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Found 141 results
  1. News Article
    Some 10,000 more deaths than usual have occurred in peoples’ private homes since mid June, long after the peak in Covid deaths, prompting fears that people may still be avoiding health services and delaying sending their loved ones to care homes. It brings to more than 30,000 the total number of excess deaths happening in people’s homes across the UK since the start of the pandemic. Excess deaths are a count of those deaths which are over and above a “normal” year, based on the average number of deaths that occurred in the past five years. In the past three months the number of excess deaths across all settings, has, in the main been lower than that of previous years. However, deaths in private homes buck the trend with an average of 824 excess deaths per week in people’s homes in the 13 weeks to mid-September. Experts are citing resistance from the public to enter hospitals or home care settings and “deconditioning” caused by decreased physical activity among older people shielding at home, for example not walking around a supermarket or garden centre as they might normally. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 24 September 2020
  2. News Article
    Sweeping bans on visiting at thousands of care homes risk residents dying prematurely this winter as they give up hope in the absence of loved ones, experts in elderly care have warned. More than 2,700 care homes in England are either already shut or will be told to do so imminently by local public health officials, according to a Guardian analysis of new government rules announced to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19. Care groups are calling for the government to make limited visiting possible, including by designating selected family members as key workers. Since Friday any care homes in local authority areas named by Public Health England for wider anti-Covid interventions must immediately move to stop visiting, except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life. It also halts visits to windows and gardens and follows seven months of restrictions in many care homes that closed their doors to routine visits in March. The blanket bans will result in the “raw reality of residents going downhill fast, giving up hope and ultimately dying sooner than would otherwise be the case”, warned the charity Age UK and the National Care Forum (NCF), which represents charitable care providers. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 23 September 2020
  3. News Article
    Hundreds of people believe the helpline failed their relatives. Now they are demanding their voices be heard. Families whose relatives died from COVID-19 in the early period of the pandemic are calling for an inquiry into the NHS 111 service, arguing that many critically ill people were given inadequate advice and told to stay at home. The COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group says approximately a fifth of its 1,800 members – more than 350 people – believe the 111 service failed to recognise how seriously ill their relatives were and direct them to appropriate care. “We believe that in some cases it is likely these issues directly contributed to loved ones dying, due to causing a delay in receiving treatment, or a total lack of treatment leading to them passing away at home,” said the group’s co-founder Jo Goodman, whose father, Stuart Goodman, died on 2 April aged 72. Many families have said they had trouble even getting through to the 111 phone line, the designated first step, alongside 111 online, for people concerned they may have COVID-19. The service recorded a huge rise in calls to almost 3m in March, and official NHS figures show that 38.7% were abandoned after callers waited longer than 30 seconds for a response. Some families who did get through have said the call handlers worked through fixed scripts and asked for yes or no answers, which led to their relatives being told they were not in need of medical care. “Despite having very severe symptoms including skin discolouration, fainting, total lack of energy, inability to eat and breathlessness, as well as other family members explaining the level of distress they were in, this was not considered sufficient to be admitted to hospital or have an ambulance sent out,” Goodman said. Some families also say their relatives’ health risk factors, such as having diabetes, were not taken into account, and that not all the 111 questions were appropriate for black, Asian and minority ethnic people, including a question to check for breathlessness that asked if their lips had turned blue. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 September 2020
  4. Content Article
    The results paint a bleak picture of the massive toll on all patients of the coronavirus pandemic and the emergency measures taken in response to it. Despite the large scale celebration of the NHS over the spring and early summer, the emergency measures came at a huge cost to patients. In particular, access to services became very difficult, and many patients were left feeling unsupported, anxious and lonely. The relationship between patients and the NHS has been significantly disrupted. It was by no means all bad: some patients reported good ongoing care, and were impressed by the way their local communities came together to support them. This report uses what patients said to look to the future, both near and long-term. It contains recommendations for the next phase of the emergency response, and also a call for the health and care system to be built back better after the pandemic: the current emergency footing cannot be the basis for the ongoing relationship between patients and the NHS.
