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Found 93 results
  1. News Article
    A team of 25,000 contact tracers are making their first phone calls to track down people who will be told to self-isolate under a new scheme in England. Tracers will text, email or call people who test positive with coronavirus and ask who they have had contact with. Any of those contacts deemed at risk of infection will be told to isolate for 14 days, even if they are not sick. A test and trace system is also launching in Scotland, where an easing of the lockdown is expected later. The aim of England's NHS Test and Trace system is to lift national lockdown restrictions and move towards more localised, targeted measures. The team will start by contacting the 2,013 people who tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. Read full story Source: BBC News, 28 May 2020
  2. News Article
    Retailers in England selling home antibody tests, including Superdrug and Babylon, have been told to stop sending them out, and labs must not process them, while the regulatory body (Public Health England) examines how well they work. Read story Source: The Guardian, 27 May 2020
  3. News Article
    Facial recognition has been added as a way of logging in to an NHS app that lets people order prescriptions, book appointments and find healthcare data. Initially, it will allow faster access to the services on the app, which is separate from the contact-tracing one, but its developers say it could also be used for COVID-19 "immunity passports". The NHS facial-recognition system, built by iProov and available for both Android devices and iOS, requires users to submit a photo of themselves from an official document such as their passport or driving license. They then scan their face using their phone and, following a short sequence of flashing colours, their identification will be verified and they will have access to all the services on the NHS app. Immunity passports need to link a person's identity to their coronavirus test results, so would require a robust way of allowing people to verify themselves. Those deemed clear of the virus could then prove their status via a code generated by an app. However, the idea is controversial, not least because there is no hard scientific evidence that having had the coronavirus provides people with long-lasting immunity. The World Health Organization has warned countries against implementing such passports, saying: "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection." Dr Tom Fisher, a senior researcher at Privacy International, said the implementation of such measures needed to be "necessary, proportionate and based on the epidemiological evidence". "For the moment, immunity passports do not meet this test," he said. "We must be concerned about the broad societal impact of such immunity passports. They are essentially about limiting the rights of those who are not deemed to be immune. This is a route to exclusion and discrimination." Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 May 2020
  4. Content Article
    Safe zones compromised COVID-19 testing is being used to inform decisions around infection control. If there are people moving into or between health and social care settings (patients or staff), who have tested negatively and are not showing typical symptoms of COVID-19, they will likely be treated accordingly. For example, they may be placed in ‘green’ areas, dedicated for those who do not have the virus. These areas are designed to protect non COVID-19 patients but there is a risk that some patients could have had a false negative test result and slipped through the net, compromising safety measures. A danger of misdiagnosis If clinicians are relying on test results being accurate, people who are experiencing symptoms but are told they are COVID-19 negative may be dismissed or misdiagnosed. In a recent blog published on the hub, patient ‘Sarah’ explains how she was discharged from A&E, following a negative test result, and diagnosed with anxiety. A few days on she deteriorated, needing to be admitted to hospital again, this time by ambulance. She was told by paramedics that, according to her observations, she should have been in a coma. Doctors later confirmed that her initial test result had been falsely negative and that she did have COVID-19. Sarah also expressed concern for the paramedics who were not wearing adequate protection to treat someone with COVID-19, because they were wrongly reassured by the test that she was negative [4]. Impact in the community If members of the public test falsely negatively for COVID-19, there is the risk that they will not isolate and will spread the infection further as they access supermarkets, pharmacies and don’t distance from members of their household. There may also be cases where patients who had a false negative were incorrectly advised they were safe to return to work. For key