GP practices to provide advice on job seeking in new pilot scheme

Practices are offering careers advice for the long-term unemployed as part of a scheme which aims to overcome health-related barriers to work.

The ‘Working Better’ scheme in Islington, north London, was launched on 1 September and will see practices offering one-on-one employment coaching.

The scheme, run by Islington Council, Jobcentre Plus and NHS Islington CCG, comes in response to the council’s independent employment commission last year, which called for employment support services to be provided in places where hard-to-help people already went – like GP surgeries.

Costing nearly £90,000, the intensive and personalised employment coaching pilot scheme has been taken up by five surgeries so far.

Dr Josephine Sauvage from the NHS Islington CCG explained that the employment drive aims to redress isolation and confidence issues, which are often associated with long-term health problems.

She said: ‘When we become ill we often stop doing those things that get us out and about and bring fulfilment to our lives. As a local GP I see and hear this every day and I’m very keen to do more to support my patients’ well-being.

‘Prescribing free and confidential employment coaching, delivered in a caring and familiar environment, could be really beneficial to a patient’s confidence and self-esteem, as well as their long-term recovery.”

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: ‘Health services are often quite disconnected from employment services and frontline health staff don’t feel comfortable talking about returning to work with their patients. We think there is much more that health services can do to promote the idea of employment for people with health conditions.’

Originally published by Pulse.


My bottom: gyrating ominously – Huffington Post

There are bums gyrating at me from every direction, sheathed in lycra, revealing every twitch of wobbling flesh.

“Work it bitch,” I hear, and try my utmost to do so.

I am at a twerking lesson, along with 12 other hopefuls, to learn to squat, thrust and jiggle my way to a toned posterior.

Twerking has its roots in American strip clubs and hip hop’s New Orleans Bounce scene of the Nineties, which itself traces back to West Africa, most likely to the very similar Mapouka dance in the Ivory Coast.

Since Miley Cyrus shook her booty up against Robin Thicke’s crotch at the MTV Video Music Awards, the dance move has come under the spotlight. Twerking has been rejected and defended by and on behalf of women and African Americans, serving conflicting arguments on sexual objectification and cultural appropriation.

London-based Tone N Twerk’s founding instructor, Brooklyn Sanchez, has been cashing in on the boom in interest since 2013, and has taught the stars, including shopping guru Mary Portas, radio DJ Nick Grimshaw and TV presenter Alexa Chung.

Now I’m here in the basement of Gymbox in Covent Garden at a 45-minute class to find out what it actually feels like. Resident DJ Chillz is booming hip hop and the luridly coloured strip lighting and outsized metal tubing running through the building make it feel like a nightclub on board a space ship.

I am slightly terrified that the other people in the class will take one look at my thin, pallid body and shriek “imposter,” but instructor Brooklyn Sanchez reassures me: “It’s those skinny-ass Russian bitches who are the best.” A big behind is not required; it’s relaxing your muscles that creates the signature twerk wobble. A variety of skin colours and bottom sizes are in attendance, but while men are welcome, everyone is female.

We are told throughout that we won’t be able to master the twerk this week, nor next week, nor even the week after. It’s much harder than it looks, requiring a core of steel to maintain a squatting position. For some reason any rhythm I have is not revealing itself. After 10 minutes my eyeliner has mingled with my sweat, my thighs burn and I have developed an alarming and unfortunately arrhythmic spasm in my bottom.

“The real twerking is not sexual,” says Sanchez. “Miley just ‘jacked it – I’ve been doing this since I was six years old at Carnival with my aunties and my granny.” I nod slowly, mesmerised by her pelvic pumping.

For one tiny moment I am doing it right, twitching cheeks and swivelling hips, and I hear her purr: “Yeah, you got it, girl.” Uh oh, I’m welling up with pride and before I can stop myself I am grinning. I am definitely not playing it cool and sexy; the only thing I could arouse is laughter. Next time I’ll bring a friend – the sight of me is too entertaining not to share.

A quick guide to twerking: turn your feet out and arch your back, drop your bum in, bring it back up, drop it again and so forth. This is the basic twerk, which we learn first.

However, we are not simply “basic bitches” and there are many ways to twerk, so we then learn to drop it down low “pon de floor”. By the end we are doing it up, down, side-to-side, and one-legged in a booty-twitching routine.

On the bus home, stroking what I think could be new definition on my thighs, I have a flashback to catching sight of my bottom in the mirror, thrust outwards, gyrating ominously.

Did I achieve the elusive twerk? In one session I may not have been reborn totally stripper-tastic, but I find myself strangely proud that I did get it right for a few brief, gratifying seconds. And no one can take that away from me.

Contact Tone ‘n’ Twerk on and Gymbox on 020 7395 0270

Website: Places are limited so tickets should be booked in advance at

Tone ‘n’ Twerk classes are 45 minutes and £8 or £20 for 4 classes, or £10 on the door.

Classes and are held on Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays at Gymbox, in various locations across London.

If you’re lucky you can catch DJ Chillz playing the music at your class on Saturdays, Wednesdays and Mondays.

Originally published by the Huffington Post.

TV campaign aims to identify ‘thousands’ with undiagnosed coeliac disease

A TV advert aiming to encourange ‘thousands’ to see their GP about undiagnosed coeliac disease it set to premiere on several channels today.

The advert, which forms part of a wider campaign by the national charity Coeliac UK and is narrated by coeliac disease sufferer and TV acress Caroline Quentin, shows people struggling with some of the most commonly reported symptoms of coeliac disease, such as frequent bouts of diarrhoea, fatigue and stomach pain.

Viewers are encouraged to fill out an online assessment form which, if the person displays any related symptom, has an irritable bowel syndrom (IBS) diagnosis or has a close family member with a coeliac disease diagnosis, prompts them to visit their GP practice for a blood test.

The charity said the campaign, which also aims to target patients via displays in GP waiting rooms, comes as it currently takes an average of 13 years for a patient to receive a diagnosis of the disease which makes sufferers intolerant to gluten.

The odds of developing the disease are one in 100 in the UK, rising to one in 10 for close family members of sufferers. Younger adults and those from lower socioeconomic classes are the least likely to have received a diagnosis for their condition, the charity said.

Coeliac UK chief executive Sarah Sleet said the TV advert, set to air on channels including ITV, Sky1 and Dave, would ‘reach millions of viewers’, and hopefully ‘put thousands suffering with symptoms on a pathway to diagnosis’, avoiding ‘potentially life threatening long term health complications’ as a result.

She said: ‘With half a million people living with undiagnosed coeliac disease we must take radical action to turn around this horrendous situation.’

NICE guidelines on coeliac disease, on which the online assessment is based, are due to be revised in September to help improve management of the disease.