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NHS hospital declares ‘critical incident’ as demand higher ‘than any time during pandemic’

A major hospital has declared a “critical incident” after a surge in demand saw more than 100 patients awaiting treatment in A&E and 25 ambulances queueing outside.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, in Truro said “unprecedented” pressure this week is worse “than at any point during the pandemic.”

It urged “families, friends and neighbours” to collect any patients who are able to “to leave hospital sooner.”

Managers at Cornwall’s main hospital raised the operating level from OPEL4 — known as a ‘black alert’ — to an ‘internal critical incident’ to allow for greater cooperation to ease the crisis.

It comes as the government is under intense pressure to reimpose some COVID-19 measures amid a surge in cases, with many other NHS clinics and hospitals across the country facing similar pressure.

Allister Grant, medical director of the RCHT, said: “There is unprecedented demand on health and care services in Cornwall, more so this week than at any point during the pandemic.

“As a result, we have escalated our operational level from OPEL4 to an internal critical incident.

“Pressure will always be most visible at the Emergency Department where ambulances are waiting, and our priority here is to move people into wards as soon as we can.”

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Source: The Independent, 21 October 2021

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Cardiac arrest: Thousands of defibrillators unknown to 999 service

Tens of thousands of defibrillators across the UK risk being unusable because 999 call handlers do not know about them.

When someone has a cardiac arrest, ambulance staff can only direct bystanders to the nearest defibrillator if it is on a central register.

"That could be the difference between life and death," said Adam Fletcher, head of British Heart Foundation Cymru.

A campaign to register defibrillators on The Circuit has now been launched.

Survival rates are low in the more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) - with fewer than one in 10 people surviving.

BHF said early CPR and defibrillation could double the chances of surviving and it was often down to 999 call handlers being aware that a defibrillator was nearby.

"If we don't know a defibrillator is there, we can't send somebody to get it, to potentially save somebody's life," said Carl Powell, the clinical support lead for cardiac care with the Welsh Ambulance Service.

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Source: BBC News, 22 October 2021

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Cancer patients face ‘perfect storm’ as Covid piles pressure on NHS

Progress in clearing the NHS cancer treatment backlog in England has gone into reverse amid high Covid cases and staff shortages, analysis suggests.

The NHS has been striving to catch up with the pandemic backlog of cancer care but the analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support of official data suggests the drive has recently suffered a setback, with growing numbers of potential cancer diagnoses missed.

Four key cancer measures have fallen back, with two dropping to their worst ever recorded level.

Figures published by NHS England, and analysed by Macmillan for the Guardian, show the number of patients starting treatment in August following a decision to treat fell to 25,800. The figure was above 27,000 in June and July. The proportion of patients who began treatment within one month of the decision to treat fell to 93.7% – the lowest percentage ever recorded.

Data published last week also shows that in August there was a record-high number of patients forced to wait for more than two months after an urgent referral from their GP before they started cancer treatment.

Macmillan said it was concerned that rising Covid hospitalisations were making it “even harder for the system to cope”. Efforts to tackle the backlog are also being hit by a shortage of cancer nurses, the charity said.

Steven McIntosh, the executive director of advocacy at Macmillan, said: “We know that many patients are entering an overstretched system that was on its knees even before the pandemic. This risks a perfect storm, as the system experiences a considerable influx of patients alongside an overwhelmed workforce struggling to provide the care and support that people urgently need.”

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Source: The Guardian, 22 October 2021

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Tackling inequalities often not a main priority in healthcare, says CQC

Tackling inequalities was “often not a main priority” for local health and care systems over the past year, the care regulator for England has said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the pandemic had exposed and exacerbated inequalities, and most services demonstrated some understanding of these.

But it found that tackling inequalities “was often not a main priority for systems, or strategies to identify and tackle health inequalities were not yet well established”. Issues included poor accessibility of information in different languages for some people, varying service provision and access, and a lack of understanding of how people’s individual characteristics affected the care they needed.

The regulator said an example of this was the specific needs of people with a learning disability from black and minority ethnic groups. It also flagged that an increase in remote or digital care could be a barrier to people who cannot access technology or do not feel comfortable doing so.

The report found inequalities had also been exposed by the coronavirus vaccine rollout, with take-up lower in all minority ethnic groups compared with in the white population, and variances according to levels of deprivation.