workers in particular, this would increase the risk of spreading the virus to their colleagues and service users. Impact on mental health and recovery There is a risk that a patient’s mental health and wellbeing could deteriorate if they receive a negative test result but are in fact suffering from COVID-19. This is of particular concern in relation to the significant number who are experiencing a slow and debilitating recovery but have not necessarily needed hospital care [5][6]. We are hearing from COVID-19 support groups that these ‘moderate’ sufferers are often left feeling lonely, depressed and frustrated that they are unable to get back on their feet as quickly as they feel they should [7]. There seems to be little support for this group, particularly where they have tested negatively and their symptoms do not align with the official list of symptoms for coronavirus infection. Some people who were sure they had the virus but received a negative test result, have ended up doubting themselves. They pushed their bodies too hard too soon, causing relapses in symptoms and they have subsequently faced further mental health challenges. In an anonymous account shared on the hub, one patient explains how a false negative caused their mental health to deteriorate. “I thought that I should be physically active if I didn't have COVID-19, so I pushed myself and berated myself when I repeatedly became unable to breath with a pounding heart upon any exertion. I couldn't cope caring for my four children and was in a 'critical' dangerous mental state many times. I self-harmed to try and cut off from feeling so awful.” [8] Concluding thoughts Patient Safety Learning are concerned that false negative test results could present several risks to patient safety and we ask the following questions: How are the number of false negative tests being monitored and is this data being publicly reported? Is adequate research being undertaken to understand the cause/s behind the false negative results? What steps are being taken to reduce the testing problems commonly encountered by healthcare professionals that lead to false negatives? Do staff taking swabs feel adequately trained and supported? Is patient feedback around the ease of the self-testing process being captured and reported on? Is the current support and guidance for people who are home-testing fit-for-purpose and endorsed by human factors experts? What is the guidance for caring for patients in hospitals and care settings when they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 but have tested negatively? What support is available for patients who believe they have had COVID-19 and are experiencing debilitating symptoms weeks later, but may not have been tested or may have tested negatively? A highly accurate antibody test would help to address some of the concerns raised in this blog and provide a clearer picture of the rate of false negatives. When is that likely to be widely available? References UK Parliament, House of Commons Debate: COVID-19 Response, Volume 676, 18 May 2020. https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-05-18/debates/8FA78498-C990-4246-A745-AE0F36F7B948/Covid-19Response West, Colin. P, Montori, Victor. M and Sampathkumar, P, Covid-19 Testing: The Threat of False-Negative Results, Science Direct, 11 April 2020. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025619620303657#! Department of Health and Social Care, Coronavirus (COVID-19): scaling up testing programmes, Last Updated 6 April 2020. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scaling-up-testing-programmes Sarah, My ‘false negative’ COVID-19 test put others at risk, Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, 19 May 2020. The Guardian, ‘Weird as hell’: the Covid-19 patients who have symptoms for months, 15 May 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/15/weird-hell-professor-advent-calendar-covid-19-symptoms-paul-garner; Sky News, Prof Tim Spector: There’s no such thing as a ‘classical’ COVID-19 case, Facebook, 18 May 2020. https://www.facebook.com/skynews/videos/3470045256358345 Facebook, Covid-19 Support Group, Last Accessed 22 May 2020. https://www.facebook.com/groups/625349464716052/?multi_permalinks=636948470222818 Anonymous, ‘False negative’ and the impact on my mental health, Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, 22 May 2020. https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-covid19/273_blogs/false-negative-and-the-impact-on-my-mental-health-r2297/
  5. Content Article
