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Found 45 results
  1. Content Article
    In this blog, hub topic lead Julie Storr talks about her new book Infection prevention and control: A social science perspective, which explores new perspectives on and approaches to infection prevention and control (IPC). The book examines how people and their behaviour affect IPC, and how they are in turn affected by IPC measures. Julie highlights the importance of compassion in IPC policy and implementation and outlines the unintended negative consequences that IPC measures can have. Among other contributors, Patient Safety Learning's Chief Executive Helen Hughes has written a chapter for the book highlighting the need for patient safety to be treated as a core purpose of health and social care.
  2. News Article
    Relatives of intensive care Covid patients were left traumatised by being banned from visiting their seriously ill loved ones during the pandemic, a study has found. Researchers found two-thirds of family members of patients in intensive care were still suffering high levels of symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) three months after their relative was admitted. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares and physical sensations such as pain, sweating, feeling sick or trembling. Before the Covid pandemic, symptoms of PTSD in family members of intensive care patients were between 15 and 30 per cent, depending on the condition. The team from the University of Colorado School of Medicine said visitation restrictions may have inadvertently generated a secondary public health crisis of stress-related disorders in family members of Covid patients. At the height of the pandemic, hospitals across Britain restricted access to patients, with many people forced to say goodbye to dying loved ones over Skype, or behind screens or windows. Even as late as last winter, a Telegraph investigation showed that a quarter of trusts were still imposing restrictions on visitors. The findings suggest that the rates of PTSD may be higher in relatives than in patients. A previous study by Imperial College and the University of Southampton found that only one-third of patients on ventilators suffer symptoms. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 25 April 2022
  3. News Article
    A significant relaxation of infection control guidance has been announced in a bid to free up more capacity to tackle substantial waiting lists and demand for emergency care. New guidance issued jointly by the Department of Heath and Social Care, the UK Health Security Agency, NHS England and health bodies in the devolved nations, recommends the relaxation of isolation requirements for inpatients who either test positive for Covid-19 or are considered close contacts of people with the virus. The isolation period for inpatients with Covid-19 can now be reduced from 10 days to seven if they have two negative lateral flow tests. The tests must be taken on two consecutive days from day six of the isolation period onwards, and the patient must also “[show] clinical improvement”. A letter from NHSE released to trust chiefs, sent last Thursday, also recommends the “[return] of pre-pandemic physical distancing in all areas,” including emergency departments, ambulances and “all primary care, inpatient and outpatient settings.” It also recommends the returning to pre-pandemic cleaning procedures outside Covid-19 areas. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 19 April 2022
  4. News Article
    Tens of thousands of new mothers have been left feeling “hopeless” and “isolated” during the pandemic, with the NHS seeing record numbers of referrals to mental health services. Requests for help from new, expectant and bereaved mothers jumped by 40% in 2021 compared with 2019, analysis by The Independent has revealed. NHS data shows mental health referrals hit an all-time high of 23,673 in November last year, with average monthly referrals for the whole of 2021 running 21% higher than the year before, jumping from 17,226 to 21,990. Among those affected when support systems were “suddenly” removed in March 2020 was Leanne, a woman who had her second child just before the pandemic and experienced a mental health crisis. She told The Independent how she had struggled following the first lockdown. “I just thought, Oh God, my recovery is going to stop, how am I going to get better now because I’ve got no support – I’m on my own with it,” she said. “I was [also] anticipating the lockdown … in addition to the nursery closing, and I was getting quite anxious about that, and feeling quite hopeless. The pressure piled on me was enormous, and I had no one who could see me or support me." Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, the shadow minister for mental health, said the figures uncovered by The Independent were “extremely concerning” and that pregnant women had been “forgotten about through the pandemic”. The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ lead for perinatal mental health services, Dr Joanne Black, said the NHS pandemic recovery plan had lost sight of women in pregnancy and children under two years old, who have been “disproportionately affected”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 28 February 2022
  5. News Article