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Source: The Guardian, 22 October 2021

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NHS 111 'failed' teenager who died following delays

Failings by NHS 111 contributed to the death of an autistic teenager, a coroner has ruled.

Hannah Royle, 16, suffered a cardiac arrest as she was driven to hospital by her parents after a 111 algorithm failed to notice she was seriously ill.

A coroner said her death had exposed a risk people were being misled about the capability of the system and its staff.

An NHS spokesperson said it would act on the findings and learnings "where necessary".

Hannah's father Jeff Royle said he regretted dialling 111 and wished he had taken his daughter straight to hospital.

"I feel so dreadful, that I have let her down and she has been let down by the NHS," he said.

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Source: BBC News, 20 October 2021

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Social care: Staff shortages will leave many without help

There will be "a tsunami" of people without the care they need this winter unless staff shortages are tackled, England's care watchdog is warning.

Social care staff are "exhausted and depleted," says Care Quality Commission (CQC) chief executive, Ian Trenholm.

In a report, the CQC urges immediate work to address the problem of rising numbers of unfilled care sector jobs.

On Thursday, the government announced an extra £162.5m to boost the adult social care workforce.

This is in addition to £5.4bn earmarked for social care over the next three years from the government's health and social care levy, which already includes £500m to be spent on the workforce.

The CQC welcomes the money but has a warning: "It must be used to enable new ways of working that recognise the interdependency of all health and care settings, not just to prop up existing approaches and to plug demand in acute care."

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Source: BBC News, 

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Slow rollout of third doses ‘endangering immunocompromised patients’

The government’s failure to quickly roll out third doses of the Covid vaccine to clinically vulnerable people and those with weakened immune systems is endangering thousands of lives, patient groups and experts have warned.

Immunocompromised individuals currently account for one in 20 Covid patients being admitted to intensive care, according to a new analysis by Blood Cancer UK.

These people are less able to mount an immune response after two doses, so are therefore being offered a third to keep them protected. This is separate from the ongoing booster programme, applicable to all over-50s and health care workers.

However, a recent Blood Cancer UK survey suggested that less than half of people with blood cancer, who make up about 230,000 of the 500,000 immunocompromised people in the UK, had been invited to receive their third dose by the second week of October.

Other clinically vulnerable people have reported struggling to book an appointment via their GP practices after being told by NHS England to come forward for a third vaccine dose.

With the situation in Britain reaching a “tipping point”, charities and scientists are fearful the number of immunocompromised in intensive care could further worsen in the weeks to come if they remain unable to access booster jabs.

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Source: The Independent, 21 October 2021

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UK launches new system to achieve 100% clinical trial registration

Clinical trials run in the UK will be automatically registered from 2022, the country’s Health Research Authority has announced.

The new system seeks to ensure that every single clinical trial with be listed on a trial registry from the outset. UK researchers have been formally required to register trials since 2013, but that rule was never enforced, and many trials remained unregistered.

Trial registration is a key pillar of clinical trial transparency. It helps scientists to gain an overview of who is currently researching which treatments, preventing needless duplication of medical research efforts . In addition, because investigators have to specify in advance what exactly they will be measuring, trial registration supports research integrity by discouraging post hoc statistical shenanigans and evidence distortion.

While there are various rules and regulations around trial registration, no other country currently enforces these nationwide.

The new trial registration system forms part of the wider UK national Make it Public strategy, which aims to ensure that every single clinical trial run in the UK is registered and makes its results public.

The strategy was developed in the wake of a 2018-2019 parliamentary enquiry into clinical trial transparency.

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Source: TranspariMED, 20 October 2021

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BMA says government is ‘wilfully negligent’ for ruling out Plan B despite Covid surge

The government is being “wilfully negligent” by not introducing measures to suppress the recent rise in coronavirus cases, the chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul made the comments after the health secretary ignored NHS leaders’ pleas for the implementation of ‘Plan B’, which could see the return of mandatory mask wearing in indoor spaces and the need to work from home where possible.

Speaking at a No 10 press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Sajid Javid said the current pressure on the NHS was not “unsustainable”, noting that the contingency plan would only be introduced if hospitals were at risk of being “overwhelmed”.

However, Dr Nagpaul disagreed with the minister’s assessment, suggesting that the NHS was already reaching breaking point and that the government should follow through on its promise to protect the health service.

