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Found 217 results
  1. News Article
    A woman has become blind after her monthly eye injections were delayed for four months during lockdown. Helen Jeremy, 73, said everything she enjoyed doing has "gone out of the window" after losing her eyesight. She has glaucoma and was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration four years ago. Monthly injections controlled the condition and meant she could still drive and play the piano. However, her appointments were cancelled when the pandemic struck and her eyesight deteriorated. "I was panicking. It was terrifying. Because I'm a widow I'm on my own and it was awful," she said. "Suddenly my eyesight was basically gone. By the time of my next appointment I was told there was no point in going on with these injections because the damage had been done to the back of my eye." Thousands more people in Wales are at risk of "irreversible sight loss" because of treatment delays, RNIB Cymru warns. The Welsh Government said health boards are working to increase services. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 November 2020
  2. News Article
    More than a million patient operations could be delayed because of widespread shortages of anaesthetists in the NHS – with 9 out of every 10 hospitals reporting at least one vacancy. As coronavirus paralysed the NHS earlier this year, more than 140,000 NHS patients have already waited over a year for treatment. The Health Foundation has warned that 4.7 million fewer patients have been referred for treatment because of the impact of coronavirus on NHS services. The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCOA) told The Independent the scale of the vacancies was getting worse and labelled it a “workforce disaster” that could cost patients’ lives and have a widespread impact on hospital services. Read full story Source: The Independent, 22 November 2020
  3. News Article
    Young, low risk patients with ongoing symptoms of COVID-19 had signs of damage to multiple organs four months after initially being infected, a preprint study has suggested. Initial data from 201 patients suggest that almost 70% had impairments in one or more organs four months after their initial symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The results emerged as the NHS announced plans to establish a network of more than 40 long covid specialist clinics across England this month to help patients with long term symptoms of infection. The prospective Coverscan study examined the impact of long covid (persistent symptoms three months post infection) across multiple organs in low risk people who are relatively young and had no major underlying health problems. The research has not yet been peer reviewed and could not establish a causal link between organ impairment and infection. But the authors said the results had “implications not only for [the] burden of long covid but also public health approaches which have assumed low risk in young people with no comorbidities.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 17 November 2020
  4. News Article
    A top teaching hospital has blamed covid measures for a dramatic rise in the number of trolley waits in its accident and emergency department. In October, 111 patients at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) Foundation Trust, which runs Addenbrooke’s Hospital, waited more than 12 hours for admission, despite the region’s relatively low covid rates. CUH recorded just nine 12-hour waits in September and 27 in August. It had no 12-hour waits in either June or July this year, and in October 2019, it had only one. The trust also had 761 patients who waited more than four hours from the decision to admit to admission last month, out of a total of 2,998 emergency admissions. CUH director of operations Holly Sutherland said: “We have had to reorganise the hospital to meet infection control requirements and to reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission. With limited side room availability due to the age of our facilities, this has reduced the number of beds in the hospital by around 100 and has impacted on patient flow from the emergency department." “We would like to apologise to anyone affected by this, and to reassure our patients that their safety is our utmost priority and we are doing everything we can to treat them as quickly as possible.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 18 November 2020
  5. News Article
    Mothers are being needlessly separated from their babies under strict hospital restrictions introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19, doctors and charities have warned. The measures preventing UK parents from staying with their babies when one or both require hospital treatment are causing trauma and increasing the risk of physical and mental health problems, it is claimed. Some parents of sick babies are also being barred from seeing their child in neonatal units, which is causing distress and preventing bonding. Campaigners have written to the health secretary, Matt Hancock, to raise their concerns. They want hospitals to review these policies urgently and have called for a working group to draw up national standards to meet families’ needs during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 November 2020
  6. News Article
