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Found 1,338 results
  1. News Article
    The rising death toll from coronavirus is never far from the headlines, but hidden behind the daily figures is what public health experts refer to as the "parallel epidemic". This is the wider impact on people's health that is the result of dealing with a pandemic. UK chief medical adviser Prof Chris Witty has been referring to this with increasing frequency during the daily briefings, speaking about the "indirect" costs of coronavirus. But what is it, and how significant could it be? Routine treatments, such as hip and knee replacements, were cancelled across the UK. This alone will have a significant impact on people's lives, though it is unlikely to kill anyone. However, the pandemic has also had a knock-on effect on emergency care. Data collected by Public Health England from a sample of A&E departments in England shows attendances have halved since the pandemic started. The trend has prompted NHS leaders to urge patients to come forward for treatment. Cancer screening has been suspended in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and drastically cut back in England. But it is not only an issue for cancer patients, people with chronic conditions like diabetes or kidney disease may face trying to manage their conditions remotely without the regular face-to-face contact they would have with health professionals. The pandemic is also the 'perfect storm' for mental health. The full impact could take years to unravel. Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 April 2020
  2. News Article
    People needing hospital treatment for coronavirus are as likely to die as those with Ebola, claim UK researchers. The warning comes as the largest study in Europe showed at least a third of hospital patients with COVID-19 die. The disease is mild for most and can be treated at home, but scientists said people needed to realise how dangerous the infection could be. Obesity, ageing and being male greatly increase the risk of death, according to the data from 166 British hospitals. Medical details on nearly 17,000 coronavirus patients in England, Wales and Scotland have been analysed and it shows that 49% survived and were discharged, 33% have died and 17% were still being treated. "Some people persist in believing that Covid-19 is no worse than a bad dose of flu - they are gravely mistaken," said Calum Semple, the Chief Investigator on the trial, and a Professor in Child Health and Outbreak Medicine at the University of Liverpool. "The crude case fatality rate for people who are admitted to hospital with severe Covid-19 is 35% to 40%, which is similar to that for people admitted to hospital with Ebola. People need to hear this and get it into their heads... this is an incredibly dangerous disease." Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 April 2020
  3. News Article
    Death rates from coronavirus in the most deprived parts of England are more than double than in less deprived areas, according to new figures that show London is the worst-hit part of the country. The mortality rate for the most deprived areas for March and early April was 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population – compared with 25.3 deaths per 100,000 in the least deprived areas, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The statistics show London has by far the highest mortality rate, with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 persons. This was found to be “statistically significantly higher” than any other region – almost double the next highest rate. Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 May 2020
  4. News Article
    Hundreds of ventilators the UK government bought from China to relieve a major shortage are the wrong type and could kill patients, senior doctors have warned in a newly uncovered letter. The medical staff behind the letter say the devices were designed for use in ambulances rather than hospitals, had an "unreliable" oxygen supply and were of "basic" quality. Seen by Sky News' partner organisation NBC, the document also claims the ventilators cannot be cleaned properly, are an unfamiliar design and come with a confusing instruction manual. Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove triumphantly announced the arrival of "300 ventilators from China" to help treat COVID-19 patients on 4 April. But the letter of warning from doctors was issued just nine days later. "We believe that if used, significant patient harm, including death, is likely," it says. Read full story Source: Sky News, 30 April 2020
  5. News Article
    Healthcare workers providing support outside of the NHS are finding it harder to access coronavirus tests than their colleagues inside the service, a survey of nurses has suggested. A poll of 22,000 health and care workers conducted by the Royal College of Nursing found 44% of respondents did not know how to access testing – while 76% said they had not been offered a test. The problem was also particularly pronounced among the temporary workers, with four in five not offered testing compared to three-quarters of full time workers. Meanwhile the survey found 79% of those working outside of the NHS had not been offered a test, compared with 75% in the health service. Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “It is concerning to see that some nursing staff, particularly those outside the NHS, are still having issues accessing COVID-19 testing. Read full story Source: The Independent, 4 May 2020
  6. News Article
    The Chief Scientific Adviser reportedly warned the government in January that the care homes sector in the UK was particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 – and that has unfortunately proved to be the case. With care home deaths now being reported daily, what do the numbers tell us about this group? Have care home residents been disproportionately affected? And is there a chance the crisis could belatedly mark the start of better times for a sector in danger of collapse? Read full story Source: Nuffield Trust, 1 May 2020
  7. News Article
