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Found 597 results
  1. News Article
    Thousands of vulnerable children questioning their gender identity have been let down by the NHS providing unproven treatments and by the “toxicity” of the trans debate, a landmark report has found. The UK’s only NHS gender identity development service used puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which masculinise or feminise people’s appearances, despite “remarkably weak evidence” that they improve the wellbeing of young people and concern they may harm health, Dr Hilary Cass said. Cass, a leading consultant paediatrician, stressed that her findings were not intended to undermine the validity of trans identities or challenge people’s right to transition, but rather to improve the care of the fast-growing number of children and young people with gender-related distress. But she said this care was made even more difficult to provide by the polarised public debate, and the way in which opposing sides had “pointed to research to justify a position, regardless of the quality of the studies”. “There are few other areas of healthcare where professionals are so afraid to openly discuss their views, where people are vilified on social media, and where name-calling echoes the worst bullying behaviour. This must stop.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 10 April 2024
  2. Content Article
    Dr Hilary Cass has submitted her final report and recommendations to NHS England in her role as Chair of the Independent Review of gender identity services for children and young people. The Review was commissioned by NHS England to make recommendations on how to improve NHS gender identity services, and ensure that children and young people who are questioning their gender identity or experiencing gender dysphoria receive a high standard of care, that meets their needs, is safe, holistic and effective.  The report describes what is known about the young people who are seeking NHS support around their gender identity and sets out the recommended clinical approach to care and support they should expect, the interventions that should be available, and how services should be organised across the country. It also makes recommendations on the quality improvement and research infrastructure required to ensure that the evidence base underpinning care is strengthened.
  3. News Article
    The new NHS gender identity clinics for young people are “understaffed” and “nowhere near ready”, it was claimed on Monday as they officially started taking on patients. A London hub, alongside a second in the northwest, will begin to see patients this week as they replace the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. The Gids clinic was ordered to close after a review by Dr Hilary Cass found it was “not a safe or viable long-term option”. However, whistleblowers described as senior staff at Gids have expressed concerns about the preparedness and expertise of the new hubs, just as they open. One, who spoke to the i newspaper under the condition of anonymity, said: “It’s been shoddy, disorganised, messy and unclear. And at times, it’s felt unsafe.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 1 April 2024
  4. News Article
    Kara Dilliway was just three years old when she came down with a common ear infection in October 2022. She recovered quickly, as was expected, but just days after the infection cleared her parents found she was struggling to hear and talk. “We’d noticed she’d just started to say yes and no to things, that’s when we thought something is going on,” says her mother Sam Dilliway, a 41-year-old community care worker from Basildon, Essex. Doctors said she could have glue ear, a common condition in children – fluid build-up had started to cause problems with her hearing, and would need draining. But what should have been a minor ailment has turned into a never-ending ordeal for the family. What was a simple case of glue ear could now leave her with hearing loss for up to two years as she awaits routine treatment. It comes after data released in January found that over 10 million people have been left on NHS waiting lists for basic ear care services. Dr Aymat says that the long-term effects of such conditions being left untreated in children can be severe. While glue ear is unlikely to leave permanent damage, there is always a small risk of permanent hearing loss. However, the developmental effects are far more likely and potentially long-lasting. Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 April 2024
  5. Content Article
    Official data on whooping cough show that reports of suspected cases are at a 15-year high in the first three months of 2024. This article in the Pharmaceutical Journal looks at why cases are increasing, including falling rates of children receiving the childhood 6-in-1 vaccine and maternal vaccination. It outlines the symptoms of whooping cough, describes how it can be treated and includes a map identifying infection 'hot spots' in England and Wales. This article is free to read but you will need to sign up for a free Pharmaceutical Journal online account.
