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Found 153 results
  1. News Article
    Rotating clinicians and keeping ventilation running are among Public Health England’s (PHE) recommendations for how to avoid spreading covid while looking after patients in the back of ambulances outside emergency departments. The suggestions are made in unprecedented new guidance issued by PHE amid sky-high rates of very long ambulance handovers outside hospitals. This is because emergency departments (EDs) are struggling with attempts to maintain distancing for infection control, along with high occupancy and severe operational pressures elsewhere in hospitals. It has led over the past two months to large numbers of patients being looked after in ambulances for extended times while they wait for space in ED. The PHE guidance, added last week to existing covid guidance for ambulance services, says it should only happen in “exceptional circumstances”. But it says staff in this situation should adopt infection prevention and control procedures including: if more than one clinician is available, rotating them regularly, so allowing them time to change PPE and have a drink; keeping ventilation systems running which may require the engine to be kept running; ensuring patients and any essential escorts wear surgical masks, as long as patient care is not compromised; minimising the number of people within the patient compartment and avoiding sitting face-to-face with patients; and decontaminating contact surfaces more frequently and during the delay if possible. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 25 January 2021
  2. News Article
    A thousand health professionals have backed an appeal for hospital staff to be given improved personal protective equipment. In an open letter to UK political leaders, they say there is growing evidence that tiny coronavirus particles can spread through the air. The group want general ward staff to be given the type of high-quality masks usually only worn in intensive care. Nurses' leaders said higher level PPE should be provided as a "precaution". Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 January 2021
  3. News Article
    Thousands of frontline workers delivering treatments where the risk of transmitting coronavirus is heightened are still being denied personal protective equipment (PPE), according to multiple unions and professional bodies. Eleven organisations, including Unison and the British Association of Stroke Physicians, believe numerous procedures have been “wrongly excluded” from the list of 13 “aerosol generating procedures” that require PPE, despite the NHS now having adequate supplies. They say their members are “facing illness and even death” while performing procedures such as chest physiotherapy, introducing feeding tubes, and assessing whether a patient can swallow safely. The unions have formed an alliance to lobby on the issue, and its chair Dr Barry Jones told HSJ: “We’ve asked ministers and the Department of Health and Social Care again and again to take action and provide PPE to frontline NHS staff carrying out procedures which are not currently listed as AGPs but which the scientific evidence shows should be. Read full story Source: HSJ, 13 November 2020
  4. Content Article
    Consider your balance between remote and face to face care – have you got it right and how might it need to change in the months to come? Think about how you are going to manage respiratory symptoms over the winter and be aware of the issues with COVID-19 in children and what to do if resuscitation is needed.Shielding is paused and is unlikely to return in the same form as at the start of the pandemic.Know about the standard operating procedure (SOP) for primary care Appraisal is restarting in a very light-touch way and there are other changes to administration.Continue to wear PPE when seeing patients face to face, and continue planning for a much bigger flu vaccination season than usual. Death certification requirements are relaxed for as long as the Coronavirus Act is in force.Look after yourself and your staff.Continue to plan ahead; this will be a marathon, not a sprint.Your core clinical skills are still important.