“By the health secretary’s own admission we could soon see 100,000 cases a day and we now have the same number of weekly Covid deaths as we had during March, when the country was in lockdown,” he said.

Dr Nagpaul described the government’s decision not to take further preventative action as “wilfully negligent”, branding the current rate of coronavirus infections and deaths as “unacceptable”.

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Source: The Independent, 21 October 2021

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Gene silencing medicine transforms crippling pain

An innovative type of medicine - called gene silencing - is set to be used on the NHS for people who live in crippling pain.

The drug treats acute intermittent porphyria, which runs in families and can leave people unable to work or have a normal life. Clinical trials have shown severe symptoms were cut by 74% with the drug.

While porphyria is rare, experts say the field of gene silencing has the potential to revolutionise medicine.

Sisters Liz Gill and Sue Burrell have both had their lives turned around by gene silencing. Before treatment, Liz remembers the trauma of living in "total pain" and, at its worst, she spent two years paralysed in hospital. Younger sister Sue says she "lost it all overnight" when she was suddenly in and out of hospital.

Both became used to taking potent opioid painkillers on a daily basis. But even morphine could not block the pain during a severe attack that needed hospital treatment.

Gene silencing gets to the root-cause of the sisters' disease rather than just managing their symptoms. Their porphyria leads to a build-up of toxic proteins in the body, that cause the physical pain. Gene silencing "mutes" a set of genetic instructions to block that protein production.

Both had been taking the therapy as part of a clinical trial and are still getting monthly injections.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which approves drugs for use in England, said the therapy "would improve people's quality of life" and was "value for money".

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Source: BBC News, 21 October 2021

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Clapped Out: Is the NHS Broken?

Eighteen months into the worst pandemic in a century, this hard-hitting Dispatches special travels the country asking some tough questions about the performance of our much-loved NHS.

Watch programme (you will need to sign in)

Source: Channel 4, 18 October 2021

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Three in five Australian GPs say vaccine rollout changes among biggest Covid challenges

Almost three out of five GPs reported managing patient expectations about vaccinations to be one of the most challenging issues of the pandemic, with multiple changes to vaccine eligibility requirements leaving many people confused and overwhelmed, the president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Dr Karen Price, said.

In her foreword to the college’s Health of the Nation report, published on Thursday, Price said: “Unfortunately, some of these patients took their frustrations out on general practice staff”.

“Differing eligibility requirements across jurisdictions added to the strain.”

Schools should stay open as greatest risk of Covid transmission is in households, research finds

The report is published annually and provides an insight into the state of general practice in Australia. It includes the findings of a survey of 1,386 GPs between April and May, of which 70% were in major cities, 20% inner-regional, 8% outer‐regional, and 2% remote and very remote.

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Source: Guardian, 21 October 2021

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Deaths among the double vaccinated: what is behind the Australian statistics?

On Tuesday, there were 356 COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care wards throughout Australia. Of those, 25 were fully vaccinated.

While the data points to the extraordinary efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing people from becoming severely unwell, being hospitalised and dying, it does raise the question: why do a small number of people become seriously ill and, in rare cases, die, despite being fully vaccinated?

An intensive care unit staff specialist at Nepean hospital in Sydney, Dr Nhi Nguyen, said those who are fully vaccinated and die tend to have significant underlying health conditions. Being treated in intensive care, where people may be on a ventilator and unable to move, added to any existing frailty, especially in elderly people, she said.

“If we think about intensive care patients in general, whether they are there due to COVID-19, pneumonia or any other infection, we know that those who have underlying disorders, those who are frail, and those with co-morbidities will have a higher risk of dying from whatever the cause of being in intensive care is,” she said.

“Being fully vaccinated against Covid protects you from getting severe disease, yes, but it doesn’t completely protect you from getting Covid. So if you are someone with chronic health conditions, what might be a mild disease or mild infection in a young person or a person who is in good health, will have a greater impact on you.”

She said this was why the Australian Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation (Atagi) had recommended boosters for those people who are severely immunocompromised. On Wednesday the government said it intended booster shots to be rolled out to the aged care sector within weeks, and to be available to the whole population by the end of the year.

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Source: The Guardian, 20 October 2021

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Trainee doctors 'scared to come to work'

Some trainee doctors and consultants at one Welsh health board are "scared to come to work", a report has found.