    I was experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and when I became unable to complete a sentence or walk to the bathroom, my GP advised me to go to hospital. I have mental health difficulties and one of the staff recognised me from when I had been admitted previously, following a suicide attempt. I felt that I was treated like a 'frequent flyer' of A&E and that my symptoms were taken less seriously than they would have been otherwise. I was sent home after my tests for Covid came back negative and was told that it was just anxiety. I got much worse over the coming days. If I had tested negative, why was I feeling desperately unwell with all the published symptoms of Covid? I thought that I should be physically active if I didn't have Covid-19, so I pushed myself and berated myself when I repeatedly became unable to breath with a pounding heart upon any exertion. I couldn't cope caring for my four children and was in a 'critical' dangerous mental state many times. I self-harmed to try and cut off from feeling so awful. My physical health deteriorated. The ambulance was called by the GP who had sent a nurse to assess my oxygen levels and the paramedic said I should be in a coma according to my obs. This made me feel less like I was making it up, but it was still in my head despite my husband telling me repeatedly that the results of the test are 30% wrong. The paramedic gave me oxygen and I protested strongly against going to hospital a second time. The paramedic insisted I went, put me on oxygen and reassured me he would ask the hospital staff to relate to me as a patient who was showing clear signs of Covid and that I did struggle with my mental health but that I was doing my best to recover. I also asked the paramedics to inform the hospital staff about my eating disorder so they could gently help me to manage my low blood sugar without judgements and causing me further shame. In the hospital I saw a Dr who confirmed that I did have Covid-19 and that my test must have been a 'false negative'. I had felt judged, dismissed and had doubted myself. The first thing anyone I spoke to asked was whether or not I had had a test and whether it was positive. The negative test result isolated me from calling family and greeting neighbours as I didn't have the energy to go into the false negative answer. I found that saying my test was 'negative' sparked a surge of invalidation of everything I was experiencing. The isolation caused me further significant harm to my mental health. Among other fleeting symptoms I have had overwhelming fatigue, breathlessness, sweats or chills, no smell or taste, a rash, headaches and low mood. After nearly four weeks I am slowly recovering. I am lucky to have a social worker, family support worker and psychologist available over the phone through this period, so I do feel my family and I are supported. But I am interested to know if anyone else has found their symptoms are being quickly dismissed as anxiety when they are sure they have the virus? Or if anyone else feels like they haven't had their symptoms taken as seriously because of their mental health difficulties?
  6. News Article
    National leaders have said healthcare workers must do better on social distancing amid growing evidence that staff-to-staff transmission is the significant factor in the spread of coronavirus throughout hospitals. NHS England national clinical director for trauma Dr Chris Moran, said: “I’ve witnessed and I’m sure you’ve all witnessed that actually healthcare workers are not necessarily been the best at managing social distancing. We know when directly managing patients that it [social distancing] is impossible, that’s what PPE is for to protect both sides of the equation. But I think in the staff-only areas we could do quite a lot better in some of the places that I’ve visited.” National director for acute care Keith Willett added: “The evidence we’ve seen coming through suggests the infection risks from staff to patients or patients to staff seems very low but the risks to staff of infection, COVID-19 infection, within hospitals is much, much, much higher between staff and staff, and patients and patients.” The warning comes after NHS England’s patient safety director Dr Aidan Fowler said he was concerned about the rates of "nosocomial spread within our hospitals”. Following national guidance designed to facilitate an increase in elective operations and other routine work, NHS trusts have been asked to set up “covid free” green zones and blue zones with a higher COVID-19 risk. Read full story Source: HSJ, 21 May 2020
  7. Content Article
    This first insight document focuses on adult social care: reviewing data on outbreaks, deaths and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), and in particular highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on staff wellbeing and the financial viability of adult social care services. It describes the need – now more acute than ever – for whole system working across different sectors to ensure safer care. It also outlines future areas of focus, including infection control both within and between services, how local systems are engaging social care organisations in the management of COVID-19, and how care for people from vulnerable groups is being managed through the crisis.