  6. News Article
    Measles cases in the US are rising, as major health organizations plead for increased vaccination rates and experts fear the virus will multiply among unvaccinated populations. Most notably, this year’s tally of measles cases has now outpaced last year’s total. On Thursday, there were 64 confirmed cases in 17 states, compared with 58 cases in the entirety of last year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By Friday, the tally in Chicago grew by two to a total of 17. “Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known to man,” said Dr David Nguyen, an infectious disease specialist at Rush University Medical Center. Experts say that these incidents could approach the outbreak that spanned 31 states in 2019, when 1,274 patients got sick and 128 were hospitalized in the worst US measles outbreak in decades. “Every measles outbreak can be entirely preventable,” said Dr Aniruddha Hazra, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. The American Medical Association has issued an appeal to increase vaccination rates, while the CDC released a health advisory urging providers to ensure all travelers, especially children over six months, receive the MMR vaccine. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 26 March 2024
  7. News Article
    Senior bosses have shared concerns about the closure of the NHS gender identity clinic for young people, leaked emails seen by BBC News reveal. Hospital executives voiced worry about the cancellation of appointments, patients lacking information and poor communication with the new services. In one email, the service's director, Dr Polly Carmichael, said cancellations could potentially put patients at risk. The controversial Gender Identity Development Service (Gids), which is run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, is due to close later this week. Its closure was announced in July 2022, after an independent review said a "fundamentally different" model of care for young people with gender-related distress was needed. It will initially be replaced by two new regional hubs; a London-based southern hub and a north of England hub. Additional hubs are expected to open in the coming years. However, BBC News has spoken to staff at the existing service who say, just days before the 31 March closure, they have been unable to answer basic questions from patients about the future of their care. They say they still do not have enough details about how the new services will operate or when some provisions will be fully operational in the new clinics. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 March 2024
  8. News Article
    Black children in the UK are at four times greater risk of complications following emergency appendicitis surgery compared with white children. Researchers revealed these alarming disparities in postoperative outcomes recently. The study, led by Dr Amaki Sogbodjor, a consultant anaesthetist at Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London, showed that black children faced these greater risks irrespective of their socioeconomic status and health history. Appendicitis is one of the most prevalent paediatric surgical emergencies; approximately 10,000 cases are treated annually in the UK. However, this marks the first attempt to scrutinise demographic variances in postoperative complication rates related to appendicitis. Dr Sogbodjor emphasised the critical need for further investigation into the root causes of these disparities. "This apparent health inequality requires urgent further investigation and development of interventions aimed at resolution," she said. Read full story Source: Surgery, 25 March 2024
  9. Content Article
    Along with the Care Inspectorate, Healthcare Improvement Scotland have established a National hub for reviewing and learning from the deaths of children and young people (National hub). The National hub uses evidence to deliver change. It ultimately aims to help reduce preventable deaths and harm to children and young people.  
  10. Content Article
    The aim of this study was to quantify the difference in weekday versus weekend occupancy, and the opportunity to smooth inpatient occupancy to reduce crowding at children's hospitals. They study found that hospitals do have substantial unused capacity, and smoothing occupancy over the course of a week could be a useful strategy that hospitals can use to reduce crowding and protect patients from crowded conditions.
  11. Content Article
    Severe myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in children and young people is a little-understood condition which significantly impacts education, development and quality of life. This study in BMJ Paediatrics Open used data from a population-wide surveillance study to explore the screening investigation, referral and management of suspected cases of paediatric severe ME/CFS. The authors found that full investigation is frequently incomplete in children and young people with suspected severe ME/CFS. Recommendations for referral and management are poorly implemented—in particular the needs of children and young people who are unable to leave their home might be poorly met.
  12. Content Article
    Around 1 in 5 children have eczema (also known as atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis). They typically have inflamed and dry, itchy skin. During flare-ups (periods of worsening symptoms), their skin becomes vulnerable to cracks, bleeding and infection. Eczema impacts quality of life; it can impair sleep, ability to concentrate at school, self-confidence and mood. The condition is usually long-term (chronic), although it improves, or even clears completely, in some children as they get older. Even so, it is one of the most common reasons for children and young people to seek medical care. Community pharmacists and GPs are the first port of call and, while there is no cure, treatments can soothe sore skin, reduce itching, improve the appearance of the eczema, and reduce infections.
