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Found 61 results
  1. Content Article
    This is my story, as a bereaved mother, about lessons I have learnt following the unexpected death of my previously well 25-year-old daughter Gaia in University College Hospital London (UCLH) in July 2021. I have written 11 patient safety lessons in the hope this helps other families be more assertive if they have a critically sick relative in hospital. Believe me, you must be pushy to be allowed into a hospital ward, even more so ITU. I went to visit my critically sick daughter at around 10am on a Sunday morning, but was not allowed on to the ward. A senior nurse told me to GO HOME using the 'Covid' excuse. I was shut out from the bedside of my critically ill only child. I have set up TruthForGaia.com to share learnings more widely. Please take a look. I hope sharing this may contribute to reducing avoidable deaths from brain conditions which can be only too easily assumed to be intoxication, especially on weekends. I believe raised intracranial pressure (high pressure in the skull) needs more awareness and training. When will UCLH hold a medical grand round on my daughter's case?
  2. Content Article
    This Lancet article is written by two young people aged 19 and 20 years, based in the UK, who both developed Long Covid more than two years ago. They describe their wide-ranging symptoms and highlight the impact the condition has had on their lives, causing them to miss out on key milestones—such as starting university and learning to drive. They go on to look at the specific challenges facing young people with long-term conditions, arguing that many services that are meant to help young people—health services, schools and higher education facilities—are failing those dealing with a chronic illness or disability. This article is free to view, but you will need to sign up for a free Lancet account
  3. Content Article
    The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC) and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance have launched ‘The Maternal Mental Health Experiences of Young Mums’ report, which includes both a literature review and first-hand insights from young mums impacted by maternal mental health problems.
  4. News Article
    A father whose son took his own life in July 2020 is calling for an "urgent overhaul" of the way some counsellors and therapists assess suicide risk. His son Tom had died a day after being judged "low risk", in a final counselling session, Philip Pirie said. A group of charities has written to the health secretary, saying the use of a checklist-type questionnaire to predict suicide risk is "fundamentally flawed". The government says it is now drawing up a new suicide-prevention strategy. According to the latest official data, 6,211 people in the UK killed themselves in 2020. It is the most common cause of death in 20-34-year-olds. And of the 17 people each day, on average, who kill themselves, five are in touch with mental health services and four of those five are assessed as "low" or "no risk", campaigners say. Tom Pirie, a young teacher from Fulham, west London, had been receiving help for mental-health issues. He had repeatedly told counsellors about his suicidal thoughts - but the day before he had killed himself, a psychotherapist had judged him low risk, his father said. Tom's assessment had been based on "inadequate" questionnaires widely used despite guidelines saying they should not be to predict suicidal behaviour, Philip said. The checklists, which differ depending on the clinicians and NHS trusts involved, typically ask patients questions about their mental health, such as "Do you have suicidal thoughts?" or "Do you have suicidal intentions?" At the end of the session, a score can be generated - placing the individual at low, medium or high risk of suicide, or rating the danger on a scale between 1 and 10. Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 April 2022
  5. News Article
    There is no evidence that Covid vaccines have led to an increase in deaths in young people, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. Six months after the mass rollout of Covid vaccines, medical regulators started to report slightly higher rates of two heart conditions after receiving the Pfizer and Moderna jabs. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle itself, while pericarditis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sac the heart sits in. Both side effects are very rare but appear to be more common after a second dose of either Covid jab, particularly in younger men. The ONS looked at outcomes shortly after vaccination, when the risk of any side effect is highest. The chance of a young person dying in that time was no different to later periods the researchers looked at. Julie Stanborough, deputy director at the ONS said: "We have found no evidence of an increased risk of cardiac death in young people following Covid-19 vaccination." Read full story Source: BBC News, 22 March 2022
  6. News Article
    The death of a "vulnerable" transgender teenager who struggled to get help was preventable, a coroner has said. Daniel France, 17, was known to Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT) when he took his own life on 3 April 2020. The coroner said his death showed a "dangerous gap" between services. When he died, Mr France was in the process of being transferred from children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Suffolk to adult services in Cambridgeshire. The First Response Service, which provides help for people experiencing a mental health crisis, also assessed Mr France but he had been considered not in need of urgent intervention, the coroner's report said. Cambridgeshire County Council had received two safeguarding referrals for Daniel, in October 2019 and January 2020, but had closed both. "It was accepted that the decision to close both referrals was incorrect", Mr Barlow said in his report. Mr Barlow wrote in his report, sent to both the council and CPFT: "My concern in this case is that a vulnerable young person can be known to the county council and [the] mental health trust and yet not receive the support they need pending substantive treatment." He highlighted Daniel was "repeatedly assessed as not meeting the criteria for urgent intervention" but that waiting lists for phycological therapy could mean more than a year between asking for help and being given it. "That gap between urgent and non-urgent services is potentially dangerous for a vulnerable young person, where there is a chronic risk of an impulsive act," Mr Barlow said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 25 February 2022
