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Found 142 results
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. Content Article
    The accompanying visual graphic is designed to be posted for staff to see and use daily, and for team leaders to reference and use to create the enabling conditions for key recommendations to be successful. Follow the link below to download the resources.
  14. Content Article
    Today HSIB has published a new national intelligence report, Personal protective equipment (PPE): care workers delivering homecare during the COVID-19 response.[1] This looks at inconsistencies in the guidance on PPE requirements for care workers visiting ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ individuals at home. The report is in response to a member of the public raising concerns when visiting a patient at home in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category. They noted that while they were visited by district nurses in PPE, their care workers did not wear this, advising that this was not required. The patient later died, and their death was confirmed as COVID-19 related. HSIB found that during April the guidance made available by Public Health England for care staff in this regard was inconsistent. While the primary guidance did not refer to the need to wear PPE when visiting ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ individuals, other guidance issued in the same month did set out these additional safety provisions. As a result of this, multiple versions of the guidance were available to care workers, who would not be aware of the PPE requirements if they referred to the earlier version of this. Speed of the response HSIB state that they brought this to the attention of Public Health England on the 28 April 2020. They subsequently replaced the primary guidance with a link to a version with the additional PPE provisions on the 13 May. Given the importance of clarity on infection control and PPE, it is very concerning that the conflicting guidance remained live on the gov.uk website for a further two weeks after the issue was identified. A wider system issue The report acknowledges the complexity of providing and keeping up to date such a wide range of guidance, particularly in a crisis scenario, noting that this creates “a risk that patient safety issues may be missed”.[2] When considering the learning potential of this case, HSIB suggest that “there is an opportunity to introduce a document management system for guidelines to ensure that the latest information is available”.[3] While this specific issue is now resolved, it is disappointing that there is no wider recommendation relating to the systems risks above identified by HSIB. Patient Safety Learning believes that there should be an additional recommendation on this that clearly identifies the relevant healthcare bodies responsible for looking into this. There are also questions about how updated guidance is published and shared. Commenting on this in The Independent, Jane Townson, Chief Executive of the UK Homecare Association, mentioned problems with guidance being updated late at night with little notice.[4] She also stated that “there was a very high risk that care providers were not alerted to the changes unless they belonged to a membership association”.[5] Who can lead this change? While we have noted Public Health England's specific role in this case, formulating this type of guidance can involve a number of bodies across the UK, such as: Department of Health and Social Care NHS England and NHS Improvement Public Health England Public Health Wales Public Health Agency Northern Ireland Health Protection Scotland When system-wide patient safety issues arise all these organisations have a role to play. We know that when it comes to implementing changes the system is “confused and complex, with no clear understanding of how it is organised and who is responsible for what”.[6] Patient Safety learning believes it is vital that there is a clear approach to addressing such underlying safety issues. We need to ensure that learning and recommendations for change are prioritised and implemented widely across the health and social care system. References Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, National Intelligence Report: Personal protective equipment (PPE): care workers delivering homecare during the COVID-19 response, August 2020. Ibid. Ibid. The Independent, Coronavirus: ‘Confusing’ advice from Public Health England put patients at risk, watchdog says, 26 August 2020. Ibid. Care Quality Commission, Opening the door to change: NHS safety culture and the need for transformation, 2018.