  13. News Article
    The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has called on the UK government not to wait until after the upcoming general election to approve an infant immunisation programme against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), so that babies can be protected next winter. In June 2023 the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) recommended developing an RSV immunisation programme for infants and for older adults.1 It issued a fuller statement reiterating the advice in September 2023.2 But the government has yet to make a final decision on rolling out an RSV immunisation programme. A letter signed by more than 2000 paediatricians and healthcare professionals says that the sooner a full RSV vaccination programme is implemented the more effective it will be and that it “could save child health services reaching breaking point.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 20 March 2024
  14. Content Article
    The Children and Young People’s Health Equity Collaborative (CHEC) is a partnership between the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE), Barnardo’s and three Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), Birmingham and Solihull, Cheshire and Merseyside, and South Yorkshire. The CHEC sees action on the social determinants of health as essential in improving health outcomes among children and young people and reducing inequalities in health. The CHEC recognises that social determinants of health are generally not sufficiently addressed in policies, services and interventions that aim to support better health among children and young people. This framework has been developed by the CHEC with direct input from children and young people local to the three ICSs. The CHEC Board were also involved in its development. The framework’s main purpose is to underpin action for achieving greater equity in children and young people’s health and wellbeing and will be used to support the development of pilot interventions in the three partner ICS areas. There is an ambition for the framework also to be used more widely, encouraging other ICSs to take action on the social determinants of health among children and young people.
  15. Content Article
    The School And Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA) has coproduced this vaccination toolkit with children and young people. It aims to increase young people's awareness of what vaccines are, why they are important and what to expect from different types of vaccines.
  16. News Article
    Children will no longer routinely be prescribed puberty blockers at gender identity clinics, NHS England has confirmed. The decision comes after a review found there was "not enough evidence" they are safe or effective. Puberty blockers, which pause the physical changes of puberty, will now only be available as part of research. It comes weeks before an independent review into gender identity services in England is due to be published. An interim report from the review, published in 2022 by Dr Hilary Cass, had earlier found there were "gaps in evidence" around the drugs and called for a transformation in the model of care for children with gender-related distress. Health Minister Maria Caulfield said: "We have always been clear that children's safety and wellbeing is paramount, so we welcome this landmark decision by the NHS. "Ending the routine prescription of puberty blockers will help ensure that care is based on evidence, expert clinical opinion and is in the best interests of the child." Read full story Source: BBC News, 13 March 2024
  17. Event
    For the first time, Making Families Count are collaborating with SOFT UK, a charity that supports families caring for children with a rare and life-limiting genetic condition. Speakers will be drawn from the families and healthcare professionals who are part of the SOFT UK community, sharing their stories and lived experiences and giving suggestions that may help you support the families you work with. The Department of Health UK Strategy for Rare Diseases (DHSSPS 2020) estimates that rare diseases, including genetic conditions, affect the lives of over 3 million people in the UK. Of these, a significant proportion are children with genetic life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. The parents of many of these children often talk of the challenges of parenting a disabled child and their sometimes stressful interaction with healthcare professionals. This webinar will give you greater insight into the lived experience of families caring for a child with complex needs. We will explore their day-to-day challenges in dealing with the anxiety of hospital admissions, difficulties of communicating with and being heard by healthcare professionals, the challenge of balancing the needs of the whole family, and the stressful burden upon parents over time. This webinar is for… Paediatric nurses Paediatric / Community nursing teams Complex Care Team (Paediatrics) Respite Care (Paediatrics) Play Specialists Hospital at Home teams (Paediatrics) Paediatric / Children’s Occupational Therapists Paediatric / Children’s Physiotherapists SALT Child Development Centre staff Paediatric Outreach Teams Presenters: Dr Alison Pearson, a post-doctoral research fellow in education, well-being, and resilience and mum to 13-year-old Isabel, who has full Edwards’ syndrome. She draws upon her research and her family’s lived experience to talk about the challenges of hospital acute admissions for Isabel and the impact on her whole family. Una McFaddyn, a recently retired Consultant Paediatrician with a special interest in respiratory and neonatal paediatrics. Una has a long-standing interest in children’s rights and has worked with various projects involving children and parents as partners in care. She will provide the perspective of a healthcare professional on supporting families and their children. You will also hear other voices from the SOFT UK community of families via several films and audio clips, bringing to life the experience of a wide range of parents who care for children with complex care needs. Learning outcomes: At the end of this webinar, you will have an appreciation of the challenges facing parents who care for a child with complex needs – specifically the anxiety of acute admissions to hospital, communication issues with healthcare staff, and the wider impact upon families. You will be able to use that deeper understanding to shape the care and support you can offer these families in your own practice. Register
  18. Content Article
    Adverse safety events (ASE) are common in paediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA). This retrospective chart review study sought to estimate the prevalence of adverse safety events in children under age 18 experiencing OHCA. The researchers found that 60% of those children experienced at least one severe ASE, with the highest odds of ASE occurring when the OHCA was birth-related.
