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Found 107 results
  1. Content Article
    This investigation looks into patient safety issues associated with airway management – the techniques used by healthcare professionals to help patients to get enough oxygen into their lungs, for example during surgery or a medical emergency. The reports findings, safety recommendations and safety observations are intended to help healthcare professionals quickly recognise whether someone has a potentially difficult airway and may need advanced airway management techniques to keep their airway open.
  2. Content Article
    This report summarises the findings of an evaluation conducted by Health Innovation East and Health Innovation Manchester on behalf of the national Innovation Collaborative for digital health. It presents findings from an evaluation of a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) virtual ward that falls within a virtual hospital managed by South and West Hertfordshire Health and Care Partnership. It aims to inform the potential wider adoption of the virtual ward model across the UK and understand the model’s potential to support people with other health conditions. It also considers the success of South and West Hertfordshire Health and Care Partnership Virtual Ward objectives to improve patient care, clinical outcomes, healthcare utilisation, and patient and staff satisfaction. 
  3. Content Article
    In anticipation of an increase in patients requiring a temporary tracheostomy due to the huge surge in patients placed on ICU ventilation at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS England National Patient Safety Team launched a National Patient Safety Improvement programme to rapidly support the NHS to provide safe tracheostomy care.
  4. Content Article
    This report from Asthma + Lung UK highlights that lung diseases such as COPD, asthma and pneumonia are the third leading cause of death in England, whilst the UK as a whole has the worst death rate from lung disease in Europe. Hospital admissions for lung diseases have doubled in the last 20 years and lack of proper testing for lung diseases is having an impact on patient safety, as GPs have to "guess" diagnoses. The report highlights three areas where policy changes should be implemented in order to improve care for people affected, reduce pressure on services and deliver massive savings for the NHS: Diagnosing lung disease early and accurately  Keeping people healthy and out of hospital Providing treatments that work
  5. News Article
    Babies could be needlessly hospitalised this winter because the government has delayed a vaccine that protects them from a life-threatening virus, the UK’s top children’s doctor has warned. Dr Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said she was “frustrated” by delays in introducing a new vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which drives 30,000 hospital admissions each winter and leads to dozens of deaths. She warned the delay meant thousands of children’s operations will have to be cancelled as RSV patients fill up beds – piling further pressure on already soaring waiting lists. It comes after the UK’s most senior A&E doctor, Dr Adrian Boyle, told The Independent that the government’s failure to prepare the NHS for winter could see thousands of people die needlessly this year. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said in June that a rollout of two RSV vaccines, one for babies and one for pregnant women, would be “cost-effective”, while the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said there was a “strong case” for a jab. But it confirmed there was no timeframe for when vaccinations could start. Read full story Source: The Independent, 4 September 2023
  6. News Article
    US regulators this week have approved the first RSV vaccine for pregnant women so their babies will be born with protection against the respiratory infection. The Food and Drug Administration cleared Pfizer’s maternal vaccination to guard against a severe case of RSV when babies are most vulnerable – from birth through six months of age. The next step: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must issue recommendations for using the vaccine, named Abrysvo, during pregnancy. “Maternal vaccination is an incredible way to protect the infants,” said Dr Elizabeth Schlaudecker of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, a researcher in Pfizer’s international study of the vaccine. If shots begin soon, “I do think we could see an impact for this RSV season.” RSV is a coldlike nuisance for most healthy people but it can be life-threatening for the very young. It inflames babies’ tiny airways so it’s hard to breathe or causes pneumonia. In the US alone, between 58,000 and 80,000 children younger than five are hospitalised each year, and several hundred die, from the respiratory syncytial virus. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 August 2023
  7. News Article
    GP practices in England will be able to order a host of checks directly to help speed up the diagnosis of a range of heart and respiratory conditions. Traditionally GPs refer to specialists when conditions like heart failure and lung problems are suspected. But the ability to direct refer, which was rolled out for cancer last year, is now being extended. GPs welcomed the move, but questioned whether there was sufficient testing capacity to cope. Royal College of GPs chair Prof Kamila Hawthorne said: "Any initiative to accelerate the process by which patients can be diagnosed and begin to receive any necessary treatment should be seen as positive." She said GPs had "long been calling" for better access to diagnostic tests. But she added: "For this initiative to be successful, it is vital that diagnostic capacity - both in terms of testing and people to conduct and interpret tests - is sufficient." Read full story Source: BBC News, 3 August 2023