  7. News Article
    Ministers have vowed to reduce suicide rates in England with the launch of more than 100 new initiatives amid particular concerns over rising deaths and self-harm among children and young people. The pledge to reverse the trends within two and a half years came as the government launched its first prevention strategy in more than a decade. In 2022, there were 5,275 suicides in England, equivalent to 10.6 suicides per 100,000 people, according to the Office for National Statistics. “While overall the current suicide rate is not significantly higher than in 2012, the rate is not falling,” a new government document says. “We must do all we can to prevent more suicides, save many more lives and ultimately reduce suicide rates.” It highlights how rates of suicide among children and young people have increased in recent years, despite being low overall, adding: “Urgent attention is needed to address and reverse these trends.” The new measures being launched will also aid other specific groups at risk of suicide, including middle-aged men, autistic people, pregnant women and new mothers. Steve Barclay, the health secretary, said: “Too many people are still affected by the tragedy of suicide, which is so often preventable. This national cross-government strategy details over 100 actions we’ll take to ensure anyone experiencing the turmoil of a crisis has access to the urgent support they need.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 11 September 2023
  8. News Article
    A Colorado surgeon has been convicted of manslaughter in the death of a teenage patient who went into a coma during breast augmentation surgery and died a year later. Emmalyn Nguyen, who was 18 when she underwent the procedure 1 August 2019, at Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery in Greenfield Village, near Denver, fell into a coma and went into cardiac arrest after she received anaesthesia, officials said. She died at a nursing home in October 2020. Dr. Geoffrey Kim, 54, a plastic surgeon, was found guilty of attempted reckless manslaughter and obstruction of telephone service. At Kim’s trial, a nurse anesthetist testified that he advised Kim that the patient needed immediate medical attention in a hospital setting and that 911 should be called, prosecutors said. An investigation determined Kim failed to call for help for five hours after the patient went into cardiac arrest, prosecutors said. The obstruction charge was linked to testimony that multiple medical professionals, including two nurses, requested permission to call 911 to transfer care for Nguyen, but Kim, the owner of the surgery centre, denied the request, prosecutors said. Read full story Source: ABC News, 15 June 2023
  9. News Article
    England's first women's health ambassador is calling for "one-stop shops" where women can sort out their health needs. Dame Lesley Regan, also a practising doctor, wants to make it easier for women and girls to access care such as contraception and smear tests in the community. Her new role aims to close the "gender health gap". She will also support the upcoming government-led women's-health strategy. "At the moment, we waste a lot of resource in telling girls and women that they cannot have things," she told BBC News. "So you might go off to your doctor or gynaecologist or heart specialist and get told, well, you cannot have a smear here, even if it is due, or you need to go somewhere else for this, that and the other. "We should make it very, very easy for people to access this out in the community - why do you need to go to a secondary or tertiary facility for things that are very easy to provide?" Instead, she wants health hubs where women could "go for half a day and get all these things sorted out" and then get on with their lives. "A one-stop shop is what I want for myself and what I want for my daughters and I'm sure it is what every other girl and woman wants and what every man and boy wants for the women in their lives, to be looked after that way," Dame Lesley said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 June 2022
  10. News Article
    A new study has found that the pandemic has severely affected people’s mental health and relationships all over the world, particularly for young adults. The third annual mental state of the world report (MSW) commissioned by Sapien Labs, a non-profit research organisation, conducted a global survey to better understand the state of mental health. The research compiled responses from over 400,000 participants across 64 countries, asking respondents about their family relationships, friendships and overall mental wellbeing. The survey found that there has been little recovery in declining mental health during the pandemic, which the group measures by a score called “mental health quotient”. It had found that average score had declined by 33 points – on a 300-point scale – over the past two years and still showed no signs of recovery, remaining at the same level as 2021. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 1 March 2023
  11. News Article
    Doctors at an east London hospital say they are seeing so many risky cases of laughing gas misuse that they have drawn up treatment guidelines for colleagues in the UK. Nitrous oxide, sold in metal canisters, is one of the most commonly used drugs by 16 to 24-year-olds. Heavy use can lead to a vitamin deficiency that damages nerves in the spinal cord. The Royal London Hospital team say medics need to be on alert. They have been seeing a new case almost every week. The guidelines, endorsed by the Association of British Neurologists and written with experts from Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and the Queen Mary University of London, warn doctors what to look for and how to treat. Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 February 2023