  8. News Article
    Time is running out to finalise a track and trace strategy that would avoid a potential second surge in coronavirus cases, NHS leaders have said. The NHS Confederation warned of "severe" consequences to staff and patients if the right system was not established quickly and that lockdown measures should not be eased until a clear plan was in place. Contact tracing identifies those who may have come into contact with an infected person, either through an app or by phone and email, so they can avoid potentially passing the disease on. It follows the Prime Minister's pledge to introduce a "world-beating" contact tracing system in England from June. Niall Dickson, chief executive of the confederation, which represents health and care leaders, welcomed Boris Johnson's pledge made at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday. But in a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Mr Dickson said without a clear strategy the UK was at greater risk of a second peak of the virus. He said a strategy should have been in place sooner and if the right system was not instigated rapidly the ramifications for the NHS "could be severe". Speaking on the Today programme, Mr Dickson said: "We are absolutely clear that contact tracing is the right thing to do, it is absolutely critical, it has got to be in place to prevent any notion of a second surge if the lockdown is being further released." Read full story Source: 21 May 2020
  9. News Article
    European countries should brace themselves for a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections because the pandemic is not over, the World Health Organization’s top official in Europe has said. In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Dr Hans Kluge, director for the WHO European region, delivered a stark warning to countries beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions, saying that now is the "time for preparation, not celebration". Dr Kluge stressed that, as the number of cases of COVID-19 in countries such as the UK, France and Italy was beginning to fall, it did not mean the pandemic was coming to an end. The epicentre of the European outbreak is now in the east, with the number of cases rising in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, he warned. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 20 May 2020
  10. Content Article
    My symptoms began towards the end of April. I started to cough and feel really cold. I developed a severe headache, was bothered by light and started to hurt in my kidney area and my neck. I stopped being able to complete a sentence without breathing in between words and felt like I had a tight chest. I found it hard to stay awake. I struggled to breathe if I even stood up. We started to isolate as a family of six. My GP tried to call but I was too breathless to speak on the phone so she asked me to take my blood pressure. It was 130/95 with a pulse of 38. She told my husband to take me to the hospital in case I needed oxygen. I was taken to a ward specifically for those showing signs of COVID-19. Three nurses treated me while I was crying and coughing and unable to breathe. They had a mask and gloves and had put a mask on me but the masks were not great and I didn't think it would be sufficient protection. One swabbed my throat and up my nose. I knew I had COVID-19 and didn't want them touching me as I thought they would get it. Two hours later was told I was fine and should go home. The doctor said my blood results were clear, my chest X-ray was clear I didn't have COVID, just anxiety. On my way out I was distressed as my husband and I were sure I had it. We continued to isolate as a family, despite what I was told in hospital. I haven't had anyone contact me with my swab results. At home, my symptoms got worse. I was freezing and coughing, headache, diarrhoea, aches, foggy, couldn't taste or smell, craved sugar to keep me awake. My fever came on and off. I had three teenagers and a five year old at home. I had extreme exhaustion and was unable to walk or complete sentences. A week or so later, following a phone call, the GP sent a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) to take my blood pressure and SATS. The HCA said that I had tested negative for COVID but I told her that I didn't believe it to be accurate. She gave me the SATS monitor to use myself while she watched from the doorway. My SATS went down to 80percent when I lifted my arms so the HCA called the GP who called an ambulance. The paramedics said that I should be in a coma according to my obs. He was only wearing gloves and a mask so I was upset as I was sure I had COVID. He commented that it was in my notes, COVID negative. The paramedics were with me for over an hour in my house. My daughter was in the room and husband who were not wearing masks and my other three children not wearing masks came to say goodbye to me. It would have been quite possible for them to be spreading it to the paramedics too. Upon walking to the ambulance, my SATS went down to 68% with a blood sugar of 2, so I was given sugar and given oxygen in the ambulance. I started to shake. The paramedic then changed into a hazmat suit. The other paramedic carried on treating me as he wanted to put a cannula into me. Acknowledging my concerns, they reassured me that they would speak to the staff to say that I may have had a false negative as I was showing signs of COVID. The staff in the resuss part of the hospital were wearing full PPE with plastic over their faces. A few hours later the doctor made me walk round the ward with a SATS monitor attached to my ear. My SATS went down to 96 then 94 then 92 and then 90 and then I went back to my bed. The doctor told me that I did have COVID-19, that it had been a false negative and that I needed to rest. My biggest concerns are for the safety of the paramedics, who were seriously at risk thinking I was a negative for COVID-19 because of my initial test results. I'm interested to know if anyone else had a similar experience.