  19. Content Article
    Sepsis is an emergency medical condition where the immune system overreacts to an infection. It affects people of all ages and, without urgent treatment, can lead to organ failure and death. This leaflet by the Sepsis Trust outlines the symptoms of sepsis in children and aims to help parents and carers identify when to seek medical help.
  20. News Article
    Almost 70,000 children are missing out on mental health care they should be eligible to receive as the NHS falls short of key targets, The Independent has revealed. An internal analysis, seen by The Independent, shows in England the NHS has fallen short of a target, set in 2019, for 818,000 children to receive at least one treatment session from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in 2023. The actual number of children who received treatment in the 12 months to December was 749,833, falling short of the target by around 9%. The figures came as the government announced this week it would expand the number of early access mental health hubs for children to cover 50% of the country by 2025. However, campaigners urged ministers to commit to covering the entire country to help “turn the tide on the crisis” in children’s mental health services. The NHS analysis shows, as of December, CAMHS in the South West was furthest away from its targets with 78% of children seen out of those eligible. In London, 80% of the target was achieved and in the North West 105%. Laura Bunt, chief executive at YoungMinds, said: “Referrals to mental health services are at a record high with more young people than ever in need of support with their mental health. We know that many young people are struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic, facing intense academic pressure to catch up on lost learning, a cost of living crisis and increasing global instability. “Every young person should be able to access mental health support when they need it, but too many don’t get it until things get much worse. Services continue to be significantly underfunded and the number of young people receiving treatment falls woefully short of what is needed. To turn the tide on this crisis, the government must prioritise young people and their mental health by investing in prevention and early intervention.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 2 March 2024
  21. News Article
    Harry Miller was a popular teenager, appreciated for his sharp humour, ability to get on with anyone and eagerness “for the next adventure”. In the autumn of 2017, he was struggling with difficult thoughts and feelings of anger. Harry, who was 14 and lived in south-west London, confided his inner turmoil to friends and family. “I’m just having these anger rages,” he told his mother one day. “It’s like I just go crazy suddenly and I can’t control it. I don’t know what’s going on.” Two years previously, Harry had been prescribed the drug montelukast for his asthma. Unbeknown to his parents, a range of psychiatric reactions had been reported in association with montelukast treatment, including aggression, depression and suicidal thoughts. Harry’s parents, Graham and Alison Miller were not properly warned of the potential side effects. Their son was referred to the NHS child and adolescent mental health services in January 2018, but he missed an appointment because it was sent to the wrong person. On 11 February 2018, Harry was found dead in the family home, with an inquest later recording a verdict of suicide. He was described in a tribute by friends at St Cecilia’s Church of England school in Southfields, south-west London, as a “super star burning brightly”. Two years after his death, his father read an online warning about the adverse reactions involving montelukast by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It said these could very rarely include suicidal behaviour. Graham Miller said: “It is an absolute outrage that parents are being given psychoactive substances to give to their children without proper warning of the risk.” This weekend, the MHRA has confirmed that the drug is under review. A montelukast UK action group is calling for more prominent warnings of the drug’s possible side effects. Read full story Source: BBC News, 3 March 2024
  22. News Article