  5. Event
    As the NHS recovers from the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis, many organisations and health systems are not seeking to return to their pre-Covid ways of working. Instead, they are using the ‘reset and recovery’ phase as an opportunity to transform and enhance patient care whilst locking-in efficiencies and operational improvements. This transformation is seen as essential by many as the NHS prepares for ‘Winter Pressures’, builds resilience for any future Covid waves and, importantly, manages the backlog of elective procedures. The pace and extent of disruptive transformation driven by the Covid crisis would have been unimaginable at the turn of the year. Since the pandemic erupted, organisations and networks across the NHS have implemented, almost overnight, many transformation initiatives that have been in planning stages for months or years. It has also necessitated a radical redesign of many ways of working. These changes have led to a fundamental rethink of both the speed and level of change that is possible. Despite all of these pressures it is recognised that the speed and level of change must be implemented in a managed and phased way. This webinar will highlight: The challenges the NHS faces. How solutions to those challenges have been designed – by listening to what the NHS needs. How the NHS has successfully implemented the solutions (hearing success stories from the NHS itself). The importance of embedding transformation and new ways of working for the future. This webinar is applicable to a wide range of NHS personnel, including Clinicians, Operational Staff and Patient Groups. Registration
  6. News Article
    'Long Covid' is leaving people with so-called ‘brain fog’ for months after their initial recovery, NHS experts have revealed. Dr Michael Beckles, consultant respiratory and general physician at The Wellington Hospital, and the Royal Free NHS Foundation, said he has seen a number of patients suffering from ongoing effects of the disease. He said the main symptom being reported is breathlessness, with patients also describing a brain fog. Dr Beckles said: "I'm seeing more and more patients who have had Covid-19 infection confirmed in the laboratory and on X-ray, who have cleared the infection, and are now still presenting with persistent symptoms. "Some of those symptoms are respiratory, such as breathlessness, chronic cough. "And some have other symptoms such as what the patients describe as brain fog, and I understand that to be a difficulty in concentration." "Some still have loss of sense of taste or smell." He added that it can be frustrating for patients because investigations after the infection can be normal, yet the symptoms persist. Dr Beckles is part of a team of specialists at the new post-COVID-19 rehabilitation unit at The Wellington Hospital. Read full story Source: The Telegraph, 21 September 2020
  7. News Article
    Tens of thousands of people avoided going to hospital for life-threatening illnesses such as heart attacks during Britain's coronavirus crisis, data has revealed. Shocking figures reveal that admissions for seven deadly non-coronavirus conditions between March and June fell by more than 173,000 on the previous year. Previous data for England shows there were nearly 6,000 fewer admissions for heart attacks in March and April compared with last year, and almost 137,000 fewer cancer admissions from March to June. Analysis by the Daily Mail found that the trends were alarmingly similar across the board for patients who suffered strokes, diabetes, dementia, mental health conditions and eating disorders. Health experts said the statistics were 'troubling' and warned that many patients may have died or suffered longterm harm as a result. Gbemi Babalola, senior analyst at the King's Fund think-tank said: "People with some of the most serious health concerns are going without the healthcare they desperately need. Compared with the height of the pandemic, the NHS is seeing an increase in the number of patients as services restart, and significant effort is going into new ways to treat and support patients." "But the fact remains that fewer people are being treated by NHS services." Read full story Source: Daily Mail, 13 September 2020
  8. News Article
    More than 1,500 breast cancer patients in UK face long waits to have reconstructive surgery after hospitals could not operate on them during the pandemic because they were tackling COVID-19. The women are facing delays of “many months, possibly years” because the NHS has such a big backlog of cases to get through, according to research by the charity Breast Cancer Now. When the lockdown began in March the NHS stopped performing breast reconstructions for women seeking one after a mastectomy as part of its wider suspension of care. That was because so many operating theatres were being used as overflow intensive care units and because doctors and hospital bosses feared that patients coming into hospital might catch Covid. The NHS started doing them again in July, but not everywhere and not in the same numbers as before. “We are deeply concerned by our finding that over 1,500 breast cancer patients may now face lengthy and extremely upsetting delays for reconstructive surgery,” said Delyth Morgan, the chief executive of Breast Cancer Now. “This will leave many women who want to have reconstruction with one breast, no breasts or asymmetric breasts for months, possibly even years.” Lady Morgan said: “Reconstructive surgery is an essential part of recovery after breast cancer for those who choose it. “Women with breast cancer have told us these delays are causing them huge anxiety, low self-esteem and damaged body confidence, and all at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has denied them access to face to face support from healthcare professionals and charities.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 September 2020