A report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) described "frightening experiences" staff faced at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. Chronic understaffing and excessive workloads at the Grange hospital in Cwmbran were causing "very serious patient safety concerns", it added.

The Health Board said it had taken the findings of the report very seriously.

The report, obtained by BBC Wales, said that some trainee doctors and consultants were worried about working in case they lost their licence to practise. It also said the problems had caused some consultants to feel demoralised and on the brink of leaving.

One trainee told the authors of the report: "On one overnight shift, I treated a four-year-old with seizures. The ambulance took six hours. Colleagues treated an 18-month-old with burns. Lots of kids come in with respiratory distress. Paediatric cases are not uncommon. We've treated stabbing victims. Colleagues delivered a baby earlier in the minor injuries unit. These things shouldn't happen at all."

Another trainee said: "There's so much patient movement with [this] model. I recently sent someone from Nevill Hall to the Grange to get a scan, then to the [Royal] Gwent to get a follow-up procedure, then back to Nevill Hall.

"That's three bed moves, three ambulance crews and three medical people dealing with the same patient. It's extremely inefficient."

And another added: "I worry about the safety of the patients coming into this hospital."

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Source: BBC News, 

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Canada: 6 Saskatchewan ICU patients with COVID-19 being transferred to Ontario

Saskatchewan will be transferring six COVID-19 patients to Ontario over the next 72 hours as the Prairie province struggles to deal with a record number of intensive care patients. 

One patient will be transferred Monday, with the other five expected by end of day Wednesday, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).

Premier Scott Moe said planning for transferring patients has been going on for "a number of days" and that patients will be transferred to ensure they receive "the very best possible care that they can."

Additional out-of-province support that may be required beyond Wednesday is being finalized, according to the SHA.

"We recognize the stress this will cause the families affected," SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said in a news release Monday morning.

"We continue to work every day to maximize capacity to provide care as close to home as possible, but this decision is necessary to maintain the quality of critical care services our patients need."

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Source: CBC News, 18 October 2021

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‘Safety for All’ white paper published to prioritise improvement in both patient and healthcare worker safety

Following the unprecedenFCII2YFWYAMUy58.thumb.jpg.77a9fcd6c1fe6f04a9ef4e40abd01cae.jpgted impact and strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the NHS and social care, both the public and the healthcare sector believe politicians must prioritise the improvement of both patient and healthcare worker safety.

The Safety for All white paper, Patient and Healthcare Worker Safety – Two sides of the same coin, is published today by the Safety for All campaign, set up by the Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network (SHBN), an independent forum focused on improving healthcare worker and patient safety, including Patient Safety Learning and the Association of British HealthTech Industries.

The white paper sets out the symbiotic relationship between healthcare worker safety and patient safety and that you cannot have one without the other. The pandemic has shone a light on the interconnection of these two issues, from the importance of effective infection control to ensuring healthcare professionals feel safe to speak up about incidents of unsafe care. This white paper makes the case for a new focus and priority for improvements in, and between, patient and healthcare worker safety to prevent safety incidents and deliver better outcomes for all.

Dean Russell MP, a member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, said:

“The NHS estimates that there are 11,000 avoidable deaths in the UK each year due to patient safety incidents. We must look at the issue of patient safety holistically. If we can change our approach then then we can reduce the number of serious safety incidents. Also, if we ensure, in the transition back to normality following the pandemic, that the safety of healthcare workers is a priority this will also impact positively on patient safety.”

Jonathan Hazan, chair of Patient Safety Learning, said:

“I welcome the publication of the Safety for All white paper with its focus on the relationship between patient safety and staff safety. At Patient Safety learning, we have always understood that improvements in one area reinforce safety in the other. We recognise that avoidable harm has complex causes and to address them, we must transform the system so that patient safety is core to the purpose of health and social care, not just one of many competing priorities. We are engaging with politicians, healthcare organisations, professionals and patients to push for the system-wide change which will result in the reduction of harm. Dean Russell and his colleagues in Parliament have a key role in improving safety and we look forward to working with them.”

Mike Fairbourn, Board Member of the Association of British HealthTech Industries, said:

“Today the Safety for All campaign is launching its white paper called “Patient and Healthcare Worker Safety – Two sides of the same coin”.  This makes the case for a new focus and priority for improvements in, and between, patient and healthcare worker safety to prevent safety incidents and deliver better outcomes for all. There needs to be a better understanding and advocacy of the mutual benefits to be accrued for patient safety by improving healthcare worker safety, and vice versa. Safety needs to be a core purpose for both the NHS and social care and for patient and workplace safety, with greater support for staff and for them to speak up following patient safety incidents.”