  15. News Article
    A London acute trust has told its staff they may not be paid for time at home self-isolating if it transpires they were not wearing a mask near someone with coronavirus. Staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust were told that if they have to stay at home self-isolating because they were not wearing a mask, that time would have to be taken as annual or unpaid leave. Chief executive Lesley Watts told all staff in an email today, seen by HSJ, that a worker had tested positive for COVID-19, and that four staff members had spent more than 15 minutes with them “without appropriate [personal protective equipment]” and must all now isolate themselves at home for 14 days. The trust considers it “a serious conduct issue not to wear a mask where you are putting colleagues or our patients at risk – this will be dealt with under our formal processes going forward”, Ms Watts said in the email. “If you are sent home to isolate for two weeks because you have not worn a mask, I am now informing you that you will be required to take this as annual or unpaid leave. The four staff members “would not be having to go home to isolate if the use of face masks and social distancing had been in place appropriately”. A Chelsea and Wesminster Hospital spokesman told HSJ: “The guidance around PPE has changed a number of times over the course of the pandemic and we felt it was important to be clear on the trust’s position and to reiterate how seriously we take staff and patient safety." Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 28 August 2020
  16. Content Article
    Key findings The survey responses confirm that for the majority of respondents, the pandemic has been a very challenging experience. They indicated that their work and wellbeing has been worse or much worse than at normal times, during the survey period. Having to accept patients from hospitals with unknown COVID-19 status, being told about plans not to resuscitate residents without consulting families, residents or care home staff, lack of guidance on issues like personal protection and issues of poor access to pay if they became ill were some of the major issues the care home workforce faced during March and April 2020. While two thirds of respondents said they ‘always’ had access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and most others said that it was usually available, a small minority were not provided with PPE and had to improvise, by obtaining it themselves or by making it. The need for appropriate PPE in care homes is of critical importance in staff and resident safety: 21% of respondents said that their home accepted people discharged from hospital who had tested positive for COVID-19. The majority of survey respondents found it easy to access hospital care for their residents when this was required; however, a substantial minority found this difficult or very difficult. Additionally, a substantial number found it difficult to access District Nursing and GP services, which are universal parts of the National Health Service. In addition, many indicated that they were not able to access essential training from other health professionals at this time. Some respondents refocused work to consider how they could improve on their approach to end of life care. Worryingly, some who responded raised serious ethical and professional concerns, for example GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups and hospital trusts making resuscitation decisions without first speaking to residents, families and care home staff or trying to enact ‘blanket’ ‘do not resuscitate’ decisions for whole groups of people.
  17. News Article
    A home care worker who did not wear protective equipment may have infected a client with a fatal case of coronavirus during weeks of contradictory government guidance on whether the kit was needed or not, an official investigation has found. The government’s confusion about how much protection care workers visiting homes needed is detailed in a report into the death of an unnamed person by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), which conducts independent investigations of patient safety concerns in NHS-funded care in England. It was responding to a complaint raised by a member of the public in April. The report shows that Public Health England published two contradictory documents that month. One advised care workers making home visits to wear PPE and the other did not mention the need. The contradiction was not cleared up for six weeks. The government’s guidance had been a shambles that had placed workers and their vulnerable clients at risk, the policy director at the United Kingdom Homecare Association, Colin Angel, said on Wednesday. The association also accused the government of sidelining its expertise and publishing new guidance with little notice, sometimes late on Friday nights, meaning that it was not always noticed by the people it was intended for.
  18. Content Article
    In April HSIB identified an emerging safety risk of confusion over guidance on PPE requirements after a case was referred to them by a member of the public. Care workers had visited the home of a ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ patient and did not wear PPE. The patient later died and the death was confirmed as COVID-19 related. The report emphasises that the patient was not showing symptoms of the virus when the care visits took place. The guidance available at the time found that Public Health England’s (PHE) primary COVID-19 guidance for home care provision, published on 6 April, did not reference the PPE needed when caring for those within the most vulnerable groups. On 2 April, separate Official UK Guidance on PPE had been published for those working in outpatient, community and social care settings but was not linked to the PHE primary guidance and not easily accessible. Public Health England then issued newer guidance on 27 April (how to work safely in domiciliary care in England) which did include PPE provisions for the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group. However, the original (6 April) guidance was still live and available and did not reference the new update. After HSIB highlighted the case and the associated safety concerns to Public Health England, they withdrew the link to the primary guidance and provided a link to the newer guidance. Medical Director, Dr Kevin Stewart said: “Guidance that protects frontline workers and vulnerable patients needs to be as clear and accessible as possible and this is even more important in times of crisis. However, there are multiple guidelines for different care sectors and it is easy to see where confusion can occur as new updates overlap with older versions. Our report recognises the challenges in implementing national guidance and that further work is needed to understand the most effective systems that would enable better version control. Whilst our analysis focused on PPE guidance for carers working in homes, the risk to patient safety because of poorly communicated guidance is applicable across all healthcare settings. Our aim is to identify specific safety risks for COVID-19 and share that insight as widely as possible to aid the decision-making process and ensure consistent care for all.”