  11. News Article
    The leader of the NHS’ pandemic testing programme has highlighted concerns about the rate of COVID-19 transmissions in hospitals, HSJ can reveal. NHS England’s patient safety director Dr Aidan Fowler told an industry webinar that he and his team “are concerned about the rates of nosocomial spread within our hospitals”. Dr Fowler leads the NHS and Public Heath England testing programme (know as “pillar one”). He said the concerns had led to a focus on discovering where transmissions of covid-19 are occurring in hospitals, and how the NHS can reduce the rate of staff and patients becoming infected while on the NHS estate. His comments come as the NHS attempts to restart the provision of routine elective care and prepares for a significant increase in emergency admissions. The NHS has been told to create separate areas for covid positive and negative patients where possible, regardless of what they are being treated for. Patients are being to self-isolate at home for two weeks before attending hospital for treatment. Read full story Source: HSJ, 18 March 2020
  12. News Article
    Up to a fifth of patients with COVID-19 in several hospitals contracted the disease over the course of the pandemic while already being treated there for another illness, NHS bosses have told senior doctors and nurses. Some of the infections were passed on by hospital staff who were unaware they had the virus and were displaying no symptoms, while patients with coronavirus were responsible for the others. The figures represent NHS England’s first estimate of the size of the problem of hospital-acquired COVID-19, which Boris Johnson last week said was causing an “epidemic” of deaths. In a national briefing last month on infection control and COVID-19, NHS England told the medical directors and chief nurses of all acute hospitals in England that it had found that 10%-20% of people in hospital with the disease had got it while they were inpatients. Senior doctors and hospital managers say that doctors, nurses and other staff have inadvertently passed on the virus to patients because they did not have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) or could not get tested for the virus. Doctors say that hospital-acquired COVID-19 is a significant problem and that patients have died after becoming infected that way. One surgeon, who did not want to be named, said: “Multiple patients my department treated who were inpatients pre lockdown got the bug and died. Obviously the timeline supports that they acquired it from staff and other patients.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 May 2020
  13. News Article
    Restarting NHS services will be an even greater challenge than coping with the first coronavirus infections, health think tanks and hospital chiefs have warned. Since March, the NHS has freed up more than 33,000 beds to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients needing intensive care, but since the peak of infection health chiefs have worried that delays to care were harming patients. Around 46,000 so-called excess deaths have been recorded during the pandemic, as compared against a five-year average. Around a quarter of these are believed to be unrelated to COVID-19. In a joint statement, the Health Foundation, Nuffield Trust and King’s Fund think tanks have said it could take months before the NHS and social care are able to fully restart. All three bodies will be giving evidence to the Commons health committee on Thursday, where they will warn about the impact on the health service’s “exhausted staff” and demand action to help care homes – which are now at the frontline in the fight against coronavirus. The experts will stress the need for the NHS to begin planning for a second peak of infections, especially if it comes in winter – when the service is usually overwhelmed by seasonal flu. They will warn about concerns over how the NHS manages the risk of infection, with the need for more protective equipment, social distancing and increased testing. This will “severely limit capacity for many months”, they said. Read full story Soruce: The Independent, 14 May 2020
  14. Content Article
    Key points This report provides a road map for navigating through the current COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. It outlines specific directions for adapting our public-health approach away from sweeping mitigation strategies as we limit the epidemic spread of COVID-19, such that we can transition to new tools and approaches to prevent further spread of the disease. The authors outline the steps that can be taken as epidemic transmission is brought under control in different regions. They also suggest measurable milestones for identifying when we can make these transitions and start reopening America for businesses and families. In each phase, the authors outline the steps that the federal government, working with the states and public-health and health care partners, should take to inform the response. This will take time, but planning for each phase should begin now so the infrastructure is in place when it is time to transition.