  12. News Article
    Police have carried out more than 5,500 investigations into patients who have been reported missing from NHS facilities in Scotland since 2019. The figures were outlined in a written response from Keith Brown, the justice secretary, to Jamie Greene, the Conservative MSP. Greene, who is the justice spokesman for the Conservatives, said the figures gave serious cause for concern. He said that the complete figure could be much higher because the data provided only included those reported to police. He urged Brown and Humza Yousaf, the health secretary, to provide adequate resources for policing and the health sector to ensure vulnerable patients were not slipping through the cracks. Greene said: “These figures are deeply alarming. Relatives expect their loved ones to be safe while they are staying, or being treated in, an NHS facility. It gives serious cause for concern that over 200 investigations have had to be launched in just the last few years to determine the whereabouts of young people who went missing from NHS grounds.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 3 January 2023
  13. News Article
    GP records show a sharp rise in teenage girls in the UK developing eating disorders and self-harming during the Covid pandemic, a study has found. The increases were greatest among girls living in the wealthiest areas, which could be due to better GP access. Young women have told the BBC that the lack of control over their lives during lockdown was a behavioural trigger. Eating disorders and self-harming have been rising among children and young people for a number of years but "increased substantially" between 2020 and 2022, the study found. Over that period, around 2,700 diagnoses of eating disorders were anticipated among 13-16-year-olds, but 3,862 were actually observed - 42% more than the expected figure. Dr Shruti Garg, from the University of Manchester - a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the study author - called it a "staggering rise" which highlighted an urgent need to improve early access to support. Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 June 2023
  14. News Article
    Recreational vaping will be banned in Australia, as part of a major crackdown amid what experts say is an "epidemic". Minimum quality standards will also be introduced, and the sale of vapes restricted to pharmacies. Nicotine vapes already require a prescription in Australia, but the industry is poorly regulated and a black market is thriving. Health Minister Mark Butler says the products are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts in Australia. Also known as e-cigarettes, vapes heat a liquid - usually containing nicotine - turning it into a vapour that users inhale. They are widely seen as a product to help smokers quit. But in Australia, vapes have exploded in popularity as a recreational product, particularly among young people in cities. Vapes are considered safer than normal cigarettes because they do not contain harmful tobacco - the UK government is even handing them to some smokers for free in its "swap to stop" programme.But health experts advise that vapes are not risk-free - they can often contain chemicals - and the long-term implications of using them are not yet clear.Read full story Source: BBC News, 2 May 2023
  15. News Article
    The number of people under 40 in the UK being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is rising at a faster pace than the over-40s, according to “shocking” and “incredibly troubling” data that experts say exposes the impact of soaring obesity levels. The UK ranks among the worst in Europe with the most overweight and obese adults, according to the World Health Organization. On obesity rates alone, the UK is third after Turkey and Malta. The growing numbers of overweight and obese children and young adults across the UK is now translating into an “alarming acceleration” in type 2 diabetes cases among those aged 18 to 39, analysis by Diabetes UK suggests. There is a close association between obesity and type 2 diabetes. There is a seven times greater risk of type 2 diabetes in obese people compared with those of healthy weight, and a threefold increase in risk for those just overweight. “This analysis confirms an incredibly troubling growing trend, underlining how serious health conditions related to obesity are becoming more and more prevalent in a younger demographic,” Chris Askew, the chief executive of Diabetes UK, said. He added: “While it’s important to remember that type 2 diabetes is a complex condition with multiple other risk factors, such as genetics, family history and ethnicity, these statistics should serve as a serious warning to policymakers and our NHS. “They mark a shift from what we’ve seen historically with type 2 diabetes and underline why we’ve been calling on the government to press ahead with evidence-based policies aimed at improving the health of our nation and addressing the stark health inequalities that exist in parts of the UK.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 1 November 2022
  16. News Article
    A growing number of children with mental health problems are being treated on adult psychiatric wards as services struggle to cope with a surge in demand following the pandemic, the NHS watchdog has warned. There were 249 admissions of under-18s to adult psychiatric wards in England in 2021-22, according to data provided by NHS trusts to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), up 30% on the year before. Of the children admitted to adult wards, 58% of cases were because the child needed to be admitted immediately for their safety. But in more than a quarter of cases, 27%, the child was admitted to the adult ward because there was no alternative child inpatient or community outreach service available. The findings come more than 15 years after the government set a target to end inappropriate admissions of children to adult psychiatric wards. The number of admissions gradually reduced but has now risen again, the CQC figures suggest. Dr Elaine Lockhart, chair of the Child and Adolescent Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the figures were “a concern but not a surprise. We’ve got a lot of children and young people who have become more unwell. Services are really struggling to meet their needs,” she said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 30 October 2022