    Today the Government is expected to announce the end to all Covid restrictions, including ending self-isolation and free testing in the country. However, in an open letter to the UK's Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, the UK science and medical communities say this is a "HUGE mistake". The open letter expresses concern about the Government plans to end testing, surveillance surveys and legal isolation of Covid-19 cases and asks the Government to clarify the scientific advice underpinning these policy decisions as they do not believe there is a solid scientific basis for the policy. "It is almost certain to increase the circulation of the virus and remove the visibility of emerging variants of concern." "The emergence of new variants and a resultant wave of infections can occur very quickly, potentially within just several weeks. The ability to rapidly detect and characterise new variants and to scale up necessary responses (such as TTI and vaccinations) quickly will be very important. Considerations for future response preparedness and surveillance infrastructure should take this into account." "We believe humanity is in a race against the virus." The letter goes on to say that some form of surveillance must be continued to ensure the situation is well understood and new variants of concern identified. Lack of testing is not only detrimental to controlling the spread of SARSCoV2 and detecting new variants, it also puts people who develop Long Covid at a great disadvantage by not having a confirmation of their infection, which is integral to the diagnosis, support and care they need to receive. For the 1 in 4 people in the UK who are clinically vulnerable, the current approach appears a perilous and politicised pandemic response. The authors of the letter are asking members of the UK science and medical communities to sign the open letter. Read the letter in full and sign here
  6. News Article
    The government has announced that the “restoration of other NHS services” will start today on a “hospital-by-hospital” basis. Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock in his daily ministerial coronavirus briefing announced the resumption of healthcare which has been suspended due to coronavirus will begin today. He said the initial focus would be on the most urgent services, citing cancer and mental health as examples. They will be reintroduced on a locally decided basis, depending on the level the virus is currently impacting different areas and trusts, which varies widely, and how easily they can reintroduce the work, he said. Mr Hancock, asked about the plan by HSJ during the briefing, indicated that a large-scale return would be enabled because the government is setting out to avoid a so-called second peak of the virus spreading, so the NHS will not need to keep tens of thousands of extra beds free in readiness. Experts and governments around the globe are concerned about the prospect of further peaks of the virus spread as they move to release distancing measures. Further NHS England guidance on the plan is expected later this week. Read full story Source: HSJ, 27 April 2020
  7. News Article
    Hospitals should allow parents to be with children who are being treated for the coronavirus, NHS England has confirmed, after a 13-year-old boy died without any family members beside him. Under its national guidance to hospitals, parents are considered essential visitors, but hospitals do have discretion to suspend visitors if it is “considered appropriate”. Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should not be allowed to visit a hospital. NHS England confirmed the position after 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab died at King’s College Hospital in south London in the early hours of Monday without any family members present. A statement by his family suggested he was alone because of the risk of infection. On its website the hospital repeated the guidance sent to trusts by NHS England that states children are allowed one parent or carer as a visitor, but declined to explain why his family were not with him. The end-of-life charity Marie Curie has also called on doctors to allow families to be with their loved ones, describing it as an “important part of their duty of care”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 2 April 2020
  8. News Article
    Protection for staff, clean covid-negative wards, and enforcing social isolation are the three take home messages from Italy’s fight against COVID-19, according to rapid findings shared exclusively with HSJ. By 6 March 2020, Italy had recorded 4,636 cases and 197 deaths attributable to COVID-19. On 20 March, two weeks later, the UK announced 3,983 cases and 177 deaths due to the novel coronavirus. Models put us two weeks behind Italy and on the same trajectory. PanSurg.org, an international collaborative created at Imperial College London, organised a series of webinars to rapidly share experiences and learning around the pandemic amongst the global healthcare community. Nearly 1,000 healthcare professionals from around the world took part in these events, and several important messages emerged. 1) Protect your staff: full PPE (including, FFP3 masks) for COVID-19 suspected or COVID-19 positive areas. This is both for them and to keep your workforce numbers intact. 2) Treat everyone as if they could haveCOVID-19, as they may do and “fear the covid negative ward”. 3) Enforce social isolation and contact tracing and place a significant focus on testing. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 25 March 2020
  9. Content Article
    Sweden was well equipped to prevent the pandemic of COVID-19 from becoming serious. Over 280 years of collaboration between political bodies, authorities, and the scientific community had yielded many successes in preventive medicine. Sweden’s population is literate and has a high level of trust in authorities and those in power. During 2020, however, Sweden had ten times higher COVID-19 death rates compared with neighbouring Norway. In this report, Nele Brusselaers et al. try to understand why, using a narrative approach to evaluate the Swedish COVID-19 policy and the role of scientific evidence and integrity. We argue that that scientific methodology was not followed by the major figures in the acting authorities—or the responsible politicians—with alternative narratives being considered as valid, resulting in arbitrary policy decisions.