  8. News Article
    The number of women diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK is expected to overtake men this year for the first time, according to projections that have prompted calls for women to be as vigilant about the disease as they are about breast cancer. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for one in five of the total. It has one of the worst cancer survival rates, which is largely attributed to diagnoses at a late stage, when treatment is less likely to be effective. Analysis by Cancer Research UK for the Guardian suggests women will overtake men for lung cancer diagnoses in 2022-24. The projections suggest that this year, female cases will eclipse male cases for the first time, with 27,332 and 27,172 cases respectively. Cancer experts said the “very stark” figures reflected historical differences in smoking prevalence, specifically that smoking rates peaked much earlier in men than women. Women should now be as alert to potential lung cancer signs as they were about checking for lumps in their breasts, they said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 5 July 2023
  9. News Article
    NHS leaders are urging people to attend vital lung cancer check-ups as figures reveal almost two-thirds of those invited are not coming forward. The NHS targeted lung health check service offered in some parts of England aims to help diagnose cancer at an earlier stage when treatment may be more successful. Current and former smokers aged between 55 and 74 are invited to speak to a healthcare professional and, if they have a higher chance of developing lung cancer, are offered a scan of their lungs. Doctors are keen to reach those who may not have sought help for symptoms during the pandemic and could be living with undiagnosed lung cancer. People diagnosed at the earliest stage are nearly 20 times more likely to survive for five years than those whose cancer is caught late, according to the NHS. The NHS has already diagnosed 600 people with the disease in travelling trucks, which visit convenient community sites across the UK, such as supermarkets and sports centres, aiming to make it easier for people to access check-ups. But figures show only a third (35%) of patients go to their lung health check when invited by the NHS. “These lung checks can save lives,” said Dame Cally Palmer, the NHS cancer director. “By going out into communities we find more people who may not have otherwise realised they have lung cancer, with hundreds already diagnosed and hundreds of thousands due to be invited." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 19 April 2022
  10. News Article
    The UK has the highest death rate for lung conditions in western Europe, research reveals, prompting calls from health leaders for urgent action to tackle the “national scandal”. More than 100,000 people in the UK die from conditions including asthma attacks, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia every year, according to data analysis by the charity Asthma and Lung UK. Across Europe, only Turkey has a higher respiratory death rate than the UK, analysis of data up to 2018 shows. It described the UK figures as “shameful”, and said that lung conditions had for too long been treated like the “poor relation compared with other major illnesses like cancer and heart disease”. Even before the pandemic, significant numbers of lung patients were not receiving “basic care” from their GP services such as medicine checks and help using their inhalers, the charity said. Over the past two years, the health of thousands more has deteriorated while they waited for respiratory care, and diagnosis rates have fallen. Katy Brown, 64, a retired nursery nurse from Bristol, who was diagnosed with COPD in February 2021, said she was shocked by the lack of medical support she has received, and the poor general awareness of her condition. “I spent two years struggling to breathe and with constant chest infections, before I finally got a diagnosis of COPD,” she said. “Even now, over a year after my diagnosis, I’m still waiting for a test that will show how bad my condition is, and further treatment. “There is a lack of awareness about how serious lung conditions are and how terrifying it is to struggle to breathe. It’s like having an elephant sitting on your chest. If I’d been diagnosed with another serious condition like a heart problem, I believe my treatment and the way I was dealt with would have been completely different.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 February 2022
  11. News Article
    Everyone who has ever smoked in England is to be offered lung screening in middle age under plans to detect and treat cancer earlier. Lung cancer kills about 35,000 people every year, and is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for one in five. It also has one of the worst cancer survival rates, which is largely attributed to diagnoses at a late stage when treatment is less likely to be effective. Millions of people will be invited for lung checks in an effort to improve survival rates. About a million screenings of people aged 55 to 74 will be carried out every year under the programme. It follows a successful pilot of the scheme in deprived areas of the country where people are four times more likely to smoke. It resulted in more than 2,000 people being detected as having cancer, 76% of them at an earlier stage compared with 29% outside the programme in 2019. “Identifying lung cancer early saves lives, and the expansion of the NHS’s targeted lung health check programme is another landmark step forward in our drive to find and treat more people living with this devastating disease at the earliest stage,” said the chief executive of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 26 June 2023