  5. News Article
    Some disabled people in the UK have been struggling to obtain essentials such as medication and breathing equipment during the Covid pandemic, research for the BBC suggests. Some 60% of those who rely on social care told a YouGov survey they were finding it hard to obtain at least one of their necessities. Charity WellChild said people felt more "forgotten than they ever have been". But ministers say the needs of disabled people were being considered. The Department of Health and Social Care says it has sufficient stocks and patients should contact their local care provider. Like one in 20 of those survey respondents who receive social care, Fi Anderson, a mother of two with muscular dystrophy from Bolton in Greater Manchester, said she has faced problems obtaining breathing apparatus. Her local hospital told her to re-use the filter for her portable ventilator, recommending she boil it, because supplies were so short. Disabled people who rely on social care - which funds equipment and other support to allow them to live independent lives - also said they had struggled to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks. Many of them receive funding directly to employ carers in their home, so they also need to provide them with PPE during the coronavirus crisis. The survey, which the BBC commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, asked more than 1,000 people about life in the UK with a disability and how it has changed in the shadow of a pandemic. More than 65% felt their rights had regressed, and 71% said disabled people's needs had been overlooked. The Coronavirus Act, which granted the government emergency powers, gave local councils the ability to reduce care, education and mental health provision for disabled people if it became necessary during the pandemic. According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, nearly six out of 10 deaths from COVID-19 were of disabled people. Read full story Source: BBC News,
  6. Content Article
    Healthcare Improvement Scotland provide a single source of information about how Scotland's health and care staff have found ways to communicate compassionately and make that difference. Browse ideas through the links below and check back to Healthcare Improvement Scotland's website for new additions. Connecting patients with their loved ones Connecting colleagues to support wellbeing Maintaining therapeutic relationships Caring for children during COVID-19 Caring for those with additional needs Insights from published literature
  7. News Article
    NHS staff and their families accounted for one in six patients in hospital with Covid, due in part to inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), new research suggests. A study of hospitals from March to June revealed that healthcare workers in patient-facing roles were around three times more likely to be hospitalised with the virus than the general population. Writing in the BMJ, the study's authors called for an urgent focus on how COVID-19 spreads around hospitals to prevent a similar toll in future waves of the pandemic. They also call for hospitals to consider re-deploying staff with vulnerable family members away from high-risk zones. Read full story Source: The Telegraph, 29 October 2020
  8. News Article
    With so many operations put on hold when the pandemic started in March, surgeon Douglas Hartley and a team of medical veterans got to work pioneering new types of protective equipment. When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the UK, thousands of surgical procedures were put on hold. For surgeons like Douglas, who performs operations on deaf children to restore their hearing, this created a significant moral dilemma – he wanted to get back into surgery to provide this vital care, but didn’t want to inadvertently catch or pass on COVID-19 in the process. Douglas regularly carries out cochlear implant surgery, a process in which a surgeon embeds an electronic device which stimulates the hearing nerve in the ear. The scientific evidence is clear that this surgery needs to be performed at the earliest opportunity so that these children can benefit from being able to hear at a vital stage in their development. But performing the surgery as normal would have put both children and surgical teams in danger. They needed to come up with another way of doing things. The team in Nottingham had to combine creativity and science to develop a novel and safe way to restart cochlear implant surgery in a matter of just a few weeks. The team used a systematic evidence-based approach to evaluate a variety of PPE for its usability and effectiveness. During simulated cochlear implant surgery, they evaluated each type of PPE across several parameters, including its effect on a surgeon’s ability to communicate, their field of vision, and their comfort. Many of the PPE options were found to substantially restrict the surgeon’s vision during operating. That rendered them unsafe for performing this sort of surgery. Instead, they found that the combination of “spoggles” and a half-face respirator mask had consistently superior performance across all aspects of clinical usability compared with all other options. During their studies, Douglas and his team also worked with a surgical product manufacturer to develop a novel drape, basically a tent, that was designed to be suspended from a microscope covering the patient’s head and torso to provide a physical barrier between the site of drilling and the rest of the team. They found that the operating tent significantly contained the droplets and prevented them from spreading around the theatre environment. They are the first – and are currently only – group in the world to develop an operating tent design that is marked for medical use. After completing our studies, we now had appropriate PPE and a protective operating tent to permit the safe restarting of cochlear implant surgery during the pandemic. These recommendations were rapidly disseminated internationally via webinars and journal publications and quickly adopted as standard patient care by Nottingham University NHS Foundation Trust and, subsequently, embraced in other departments in the UK and across the world. Read full story Source: The Independent, 22 October 2020