  10. Content Article
    The introduction of remote triage and assessment early in the pandemic raised questions about patient safety. Wieringa et al. sought to capture patients and clinicians’ experiences of the management of suspected acute COVID-19 and generate wider lessons to inform safer care. Lessons from the pandemic suggest three key strategies are needed to prevent avoidable deaths and inequalities in the next crisis: (1) strengthen system resilience (including improved resourcing and staffing; support of new tools and processes; and recognising primary care’s role as the ‘risk sink’ of the healthcare system); (2) develop evidence-based triage and scoring systems; and (3) address social vulnerability.
  11. Content Article
    This animation by the Rockefeller Foundation explains how the 'Swiss Cheese' model can be applied to containing the spread of COVID-19. Combining different methods of infection control such as wearing face masks, social distancing and vaccination, creates a more solid and resilient barrier to transmission.
  12. Content Article
    A new report from two House of Commons committees highlights the UK’s failed pandemic response. Martin McKee, professor of European Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, unpicks the findings.
  13. Content Article
    A major report from a year-long joint inquiry by the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee has now been published and offers a forensic analysis of six aspects of the government’s response to covid. Chris Ham is chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care System, Co-Chair of the NHS Assembly and non-executive director of the Royal Free London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and gave evidence to the inquiry. In this BMJ Opinion article, Chris discusses the report, the recommendations and the omissions.
  14. Content Article
    The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee have published their Report following a joint inquiry, which began in October 2020, examining six key areas of the UK's response to COVID-19: the country's preparedness for a pandemic; the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as border controls, social distancing and lockdowns to control the pandemic; the use of test, trace and isolate strategies; the impact of the pandemic on social care; the impact of the pandemic on specific communities; and the procurement and roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. The 150-page Report contains 38 recommendations to the Government and public bodies, and draws on evidence from over 50 witnesses as well as over 400 written submissions. The inquiry concluded that some initiatives were examples of global best practice but others represented mistakes. Both must be reflected on to ensure that lessons are applied to better inform future responses to emergencies.
  15. Content Article
    In the United States many areas have returned to a 'new normal,' as the COVID-19 pandemic has come under control. In this blog, Dr Michael Ramsay, Chairman of the Board, Patient Safety Movement Foundation looks at what we learned and where we failed.
  16. Content Article
    Brian Button, 78 years old, was admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital following a fall but contracted COVID-19 pneumonitis on the Catherine James ward within the Acute Respiratory Unity. Senior coroner for Brighton and Hove, Veronica Hamilton-Deeley, in the coroner's report, said that the ward contained 13 beds and that these beds were not socially distanced. A patient review confirmed this. The Royal Sussex County Hospital has responded.
  17. Content Article
    The Surgeon General is warning the American public about the dangers of health misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. In order to tackle the issue, a new Surgeon General’s Advisory is now available.
  18. Content Article
    This Lancet article argues that the UK Government's plan to lift almost all COVID-19 restrictions on 19 July 2021 is a mistake, setting out five main concerns in this regard.
