Good News, 31st July


Written by Oscar Henson
31 Monday 31st July 2017

Welcome to Good News – your daily roundup of the most blindingly positive, life-affirming news stories from around the globe.


Thousands more mental health workers to be recruited by the NHS

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced plans to end the “historic imbalance” between physical and mental health services by recruiting enough nurses, therapists and consultants to treat an extra one million patients by 2020-21.

The improvements will largely focus on improving support for children and adolescents, as well as improving adult talking therapies and early intervention teams dedicated to working with people at risk.

But despite the government committing over £1 billion towards the cause, some are calling the plans vague and unrealistic. Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "There is already a dangerous lack of workforce planning and accountability and this report is unable to provide detail on how the ambitions will be met.”

Whether the plan proves successful in addressing the massive understaffing crisis currently plaguing the UK’s mental health services remains to be seen – but for once under the Tory government it looks like things could be headed in the right direction.




Ex-US Navy doctor promises free surgery for transgender military patients

A transgender ex-Navy surgeon has pledged to perform free gender-confirming surgery for service members affected by Donald Trump's new ban on trans people serving in the US military.

"If the commander-in-chief won't take care of our veterans, our veterans will," Dr. Christine McGinn told CNN on Saturday.

The doctor transitioned in 2000, the same year she was named senior flight surgeon at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, the largest reserve base in the USA at the time. She was later nominated for flight surgeon of the year for the entire US Navy.

Today, McGinn routinely performs gender-confirming surgery at her practice in eastern Pennsylvania.

Speaking out against Trump’s decision, she stated, “I think the cost of getting rid of very well specialized, trained military service people is exponentially larger than just taking care of them.”




Kenya joins international fight against plastic pollution

Kenya has become the latest country to completely ban the use of plastic bags in a bid to tackle the growing environmental problem of plastic pollution. According to the country’s Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu, "The ministry has banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging."

The ban was introduced in response to the United Nations' new Clean Seas initiative, which has already inspired 10 governments to address their contributions to plastic pollution.

Indonesia has pledged to reduce marine waste by 70 percent within the next eight years, and Africa, Rwanda and Morocco have already announced bans on plastic bags, with other countries expected to sign on within a month.

The achievements of these countries stand in stark contrast to those of our own government, which has routinely voted against and conspired to block legislations of this type moving through the European Commission. Not for the first time, the UK has shown itself to be lagging embarrassingly far behind the curve when it comes to environmental policy.



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