  12. News Article
    Cold homes will damage children’s lungs and brain development and lead to deaths as part of a “significant humanitarian crisis” this winter, health experts have warned. Unless the next prime minister curbs soaring fuel bills, children face a wave of respiratory illness with long-term consequences, according to a review by Sir Michael Marmot, the director of University College London’s Institute of Health Equity, and Prof Ian Sinha, a respiratory consultant at Liverpool’s Alder Hey children’s hospital. Sinha said he had “no doubt” that cold homes would cost children’s lives this winter, although they could not predict how many, with damage done to young lungs leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and bronchitis for others in adulthood. Huge numbers of cash-strapped households are preparing to turn heating systems down or off when the energy price cap increases to £3,549 from 1 October, and the president of the British Paediatric Respiratory Society, also told the Guardian that child deaths were likely. “There will be excess deaths among some children where families are forced into not being able to heat their homes,” said Dr Simon Langton-Hewer. “It will be dangerous, I’m afraid.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 1 September 2022
  13. News Article
    A grieving family has welcomed new guidance to try to prevent a common surgical procedure from going wrong and causing deaths. Oesophageal intubation occurs when a breathing tube is placed into the oesophagus, the tube leading to the stomach, instead of the trachea, the tube leading to the windpipe. It can lead to brain damage or death if not spotted promptly. Glenda Logsdail died at Milton Keynes University Hospital in 2020 after a breathing tube was accidentally inserted into her oesophagus. The 60-year-old radiographer was being prepared for an appendicitis operation when the error occurred. Her family welcomed the guidance, saying in a statement: “We miss her terribly but we know that she’d be happy that something good will come from her tragic death and that nobody else will go through what we’ve had to go through as a family." Oesophageal intubation can occur for a number of reasons including technical difficulties, clinician inexperience, movement of the tube or “distorted anatomy”. The mistake is relatively common but usually detected quickly with no resulting harm. The new guidance, published in the journal Anaesthesia, recommends that exhaled carbon dioxide monitoring and pulse oximetry – which measures oxygen levels in the blood – should be available and used for all procedures that require a breathing tube. Experts from the UK and Australia also recommended the use of a video-laryngoscope – an intubation device fitted with a video camera to improve the view – when a breathing tube is being inserted. Read full story Source: The Independent,18 August 2022
  14. News Article
    The NHS in England is set to have a major conditions strategy to help determine policy for the care of increasing numbers of people in England with complex and often multiple long-term conditions. Conditions covered by the strategy will include cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, dementia, mental health conditions, and musculoskeletal disorders. Cancer will also be included and will no longer have its own dedicated 10 year strategy. England’s health and social care secretary, Steve Barclay, told the House of Commons on 24 January that the strategy would build on measures in the NHS long term plan. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 25 January 2023
  15. News Article
    Certain cough medicines sold behind the counter at pharmacies are being withdrawn over safety concerns. Health experts say there is a very rare chance that some people could experience an allergic reaction linked to an ingredient called pholcodine. People should check the packaging of any cough tablets or syrups they have at home to see if pholcodine is listed among the ingredients. If it is, talk to your pharmacist about taking a different medicine. Products containing pholcodine do not need a prescription, but cannot be bought without consultation with the pharmacist as they are kept behind the counter. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) described removing the products from sale as a precautionary measure. Read full story Source: BBC News. 15 March 2023
  16. Content Article
    This prevention of future deaths report looks at the death of Ben King, who died of acute respiratory failure, obesity hypoventilation syndrome and use of sedative medication. Ben had Down's Syndrome and obstructive sleep apnoea and had been detained under the Mental Health Act at Jeesal Cawston Park (JCP) from 2018. Ben’s weight as at June 2019 was recorded at 85.2 kg which had risen to 106 kg by June 2020. He was given the sedative Promethazine after becoming agitated and found unresponsive on 29 July 2020. He died later that day at  Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
  17. Content Article
    This article, published by MendWell, looks at the benefits of stopping smoking before surgery and the risks of continuing to do so. It includes tips on how to stop smoking. 