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Source: Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network (20 October 2021)

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Doctors call on NHS to offer women more help after first miscarriage

Women who lose a baby during pregnancy should be offered help after having one miscarriage rather than the three currently needed to trigger NHS support, doctors say.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) wants the NHS to overhaul its rules so that any woman who suffers a miscarriage receives some form of care, mainly information and guidance, to help them cope with their loss and plan future pregnancies.

Anyone who has two miscarriages should automatically be offered an appointment for an initial investigation at a specialist miscarriage clinic and a more in-depth exploration of their health after losing a child after conception three times, the college says in a new medical guideline.

“Miscarriage is a distressing, shocking and traumatic experience for many women and their partners. For too long the topic has been under-researched and the care for women and their partners under-resourced,” said Dr Edward Morris, the president of the RCOG.

“We believe women should access appropriate and standardised care after their first miscarriage and that is why we are endorsing the graded model for miscarriage care in this guideline.”

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Source: The Guardian, 19 October 2021

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Blunder sees dozens given only half of their third Covid vaccine

Scotland's booster jag rollout has hit a major snag after some of the country's most vulnerable people were given half their third vaccine.

In total, 140 people who were given their extra dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the Gorebridge vaccine centre in Midlothian were affected by the error.

Health authorities have maintained there is no risk to individuals due to the error and that half a dose will provide sufficient protection.

The individuals affected were all immunosuppressed, the Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership said, meaning they are more vulnerable to infection and at higher risk from serious complications caused by COVID-19.

The Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership apologised for the mistake and any anxiety caused.

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Source: The Scotsman, 19 October 2021

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Cases of psychosis rise significantly over the past two years in England

Cases of psychosis have risen significantly in England during the pandemic, according to new NHS data.

The number of people referred to mental health services for their first suspected episode of psychosis increased by 75% between April 2019 and April 2021, figures showed.

The data, which has been analysed by the charity Rethink Mental Illness, showed that much of the increase in referrals has happened over the last year, after the first national lockdown.

The charity, Rethink Mental Illness, said that the data offers some of the first concrete evidence of the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the population.

It is calling on the government to invest more in early intervention for psychosis to halt the further deterioration in people’s conditions.

The NHS defines psychosis as “when people lose some contact with reality”. This could involve seeing or hearing things that other people cannot see or believing things that are not actually true.

People experiencing symptoms of psychosis need to seek medical help very quickly and charity Rethink Mental Illness is campaigning to get people faster access to vital treatment.

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Source: The Independent, 18 October 2021

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Concern police will be able to ‘strong-arm’ NHS to hand over patient data under new plans

Police forces will be able to “strong-arm” NHS bodies into handing over confidential patient data under planned laws that have sparked fury from doctors’ groups and the UK’s medical watchdog.

Ministers are planning new powers for police forces that would “set aside” the existing duty of confidentiality that applies to patient data held by the NHS and will instead require NHS organisations to hand over data police say they need to prevent serious violence.

Last week, England’s national data guardian, Dr Nicola Byrne, told The Independent she had serious concerns about the impact of the legislation going through parliament, and warned that the case for introducing the sweeping powers had not been made.

Now the UK’s medical watchdog, the General Medical Council (GMC), has also criticised the new law, proposals for which are contained in the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill, warning it fails to protect patients’ sensitive information and could disproportionately hit some groups and worsen inequalities.

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Source: The Independent, 18 October 2021

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West Suffolk Hospital: Midwives' critical letter right says boss

A whistleblowing letter sent by maternity staff to inspectors and a newspaper was "the right thing to do", the hospital's boss said.

Midwives at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds said they were "exhausted and broken" and claimed the unit was "consistently short-staffed".

The hospital had previously been criticised for its treatment of whistleblowers.

Its interim chief executive Craig Black said the letter was a "brave thing".

The anonymous letter was sent to the Bury Free Press, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the West Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust, in August. It claimed the midwives had spoken out because standards of care had fallen sharply.

Staff were "under extreme pressures all the time, which has left them fed up, exhausted and burnt out", it said.