  17. News Article
    Charities are warning that young cancer patients facing soaring living costs are in a "desperate" situation. Both Macmillan Cancer Support and Young Lives vs Cancer say they've seen dramatic increases in the number of people asking for emergency grants. Research suggests tens of thousands of 18 to 39-year-olds with cancer are struggling to pay basic living costs. Shell Rowe was among those who told BBC Newsbeat they're worried about becoming financially independent. She was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 20 in 2019, just as she was about to study film in California for her third year of university. "Prices have skyrocketed. I haven't been able to work and haven't been able to save and get a job," she says. "How am I ever going to be able to be financially independent? It really scares me." More than half of the 18 to 39-year-olds with cancer surveyed by Macmillan and Virgin Money said they needed more financial support to manage the rising cost of living. One in four young people are getting further into debt or have fallen behind paying rent and energy bills because of increased living costs, according to the survey of 2,000 people across all age groups. More than a tenth (11%) of those surveyed say they've had to delay or cancel medical appointments due to the rising cost of petrol. Many people have to travel long distances for treatment, often in their own cars or a taxi because the risk of infection rules out taking public transport. "It's never been as bad as this. Young people with cancer are in really desperate circumstances, because of the cost-of-living crisis," says Rachel Kirby, chief executive of Young Lives vs Cancer. "No young cancer patient should have to think about the choice of putting fuel in the car to get to treatment, or whether they can heat their homes. But those are the kinds of situations they're facing," Read full story Source: BBC News, 3 October 2022
  18. Content Article
    Samuel Howes was 17 when he died by suicide in September 2020. Samuel had ongoing mental health issues including anxiety and depression. This led to his use of drugs and dependency on alcohol, which in turn further worsened his mental health. This blog by his mother Suzanne details her experience of the final day of the inquest into her son's death, which found multiple failings on the part of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), social services and the police.
  19. Content Article
    This report looks into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three young adults; Joanna, Jon and Ben. They each had learning disabilities, were patients at Cawston Park Hospital and died within a 27 month period (April 2018 to July 2020). It highlights multiple significant failures in care, including excessive use of restraint and seclusion, overmedication of patients, lack of record keeping and the physical assault of patients. The report also makes a series of recommendations for critical system and strategic change, both at a local and national level.
  20. News Article
    One in four 17- to 19-year-olds in England had a probable mental disorder in 2022 – up from one in six in 2021, according to an NHS Digital report. Based on an online survey, rates among teenage boys and girls were similar – but twice as high in 17- to 24-year-old women compared with men. The charity Mind said the UK government "will be failing an entire generation unless it prioritises investment in young people's mental-health services". Matthew Rimmington, 24, is working full-time after studying acting at university, but aged 18, he felt his life was falling apart. It started with symptoms of anxiety, which deteriorated until his feelings really started scaring him. Despite going to his GP and being referred to NHS mental-health services, Matthew received no early support. "I was put on one waiting list and then another one," he says. "It was a constant back and forth and we never got anywhere." Mind interim chief executive officer Sophie Corlett said funding should be directed towards mental-health hubs for young people in England, where they can go when they first start to struggle with their mental health. "The earlier a young person gets support for their mental health, the more effective that support is likely to be," she said. "Young people and their families cannot be sidelined any longer by the government, who need to prioritise the crisis in youth mental health as a matter of national emergency." Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 November 2022
  21. News Article
    Some of the most senior gender identity specialists in the UK have accused their professional body of “contributing to an atmosphere of fear” around young people receiving gender-related healthcare. More than 40 clinical psychologists have signed an open letter to the Association of Clinical Psychologists UK in protest at the organisation’s recent position statement on the provision of services for gender-questioning children and young people. They say they believe there was a failure to properly consult experts in the field or service users, resulting in a “misleading” statement that “perpetuates damaging discourses about the work and gender-diverse identities more broadly”. About half of those signatories are current or former holders of senior roles – including the current director – at what was the only NHS gender identity service for children in England and Wales, the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust in London. NHS England announced in July it would be closing the GIDS and replacing it with regional hubs, after being warned by the interim report of the Cass Review