  18. Content Article
    During periods of extreme pressure, often exacerbated by a surge in respiratory conditions, demand on supplies of oxygen cylinders, especially the smaller sizes, increases in the NHS due to the need to provide essential oxygen treatment in areas without access to medical gas pipeline systems. This surge in demand increases the known risks associated with the use of oxygen gas cylinders, and introduces new risks, across three main areas: patient safety fire safety physical safety A search of incidents reported to the of the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) and Learn from Patient Safety Events (LFPSE) service in the last 12 months identified 120 patient safety incidents, including those with these themes: cylinder empty at point of use cylinder not switched on cylinders inappropriately transported cylinders inappropriately secured Some of these reports described compromised oxygen delivery to the patient, leading to serious deterioration and cardiac or respiratory arrest. In addition there is a need to conserve oxygen cylinder use to ensure a robust supply chain process. As a result of current pressures on the NHS, NHS England issued providers with a summary of best practice guidance on the ‘Safe use of oxygen cylinders’ on Friday 06 January 2023 to support providers to optimise and maintain the safe use of oxygen cylinders. This guidance was issued via the Patient Safety Specialist and Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) networks. Actions To be completed as soon as possible, and not later than 20 January 2023. 1.  The chair of acute trust medical gas committee, working with key clinical/non-clinical colleagues including the local ambulance trust, should review the NHS England ‘Safe use of oxygen cylinders’ best practice guidance and ensure a risk assessment is undertaken in all areas where patients are being acutely cared for (either temporarily or permanently) without routine access to medical gas pipeline systems.  Risk assessment should pay particular attention to: avoiding unnecessary use of cylinder oxygen and excessive flow rates by ensuring oxygen treatment is optimised to recommended target saturation ranges. ensuring safe use of oxygen cylinders by clinical staff including; - safe activation of oxygen flow - initial and ongoing checks of flow to patient - initial and ongoing checks of amount of oxygen left in the cylinder - especially during transfer or whilst undergoing diagnostic tests. fire safety, including: - appropriate ventilation (both in physical environments and in ambulances),  safe storage of cylinders physical safety, including: - awareness of manual handling requirements - safe transportation of cylinders using appropriate equipment - safe storage of cylinders. 2. Once the risk assessments have been undertaken, convene the acute trust medical gas committee as soon as possible to review the findings of the risk assessments and formalise an action plan. Ensuring that the committee has executive director representation and ambulance trust input.
  19. Content Article
    This case study describes the project that won the 'Future-proofing Healthcare 2022' category in the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership's (HQIP's) Clinical Audit Heroes Awards. The Sustainable Respiratory Care Audit team at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was recognised for its work improving care for individual patients while also reducing the environmental impacts of healthcare. Their nomination detailed how the project provided a structure for the audit of patients’ techniques, preferences and knowledge about inhalers, and the need for a clinical review—interventions that can reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare while improving the quality of care.