  9. News Article
    Thousands of stroke patients have suffered avoidable disability because NHS care for them was disrupted during the pandemic, a report claims. Many people who had just had a stroke found it harder to obtain clot-busting drugs or undergo surgery to remove a blood clot from their brain, both of which need to happen quickly. Rehabilitation services, which are vital to help reduce the impact of a stroke, also stopped working normally as the NHS focused on Covid, the Stroke Association said. It is concerned “many could lose out on the opportunity to make their best possible recovery”. Juliet Bouverie, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Strokes didn’t stop because of the pandemic. Despite the tireless efforts of frontline clinicians who have gone to herculean efforts to maintain services under extremely difficult conditions, some treatments still became unavailable and most stroke aftercare ground to a halt. This means more stroke survivors are now living with avoidable, unnecessary disability.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 September 2020
  10. News Article
    Tens of thousands of people may require kidney dialysis or transplants because of coronavirus, according to experts who warn the long-term effects of Covid are causing an “epidemic in primary care”. Up to 90% of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital may still experience symptoms two to three months later – from breathlessness to joint pain, fatigue and chest pain – scientists told the Lords science and technology committee on Tuesday. Donal O’Donoghue, a consultant renal physician at Salford Royal NHS trust, said damage to the kidneys was of major concern. It is believed the virus may attack the organ directly, he said, while the kidneys could also be injured by body-wide inflammation caused by the virus. “Normally we see maybe 20% of people that go on to intensive care unit need to have a form of dialysis. During Covid it was up to 40% – and 85% of people had some degree of kidney injury,” he said. “No doubt that is happening out in the community as well, probably to a lesser extent.” Tom Solomon, professor of neurology at the University of Liverpool, told the committee more needed to be done to support Covid survivors. “[GPs] are seeing lots of patients who are left over with problems from their Covid and they need to be able to refer them to get help in understanding what is going on,” he said, adding: “This is really the current epidemic in primary care.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 September 2020
  11. News Article
    "It’s March and I’m lying awake at 3am struggling to breathe. There’s a heaviness in my chest. I’m terrified at the speed and inconsistency of my heartbeat, but I’m too afraid to call for medical help again. They’ve told me that it will get better and I need to persevere. I live on my own, and I’m trying to control my panic." Six months later Louise Cole is still dealing with the symptoms. Like thousands of others, it turns out she has “long Covid”. Like them, Louise has struggled to be taken seriously by doctors. "While for some life is slowly returning to normal, the same cannot be said for long-term COVID-19 patients. Forgetting us is not an option — not least because the burden of caring for people like me is something the NHS and government will have to reckon with. Something must be done to ease our suffering — and that starts with paying us some attention." Read full story Source: Evening Standard, 11 September 2020
  12. News Article
    The government has now officially recognised the long-term health implications some people can suffer after contracting coronavirus. Lung inflammation, gastrointestinal disturbance, and fatigue are just some of the listed long-term health effects published by Public Health England. But it’s no new revelation - as campaigners made up of politicians, expert clinicians and sufferers have fought hard over the past few months to bring what has become known as ‘long covid’ into the public domain. One of them is Jo Platt, former Labour MP for Leigh, who says the virus hit her ‘like a train’ in the week before lockdown in March - when it wasn’t possible to get a test. She's been left with symptoms months on - although recently tested negative twice for COVID-19. “It was like a train hitting me, like a switch, I felt so unwell for two days. I had general dizziness, fatigue but nothing you could pinpoint. I didn’t have a cough or a temperature, although I felt hot; had gastric trouble; shortness of breath; then it eased and I was okay and thought ‘thank goodness. It must have just been mild’,” Jo said. Two days later the symptoms came back, but that spell of illness lasted for two weeks. Jo