into gender services for young people that having only one provider was “not a safe or viable long-term option”. In 2021, inspectors rated the service “inadequate” overall and highlighted overwhelming caseloads, deficient record-keeping and poor leadership, suggesting that record waiting lists meant thousands of vulnerable young people were at risk of self-harm as they waited years for their first appointment. In a position statement published last month, the ACP-UK wrote that “the new, regional services will have to offer a radical alternative [after the closure of GIDS] to meet the needs of all young people with gender dysphoria.” The letter suggests: “An alternative interpretation is that it is possible to provide support for distress related to gender identity where mental health needs and neurodiversity are also present, and remain cognisant of all factors within formulation-based practice”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 2 November 2022
  22. News Article
    A woman described as a "high risk" anorexia patient faced delays in treatment after moving to university, an inquest has heard. Madeline Wallace, 18, from Cambridgeshire, was told there could be a six-week delay in her seeing a specialist after moving to Edinburgh. The student "struggled" while at university and a coroner said there appeared to be a "gap" in her care. Ms Wallace died on 9 January 2018 due to complications from sepsis. A parliamentary health service ombudsman report into her death was being written at the time of Ms Wallace's treatment in 2017 and issues raised included moving from one provider to another and higher education. Coroner Sean Horstead said Ms Wallace only had one dietician meeting in three months, despite meal preparation and planning being an area of anxiety she had raised. Dr Hazel said she had tried to make arrangements with the Cullen Centre in Edinburgh in April 2017 but had been told to call back in August. The Cullen Centre said it could only accept her as a patient after she registered with a GP and that an appointment could take up to six weeks from that point. Read full story Source: BBC News, 10 February 2020
  23. News Article
    A coroner has criticised health professionals for failing to give a young woman who died after suffering severe anorexia the support and care she needed. Maria Jakes, 24, died of multiple organ failure in September 2018 after struggling for years with the eating disorder. Coroner Sean Horstead last week concluded that the agencies involved in the Peterborough waitress’s care missed several key opportunities to monitor her illness properly. Mr Horstead said that there had been insufficient record-keeping and a failure to notify eating disorder specialists in the weeks before her death, following treatment at Addenbrooke’s and Peterborough City Hospital. He also criticised the lack of specialist eating disorder dieticians at Addenbrookes and Peterborough hospitals, “together with a nursing team insufficiently trained and knowledgeable of eating disorder patients”, both of which had contributed to the lack of monitoring of Maria. Despite the criticism the father of another anorexia victim, whose death was described in a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report as an “avoidable tragedy”, has said the inquest failed to properly address or challenge the “lack of care” that Maria received from the NHS. Nic Hart, whose daughter Averil died in 2012 at the age of 19, criticised the inquest as “a very one sided process”. He told The Telegraph: “No real challengers were made of the clinical evidence or indeed of the lack of care that poor Maria received.” Read full story Source: The Telegraph, 21 December 2019
  24. Content Article
    On 8 April 2020 the coroner commenced an investigation into the death of Daniel France, age 17. Danny was 17 years old and was living at a YMCA hostel. He was on medication for depression and had been referred to secondary mental health services. He had made previous suicide attempts. On 3 April 2020 he took his own life. The medical cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging and the conclusion was suicide.  Danny was a vulnerable teenager: he had left home and was living in hostel accommodation; he had changed his GP practice; he was trans, had changed his name and had been referred to the Gender Identity Clinic; he had recently been discharged from secondary mental health services in Suffolk and had been referred to mental health services in Cambridge; he had previously been under CAMHS and was now being referred to adult mental health services; he had diagnoses of anxiety and depression and had been prescribed medication; he had made previous suicide attempts and had long term suicidal thoughts He had been assessed by First Response Service but had been considered as not requiring urgent intervention. Safeguarding referrals about Danny were made to Cambridgeshire County Council in October 2019 and January 2020. Both referrals were closed and it was accepted that the decision to close both referrals was incorrect. In December 2019 Danny’s new GP referred him to Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT). He had been seen by the Primary Care Mental Health Services but was still awaiting assessment by the Adult Locality Team at the time of his death. 
  25. Content Article
    This report by Bliss, the UK’s leading charity for babies born premature or sick, found that young parents are often underprepared and under-supported when their babies are in neonatal care. Research by Bliss found that more than half of young parents felt they were not as involved in caregiving or decision-making as they wanted to be when their baby was born premature or sick. It also highlighted contradictory messages that young mothers are given throughout their pregnancy that their youth will be a protective factor, despite an increased risk of prematurity and neonatal mortality for babies born to mothers aged under 20. This myth leaves many young parents feeling unprepared, enhancing their feelings of shock and disbelief if their babies are born unwell.
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