  20. News Article
    Lung cancer screening should be offered to over-55s who have smoked, government advisers have said. New guidance from the UK National Screening Committee has called for a mass introduction of checks for all present and former smokers between the ages of 55 and 74. While the NHS offers routine screening for other types of cancer, including breast, bowel and cervical, there is no lung cancer screening programme. Lung cancer is the UK’s deadliest form and every year 48,000 people are diagnosed, with 35,000 deaths. The death rate is so high because it is often spotted when symptoms develop and it is too late for treatment. Only 5% of those diagnosed with lung cancer at the latest stage survive for five years, but when picked up early more than half survive. Officials have recommended targeted screening to cut death rates. It involves a CT scan which takes a detailed picture of the lungs to look for abnormalities. The National Screening Committee said that targeting all of those who have smoked would reduce deaths because 70% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 30 September 2022
  21. News Article
    More than a million people in the UK have experienced life-threatening asthma attacks after cutting back on medicine, heating or food amid the soaring cost of living crisis, a survey suggests. One in five (20%) people living with asthma in the UK – of which there are 5.4 million – have had an attack as a result of changes they have been forced to make due to rising energy, food and household bills, according to the research by Asthma + Lung UK. Fuel poverty campaigners described the figures as “distressing”. Almost half of the 3,600 people with lung conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis surveyed by the charity said their health had worsened since the crisis began. Asthma + Lung UK warned there could be a “tidal wave” of hospital admissions in the next few months as cold weather, an abundance of viruses and people cutting back on medicines, heating, food and electricity put them at increased risk. Sarah Woolnough, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Untenable cost of living hikes are forcing people with lung conditions to make impossible choices about their health. “Warm homes, regular medicine and a healthy diet are all important pillars to good lung condition management – but they all come at a cost. We are hearing from people already reporting a sharp decline in their lung health, including many having life-threatening asthma attacks. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 September 2022
  22. News Article
    Intensive care doctors in Germany have warned that hospital paediatric units in the country are stretched to breaking point in part due to rising cases of respiratory infections among infants. The intensive care association DIVI said the seasonal rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases and a shortage of nurses was causing a “catastrophic situation” in hospitals. RSV is a common, highly contagious virus that infects nearly all babies and toddlers by the age of two, some of whom can fall seriously ill. Experts say the easing of coronavirus pandemic restrictions means RSV is affecting a larger number of babies and children, whose immune systems aren’t primed to fend it off. Cases of RSV and other respiratory illnesses have also increased in the UK and in the US, which is also suffering from a shortages of antivirals and antibiotics. In Germany, hospital doctors are having to make difficult decisions about which children to assign to limited intensive care beds. In some cases, children with RSV or other serious conditions are getting transferred to hospitals elsewhere in Germany with spare capacity. “If the forecasts are right, then things will get significantly more acute in the coming days and week,” Sebastian Brenner, head of the paediatric intensive care unit at University Hospital Dresden, told German news channel n-tv. “We see this in France, for example, and in Switzerland. If that happens, then there will be bottlenecks when it comes to treatment.” Others warned that, in certain cases, doctors already were unable to provide the urgent care some children need. “The situation is so precarious that we genuinely have to say children are dying because we can’t treat them any more,” Dr. Michael Sasse, head of paediatric intensive care at Hanover’s MHH University hospital, said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 1 December 2022
  23. News Article