said she couldn’t get out of bed, suffered intense headaches and a burning sensation in her lungs, was unable to concentrate and couldn’t read. “I’m not normally an anxious person, but then came anxiety", she said. "I felt a real sense of dread, a heightened pending sense of doom. It continued on and off for months, and particularly worsened at the weekend. The 48-year-old got in touch with her GP who said anxiety was bringing the symptoms on. It wasn’t until a week later when Jo read an article by Professor Paul Garner, of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who talked about his fight with symptoms, that she realised she wasn't alone. “Everything he was saying was the same as what I was going through. I cried and cried. It was all validated. Then the journey began of finding other people - which does make it feel better,” said the mum-of-three. Prof Garner has described coronavirus as a 'very bizarre disease' that left him feeling 'repeatedly battered the first two months' and then experiencing lesser episodes in the subsequent four months with continual fatigue. “Navigating help is really difficult,” he said in a BMJ webinar. With the help of Jo's connections in parliament, Prof Garner, and meetings with the shadow cabinet health team, a support group for long covid sufferers has been formed, which has 20,000 members. They’re calling for recognition, which they finally got from the government on 7 September 7, research and rehab. Matt Hancock said at the Health and Social Care Committee the following day: “The long-term impacts of covid are not very strongly correlated with severity of the initial illness. While we have a significant amount of work going into supporting those who come out of hospital, this is not just about people hospitalised. “In fact, this is especially relevant for now with the latest rise largely among young people, it doesn't matter how serious your infection was the first time, the impact of long covid can be really debilitating for a long period of time, no matter if your initial illness wasn't all that severe.” The Health Secretary, when questioned on calls by the Royal College of GPs for covid clinics, said the NHS has set up clinics, but he is ‘concerned’ that not all GPs know how to ensure people know how to get into those services. “That’s something I am sure we can resolve,” he added. Read full story Source: Manchester Evening News, 13 September 2020
  13. Event
    A record excess of four million people are now awaiting hospital treatment in England. This number includes more than 83,000 who have been waiting more than a year. On Thursday 17 September, RSM President Professor Roger Kirby will interview Professor Derek Alderson, immediate past President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ben Challacombe, Consultant Urological Surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Hannah Warren, Specialist Registrar at King’s College Hospital to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on surgeons, surgery and surgical waiting lists. In addition, the panel will discuss whether the mass testing proposed by the Prime Minister in his “Operation Moonshot” initiative could help to resolve the situation. The webinar will include plenty of opportunities for questions. Registration
  14. News Article
    The number of patients with cancer referred from screening services has fallen to nearly a third of pre-covid levels, new data shows. A total of 2,604 patients had their cancer picked up by screening services between April to July. This compares to 7,204 in the same period last year. The NHS England data covers patients receiving treatment within two months of a referral from screening services. This means the April 2020 data is largely from screening carried out before cOVID-19 saw services being shut down. From May to July this year, 1,243 patients were treated after a referral from screening services, compared to 5,406 in the same period last time. NHS England which commissions screening services from trusts said no central decision had been taken to halt screening at the height of the outbreak but said: “We know that some local providers did take the decision to pause and in those cases plans are in place to get services fully up and running again.” The national screening programmes look for bowel, breast and cervical cancers. Head of policy at Macmillan Cancer Support Sara Bainbridge said: ”Behind every missed target is a real person whose prognosis and treatment options could be severely impacted by these delays. It’s vital that people see their GP if they have symptoms, and anyone who is worried about cancer needs to know that they’ll be seen promptly and safely." “Cancer must not become the forgotten ‘C’ during this pandemic – we urgently need the government to deliver the promised recovery plan and make sure the NHS has all the staffing and resources it needs to get cancer services back on track.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 10 September 2020
  15. News Article
