The other week I mentioned that my one passion was music; well, my other passion happens to be books, I’m either spending my free time listening to music, or reading books.
There is a place called Hay-on-Wye, its close to where I live, its full of book shops, and every year it holds a literary and arts festival. You’d think it would be my favourite place, but until this year I had never been there before! 😮
Living close-by I initially planned to visit nearly everyday, but unfortunately my brother injured his back, and needed lifts everywhere, so I didn’t visit Hay as much as I hoped. With regards to my brother, it was nice to finally return the favour, after the many years that he helped me when I couldn’t drive.
I went to Hay twice in the end.
For my first visit I saw Graham Norton, he’s just released his debut novel called Holding, and yes I’ve already read it. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it. If you’re expecting it to be funny, it’s not, it’s actually a bit of a murder mystery and there are many at cliff hangers. One night while reading the book, I thought I’d read one chapter, I then looked at the clock and realised it was like 2am and I’d read half the book!
Graham’s talk was interesting, he discussed his book, and he talked about his career. He was exactly like you see him on TV, relaxed and funny. The audience asked questions at the end there were many questions about guests he’s had on his show, such as; ‘Who’s been the sexiest guest?’ – By the way I did not ask that, I didn’t ask any questions, as you will understand in a moment.
I was lucky enough to have my book signed by Graham after his talk. Although I didn’t feel nervous approaching him, I just couldn’t think of anything interesting to say, and when I eventually made it to the front of the queue all I said was; ‘How are you?’ which was kind of stupid. But he was really nice, and you will be pleased to know he was in good health.
While I was at Graham’s book signing I also met the historian Lucy Worsley who was also really lovely, I came away with a book signing from her too so it was a very good day!
Due to those family commitments I returned to Hay the following week to see a talk by Professor Noel Fitzpatrick.
Noel’s inspiring talk was on the subject of, The Reformation of Global Health in Man and Animals. I have recently written an article about Noel’s charity The Humanimal Trust, if you want to know more.
Noel is extremely passionate about this topic and I was glad to see so many people there to listen to him. I was also interested to learn about parts of his childhood and the veterinary practices he’d had over the years.
The questions at the end of Noel’s talk were very different compared with Graham Norton’s. Graham’s questions were mainly celeb based which would result in a hilarious story, the atmosphere in the tent with Graham was light and friendly like being with an old friend.
In the same tent, a week later, Noel’s questions were much more personal, some seemed to centre around his wellbeing, making sure he took care of himself, as he so busy with his work (again it wasn’t me). But although there was much laughter during Noel’s talk, it was clear that the audience had huge admiration and warmth for Noel, like a supporting family.
The Hay Festival was amazing to see, with its deck-chairs laid out for you to relax in and read a book, and people of all ages and from all over the world, casually strolling around just enjoying the day.
I also popped to the town which is full of tiny independent shops and loads of books shops. One book shop in particular was like something from Harry Potter, small from the front but huge on the inside with wide oak floor boards, old wooden shelving, and over three storeys tall. I was in heaven!
Overall I had an incredible time at Hay, I feel incredibly lucky to have seen two brilliant talks, and to have such an amazing place on my doorstep.
I would definitely recommend everyone to visit the Hay Festival one day, especially if you love books of any kind you will really enjoy it. 🙂
Many of us have medical complaints or take medications, but how often do we think about the bigger picture?
Did you know that there is a charity that is fully committed to improving how the industry is currently run?
A few of years ago a family friend of ours became a vet and got a job at a famous veterinary practice called Fitzpatrick’s Referrals. If you havent heard of Fitzpatrick’s they have their own TV show called The Supervet, which shows pioneering surgery and treatment for animals.
Before my friend worked there I had honestly never heard of the place, and initially I was tuning in to see if he was on TV – he wasn’t. I think I saw him twice. But it didn’t matter, because I have now became addicted to the programme.
The practice boasts a brilliant and dedicated team and it is clear that for all staff, their job is their passion.
Yes there can be sad moments, but you always know that they give their best and do everything that is humanly possible in order to improve an animal’s quality of life.
The show follows the practice’s owner Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, Noel is like one of those rare teachers you might have had in school with contagious enthusiasm for their subject. He has so much passion about his profession; it makes everyone else just as equally absorbed and you soon realise you have been learning loads while watching the show, to the point where you find yourself talking to friends about stuff like orthopaedics over a cup of coffee!
