Prevention is Better than Cure
The phrase 'prevention is better than cure' attributed to Dutch humanist scholar, Desiderius Erasmus, in around 1500AD - Is now a fundamental principle of health care strategies across the UK.
The UK has a rich history of focusing on prevention, from Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccine in 1796 to John Snow using data analytics to determine the cause of the cholera outbreak in 1854.
Prevention is about tackling the upstream causes of problems. The concept of proactive awareness and preventative interventions being more effective than later remedial action.
So when this strategy is so prevalent within healthcare, why is it so conspicuous by its absence in Amenity?
(apologies to all who do use preventative maintenance who might be tarred with this brush).
The answer is simple - It's easy to treat a symptom.
Just as it is easy to treat a hangover with a pain killer; it's also easy to treat weeds with a weed killer.
But just as with pain relief for a hangover - we are treating a symptom of something not the cause.
This isn't ideal because it can lead to longer term issues. In the case of a hangover it could be liver problems due to both the alcohol and the pain killers.
Leaving the cause of weeds unaddressed in our maintenance strategies has led to big issues here too.
We are having to treat many more weeds than we need to each year because we are leaving the causes of the weeds on our pavements.
Soil is building up and the seed bed is often added to each time we kill the weeds.
This is leading to issues such as;
- blocked drains,
- faster degradation of our paved surfaces,
- restrictions to access for push chairs, wheel chairs, bikes and pedestrians.
- More weeds
Many councils are now looking for an alternative solution to plant protection products such as glyphosate. My worry is that they are typically looking for another product to treat the symptom, when it would be much more effective, economical and sustainable to treat the upstream causes of the weeds.
Stop drinking to excess and you don't need to use pain killers as a hangover cure - you also avoid the liver problems.
Keep our pavements clean and we don't need to use weed killer to get rid of weeds on hard surfaces - we also solve the blocked drains and access issues.
Weed killers can be useful, just as pain killers can be useful to treat less avoidable causes of pain, but a better solution might look like avoiding the hangover in the first place.