    More than 170 carers have called a whistleblowing helpline since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a report that highlights the voices of frontline workers and lays bare a catalogue of safety concerns. Compassion in Care, which operates the helpline for care workers, says it is seeing the whistleblowing process move at “unprecedented speed” as the coronavirus crisis unfolds, with many concerns being ignored. With the coronavirus death toll mounting in care homes, the charity’s report flags the “horrendous” unsafe conditions workers are facing amid concerns over lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as the impact on carers’ mental health. One whistleblower likens the situation to a “war zone” with people struggling to breathe, while another describes the pain of not having the time, because of the overwhelming workload, to even hold distressed residents’ hands. In a new report, titled When the Silence Wins, Compassion in Care’s founder, Eileen Chubb, who is herself a former care whistleblower, writes: “During this crisis I have experienced the whistleblowing process moving at unprecedented speed, at such a high-volume and involving whistleblowing issues that are without exception extremely serious." “What is emerging from these cases is a lack of action by employers in response to genuine concerns." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 May 2020
  8. News Article
    Hospitals are continuing to discharge patients infected with Covid-19 into Britain’s struggling care homes, despite new figures showing deaths in the care sector still rising while those in hospitals are falling. Deputy chief scientific adviser Dame Angela McLean revealed the government was now seriously concerned about the scale of the outbreak in care homes. She said the number of deaths was now almost half of those in hospitals adding: “There is a real issue that we need to get to grips with.” In March care homes were told they had to accept thousands of patients discharged from hospitals to help hospitals free up 33,000 beds ahead of the coronavirus surge. But due to a lack of community testing it was not possible to test all patients, meaning the virus may have been able to spread without detection. Public Health England data last week showed the virus has now established itself in more than 4,500 care homes across the country. Sarah Scobie from the Nuffield Trust health think tank said: “The vulnerable social care sector is now becoming the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in this country. Despite a very small decrease in overall deaths from the previous week, the numbers in care homes are still growing." Read full story Source: The Independent, 6 May 2020
  9. News Article
    An NHS app that aims to track the spread of coronavirus is being rolled out for the first time, as part of a trial on the Isle of Wight. Council and healthcare workers will be the first to try the contact-tracing app, with the rest of the island able to download it from Thursday. The app aims to quickly trace recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for the virus. However, the new NHS coronavirus app will have “unintended consequences”, according to the head of the unit developing it. Officials do not know “exactly how it will work”, Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, told a parliamentary committee. “There will be unintended consequences, there will for sure be some things we have to evolve,” he said. Privacy campaigners have raised concern over the potential for “mission creep” with the data that will be gathered on people’s movements and contact with others. The Health Service Journal reported that it has not yet passed tests on cyber security, performance and clinical safety needed to be included in the NHS app library. Read full story Source: The Independent, 4 May 2020
  10. News Article
    The health service will face a “tsunami” of coronavirus survivors discharged from hospitals needing long-term physical and mental support that the NHS will struggle to provide, The Independent has been told. Coronavirus can leave patients with lasting physical damage and scarring to their lungs, meaning many could struggle to breathe and move around as well as they did before – in some cases permanently. Patients admitted to intensive care can also suffer physical effects of being paralysed weeks and almost half who are ventilated with a tube in their windpipe will experience a form of delirium that can include terrifying hallucinations and leave survivors with lasting mental problems including post-traumatic stress. Experts have warned a long-term lack of funding of NHS rehabilitation services and post-discharge care for ITU patients means the health service will struggle to help the thousands of patients who beat the virus but face a long road to recovery. Read full story Source: 3 May 2020
  11. News Article
    A leading doctor has called on the government to address regional health inequalities surrounding coronavirus. Dr George Rae, the British Medical Association's regional chairman for the North East, has written an open letter saying the area is "suffering disproportionately". He said it was "time to ask why" and wanted action to "close the gap". A government spokesman said it was working "incredibly hard" to protect the nation's public health. "This is gravely disconcerting," Dr Rae wrote. "Not only does this mean that we're suffering from a disproportionate amount of serious cases and deaths but also that, as a consequence, gradual lockdown measures may be affected - prolonging the hurt caused to our local economy. Covid-19 has shone a light on the health inequalities in the North East". "What we need now is action from the government to close this gap and reduce the vulnerability of people in the North East to many medical conditions and, indeed, any future viruses." Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 May 2020
  12. News Article
    Trials have begun in the UK to test the effectiveness of blood plasma transfusions in treating patients suffering from COVID-19. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) have started delivering the first units of convalescent plasma, which contains the antibodies of people who have recovered from coronavirus, to hospitals in England. In total, 14 units have been supplied to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. The first transfusions have been administered, NHSBT confirmed on Wednesday, though the efficacy of the treatment will not be known until the trial ends. Seven hospitals are currently taking part in the trials, which will assess a patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival, with more expected to join in the coming months as the number of people eligible to donate blood plasma increases. As of Tuesday, more than 6,500 people had signed up while around 400 donations had been made. Gail Miflin, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re delighted the first patients are receiving convalescent plasma transfusions thanks to the generosity of our donors." Read full story Source: The Independent, 7 May 2020