  19. News Article
    Two hundred thousand defective gowns supplied to NHS hospitals have been recalled by the government because of fears they could leave staff at increased risk of coronavirus infection. Hospitals have been told to check their stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) to identify the Flosteril non-sterile gowns and quarantine them immediately. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said tests carried out on the gowns, which were delivered in June, had shown that they did not meet the fluid-resistance standards originally claimed by the manufacturer. There may also be “inconsistencies” in the material used to make the gowns. An estimated 200,000 gowns are thought to be in circulation within the NHS after 600,000 were supplied by the company Vannin Healthcare Global, which is registered in the Isle of Man. Hospitals were told on Tuesday this week not to dispose of the gowns but to keep them for two weeks until they can be collected after 31 August. It is another embarrassing blow for the government over the supply of PPE to hospitals – an issue that prompted major criticism during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, when many hospitals ran out of equipment. Read full story Source: The Independent, 15 August 2020
  20. News Article
    A healthcare professional is facing a fitness to practise investigation for delaying attending to a COVID-19 positive patient because of inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), in what may be the first case of its kind. The revelation came from a healthcare regulatory solicitor, Andrea James, who tweeted, “Was expecting it, but still disgusted to have received first #FitnessToPractise case arising from NHS trust disciplining healthcare professional who expressed concern about/delayed attending to a Covid+ patient without PPE (NHS Trust having failed to provide said PPE). For shame.” Doctors and nurses reacted with outrage to the tweet, and the Medical Protection Society issued a strong statement condemning the move. But James said that her client wanted to remain anonymous and declined to identify the profession or the regulator involved. She said that the treatment in question was expected to be an aerosol generating procedure. Rob Hendry, medical director at the Medical Protection Society (MPS), said, “It is appalling enough that healthcare professionals are placed in the position of having to choose between treating patients and keeping themselves and their other patients safe. The stress should not be compounded by the prospect of being brought before a regulatory or disciplinary tribunal. “MPS members who are faced with regulatory or employment action arising from a decision to not see a patient due to lack of PPE can come to us for advice and representation. However, it should not come to this: healthcare workers should not be held personally accountable for decisions or adverse outcomes that are ultimately the result of poor PPE provision.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 12 August 2020
  21. News Article
    Over 8 out of 10 (84%) of members of the Medical Protection Society thinks a face covering should be mandatory when attending any healthcare setting. This was the finding of a survey including 562 of the GP indemnity providers' members, out of which 473 said masks should be mandated by law as they are on public transport and in shops. Effective from 13 July, PHE guidance says all clinical and non-clinical staff as well as patients should wear a face mask in areas of GP practices that cannot be made 'Covid-secure' through social distancing, optimal hand hygiene, frequent surface decontamination, ventilation and other measures. But NHS England has said GPs cannot refuse to treat patients who present at the practice without a face covering because they are not legally required to wear them. In response to its member survey, MPS has urged political leaders to ‘reconsider’ this decision. Medicolegal lead for risk prevention Dr Pallavi Bradshaw stressed that ‘it cannot be right’ for frontline healthcare workers to be put at ‘unnecessary risk by patients who refuse to wear a face mask’. Read full story Source: Pulse, 8 August 2020
  22. News Article
    Dozens of surgeons have reported being told by the NHS employer to stop discussing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus crisis. The Confederation of British Surgery (CBS) said almost 70 surgeons working in major hospitals around the country had been warned off discussing a lack of PPE by their trust. A third of surgeons said the supply of PPE was inadequate at their hospital, with many complaining of inconsistent guidance, rationing of supplies and poor quality PPE when it was available. When asked if their concerns were dealt with satisfactorily, nearly a third said they were not addressed, or not effectively. A survey of 650 surgeons by the union found many were now considering changes to the way they worked as a result of the crisis – with more than half, 380, saying they would be avoiding face-to-face meetings with patients in the future. More than 40 surgeons, around 7%, said they were now considering leaving surgery altogether. Read full story Source: The Independent, 10 August 2020
  23. News Article
    Fifty million face masks bought by the government in April will not be used in the NHS because of safety concerns. The government says the masks, which use ear-loop fastenings rather than head loops, may not fit tightly enough. They were bought for healthcare workers from supplier Ayanda Capital as part of a £252m contract.Ayanda says the masks meet the specifications the government had set out. The government says its safety standards process is "robust". According to legal papers seen by the BBC, the government says these masks will now not be used in the NHS because of a safety issue. The document says that there is concern about whether they would fit adequately. To be effective these types of face mask need to fit tightly to create a seal between the mask and the wearer's face. Anyone who wears them for work is required to undergo a face fit test. "The face fit is either a pass or a fail and there are more fails on products with ear loops than there are on products with head harnesses," says Alan Murray, chief executive of the British Safety Industry Federation. Read full story Source: BBC News, 6 August 2020
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