  9. News Article
    General practices will struggle to cope with a second wave of COVID-19 unless urgent measures are put in place to support them, the BMA has warned. It said that practices in England were reporting that they did not have the capacity to carry out all of the work required of them while managing ongoing patient care, dealing with the backlog of care put on hold during the first wave of the pandemic, and reconfiguring services. Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee England, said, “GPs, like all doctors, are extremely concerned that without decisive action now services will be overwhelmed if we see another spike in the coming weeks and months.” In the report, the committee called for a package of measures to support the GP workforce, including making occupational health services available to all staff to ensure that they are properly risk assessed and to provide free supplies of personal protective equipment. It also called for the suspension of routine inspections by the Care Quality Commission and of the Quality and Outcomes Framework, as part of efforts to reduce bureaucracy. NHS England’s covid support fund for practices should be rolled over until March 2021 and expanded to ensure that all additional costs such as additional telephony and cleaning are included, it added. Vautrey said, “The measures we’ve outlined are aimed at supporting practices and their staff to deliver high quality care while managing the increased pressures of doing so during a pandemic, and it is vital that the government and NHS England listen and implement these urgently, to ensure that primary care can continue to operate safely through what looks to be an incredibly difficult winter.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 1 October 2020
  10. Event
    Virimask is a full face mask designed to offer the ultimate protection and maximum comfort against 99.99% of micron-sized particles. Commonly used masks, such as the N95 are limited in continuous use and are not particularly comfortable, or hygienic in longer-term wear. Virimask is designed to last each user a lifetime and uses replaceable HEPA14 filters which block out viral transmission. Unique advantages include the exceptional ventilation and speech clarity, integrated eye protection and varied size range. In this live webinar, the inventor of Virimask, Professor Noam Gavriely, will give a background on Virimask and the challenges faced during the initial phase along with plans for future development. We will highlight the problems with the lack of PPE available during the COVID-19 outbreak and discuss how Virimask can assist our front line workers during the COVID-19 outbreak and any possible future pandemics. The webinar will include customer testimonials and insight to how the world has reacted to the PPE crisis. We will have live discussion and an opportunity for the audience to ask questions in our live Q&A. Registration
  11. Content Article
    The taskforce carefully considered an extensive range of issues in relation to the social care sector as a whole, brought together as key themes. These included the provision of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing arrangements, the winter flu vaccination programme, infection prevention and control, and issues of funding. The taskforce examined a number of issues relating to the workforce and family carers (unpaid), including how best to restrict the movement of people between care and health settings. Among other themes, the taskforce reviewed the role of clinical support within the sector, the availability and application of insights from data, and implications of inspection and regulation. This report sets out the action that will need be taken to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the sector, both for those who rely on care and support, and the social care workforce. This report sets out how we can enable people to live as safely as possible while maintaining contacts and activity that enhance the health and wellbeing of service users and family carers. Throughout this report, a number of recommendations are made based on learning from the first phase of the pandemic. They range from 'quick wins' to consideration of topics that will require a degree of more substantial change and/or additional resource. In addition, there are a number of supporting recommendations in the annexed reports of the subject-specific advisory groups, which should be considered in tandem with the main report recommendations.
  12. Content Article
    5 steps to improve health worker safety and patient safety Establish synergies between health worker safety and patient safety policies and strategies: Develop linkages between occupational health and safety, patient safety, quality improvement, and infection prevention and control programmes. Incorporate requirements for health worker and patient safety in health care licensing and accreditation standards. Integrate staff safety and patient safety incident reporting and learning systems. Develop and implement national programmes for occupational health and safety of health workers: Develop and implement national programmes for occupational health for health workers in line with national occupational health and safety policies. Review and upgrade, where necessary, national regulations and laws for occupational health and safety to ensure that all health workers have regulatory protection of their health and safety at work. Appoint responsible officers with authority for occupational health and safety for health workers at both the national and facility levels. Develop standards, guidelines, and codes of practice on occupational health and safety. Strengthen intersectoral collaboration on health worker and patient safety, with appropriate worker and management representation, including gender, diversity and all occupational groups. Protect health workers from violence in the workplace Adopt and implement in accordance with national law, relevant policies and mechanisms to prevent and eliminate violence in the health sector. Promote a culture of zero tolerance to