  13. News Article
    About 8,000 more people have died in their own homes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic than in normal times, a Guardian analysis has found, as concerns grow over the number avoiding going to hospital. Of that total, 80% died of conditions unrelated to COVID-19, according to their death certificates. Doctors’ leaders have warned that fears and deprioritisation of non-coronavirus patients are taking a deadly toll. Doctors’ leaders have warned that some sick people are too scared to go to hospital and are aware that much of the usual NHS care had been suspended in the pandemic. “These figures underline that the devastation wrought by Covid-19 spreads far beyond the immediate effects of the illness itself,” said Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the council chair of the British Medical Association. “While all parts of the NHS have rallied round in a bid to meet the immediate rocketing demand caused by the pandemic, more than half of doctors in a recent BMA survey have told us that this is worsening the care of non-Covid patients.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 8 May 2020
  14. Content Article
    This web page sets out the AHSN's response to Coronavirus including their programmes; Industry and Innovation Medicines Optimisation Primary Care Innovations Patient Safety Collaborative Healthy Ageing National Programmes.
  15. News Article
    Hospital staff may be carrying SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease, without realising they are infected, according to a study by researchers at the University of Cambridge. Patients admitted to NHS hospitals are now routinely screened for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and isolated if necessary. But NHS workers, including patient-facing staff on the front line, such as doctors, nurses and physiotherapists, are tested and excluded from work only if they develop symptoms of the illness. Many of them, however, may show no symptoms at all even if infected, as a new study published in the journal eLife demonstrates. The implications of the new study, say senior authors Dr Mike Weekes and Professor Stephen Baker from the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease (CITIID), are that hospitals need to be vigilant and introduce screening programmes across their workforces. “Test! Test! Test! And then test some more,” Dr Weekes explains. “All staff need to get tested regularly for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have any sort of symptoms – this will be vital to stop infection spreading within the hospital setting.” Read full story Source: University of Cambridge, 12 May 2020
  16. News Article
    The number of deaths linked to coronavirus in care homes in England and Wales has fallen, figures show. The Office for National Statistics analysis showed there were 2,423 fatalities where the virus was mentioned on the death certificate in the week ending 1 May. That is down from nearly 2,800 the week before. More than 8,300 deaths in care homes have been linked to virus since the epidemic started. The number of hospital deaths have been falling since early April but the government and care sector had been struggling to contain outbreaks in care homes. Despite the drop, the virus is still have a major impact on the overall number of deaths in care homes. The total number seen in the week to 1 May is still nearly three times higher than you would normally expect. That means there a large number of deaths happening where the cause is unclear. One suggestion has been that the lack of testing in care homes has meant coronavirus has not always been listed on death certificates when it should. Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 May 2020
  17. News Article
    The NHS in London is planning to “fundamentally shift the way we deliver health and care” in the wake of coronavirus, according to documents obtained by HSJ. The plans from NHS England and Improvement’s London office say leaders should: Plan for elective waiting times to be measured at integrated care system level, rather than trust level. Accept “a different kind of risk appetite than the one we are used to”. Expect decisions from the centre on the location of cancer, paediatric, renal, cardiac, and neurosurgical services. Plan for a permanent increase in critical care capacity. Transform to a “provider system able to be commissioned and funded on a population health basis”. Work towards “a radical shift away from hospital care”. Expect “governance and regulatory landscape implications” plus “streamlined decision-making”. The document, titled Journey to a New Health and Care System, says there are three “likely” phases, with the final new system in place “from November 2021”. The preceding two phases are “action programmes” over the next 12 to 15 months which will be about reconfiguring services to deal with “immediate covid, non-covid and elective need”, and “transition” when the move to new configurations is evaluated and “public consent” sought. Read full story Source: HSJ, 11 May 2020
  18. Content Article
    Key findings: The nursing staff provided exemplary care to the six patients on the ward; they were compassionate, professional and worked to ensure the patients were provided with the best care possible. The decision to transfer the residents was made quickly on a Friday, and staff had a short time to plan and respond putting together a COVID-ready ward. The patients required full nursing care and deteriorated relatively quickly. Consequently, nurses needed to spend long periods of time at the patients’ bedsides. There was no way for nursing staff to communicate with staff outside the patients’ rooms which increased the frequency of donning and doffing PPE. Full PPE was available to staff at all times. However, there were problems with the usability of the PPE and changes in types of PPE provided, which was stressful for staff.
