When Jigsaw met Graham

Another great podcast from Jigsaw PSPH. This time, talking to Graham Jukes, the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, who remains ever positive, energetic and optimistic about the future of the environmental health profession in UK.

The CEO of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health gave up his lunch to talk 2 us find out what he had 2 say http://jigsawpsph.podomatic.com

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It’s a “No Ball” from the Daily Telegraph …

Readers in the UK, which is, to be honest, nearly both of you, may well have seen the recent stooshie about a cricket club in Norfolk apparently forced to cease practising on a village playing field on health and safety grounds.

The odious rag responsible for this nonsensical interpretation of reality was, of course, the Daily Telegraph. Although promoted as a newspaper of record, it is, in reality, the broadsheet equivalent of “fur coat and nae knickers”, always chasing after the scandalous and prurient, but using longer words than the tabloids. Continue reading

Some oddities from Edinburgh

The weekend before last I was up in Edinburgh for the Geograph conference, which is a photography cum maps cum geography project with a website at www.geograph.org.uk. It does score pretty high on the Parka Scale of anorakism, but it keeps me off the streets and in the hills most of the time.

The following pictures are three things that caught my eye:

The sunshine in Leith reflected through a blue glass and a glass of Peroni:

Peroni Colours

The stern stone bull over what was once a butcher’s shop on St. Mary’s Street in the Old Town:

Butcher's Bull

An oblique shot of windows in the side wall of a building in Holyrood Street:

Green Wall

A little bit of housekeeping

Time for a change to the look and feel of the blog, so what better free theme to use than Skeptical by WooThemes? As yet, I’m using the default (free!) theme, although I think I’ll look to customising it a bit in the future. All comments and suggestions welcome. You’ll see I’ve got a bit of a blue thing going.

And photo headers as well, you lucky reader. First image up is Loch Craignish a few miles up the road from me.

My Pledge to Kelvin

In the CIEH’s Royal Charter, environmental health is described as an art and a science. I suspect that this duality has long undermined the collective will of the profession to do our damnedest to put environmental health practice on a sound scientific basis. After all, if we have no evidence base for a particular way of doing things, we can always claim art, can’t we?
It is true that the stressors that affect public health and drive health inequalities are not all biological like typhoid, or physical like noise, or chemical like lead. Some are social as when people are in overcrowded housing or have no security of tenure. Some are financial such as being unable to afford to heat a home in winter or buy fresh food for a family.
Equally, some of our professional interventions are scientific, such as ensuring that water is clean and that E. coli O157 is absent from the steak pie you’ve just bought for your Sunday lunch.
Other interventions are social, providing money to enable people to insulate their homes and thus afford to heat them.
And yet others are more artful, such as providing training to workers in health and safety or food safety, or carers in first aid for young children.
But the crucial question remains: how do we know what works? Continue reading

Ethical principles and ethical practice

This was one of the themes that came out in the course of the Assembly of Representatives’ meeting at the CIEH’s headquarters yesterday. The Assembly brings together representatives from the various regions and special interest groups of the CIEH and acts to connect the formal governance structure of the charity with its membership.

Jon Buttolph (@jonbuttolph) and Tony Lewis (@CIEHEducation) presented the need for a code of ethics, and opposed to the existing code of conduct, for environmental health practitioners. Continue reading