violence against health workers Review labour laws and other legislation, and where appropriate the introduction of specific legislation, to prevent violence against health workers. Ensure that policies and regulations are implemented effectively to prevent violence and protect health workers. Establish relevant implementation mechanisms, such ombudspersons and helplines to enable free and confidential reporting and support for any health worker facing violence. Improve mental health and psychological well-being: Establish policies to ensure appropriate and fair duration of deployments, working hours, rest break and minimizing the administrative burden on health workers. Define and maintain appropriate safe staffing levels within health care facilities. Provide indemnity and insurance coverage for work-related risk, especially those working in high-risk areas. Establish a ‘blame-free’ and just working culture through open communication and including legal and administrative protection from punitive action on reporting adverse safety events. Provide access to mental well-being and social support services for health workers, including advice on work-life balance and risk assessment and mitigation. Protect health workers from physical and biological hazards Ensure the implementation of minimum patient safety, infection prevention and control, and occupational safety standards in all health care facilities across the health system. Ensure availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, as relevant to the roles and tasks performed, in adequate quantity and appropriate fit and of acceptable quality. Ensure an adequate, locally held, buffer stock of PPE. Ensure adequate training on the appropriate use of PPE and safety precautions. Ensure adequate environmental services such as water, sanitation and hygiene, disinfection and adequate ventilation at all health care facilities. Ensure vaccination of all health workers at risk against all vaccine-preventable infections, including Hepatitis B and seasonal influenza, in accordance with the national immunization policy, and in the context of emergency response, priority access for health workers to newly licenced and available vaccines. Provide adequate resources to prevent health workers from injuries, and harmful exposure to chemicals and radiations; provide functioning and ergonomically designed equipment and work stations to minimize musculoskeletal injuries and falls.
  13. News Article
    Health inspectors have uncovered multiple problems with infection control and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in care homes in England ahead of a second spike in COVID-19, which is starting to be detected in care facilities across the country. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found homes where PPE was not being worn and that had out-of-date infection prevention policies and were failing to take steps to protect black and minority ethnic residents and staff who have been identified as potentially more vulnerable to the virus. The checks took place last month in 59 English care homes and were triggered by concerns about safety and quality or complaints by residents, staff and relatives. The checks precede a government announcement within days of a winter infection control fund that is expected to broadly match the £600m already committed this year. The fund will pay additional staff costs stemming from using fewer highly mobile temporary workers, who have been shown to spread the virus. However, the CQC inspections found PPE being worn inconsistently by staff members, limited supplies of masks in some places, and a failure to store PPE safely away from infection risk. “We found examples of infection prevention and control policies that were out of date,” the inspectors said. “Some had been updated early on in the Covid-19 outbreak but had not been amended since and so contained out-of-date information. This posed a risk to the staff and people who live in the care home. Others had not been updated since 2019. One care home had completed a [contingency] plan, but it only covered the hot weather and did not include preparations for autumn and winter.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 September 2020
  14. News Article
    A protective device against coronavirus for at-risk doctors is to be provided free to the NHS. The SNAP device for ear, nose and throat surgeons was created after Burton-upon-Trent consultant Amged El-Hawrani died with COVID-19 in March. He was one of the UK's first senior medics to die with the virus, his death showing that they were at serious risk. The device clips over patients' masks to prevent the virus spreading through coughs and sneezes. It was developed by surgeons Ajith George and Chris Coulson, with the help of Aston University, who said nasendoscopy procedures - where a small flexible tube fitted with a camera is inserted into the nose - often made patients cough, splutter and sneeze. It works by clipping on to either side of a normal surgical face mask, creating a hole for an endoscope to be inserted while keeping the patient's nose and mouth completely covered. When it is removed, a one-way valve closes the hole so no virus can escape. "We were concerned about the safety of doctors but also about the risk of missed diagnoses and opportunities for treatment of patients," Mr Coulson, an ENT surgeon working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, said. "Our aim has been to produce an easy-to-use, cheap device that would allow clinicians to return to routine practice." Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 September 2020
  15. News Article