  19. Content Article
    There is no longer any scientific doubt about how Covid spreads through the air. Covid spreads like any other airborne respiratory disease. The virus is carried in tiny particles called aerosols, which we breathe out constantly — especially when speaking loudly or singing. The particles stay in the room air like smoke, and if someone has Covid, their exhaled aerosols contain the virus and can infect someone who breathes them in. We stop the disease spreading by stopping people inhaling infected aerosol. In this article for the Guardian, Dr Adam Squires and Prof Christina Pagel detail what we can do to protect ourselves from the airborne spread of Covid. “Filtering facepiece respirator” masks, social distancing and opening windows are short term solutions. Additionally, much can be done by cleaning the air in the room, removing infectious aerosol before it can be inhaled through ventilation and supplement the clean air by filtering out the respiratory aerosol particles using small portable HEPA (“High Efficiency Particle Air”) filter unit.. Longer term, new developments in ultraviolet (UV) technology can safely and efficiently kill airborne pathogens in large spaces such as canteens, gyms or theatre. Infrastructure upgrades and new builds, necessary for zero carbon targets, can combine more energy-efficient ventilation with filtration to lower pollution. In the classroom and the workplace, clean fresh air has wider benefits on health and wellbeing far beyond our current airborne pandemic.
  20. Content Article
    In this article for The Conversation, the authors discuss their latest research findings regarding Covid-19 transmission, outlining the likelihood of catching Covid-19 in different indoor and outdoor scenarios. They demonstrate that speaking, shouting, singing and heavy exercise all increase the likelihood of transmission, and illustrate the impact of ventilation, face coverings and number of people on the risk of catching the virus. The article includes an table summarising their findings and a link to the Covid-19 Aerosol Transmission Estimator developed by the authors. View the full research paper
  21. Content Article
    This article explores the use of infrared thermometers to screen for fever to detect Covid-19, and how they are not accurate enough alone to support a medical diagnosis.
  22. Content Article
    In this personal narrative, Dr Ahmed Khalafalla describes his experience of the Covid-19 pandemic as a general practitioner in Saudi Arabia. He describes new mental health issues that he has witnessed in his clinic as a result of infection prevention and control measures, and asks questions about the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the health needs and behaviour of the general population.
  23. Content Article
    This resource by The Health Foundation provides a timeline of national policy and health system responses to Covid-19 in the UK. Themes include: Policy narrative Measures to limit spread Health and social care response Research and development Broader policy Policy history
  24. News Article
    Leading charities have spoken out against the government’s scrapping of COVID-19 measures warning that clinically vulnerable people have been made “collateral damage for political considerations.” Those representing thousands of clinically vulnerable people have warned the government’s decisions to scrap COVID-19 restrictions leaves people “marginalised” and warned there was a risk to 5-11 year old vulnerable children who are yet to be vaccinated. The removal of COVID-19 restrictions next week will mean masks are no longer mandatory and the government will no longer ask people to work from home. Blood Cancer UK has called for the government to do more to support immunocompromised people such as giving them priority testing. Alzheimer's Society has said it is too early to drop basic measures, such as mask wearing, which help protect vulnerable members of society. Charlotte Augst, chief executive for the charity National Voices said clinically vulnerable people had now become “collateral damage in political considerations.” She said: “The pandemic has obviously been difficult for everyone, but it’s been the most difficult for people who are vulnerable to the virus, and some of these people have never really come out of 22 months of lockdowns. “There are obviously infection control measures that are harmful to society and lockdown is one of them - it causes harm. But there are some infection control measures which are not and which enable people to get on with their lives - wearing masks, improving ventilation. “Why would we not do this? When we understood that dirty water caused illness, we cleaned up the water. It cannot be a political statement to say we should clean up the air this is just fact-based decision making, but the situation] has now become all about politics. Read full story Source: The Independent. 21 January 2022
  25. News Article
    David Oliver, NHS consultant physician and a columnist for the BMJ makes a plea on behalf of his colleagues as they face a surge of admissions due to the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 this Christmas. "Pandemic health protection measures are not all about you and your own personal risk or appetite for it, your own ‘natural immunity’ or fitness, your own liberty or freedom. They are about protecting everyone else. It might be your own parent, grandparent or sibling that dies from COVID-19 or from lack of access to overwhelmed services. It might be your neighbour’s or someone in another town or from another social class or ethnic group, This isn’t a game and we need to take it seriously and stop posturing and point-scoring, before, once again, we have left it too late to act" Read full story Source: Byline Times, 21 December 2021
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