    A health visitor wrote to housing officials expressing concern about conditions in a rented flat months before a two-year-old died after his exposure to mould. An inquest in Rochdale is investigating the death of toddler Awaab Ishak who lived with his mother and father in a one-bedroom housing estate flat managed by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH). Awaab’s father, Faisal Abdullah, first reported the damp and mould in autumn 2017, a year before the birth of his son. He made numerous complaints – phoning and emailing – and requested re-housing. In December 2020 Awaab developed flu-like symptoms and had difficulty breathing. He was given hospital treatment and then discharged. Two days later his condition at home worsened and he was seen at Rochdale urgent care centre where he was found to be in respiratory failure. He was transferred to Royal Oldham hospital where, upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest and died. It was just a week after his second birthday. A pathologist told the inquest that the child’s throat was swollen to an extent it would compromise breathing. Exposure to fungi was the most plausible explanation for the inflammation. Lawyers for the family say the inquest will consider a number of matters including concerns about mould and damp and how they were dealt with. It will also look at the sharing of information between agencies and how the family’s cultural and language requirements were taken into account. Officials from RBH have yet to give evidence at the inquest but a statement was provided to the coroner on Tuesday in which RBH admits it “should have taken responsibility for the mould issues and undertaken a more proactive response”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 8 November 2022
  24. News Article
    A teenager died after a breathing tube was possibly squashed by a wheel of her hospital trolley during emergency surgery, an inquest has heard. Jasmine Hill, 19, had a cardiac arrest shortly after undergoing a procedure on her neck at Gloucestershire royal hospital in Gloucester. The inquest heard that a report commissioned by lawyers acting for Hill’s family referred to the tube being “squashed by the wheel of a trolley”. Hill, from Cirencester, had been readmitted to the hospital after her neck became swollen five days after a thyroidectomy – the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland – in September 2020. Doctors thought the site of the surgery in Hill’s neck, which was red and swollen, may have become infected and it was decided the wound should be cleaned under general anaesthetic. The procedure took less than an hour and the teenager went into cardiac arrest shortly after she was moved by staff from the operating table to a bed. Gloucestershire coroner’s court heard an endotracheal tube, which supports breathing, was positioned behind Hill’s head and away from her neck, fixed to a holder and connected to the ventilator. The assistant Gloucestershire coroner Roland Wooderson asked Dr Hiro Ishii, who carried out the procedure, whether he was aware that the anaesthetist had checked the position of the endotracheal tube. Ishii replied: “I didn’t make a formal inquiry at that stage.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 November 2022
  25. News Article
    The lungs and hearts of patients damaged by the coronavirus improve over time, a study has shown. Researchers in Austria recruited coronavirus patients who had been admitted to hospital. The patients were scheduled to return for evaluation 6, 12 and 24 weeks after being discharged, in what is said to be the first prospective follow-up of people infected with COVID-19, which will be presented at today's European Respiratory Society International Congress. Clinical examinations, laboratory tests, analysis of the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in arterial blood, and lung function tests were carried out during these visits. At the time of their first visit, more than half of the patients had at least one persistent symptom, predominantly breathlessness and coughing, and CT scans still showed lung damage in 88% of patients. But by the time of their next visit, 12 weeks after discharge, the symptoms had improved, and lung damage was reduced to 56%. Dr Sabina Sahanic, a clinical PhD student at the University Clinic in Innsbruck and part of the team that carried out the study, said: "The bad news is that people show lung impairment from COVID-19 weeks after discharge; the good news is that the impairment tends to ameliorate over time, which suggests the lungs have a mechanism for repairing themselves." A separate presentation to the congress said that the sooner COVID-19 patients started a pulmonary rehabilitation programme after coming off ventilators, the better and faster their recovery. Yara Al Chikhanie, a PhD student at the Dieulefit Sante clinic for pulmonary rehabilitation and the Hp2 Lab at the Grenoble Alps University in France, used a walking test to evaluate the weekly progress of 19 patients who had spent an average of three weeks in intensive care and two weeks in a pulmonary ward before being transferred to a clinic for pulmonary rehabilitation. She said: "The most important finding was that patients who were admitted to pulmonary rehabilitation shortly after leaving intensive care progressed faster than those who spent a longer period in the pulmonary ward where they remained inactive. The sooner rehabilitation started and the longer it lasted, the faster and better was the improvement in patients' walking and breathing capacities and muscle gain." Read full story Source: The Independent, 7 September 2020
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