    Labour is demanding new investment for the NHS as part of the government’s spending review next week, after analysis shows hundreds of thousands of patients are waiting for life-changing operations. The party’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, will challenge Matt Hancock in Parliament on today over the latest NHS data, which reveal almost 500,000 patients are waiting for surgery on their hips, knees and other bones. Last week, NHS England published new data showing more than 1.7 million people were waiting longer than the NHS target of 18-weeks for treatment. The target was last met in February 2016. An analysis of NHS England data reveal which specialities have been hardest hit by the growing backlog of operations, which has soared since the first wave of coronavirus caused widespread hospital cancellations earlier this year. There were 4.3 million patients on NHS waiting lists for hospital treatments in September. Labour said this included 477,250 waiting for trauma and orthopaedic surgery, with 252,247 patients waiting over 18 weeks. The next worst specialty was ophthalmology, which treats eye disorders, with 444,828 patients on waiting lists, 233,425 of whom have waited more than 18 weeks. There were six figure waiting lists over 18 weeks for other specialties including gynaecology, urology, general surgery, and ear, nose and throat patients. Read full story Source: 17 November 2020
  7. Content Article
    Detailed results from the report show: - The regions that have seen the sharpest decline in the number of people referred for routine elective care during the first 8 months of the year are London (37% reduction as compared to 2019), North West (35% reduction) and South East (35% reduction). The South West saw the smallest reduction in the number of people referred for elective care compared to 2019 (29%). The North East and Yorkshire saw a 34% reduction and Midlands and East of England both had a 33% reduction. - Those regions that experienced the lowest rates of COVID-19 during the first wave, namely the South West and East of England, are also those that have made the most progress in reopening elective care services. While there are currently only limited signs that more treatment is being postponed in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, this may change in the future. - Referrals to clinical areas have declined as follows: oral surgery (43% lower than in 2019, representing 177,591 fewer people) trauma and orthopaedics (42% lower, representing 622,593 fewer people). This includes surgery for hip and knee replacements ophthalmology (41% lower, representing 531,660 fewer people). This includes cataract operations thoracic medicine (29%, or 98,546 fewer people) cardiothoracic surgery (29%, or 7,889 fewer people) neurosurgery (29% lower, or 23,872 fewer people); urology (28% lower, representing 186,119 fewer people).
  8. News Article
    The number of people waiting over a year for hospital treatment in England has hit its highest levels since 2008. Patients are meant to be seen within 18 weeks - but nearly 140,000 of the 4.35 million on the waiting list at the end of September had waited over a year. Surgeons said it was "tragic" patients were being left in pain while they waited for treatment, including knee and hip operations. And others warned the situation could become even worse during winter. In recent weeks, major hospitals in Bradford, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham and Liverpool, which have seen high rates of infection, have announced the mass cancellation of non-urgent work. Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 November 2020
  9. News Article
    Lockdown measures in England led to thousands fewer children receiving vital immunisations for a range of diseases include measles, diphtheria and whooping cough, Public Health England (PHE) has warned. PHE has warned parents they should continue to get their children immunised regardless of lockdown and restrictions brought on by coronavirus. During the first wave of coronavirus the government advised that children should continue to receive vaccinations as scheduled but despite these some appointments were delayed and the numbers of children vaccinated against common diseases fell compared to 2019. PHE looked at data from almost 40% of GP surgeries for use of the common 6-in-1 vaccination for diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and polio as well as uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to 19 October. In total 167,322 children had the 6-in-1 vaccine, a drop of 6,600 on the same period in 2019, a fall of almost 4%. A total of 167,670 children had the MMR jab, 4,700 fewer than in 2019, a drop of 2.8%. Although the vaccinations recovered after lockdown the rates are still lower overall than 2019. Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at Public Health England, said: “Vaccines remain the best defence against infection. It’s essential we maintain the highest possible uptake to prevent a resurgence of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases. “Routine vaccinations are still available throughout the pandemic – it’s vital that we continue to make it as easy and safe as possible for parents to take their children to appointments.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 November 2020
  10. Content Article
    Lecture content How common is smell loss in COVID-19? Does it get better? How does it position relative to other symptoms of the pandemic? How is it different to typical smell loss seen with other viruses? What about taste? Why bother with smell loss?