    Child and adolescent eating disorder services have never achieved NHS waiting time targets, and are not able to meet significant demand, according to analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Psychiatrists can identify and address many of the root causes of eating disorders, including neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism and ADHD. However, a current lack of capacity prevents this from happening. Due to a lack of resources, even children who meet the threshold for specialist eating disorder services are often in physical and mental health crisis by the time they are seen. Delays in treatment cause children with eating disorders physical and mental harm. NHS England set a target for 95% of children and young people with an urgent eating disorder referral to be seen within a week, and for 95% of routine referrals to be seen within four weeks. These standards have not been achieved nationwide, since they were introduced in 2021. RCPsych analysis of the latest data shows that just 63.8% of children and young people needing urgent treatment from eating disorder services were seen within one week. Only 79.4% of children and young people with a routine referral were seen within four weeks. The College also warns that there is an unacceptable gap between the number of children being referred to specialist eating disorders services, and those being seen. This is driven by a shortfall in the number of trained therapists and eating disorders psychiatrists. For Eating Disorders Awareness Week, the Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling on Government and Integrated Care Boards to invest in targeted support for children and young people to reverse this eating disorders crisis. The call is backed by the UK’s eating disorder charity Beat. Read full story Source: Royal College of Psychiatrists, 29 February 2024 Further reading on the hub: For Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Patient Safety Learning has pulled together 10 useful resources shared on the hub to help healthcare professionals, friends and family support people with eating disorders.
  23. Content Article
    This US study in the journal Pediatrics analysed a national sample of paediatric hospitalisations to identify disparities in safety events. The authors used data from the 2019 Kids’ Inpatient Database and looked at the independent variables of race, ethnicity and the organisation paying for care (for example, private insurance company or Medicaid). The results showed disparities in safety events for Black and Hispanic children, indicating a need for targeted interventions to improve patient safety in hospitals.
  24. News Article
    It is still unclear how unauthorised metal parts came to be implanted in a number of the 19 children with spina bifida who suffered significant complications after spinal surgery. But it has emerged that one child died and 18 others suffered a range of complications after surgery at Temple Street Children’s Hospital – with several needing further surgery, including the removal of metal parts which were not authorised for use. Parents of the children undergoing complex surgery were left distraught by the disclosures that emerged yesterday, after campaigning for years while the young patients in need of operations deteriorated on waiting lists. Gerry Maguire, of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland, said “absolute horror is being visited on parents and their advocates”. He condemned as disturbing the information which is “being drip-fed to his group and “more alarmingly the families concerned”. One mother expressed concern about further delays in surgery and said children are too complex to be taken for care abroad. Read full story Source: Irish Independent, 19 September 2023
  25. News Article
    Great Ormond Street Hospital has written to the families of all children treated by one of its former surgeons after concerns were raised about his practice. Yaser Jabbar, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, has not had a licence to practise medicine in the UK since 8 January, the medical register shows. Independent experts are now reviewing the concerns raised. The hospital trust said the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) was asked to review its paediatric orthopaedic service following concerns raised by family members and staff. The RCS then raised concerns about Mr Jabbar, which the trust said were being taken "incredibly seriously" and would be reviewed by independent experts from other paediatric hospitals. A spokesman for the trust said: "We are sorry for the worry and uncertainty this may cause the families who are impacted. "We are committed to learning from every single patient that we treat, and to being open and transparent with our families when care falls below the high standards we strive for." The spokesperson said Mr Jabbar, reported to be an expert in limb reconstruction, no longer worked at the hospital. Read full story Source: BBC News, 28 February 2024
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