“In life as in nature, what’s good for the bee, is good for the hive”

Wellness – A New Health Model for The Isle of Man

Jun 29, 2018

Earlier this week, on Monday 25th June to be precise, something fairly novel happened in the middle of the Irish Sea. Novel indeed – an event was held at the Manx Museum in Douglas, to celebrate the growing, though long over-due, Wellness Revolution.

The event speakers were: Nigel Taylor, General Counsel of Jurby Wellness: outlined legal support for: 1) Patient Autonomy and 2) Fully Informed Consent. Gordon Wilson, Managing Director of Callin Wild Consulting outlined: 1) Healthcare Affordability and 2) Manx Agriculture and ‘Food Is Medicine’ Opportunities. As Patient Advocate and Founder of Jurby Wellness, I spoke about: 1) Our Brilliant Body and 2) Disease as a Toxin or a Lack. We were delighted that the Hon David Ashford, MHK, Isle of Man Minister for the Department of Health and Social Care, could also present his strategy as: An Update on Our (The Manx Nation) Future Health Vision.

Despite some technical gremlins, all went smoothly – although Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were initially unwilling to talk with each other. The event was captured on film and can serve as a digital reminder and score card to check off, over time of: Wellness achieved and Affordably delivered. Timings of each speaker in the film, are as below. However, some attendees noted that a couple of the speakers ‘seven minute speaking slot’ watches had been pre-owned by 1970’s British Rail train drivers.

Please see the event film at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT3hiVe1NMA

Summary highlights and comments from the film:

Roger Tomlinson (film introduction: start until 3 minutes 40 seconds)

The evening was seamlessly compèred by Roger, who is the Chair of the Positive Action Group (PAG), Isle of Man. He kept proceedings on track – ably coping with speaker over-run and more audience questions than there was time available. He especially praised the benefits of Freedom of Information, and upon which two speakers had relied for patient centric medical evidence.

Nigel Taylor (3 minutes 45 seconds until 13 minutes 45 seconds)

Nigel has litigated in 42 jurisdictions as an English (not Manx) Solicitor. He outlined that we should be in dialogue with our Healthcare professionals, not be dictated to, and continued that Wellness is about creating a more patient centric approach to healthcare. Patient autonomy doesn’t allow for the healthcare professional to make the decision for the patient. Informed consent, must be based on discussion, prior to consent, under human rights legislation. He finished by highlighting a case which he would not regard as good ‘informed’ consent. Parent support groups have formed around the world, due to the much higher levels of HPV vaccine adverse harms as notified under the (UK) Yellow Card scheme – with data obtained under UK Freedom of Information.

Gordon Wilson (14 minutes until 29 minutes 35 seconds)

Gordon is an insolvency practitioner by profession. He confirmed: how we control our own destiny, while Countries that fail to change, fail. The Government doesn’t necessarily have to be a healthcare provider as there are many ways of securing health services. He outlined how other Countries would not be able to undertake a similar population centric data collection exercise as the Isle of Man and the ability to more easily change the diet in Manx schools, hospitals and in society. He summarised the huge opportunity to produce much more Manx food and to sell the lessons from (anonymised) Wellness data that larger Countries would also be very willing to buy.

Courtenay Heading (29 minutes 45 seconds until 39 minutes 50 seconds)

I outlined how, over 21 years, I had increasingly become a medical dissident and ‘heretic’. Despite, along the way, having spent years championing healthcare innovation. I finished with a request to undertake globally unique medical innovations – studies that would ‘scare’ both the UK NHS and the NIH (National Institute of Health) in the US. Proposal 1, being: Five Meds Max’ Mandated by Manx Law by 2020, also Proposal 2: Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated an Isle of Man Country Study. Regarding Proposal 2, Minister Ashford responded “it’ll be something we can look at” (as highlighted in the film between 1 hour 8 minutes and 1 hour 8 minutes and 50 seconds).

Hon Minister David Ashford, MHK (39 minutes 55 seconds until 57 minutes 40 seconds)

Minister Ashford is a project manager by profession, gaining wide experience prior to his career in politics and his recent Ministerial appointment. He outlined the challenges of a modern health service, the range of NHS services and the necessity to change and modernise. More locally, Minister Ashford confirmed how a distributed community wide health service was essential. He highlighted his willingness to embrace new thinking and the evident need to move towards a Wellness model. He noted the positive improvement steps he wishes to take to make the local health service an employer of choice amongst his staff.

Questions & Answers (57 minutes 50 seconds until 1 hour 28 minutes 20 seconds).

The Q&A session was wide ranging and items covered included: community delivery of services, respite care, informed consent (guardian/minors, or when mentally incapacitated), the tested weight of medical opinion, alternative medical viewpoints, lessons from Afghanistan and the sins of abusing your body, how and what we eat, proposals on food production and consumption, as well as ideas from More Human (a book by Steve Hilton). It was asked why you don’t see broccoli advertised on TV, and more cynically, the clear willingness of pharmaceutical companies to keep selling us, and Governments, their drugs.

The Will to solve these issues was questioned with Cuba spending just 5% of US spend per patient on ‘health’, but Cubans being more Well, on every measure. An attendee emphasised the need to take personal responsibility, and the motivation for healthier, but more time consuming, diets. Also highlighted was the evident insolvency of the current system, and its’ long term sustainability in a low tax jurisdiction. As ever, time was pressing. How might we best move on to change when many of the views expressed were outside of current medical convention? A retired school teacher highlighted the difficulty of introducing nutritious diets for children and helping educate pupils and parents’. As they say ‘home is the first school’. But they might equally say ‘every long journey starts with a first step’. Finally, a useful anecdote to use digital scales to identify hidden sugars in breakfast cereals!

More Than Fancy Footwork

It’s not just a first step we need, but many more too – steps that move us towards healthier and more affordable lifestyles. Wellness Wednesdays are a start and will be taking place monthly in the North and South of the Island. Our opportunity is to demonstrate real world, urgent, change. Only then, can we evidence that our Centuries old National symbol, the Manx Triskelion, is more than just window dressing. In short, that in all matters of Wellness The Isle of Man really can stand on her own Three Legs.