Summer is coming : be careful out there.

One of the great things about Great Britain is its NHS -its National Health Service. This offers a free medical service for anyone requiring medical attention, whether that’s a visit to their family doctor or to an Accident & Emergency department. Should your doctor diagnose your with gallstones, a detached retina or cancer, the NHS pays for your treatment. Well, strictly speaking we pay for our treatment, via taxation, but it means that there’s a service for everyone, not dependent on your ability to pay, unlike other locations around the globe.

I know no other way, so I take it for granted. Of course, there are critics of the NHS, that it’s a bottomless pit into which we throw our cash, and in some respects that’s right. There is an enormous amount of waste in the NHS on trivia that could be better spent on front-line services. An example from real life is that, due to the way in which the NHS sources materials, my aunt, a nursing sister, got her own office. She decided she needed in/out/pending trays, so bought a set of three for the princely sum of £2.99 (about $4.50) in a local home furnishings store. ‘You can’t use that’, she was told, ‘you must buy from the approved catalogue’. The cost? £49, or $73. Ludicrous.

Today’s print edition of the Daily Mail leads with news that £13m ($19m) was spent on on sun cream by the NHS last year.

Let’s examine that in a little more depth, though. The cost of treating skin cancer in the UK, in 2008, was around £110m. That is estimated to rise to around £180m by 2020.

Many people will look at the Daily Mail’s hysteria headline and say ‘that is outrageous!’ Is it?

Many of the country’s construction workers -and other people- will be outside all day (and we know that it doesn’t need bright, full sunshine to cause damage). If this protects them…if it reduces the number of melanomas being treated annually, isn’t it likely that it’s a positive cost to bear? Of course, we could suggest that sunblock is something employers should be issuing as part of their employees’ personal protection equipment, or factoring the provision of sunblock into their estimates. Until legislation determines this is how to proceed, I would argue that in many cases providing preventative measures, as many doctors appear to be doing, makes sense.

As naturists, we all need to be aware of the dangers (as well as the benefits) caused by the sun. Indeed, non-naturists equally need to be aware of the dangers of exposure to the sun.


Poster on an Australian bus shelter

The weather has begun to warm up where I am -heady temperatures in the hight teens? It’s almost a heatwave! 🙂 – and I’ve noticed people in T shirts and shorts already. A bit premature for me, I think, to think of that as cycling/shopping wear, but I’ll guarantee that most of those I saw this morning in their summer wear, or driving their convertibles with the roof down, haven’t given one moment’s though to the effects of the sun.

I hope we all get a great summer, but equally I hope everyone has the common sense to look after themselves in the great outdoors. Remember to slap on the sunblock!