HPV vaccine: a setback but not the end of the fight.

HPV vaccine: anger over decision not to extend NHS scheme to boys

I have written about this before here and here and here

The decision is disappointing and short sighted but predictable.

Here’s the BDA’s opinion:

“The decision by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), not to vaccinate boys against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has been condemned by health bodies and campaigners. Following a review of the vaccination programme the JCVI concluded that it was “highly unlikely to be cost-effective” to extend the scheme to include adolescent boys as well as girls. The committee, which has yet to publish its final recommendation, said in an interim statement that studies “consistently show” boys are afforded “considerable herd protection” when there is high uptake of the vaccine in girls. A number of campaign groups  criticised the decision, including the BDA. Quoted by several outlets including the Guardian, BBC and Daily Mail BDA chair Mick Armstrong noted that HPV is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers, a condition which can have life-changing results. He said government must offer every child the best chance of protection. HPV Action, a campaign group of which the BDA is a member, said they would urge ministers to make the right decision and said there might also be grounds for a legal challenge on the grounds that a decision to leave boys and men at risk breaches equality law. This initial recommendation by JCVI will now be subject to a public consultation and a final decision will be made in October. The BDA said it would urge the committee to reconsider the evidence.”

The Guardian & the BBC agree (as do the Mail and the Sun it seems).



The state of the internet. Mary Meeker’s 2017 internet trends report:

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has released her highly anticipated, annual presentation on internet trends at this year’s Code conference.

The article in Quartz with a link to her slides is HERE it’s worth a look

Some highlights from the presentation:

  • Smartphone shipments have continued to slow, with only 3%year-over-year growth from 2015 to 2016.
  • Global internet use continues to grow at 10% year over year, with 3.4 billion people on the internet as of 2016.
  • Internet advertising spending is expected to surpass TV spending in 2017.
  • Combined, Google and Facebook accounted for 85% of the total internet ad revenue growth between 2015 and 2016.
  • Images and voice are replacing typed words in advertising.
  • Google’s voice recognition has hit a word accuracy rate of 95%.
  • There are now 2.6 billion gamers, up from 100 million in 1995.


The Monday Morning Quote #422

As The British & Irish Lions start their tour of New Zealand…..

“Rugby has always been a game for all shapes and sizes.

You have the superstars and the fast guys who score the tries, but you also need the workhorses and the people who play all the other roles.

Unless they all work together as a team then it’s really going to affect the performance. Everyone’s got to rely on everyone else.”

Warren Gatland

Obsess Over Your Customers, Not Your Rivals

From HBR, worth a read and then asking yourself some questions….

The starting point of most competitive analysis is a question: Who is your competition? That’s because most companies view their competition as another brand, product, or service. But smart leaders and organizations go broader.

The question is not who your competition is but what it is. And the answer is this: Your competition is any and every obstacle your customers encounter along their journeys to solving the human, high-level problems your company exists to solve…..

….Sure, someone in your company needs to understand the marketplace: who your competition is, what other products are on the market, and how they are doing, at a basic level. But there’s a point at which paying attention to other companies and what they’re doing interferes with your team’s ability to immerse itself in the world of your consumer. Focusing on competitive products and companies often leads to “me-too” products, which purport to compete with or iterate on something that customers might not have liked much in the first place.


  • First, rethink what you sell.
  • Next, rethink your customers.
  • Now, focus on their problems.

Read full article HERE



Shouldn’t boys get protection from oral cancer? Please support the BDA, BMA & HPV Action.

In two previous blog posts August 2009 and January 2014 I have supported the argument for boys to be offered the HPV vaccination. If you want to read my take then have a look at the links but do take the time to read Stephen Hancock’s editorial in the BDJ from 2014.

To support this cause please either complete the survey from the BDA or BMA (if you are a member) or take action via the HPV Action website.

Thank you.


Sometimes I think Rugby might be getting the run of itself.

The article was headed:

“Scotland face Italy in Gregor Townsend’s first match in charge”

It continued:

Scotland will take on Italy in Singapore in Gregor Townsend’s first match as national head coach. Townsend, who replaces the departing Vern Cotter in May, will lead the side on their three-match tour in June. After the Italy game, which will be the first tier one international played in Singapore, Scotland face Australia in Sydney and Fiji in Suva. “This time will be invaluable for our coaching team as we strive to further improve the squad,” Townsend said.

and then this…

Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby chief operating officer, said: “Our first Test in Singapore sees the continuation of our long-term objective of further-globalising the Scottish Rugby brand in Asia-Pacific, as part of an exciting summer tour to the southern hemisphere for the Scotland team.”

