis law reform campaign group Clear, said: “This is recognition by the people we all turn to in our most difficult times that cannabis is an extremely valuable medicine which science now proves to be both efficacious and safe.”

But the Royal College of Psychiatrists urged caution. A spokesman said: “The legal status of cannabis and other drugs is a matter for government rather than doctors to decide. Cannabis carries significant mental health risks for some, including psychosis, depression and anxiety. We support medical use of NICE approved, cannabis products, following properly conducted independent research… Legalisation for recreational and medicinal use should be considered as distinct.”

 

Nurses also called for a a referendum on the final Brexit deal. The RCN passed a vote in favour of the move by 364 votes to 163 but is expected to consult more widely with members before campaigning.

The trade union was neutral in 2016 but is now the first to demand a second referendum on Brexit.

Chief executive Janet Davies said: “We can’t manage without our European nurses but they are already leaving. Even though we’re desperately trying to recruit, people aren’t coming from Europe in the number they used to.”

Original article

Health

Instagram mega mum takes down account after accusations she used her children for advertising 

2 min read

Instagram mega mum takes down account after accusations she used her children for advertising 

Photographs of a family holiday in Florida are labelled as a partnership with Visit Florida, which Mrs Hooper described as a “work trip” in an interview, whilst the couple spent time in Madagascar in October. 

Their social media profiles have also acted as a springboard for the couple to write three books between them about pregnancy and parenting. 

Mr Hooper,  a 35-year-old management consultant, is taking part in a “social experiment” whereby Renault have placed a camera in his car for a year. 

Mr Hooper then posts videos of family trips – tagged as being a “paid partnership with Renault UK” – including one in which he says that it is “really the only place” he can had one on one time with his daughters. 

Recent Mumsnet posts from Mrs Hooper reveal that it is not just on blogs where the ethics of posting images of their children are discussed as a photographs of one of her daughters on a potty “was one I wasn’t happy with him posting I felt it crossed the line”, she revealed. 

When asked why she did not demand he remove it she replied: “The reason I felt it wasn’t wise to have it taken down was I felt it would only anger people and fuel more threads so I remained silent and never mentioned it until now. “

Those close to the midwife, who works on a ward one day a week, say that the de-activation of her Instagram account is likely to only be temporary as she takes a few days breather from online rows. 

The midwife had also become embroiled in accusations of bullying on her page after her followers repeatedly criticised someone who accused her of hypocrisy. 

Despite posts suggesting that she had been reported for breaches of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s social media rules, her employer Kings College Hospital said that it had received no such complaint. 

Mrs Moody refused to comment on why she had suspended her account. 

She has faced criticism for featuring her children in her posts for a number of years and has repeatedly defended her decision. 

Her followers have commented on Mr Hooper’s account asking her to ignore the “bullying” and come back, with one commenting: “People still can’t handle someone being a mother and a professional, and a person in their own right.”

Justine Roberts, CEO and founder of Mumsnet, said: “Many Instagram stars are in our own Influencers Network, we consider them to be Mumsnetters and value them highly.

“We know that some have taken the feedback on board; the criticism of a lack of clarity when it comes to labelling sponsored posts seems to have led to some Instamums being more transparent about sponsorship and advertising, which is great and much appreciated by mums.”

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Health

‘No-frills’ funerals on the rise as families fear of engaging with death

1 min read

'No-frills' funerals on the rise as families fear of engaging with death

Professor Douglas Davies, a professor in the study of religion at Durham University, said young people were scared of the emotional impact of bereavement and warned that a modern “avoidance of being upset” could stop people grieving properly. 

He said they lived in a “safety world” which shielded them from the impact of negative emotions. 

“Think of all these youngsters who have been looked after from the time they’re babies, driven to school, all that sort of stuff. 

“Death is a bit of a shock when your mother’s been really looking after you for years,” he said. 

He suggested that young people’s prolific use of social media increased the level of “living input” they experienced and made it harder and more painful to think about death. 

“The more information we get into our system, the more we are getting used to being around,” he said, suggesting that an acute “fear of missing out” made it painful to consider “the thought of there being nothing”. 

The practice of direct cremation, already common in America, has received greater public attention since the death of David Bowie in January 2016. He opted for the no-frills service and asked for his ashes to be scattered in Bali. 

But Professor Davies said the emotional impact on mourners of opting for a no-frills funeral had not been fully researched.

“What concerns me there is the fact that our emotions take wave forms and go up and down. The more they go up and down, the more we look back on them and remember and experience the event. 

“If you are removing the fluctuation you are possibly removing the richness of human experience, where it can be negative as well as positive,” he warned. 

He added that families opting for non-traditional forms of funeral such as using a civil celebrant or scattering ashes could end up feeling like they had not given their relative a “good send off”. 

In one case, a family who had used a civil celebrant had later decided to ask a priest to come and do another ceremony because they did not feel the person had been properly laid to rest.

He added that many of the cases where services involved direct cremations were likely to be elderly people with few close relatives left living.

Others would opt for the service because of its low cost, which can be thousands of pounds less than a standard funeral. 

Royal London’s report found that the average funeral in 2017 cost £3,784, a three per cent rise on the previous year. 

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Health

Royal wedding live: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s ceremony begins

1 min read

Royal wedding live: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's ceremony begins

With just 15 minutes until the bride arrives, here’s what music is being played inside St George’s Chapel. A folky/antique theme dominates in this sequence of pieces.

EDWARD ELGAR SALUT D’AMOUR

Elgar’s first published piece. Originally written in 1888 as a gift for his future wife Carice. He sold the rights to the publisher for two guineas, which was a really bad move. It became massively popular and could have earned him a fortune.

GUSTAV HOLST: ST PAUL’S SUITE, 4 TH MOVT

Holst taught at St Paul’s School for Girls and composed this in 1912 for the school orchestra. This movement based on 16 th century English ballad

SIR CHARLES HUBERT HASTINGS PARRY movts 2,3,5

Parry, a leading light of the so-called ‘English Renaissance’ who was the first director of the Royal College of Music in 1883. He wrote his Lady Radnor’s suite in 1894 for the all-women orchestra conducted by Helen, Countess of Radnor. It’s a kind of Baroque Suite in Victorian dress.

PETER WARLOCK: CAPRIOL SUITE

Set of dances based on a book of Renaissance dances composed by Peter Warlock (gifted composer who died in 1930 aged 36).

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: FANTASIA ON GREENSLEEVES

Vaughan Williams was a collector of folk-song, and wrote many pieces based on the songs he found. This one is especially beloved, it’s always in Classic FM’s Hall of Fame. More famous and well-known than the tune it’s based on.

ELGAR SERENADE FOR STRINGS

Elgar’s first really successful work, completed in 1893. It remained one of his favourite works right to the end of his life. He liked it because it was ‘really stringy’ – weird phrase but a musician knows What he means – it completely suits a string orchestra, you couldn’t arrange it for something else.

ELGAR CHANSON DE MATIN

In his early days, Elgar was always complaining about having no money, and wrote this delicious piece in 1899 as a deliberate money-spinner for his publisher Novello. It worked.

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