  11. News Article
    Patients, including those with the coronavirus, are being kept “head to toe” on trolleys in accident and emergency departments in Manchester, with some forced to wait up to 40 hours for a bed. The “dangerous” situation has sparked warnings from the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine over the “potentially lethal” crowding of patients in A&Es across the country this winter. Katherine Henderson said she was “absolutely terrified” by what was happening in some departments. She said she had warned NHS England about the dangers of crowding patients in A&E but that not enough action had been taken. She told The Independent: “Crowding in A&E is unsafe, but with coronavirus it is potentially lethal. We have said this endlessly to NHS England." “Everyone agrees crowding is bad, but what they’re not doing is translating that into action.” After hearing of the situation in Manchester, she added: “Exactly what we said should not happen is happening. I am absolutely terrified by this. What more can I do? I have highlighted this risk everywhere I can over the past few months.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 November 2020
  12. Content Article
    Top tips for caring for patients whilst waiting for the NICE/SIGN/RCGP guidance: 1. Post COVID-19 syndrome is a real condition. Believe your patient, listen, show empathy and acknowledge the diagnosis. 2. You do not need a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, or have been admitted to hospital to be diagnosed with post COVID-19 syndrome. Anyone with an acute infection of COVID-19, however mild, can go on to develop post COVID-19 syndrome. 3. Post COVID-19 syndrome is a multisystem disease. Do not dismiss ongoing COVID-19 symptoms as anxiety or due to psychological cause. A full history and appropriate examination is needed to understand the impact of COVID19 on your patient. 4. Possible investigation and treatment pathway whilst waiting for the national guidance to be produced. It is essential to exclude underlying pathology and “red flags” that require further investigation and treatment, before a diagnosis of post COVID-19 syndrome is made. Review and investigate the patient, as clinically indicated, at any stage of their illness; you do not need to wait until 12 weeks for this process to begin. 5. Other current and upcoming RCGP resources on managing the long term effects of COVID-19. RCGP will continue to update the educational information as the evidence emerges and the national guidance is produced in December 2020.
  13. News Article
    One in five COVId-19 patients were diagnosed with a mental illness for the first time within three months of their infection, a study has shown. Mental health experts said the findings, which were based on an analysis of the electronic medical records of 69 million people in the US, suggest that coronavirus survivors could have an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders. Of the almost 70 million people whose records were examined in the study, 62,354 individuals had confirmed COVID-19 cases. Researchers at the University of Oxford and the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre found that one in five of these patients went on to receive a first time diagnosis of anxiety, depression or insomnia within 90 days of testing positive for the virus. This was roughly twice as high as the figure for other individuals over the same time frame, according to the researchers. People with a history of mental health disorders who contracted the virus were also discovered to be more likely to have new psychiatric diagnoses. Paul Harrison, a psychiatry professor at the University of Oxford who led the research, said: "People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings in a large and detailed study show this to be likely. Read full story Source: The Independent, 10 November 2020
  14. News Article
    As many as 2,000 people could die because of Covid-related delays in the Welsh NHS, a cancer expert has said. With virus cases rising, Prof Tom Crosby, of the Wales Cancer Network, fears cancer cases missed in the first lockdown may now be harder to treat. Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said it would be "foolish" to have a plan for backlogs before the pandemic is over. But he said work was under way to address the issue with health boards. Alongside the spread of the virus, medical professionals are very worried about deaths that could occur not because of Covid, but due to the backlog of appointments and surgery it is causing. BBC Wales Investigates has been uncovering the full extent of the looming problem facing the NHS. Delays caused by the pandemic are a serious concern to Prof Crosby, who is medical director at the Wales Cancer Network. He said when the pandemic first hit, acute COVID-19 cases became the focus in hospitals at the expense of cancer, cardiac and orthopaedic appointments. "Some of the conversations we've had with patients in the clinic have been really, really challenging," he said. "Then there are thousands of patients who have not come through to the system that usually would have. Some of those are going to have had cancer, and they will not have been diagnosed now." Prof Crosby has been looking at possible outcomes for cancer patients because of delays in diagnosis and treatment. "We have done some modelling work with England, and it has suggested that between 200 and 2,000 excess deaths will occur as a result of undiagnosed or untreated cancer in Wales," he said. "I think the effects on cancer services are going to be here for two to three years." Read full story Source: BBC News, 9 November 2020
  15. News Article