After discovering about Fitzpatrick’s, and adoring the whole ethos of from ther work to the love and hope that they provide to every patient and family that reaches them, I soon found that there was also a charity, founded by Noel Fitzpatrick. You would expect a charity that’s created by a pioneering veterinarian to be focussed on animal health but it’s not. It’s called The Humanimal Trust, and it focuses on humans and animals equally through the concept of one medicine:
The theory is quite simple:
Human + Animal = Humanimal
One medicine is the idea that humans and animals will be treated equally in the field of medicine.
There are basically 3 main parts to the ethos of The Humanimal Trust and their concept of one medicine:
Clinical communication between vets and doctors.
‘Everyday there are advancements and research breakthroughs in both veterinary and human medicine, yet at present neither profession collaborates to share their information that would progress treatments and procedures using regenerative medicine for the benefit of humans and animals simultaneously.’
A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a BBC Radio 4 interview that Noel had taken part in, it discussed the topic of: ‘Should Doctors and Vets Work More Closely Together?’, an audience member mentioned that while working in Australia as a doctor, he and his colleagues learnt that vets had solved a rare medical issue that had been baffling them, the solution was discovered to be a simply a lack of copper absorption. The veterinary community already knew about it and had been treating sheep for it. communication meant that the problem was easily solved.
When I first heard that The Humanimal Trust wants to improve communication, I thought about how beneficial it could be in sourcing medical solutions and treatment for so many people.
As many of you know by now I have epilepsy, and I can remember thinking that if there was a vet somewhere in the world, who had perhaps made immense progress towards epilepsy which could be of benefit to humans, I would like to know about it, and I think many other people would feel the same.
Medication for humans and animals that is ethical
Ethics in medicine is an important topic, and The Humanimal Trust is addressing this.
Currently, if we have any medication or implants they have been tested on animals in order for them to reach us, meaning a perfectly healthy animal has sacrificed its life for our medicine.
In 2015 approximately 4,300 dogs in the UK sacrificed their lives for human medicine, in the USA, that number was nearer 50,000  . These are shocking statistics, and since I have been a child I have always been concerned about animal welfare. I have never been content with the fact that animals have been used to test drugs, and that our only consolation is that it’s safer than endangering human life. But, there could be a possible solution. The Humanimal Trust proposes that with the diseases and conditions are practically identical in humans and animals, medications and implants could be trialled on animals that are actually unwell, and then co-operate with pharmaceutical companies, which would then produce more ethical medications.  This would be benefiting both humans and animals.
Human medicines are huge business, so there is a risk that pharmaceutical companies may see more profit in the way they currently run business. I once sat next to my GP as we went through a list of generic and branded medications that I could have. I saw exactly how much they were costing the NHS to purchase, and the prices were eye-watering.
A vital part of The Humanimal Trust is that they also conduct their own clinical studies; The Trust is potentially the only charity of its kind in the world that is funding clinical research in animals and humans at the same time.
It’s understandable that we all want cures and treatments for our illnesses, but there other problems that can also arise without warning, for example MRSA and Ebola. These bugs are the same in humans and animals, so what’s the best plan for when a superbug strikes? Especially as it’s no news that healthcare professionals can sometimes overprescribe antibiotics:
‘You don’t care about MRSA until it’s in your child and yet The Humanimal Trust is funding a project to look at bacterial resistance with over prescription of antibiotics, it’s the same bug. We have DNA mapped, every bug that comes into my practice it’s the same bug that you or your child would have. Why are we not doing a study in parallel? If doctors are going to be over prescribing antibiotics and vets are going to be over prescribing antibiotics,…we are in a mess.’ (Noel Fizpatrick)
So that’s the Humanimal Trust!
Im grateful for learning about Fitzpatrick Referrals through The Supervet, I believe that they are more than just a referral practice. They show unconditional love and hope to everyone regardless of whether they are animal or human.
I have been equally appreciative to discover the amazing charity of The Humanimal Trust as the charity also provides that same love and hope with the pledge to benefit both humans and animals.
I truly believe that The Humanimal trust has the potential to change the world of medicine, and benefit so many lives (both human and animal!)
Before I knew about The Humanimal Trust I always believed that our health care system was pretty good, and I couldn’t think of much that needed improvement. I’ve now realised that things could be improved and great things could be gained.