Our main headline this week is that the supermarket chain Morrisons have introduced a weekly ‘quiet hour’ for shoppers with autism who struggle with music and noise. Elsewhere, Bill Gates pledges money to help fight dementia and new Health Secretary Matt Hancock admits that low NHS morale is “heartbreaking.”
Morrisons launch Autism Quiet Hour
Supermarket chain Morrisons has launched a weekly ‘quiet hour’ for shoppers with autism who struggle with music and noise. The new scheme is nationwide, in all 439 stores, and will see lights being dimmed, music being switched off, no use of the tannoy system and the check-out beepers being turned down.
The ‘quiet hour’ will take place on Saturday’s between 9am and 10am and it is believed that this scheme is the first of its kind within the supermarket industry. The scheme has become reality following a trail held earlier this year in the Lincoln, Woking and Gainsborough stores.
Stores will put signs up during the hour to let other customers know about the scheme and to highlight that it is meant to be a calm environment for shoppers. Charlotte King, whose three-year-old son Darcy is undergoing diagnosis for autism, said the initiative was amazing:
“I personally avoid taking him anywhere in shopping malls,” said the mum-of-two, from Hartley-Wintney in Hampshire. It is the noise, the lights, it is tannoys. It is too much for him to take in. It looks like you are a bad parent with a naughty child. Parents will be more relaxed knowing there will be people there that understand and won’t judge them, this will help reduce anxiety levels for everyone.”
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK.
Bill Gates joins the Fight Against Dementia
Bill Gates has pledged £23 million towards the fight against dementia. The 62-year-old has placed some of his personal fortune into the Diagnostics Accelerator, a special fund aimed at finding ways to speed up the diagnosis of harrowing diseases like Alzheimer’s.
It forms part of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation open to researchers and clinicians worldwide. The programme’s aim is to translate cutting-edge research into timely and practical interventions to help people stricken by the cruel disease.
Hancock admits Low NHS Morale is Upsetting
New Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that low NHS morale is heartbreaking. Hancock also said that he is horrified by the level of bullying reported by staff as he made his first speech since taking the job.
The former digital and culture secretary has also pledged £487 million for technology in the NHS, of which £412 million will be used to improve technology in hospitals and to give more patients access to health services at home.
The British Medical Association welcomed the sentiment but said it needed to be underpinned by action.