    Over a third (35%) of healthcare professionals say they have suffered verbal or physical abuse from patients, or patients’ relatives during COVID-19, according to a survey by Medical Protection. The Medical Protection survey of 1250 doctors in the UK, also showed that a further 7% have experienced verbal or physical abuse from a member of the public outside of a medical setting, with some saying they have been sworn at for using the NHS queue at the supermarket. This follows reports that GP’s are facing abuse and complaints from patient’s who believe they aren’t offering enough face-to-face appointments, despite face-to-face appointments increasing in recent months. Medical Protection said the abuse presents yet another source of anxiety for doctors at the worst possible time. In the same survey, 2 in 5 doctors say their mental wellbeing is worse compared to the start of the pandemic. “I have been sworn at for using the NHS queue at the supermarket.” “I have had more unpleasantness from patients in the last 6 months than in all my previous 50 years in healthcare.I am almost at the point of stopping all clinical practice.” “There is too much verbal abuse to mention but the most upsetting is patients believing that we haven`t been open – we are all on our knees.” Read full story Source: Medical Protection, 31 October 2020
  16. News Article
    An NHS hospital at the epicentre of the coronavirus second wave is facing the threat of action by the care watchdog as it struggles to keep patients safe, The Independent has learned. Senior NHS bosses in the northwest region have been accused of putting politics ahead of patient safety and not doing enough to help the hospital to cope with the surge in Covid patients in recent weeks. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) warned the Liverpool University Hospitals Trust on Friday that it could face action after an inspection carried out last week in response to fears raised with the regulator. In a message to his colleagues on Friday, Liverpool University Hospitals (LUH) Trust medical director Tristan Cope warned the hospital had been overwhelmed by coronavirus and standards of care could no longer be maintained. He criticised NHS England and said the trust had been “abandoned” as coronavirus cases surged. He confirmed the CQC’s intention to take action against the trust but said the regulator had failed to appreciate the pressure staff in the hospital were under. Dr Cope, a consultant in anaesthesia and critical care, said: “LUH is now essentially overwhelmed by the demand. We cannot maintain patient flow and usual standards of care. We have put forward a proposal to further reduce elective [planned] activity, but maintaining capacity for the most urgent cases that would suffer from a two-four week delay." “It is a very sound plan that our divisional teams have worked up. However, NHS England are prevaricating and delaying with the usual request for more detail, more data, etc. It is clear to me that the politics is outweighing the patient safety issues of the acute crisis." Read full story Source: The Independent, 3 November 2020
  17. News Article
    A month-long national lockdown in winter will take a heavy toll on people's mental health, charities fear. Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, says it could be "the greatest test of our mental health this year”, not just for the public but for healthcare staff who are "working tirelessly, but may be struggling with their mental health too”. Both Mind and Carers UK say the Government has to learn from mistakes in the first wave and make sure people can get help early on. Mind has also urged the Government to support those who feel alone through a second lockdown in England, with Mr Farmer saying there is an “urgent need” for a winter mental health support package including in-person and online services. Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 November 2020
  18. News Article
    Delays in discharging patients from hospitals is making pressure on the NHS from the second wave of coronavirus worse, hospital chiefs have warned. Some hospitals are already reporting almost all of their beds are full with patients as the number of coronavirus cases continues to surge with more patients needing hospital care every day. Doctors have told The Independent the lack of discharges means fewer beds are free and some hospitals are seeing long waits in A&E for beds to become available. NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said: “Some of our chief executives are saying they are seeing bed occupancy levels of 92, 93, 94 per cent at the end of October when they would normally expect these to be 86, 87, 88 per cent. “Given where we are in terms of the winter cycle, and the fact we are not really at the beginning of winter yet, that is a worry." “There are much higher bed occupancy levels now than you would normally expect to see at this time of the year.” Without enough spare beds, hospitals will not be able to go ahead with planned surgeries and will have to make patients wait longer for a bed in accident and emergency departments. Read full story Source: The Independent, 30 October 2020
  19. News Article
    Cancer patients have had surgery cancelled because of coronavirus for the first time as pressure mounts on hospitals from the second wave, The Independent has learnt. Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has confirmed it had to postpone the operations because of the number of patients needing intensive care beds. While hospitals across the north of England have been forced to start cancelling routine operations in the last 10 days, maintaining cancer and emergency surgery had been a red line for bosses given the risk to patients from any delays. Cancer Research UK said it was “extremely concerning” that some operations had been postponed and called for urgent action and investment to make sure treatments were not curtailed further. In a statement to The Independent, Nottingham University Hospitals medical director Keith Girling said: “We’ve had to make the extremely difficult decision to postpone operations for four of our cancer/pre-cancer patients this week due to pressure on our intensive care units from both Covid-19 and non-covid related emergencies." “We expect to treat one of the postponed patients next week, and we’re in contact with the others to arrange a new date, which will be imminent. This delay, however short, will be incredibly hard for the patients and their families, and I’m truly sorry for any distress this will have caused. Read full story Source: The Independent, 27 October 2020
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