    Hundreds of women with breast cancer in London were not picked up by routine screening as services closed during the lockdown, officials have estimated. Data from NHS England and Improvement’s London office said it expected 450 people to have breast cancer and have gone undiagnosed because of the heavily reduced amount of screening at the height of the outbreak. It was included in a letter from officials to local health system leaders, seen by HSJ. It said the figure was an estimate based on the 115,000 routine breast screenings that would have taken place between late March and the end of June and which had to be re-scheduled. London represents around 15% of England’s population, so a nationwide estimate would run into thousands. Responding to the figures, Breast Cancer Now chief executive Baroness Delyth Morgan said: ”While it’s encouraging that the breast screening programme in London is now back up and running, we are concerned to hear of the hundreds of potential delayed cancer diagnoses as a result of disruption due to the pandemic. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be successful." “With over a hundred thousand people missing out on vital breast screening during the pandemic in London alone, we urge the government to ensure there is sufficient capacity in the already-stretched workforce to meet the huge backlog and to avoid any cancers going undetected for longer.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 9 September 2020
  16. Event
    This is the first of a series of webinars Patient Safety Learning, Health Plus Care and BD are holding on patient safety on the frontline, exploring burning patient safety issues and engaging with frontline healthcare workers, clinical leaders and patient safety experts. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on access to non-Covid care and treatment. We know there are over a million extra patients awaiting hospital treatment. The NHS has issued guidance for ‘accelerating the return to near-normal levels of non-Covid health services, making full use of the capacity available in the ‘window of opportunity’ between now and winter.’ In this webinar we will be discussing these issues with front-line clinicians and patient safety experts. Read Patient Safety Learning's accompanying blog that sets out some key points to inform the webinar. Registration
  17. 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.
  18. News Article
    Nurses and essential healthcare staff could be left redundant in the middle of the pandemic as local authorities look to make changes to healthcare contracts that would leave patients facing major disruption, NHS bosses have warned. NHS Providers, which represents all NHS trusts, and NHS Confederation, which represents health and care organisations, said that the decision to put contracts for public health services out to tender as workers battle coronavirus in the community is “completely inappropriate” and a “damaging distraction”, creating uncertainty for those who have spent the past six months on the COVID-19 frontline. Shadow health minister Jonathan Ashworth told The Independent: “This process is disruptive and wasteful at the best of times, but to be doing this mid-pandemic is risky, unnecessary and undermines the ability of frontline health workers to focus not only on preparations for a potential second wave, but a whole host of other health issues, such as Covid rehabilitation, community mental health services and children’s health, all of which are now urgent priorities.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 September 2020
  19. News Article
    Complacency over the flu jab risks overwhelming the NHS, experts warn, as data reveals the scale of the challenge in expanding the vaccination programme. Last month, the government announced plans to double the number of people who receive the influenza jab. But BBC analysis has found the take-up rate among people in vulnerable groups eligible for a free jab has declined. Health secretary Matt Hancock said he did not want a flu outbreak "at the same time as dealing with coronavirus". The government wants to increase the number of people vaccinated from 15 million to 30 million amid fears coronavirus cases will rise again in the autumn. Local authorities in England saw an average 45% of people with serious health conditions under 65 take up the offer of a free vaccine last winter, data shows. That represents a drop from 50% in 2015. The UK government has an ambition to vaccinate 55% of people in vulnerable groups, which includes people with multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes or chronic asthma. The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously said countries should vaccinate 75% of people in "vulnerable" categories. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 August 2020
  20. News Article
    Women working in the NHS are suffering from serious stress and exhaustion in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, a troubling new report has found. Some 75% of NHS workers are women and the nursing sector is predominantly made up of women – with 9 out of 10 nurses in the UK being female. The report, conducted by the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network, warns the NHS is at risk of losing female staff due to them experiencing mental burnout during the global pandemic. Researchers, who polled more than 1,300 women working across health and care in England, found almost three quarters reported their job had a more damaging impact than usual on their emotional wellbeing due to the COVID-19 emergency. Read full story Source: The Independent, 25 August 2020