Repeat after me, or rather please don’t.

“further-globalising the Scottish Rugby brand in Asia-Pacific” 

Doubtless the next bright, focus group driven, idea will be that rugby needs to get back to its roots….

Now don’t think I am in any way anti-Scottish rugby I was delighted with their recent resurgence, the match against Wales apart, but really?

Don’t know about “getting the run of itself?” Read more HERE

Like him or not, Richard Branson has a way with words & people

From inc.com

“With a lot of things in life, there is a point where we have to let go and appreciate the fact that we had this ride at all.”

That’s how Richard Branson begins his remarkable open letter to Virgin America, a company his Virgin Group founded in 2004. In the years it’s operated, Virgin America has won several “best airline” awards and developed an extremely loyal and enthusiastic following–so much so that last year Alaska Airlines agreed to pay $2.6 billion to purchase the airline ($4 billion including debt and aircraft leases).

“I would be lying if I didn’t admit sadness that our wonderful airline is merging with another,” admitted Branson in a blog post when the company was sold last year. “Because I’m not American, the U.S. Department of Transportation stipulated I take some of my shares in Virgin America as non-voting shares, reducing my influence over any takeover. So there was sadly nothing I could do to stop it.”

Now, it seems Branson’s worst fears have come true, as Alaska Airlines announced it has decided to retire the Virgin America brand. Comparing this to the fateful day many years ago when Virgin Records was sold, Branson said that “many tears” have been shed.

What made Branson’s letter to Virgin America so extra special?

Here are just two major highlights:

He sings praises to his people.

By evoking memories of all they’ve accomplished together, Branson’s message reads more like a love letter than something you’d get from your employer.

Notice how he focuses on his people and their accomplishments (italics mine):

  • “It was a long and hard journey but in the end you are the best consumer airline in America.”
  • You invented concepts like ‘moodlighting’ and ‘on-demand food,’ you reinvented cabin amenities from seat-to-seat chat to Netflix in the sky.”
  • You proved it is possible to run a business with a strategy that does not rely on low fares and a dominant position alone: you attracted premium flyers with a fun and beautiful guest experience.”
  • You created the world’s most loved safety video.”
  • You proved that it is possible to create a business with a terrific culture and a brand that people love.”
  • You let Teammates think differently, and invested a lot of time and money into lifting your Teammates up with extraordinary training.”
  • “And you were worth every minute, every penny (there were many!), every battle.”
  • “Throughout it all, you aimed to make flying good again–and you did.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Nothing encourages employees to give their best like sincere, specific praise.

It’s not just the encouraging and motivating tone, despite what would otherwise be a sad day. It’s not just the point-by-point list of accomplishments. And it’s not just that Branson focuses on his people, instead of himself.

It’s not just one of these things; it’s all of them.

Of course, you shouldn’t wait for a poignant moment to reach out to your people. Take some time today to write a personal note of appreciation. Or even better, take a few minutes to go visit them personally. Tell them exactly what they do that you so value, and why.

In doing so, you’ll give them the acknowledgment that they desperately crave–and help build a positive culture where people thrive.

He points to the future.

But wait, you say. These people aren’t even Branson’s employees anymore!

Exactly. But great leaders know to give credit where credit is due. They know this builds solid relationships based on trust, keeps the door open for future partnerships, and benefits everyone in the end.

Just check out these gems from Branson:

To each of your brilliant Teammates, I know that you will continue to do great things, whether you stay on with Alaska or pursue a different path. Build a business that puts its people first. Work with partners who share your same progressive and inclusive values. Focus on delivering a great customer experience, and success will come. Make business a force for good.

Stay positive; attitude is everything.

Then, he concludes with this:

George Harrison once said, ‘All Things Must Pass.’ This was the ride and love of a lifetime. I feel very lucky to have been on it with all of you. I’m told some people at Virgin America are calling today ‘the day the music died.’ It is a sad (and some would say baffling) day. But I’d like to assure them that the music never dies.


Now that’s what I call an inspiring employer–the kind people will actually follow.

To that point, Branson reminds his (former) people of all the other Virgin businesses in the U.S., including Virgin Hotels and Virgin Voyages, a new cruise line.

Interestingly, the famous founder also told reporters last year that “If Alaska decides to drop the brand…we’ll start again and Virgin America will very much [be] back here.”

Will Virgin America really make a comeback?

One thing’s for sure: Whatever an employer like this decides to build, people will be lining up to join the effort.

(You can read Branson’s full letter to Virgin America here.)

But not everyone agrees….


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