  19. News Article
    With all care home staff and residents now eligible for testing, with a priority given to those in homes looking after residents over 65 years of age, a new online portal has been launched to streamline the process of arranging coronavirus test kit deliveries. As national testing capacity continues to increase, the government is prioritising testing for care homes and other areas identified as having the greatest need. As such, across England, all symptomatic and asymptomatic care home staff and residents can be tested for coronavirus. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is working alongside local authority Directors of Public Health, Directors of Adult Social Services and local NHS providers to deliver this testing programme for care homes. Tens of thousands of care home workers and residents have already been tested, either by Public Health England or at drive through testing sites, mobile testing units and via satellite testing kits – packages of tests sent to care homes for staff to use on residents. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “The additional testing capacity we have achieved delivers many thousands of tests a day for residents and staff in care homes. This new portal allows those who book tests for staff and residents to do so even more easily, and it also offers a route for the prioritisation of care homes with the greatest need." Read full story Source: National Health Executive, 12 May 2020
  20. News Article
    Rapid testing and an adequate supply of protective equipment must be in place when the NHS reopens services cancelled during the peak of the coronavirus oubreak, health unions have said. The unions have put forward a nine-point plan for the NHS to reopen safely as lockdown restrictions ease. NHS England has told hospitals to restart routine and non-urgent operations and procedures which were put on hold to create more capacity for COVID-19 patients. But 16 unions, including Unison, the Royal College of Nursing, Unite and GMB, said they wanted the NHS to continue to operate a "safety-first" approach as outpatient clinics and operations resume. They said they wanted to avoid a repeat of the PPE supply problems which "sapped" staff confidence and "caused widespread and unnecessary anxiety". Unison's Sara Gorton, who also chairs the NHS group of unions, said the health sector faced another "crucial test" after handling the outbreak. She added: "As hospitals get busier, and clinics and other services begin to reopen, the safety of staff and patients is paramount. But this can't happen without plentiful and constant PPE supplies." Read full story Source: BBC News, 15 May 2020
  21. News Article
    More than 22,000 care home residents in England and Wales may have died as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19, academics have calculated – more than double the number stated as passing away from the disease in official figures. Academics at the London School of Economics (LSE) found that data on deaths in care homes directly attributed to the virus published by the Office for National Statistics significantly underestimated the impact of the pandemic on care home residents and accounted for only about 4 out of 10 of the excess deaths in care settings recorded in recent weeks in England and Wales. The figures suggest the impact of the virus in care homes is finally reducing. They are based on reports filed directly from care home operators to the regulator, the Care Quality Commission. Care Inspectorate Wales has said Covid was confirmed or suspected in a further 504 cases in homes up to the 8 May in Wales. But academics at the care policy and evaluation centre at the LSE found that when excess deaths of other care residents and the deaths of care home residents from Covid-19 in hospitals are taken into account, the toll that can be directly and indirectly linked to the virus pandemic is likely to be more than double the current official count. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 13 May 2020
  22. News Article
    More than a quarter of all NHS patients who have died after being infected with COVID-19 had diabetes, according to new statistics from NHS England. Between 31 March and 12 May, a total of 5,873 patients with diabetes died in hospital from COVID-19, 26% of all coronavirus deaths. It is the first time data on hospital deaths and underlying health conditions has been revealed by the NHS. People with diabetes have previously been described as being at moderate risk from the virus and were not part of the groups told to shield themselves in their homes due to fears they were at extreme risk. The NHS England data does not specifically say whether type 1 or type 2 was more prevalent among deaths. It said work was underway to understand the deaths data to include examining the type of diabetes, ethnicity and weight of those who died. NHS England said it was working with Diabetes UK to provide support and advice to patients via its helpline which will include volunteer clinical advisers. Read full story Source: Independent, 15 May 2020