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Source: BBC News, 19 October 2021

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24 children wait year for first cancer appointment in Northern Ireland

Twenty-four children in Northern Ireland with confirmed or suspected cancers had to wait over a year for a first appointment, a review has found.

The figure, for April, is in a review of child health waiting lists by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.

More than 17,000 children were waiting more than a year to see a hospital consultant for the first time.

The commissioner said the waiting times were "terrifying".

The review examined official waiting list data for children's health services not published as part of the Department of Health's statistical bulletins.

Koulla Yiasouma said that waiting for any health service treatment can and does have a "profound impact on a child's health outcomes, emotional and mental well-being".

She said it was "shocking not only for the child but their families too".

"Each and every single one of them is a child and each and every single one of them is a child whose life has almost been put on hold, and a family whose life has been put on hold, because they are not getting the most fundamental right of healthcare that they deserve," she said.

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Source: BBC News, 19 October 2021

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UK lab investigated for false negative Covid tests is not fully accredited

The private laboratory that is under investigation for potentially issuing more than 40,000 false negative Covid tests was not fully accredited to perform the work, contrary to assurances made by health officials.

The UK’s independent accreditation service, Ukas, told the Guardian on Monday that neither Immensa Health Clinics Ltd nor its sister company, Dante Labs, had ever been accredited by the service, and that it had informed the Department of Health that statements suggesting otherwise were incorrect.

The UK Health Security Agency announced on Friday that it was suspending operations at Immensa’s laboratory in Wolverhampton pending an investigation into concerns that at least 43,000 people with coronavirus had been wrongly told their swabs tested negative for the virus.

Because many of the individuals would have believed the typically more accurate PCR tests performed by Immensa over simpler lateral flow tests, there is a substantial risk they unwittingly spread the virus on to thousands more people.

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Source: The Guardian, 18 October 2021

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NHS England hospitals having to rely on ‘obsolete’ imaging equipment

About a third of NHS trusts in England are using “technically obsolete” imaging equipment that could be putting patients’ health at risk, while existing shortages of doctors who are qualified to diagnose and treat disease and injuries using medical imaging techniques could triple by 2030.

According to data obtained through freedom of information requests by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, 27.1% of trusts in NHS England have at least one computerised tomography (CT) scanner that is 10 years old or more, while 34.5% have at least one magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner in the same category. These are used to diagnose various conditions including cancer, stroke and heart disease, detect damage to bones and internal organs, or guide further treatment.

An NHS England report published last year recommended that all imaging equipment aged 10 years or older be replaced. Software upgrades may not be possible on older equipment, limiting its use, while older CT scanners may require higher radiation doses to deliver the same image, it said.

Dr Julian Elford, a consultant radiologist and medical director at the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), said: “CT and MRI machines start to become technically obsolete at 10 years. Older kit breaks down frequently, is slower, and produces poorer quality images, so upgrading is critical."

“We don’t just need upgraded scanners, though; we need significantly more scanners in the first place. The [NHS England report] called for doubling the number of scanners – we firmly support that call, and recommend a government-funded programme for equipment replacement on an appropriate cycle so that radiologists can diagnose and treat their patients safely."

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Source: The Guardian, 18 October 2021


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Stillbirth rate high for black and Asian babies in UK

Stillbirth rates remain "exceptionally high" for black and Asian babies in the UK, a report examining baby loss in 2019 has found.

The figures come despite improving numbers overall, with some 610 fewer stillbirths in 2019 than in 2013.

The MBBRACE-UK report found babies of mothers living in deprived areas are at higher risk of stillbirths and neonatal deaths than those in other places.

Charities say there is an urgent need to tackle inequalities around birth.

There were some 2,399 stillbirths (a death occurring before or during birth once a pregnancy has reached 24 weeks) and 1,158 neonatal deaths (babies who die in the first 28 days of life) in the UK in 2019.

The report, by the Universities of Leicester and Oxford, found:

  • Overall stillbirth rates fell from 4.2 per 1,000 births in 2013 to 3.35 per 1,000 births in 2019
  • For babies of black and black British ethnicity, stillbirth rates were 7.23 per 1,000 births
  • For babies of Asian and Asian British ethnicity, stillbirth rates were 5.05 per 1,000 births
  • For babies of white ethnicity, stillbirth rates were 3.22 per 1,000 births.

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Source: BBC News, 15 October 2021

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