    The government has written to care home providers in England to warn them of a rise in new coronavirus infections within the sector. A letter from the Department of Health urged care bosses to take "necessary action to prevent and limit outbreaks". Cases were mainly among staff but risked spreading to residents, it said. It comes as a further 3,330 positive cases were recorded in the UK - the third consecutive day in which cases have been over 3,000. It brings the total number of confirmed cases to 368,504. Friday's letter from the Department of Health and Social Care said testing data had revealed an increase in the number of positive results in care homes and called on the care sector to work with the government. "You will know already that we are experiencing a rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases across the UK population," wrote Stuart Miller, director of adult social care delivery. "I need to alert you to the first signs this rise is being reflected in care homes too." "I am writing at the earliest opportunity, so we can work in partnership to prevent further spread of the disease. The rapid flow of data and information, to and from care providers, is vital to this effort." Mr Miller said the infections had been detected chiefly among staff but had been transmitted to residents in some cases. He went on to stress "the importance of regular testing and consistent use of PPE". Read full story Source: BBC News, 14 September 2020
  16. News Article
    Around 250,000 clear face masks are set to be delivered to frontline NHS and social care workers to allow for better care to be provided to those who use lip-reading and facial expressions to communicate, whilst still ensuring staff and patients remain safe during coronavirus. The clear face masks will allow for improved communication with people with certain conditions like hearing loss, autism and dementia. Designed with an anti-fogging barrier to ensure the face and mouth are always visible, the see-through masks will help doctors, nurses and carers get important messages across to all patients clearly. An estimated 12 million people in the UK are thought to have hearing loss, while those who rely on facial expressions to support communication – such as people with learning disabilities, autism or dementia, or foreign language speakers and their interpreters – will also see benefit from the government deal. Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “Everyone using our remarkable health and care system deserves the best care possible and communication is a vital part of that." “This pandemic has posed numerous challenges to the sector, so we are always on the hunt for simple solutions to support those giving and receiving care." Read full story Source: National Health Executive, 7 September 2020
  17. News Article
    The human rights watchdog for England and Wales has backed a grieving daughter’s court action against the health secretary, Matt Hancock, over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in care homes. Cathy Gardner, who lost her father, Michael Gibson, to COVID-19 in a care home that accepted hospital discharges, is seeking a judicial review of policies that she alleges “failed to take into account the vulnerability of care home residents and staff to infection and death, the inadequacy of testing and PPE availability”. The government denies acting illegally over care homes in England, where more than 15,000 people have died with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. But the Equalities and Human Rights Commission said the case “raises potentially important issues of public interest and concern as to the way in which the rights of care home residents have been and will be protected during the current coronavirus pandemic”. “The bereaved families group isn’t backing down in its call for a public inquiry and I am not backing down in my call for a judicial review into policies I believe led to deaths in care homes,” Gardner said. ”I am delighted the EHRC have written to the court. This is a Human Rights Act case.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 3 September 2020
  18. News Article
    Visiting A&E or relatives is considered much riskier than attending hospital for other reasons, according to the first in-depth piece of research into the subject. The research, authored by the University of Leicester and NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre Bioinformatics Hub, asked 400 participants how they felt about attending hospital across a range of scenarios during the pandemic. It also revealed that consistent staff use of PPE is seen as a top priority by patients, with staff testing receiving significant but much less support. Participants in the Leicester research were asked to rank how ”safe and confident” they felt coming into hospital for a number of reasons on a scale 1-100. The median score given to “visiting a friend or family member” was 49. The score for attending accident and emergency was 50. Attendance at A&E’s fell sharply during the pandemic peak. It is now rising, but has not reached pre-covid levels. The research suggests that fear could still be playing a significant part in the drop off. Attending hospital for elective care received a median score of 61. Participants were most confident in visiting hospital for essential surgery (median score 78), and clinical scans or x-ray (77). Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 3 September 2020
  19. Content Article
    Implementation of COVID-19 related safety measures such as social distancing, use of PPE and cleaning were strongly supported by most respondents. There was ambivalence around less certain measures such as regular staff antigen and antibody testing. Respondents were most likely to participate in research related to their own condition, COVID-19 research and vaccine research, but less likely to participate in healthy volunteer research, especially if suffering from a pre-existing comorbidity identified with increased risk or were female. There was general agreement that participants are comfortable with new ways of working, such as remote consultation, though women and BAME respondents were less comfortable. Findings raise concerns for health inequalities already impacting some groups in the pandemic. The role of clinical necessity and personal benefit support the reopening of services in line with clinical necessity. Moderate caution in respect of vaccine research relative to patient-participant research presents a challenge for pending recruitment demands, and would benefit from qualitative research to explore themes and concerns in more depth and support development and targeting of key messaging.
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