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Found 37 results
  1. News Article
    A private psychiatric hospital provided “inadequate care” for a woman who killed herself by swallowing a poisonous substance, a jury has found. Beth Matthews, a mental health blogger, was being treated as an NHS patient for a personality disorder at the Priory hospital Cheadle Royal in Stockport. The 26-year-old, originally from Cornwall, opened the substance, which she had ordered online, in close proximity to two members of staff and told them it was protein powder, BBC News reported. An inquest jury concluded she died from suicide contributed to by neglect, after hearing Matthews was considered a high suicide risk. She had a history of frequent suicide attempts, the inquest heard. A BBC News investigation also found that two other young women died at the Priory in Stockport in the two months before her death. A spokesperson for the Priory Group said: “We fully accept the jury’s findings and acknowledge that far greater attention should have been given to Beth’s care plan. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 19 January 2023
  2. Content Article
    Key findings Report commissioned by Look Ahead Care and Support finds increasing demand for children and young people’s crisis mental health services amidst challenges with existing services. Yet researchers heard from professionals, service users and their families and carers found that you “had to have attempted suicide multiple times to be offered inpatient support". Interviewees say A&E departments have become an ‘accidental hub’ for children and young people experiencing crisis but are ill equipped to offer the treatment required. Private sector providers now deliver the majority of support for hospitalised young people with mental health difficulties at “exceptionally high” cost. Report recommends alternative community crisis services, including supported housing away from hospital settings to reduce pressure on A&E and reduce costs by more than 50%
  3. News Article
    People could die because of Thérèse Coffey’s “ultra-libertarian ideological” reluctance to crack down on smoking and obesity, a Conservative ex-health minister has warned. The strongly worded criticism of the health secretary came from Dr Dan Poulter, a Tory MP and NHS doctor who served as a health minister in the coalition government from 2012 to 2015. Poulter claims Coffey’s “hostility to what the extreme right call ‘nanny statism’” is stopping her from taking firm action against the “major killers” of tobacco and bad diet. His intervention – in an opinion piece for the Guardian – was prompted by Coffey making clear that she opposed banning adults from smoking in cars containing children, even though the practice was outlawed in 2015 and is credited with reducing young people’s exposure to secondhand smoke. The government’s widely anticipated scrapping of measures to curb obesity such as the sugar tax and ditching of the tobacco control plan and health inequalities white paper – both of which previous health ministers had promised to publish – have led Poulter to brand Coffey’s stance “deeply alarming”. He writes: “More smoking and more obesity means more illness, more pressure on the NHS and shorter lives, particularly amongst the poorest in society. “I am acutely concerned that the health secretary’s ideological hostility to what history shows is government’s potentially very positive role in protecting us against these grave threats to our health will exacerbate the problems they already pose. “At its worst such a radically different approach to public health could cost lives, as it will inevitably lead to more people smoking and becoming dangerously overweight.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 October 2022
  4. News Article
    Scotland’s health services are failing to tackle a mental health crisis affecting thousands of people with drug or alcohol problems because the right policies are not being followed, an expert body has found. The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, a statutory body founded to protect the human rights of people with mental illness, said only a minority of health professionals were using the correct strategies and plans for at-risk patients. Dr Arun Chopra, its medical director, said there had been a “collective failure” to act: few local services were using the correct procedures despite so much evidence about the scale of Scotland’s drugs and alcohol problems. Nearly four in five of those professionals said their patients were not given the documented care plans required by national policy. Of the 89 family doctors interviewed, 90% had experienced difficulties referring patients to mental health services or addiction services. In some cases, mental health services then rejected patients because they were addicts, without helping them find the right support. The commission recommended far clearer policies, protocols, auditing and monitoring by health boards and the Scottish government, with better training for professionals. Health workers needed to stop stigmatising patients and see patients as people affected by trauma. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 September 2022
  5. Content Article
    The authors performed a narrative review of the literature on the current state of AUD treatment and patient safety, finding extensive evidence that patients with AUD usually go undiagnosed, unreferred and untreated. When they do receive AUD treatment, little evidence was found to indicate that a patient safety approach is incorporated into their care. Behavioural medicine is virgin territory for the patient safety movement. Medical care and behavioural medicine in the United States currently constitute two separate and unequal systems generally lacking in pathways of communication or care coordination for AUD patients. Significant barriers include institutional culture, individual and systemic bias against those with AUD, and health care infrastructure, especially the separation of medical and behavioural treatment. Zipperer et al. conclude that care of patients with AUD is unsafe. The authors advocate for the patient safety approach common in American hospitals to be extended to AUD treatment. Experienced patient safety leaders are in the strongest position to initiate collaboration between the mainstream medical and substance abuse treatment communities to reduce harm for this patient population.
  6. Content Article
    The report makes the following recommendations: By 2022, there needs to be a multidisciplinary mental health workforce plan, alongside the refresh of the mental health strategy, that provides the staffing needed to provide care at the point of need. A guarantee mental health receives its share of Covid health funding, and that there is a longer-term assessment of what funding is needed to meet the mental health needs of all Scots. A national transitions strategy for our most vulnerable young people, ensuring they can transition into adulthood with the right care and support. A public health-led approach to addressing drug and alcohol addictions, including access to care and treatment for those with a dual diagnosis. By 2026, use 1% of what we spend on health to support the mental health of our young people through Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
  7. Content Article
    Key findings Pregnant women in prison are more likely to experience preterm labour than women in the general population. There are no official data on the number of women in prison who have children. Our work can fill in some of this gap. In 2019/20, 212 women had given birth in hospital within the four years before going to prison, 109 within the two years before. Access to hospital services is poor and this is a long-term issue. Hospital data highlight the complex needs of women in prison, particularly around trauma and substance misuse. Substance misuse plays a part in a significant proportion of hospital admissions by women in prison. Women’s sexual and reproductive health care needs are not talked about openly and symptoms of normal changes to the body, such as the menopause, as well as conditions such as endometriosis, are not well understood or managed. Key recommendations Ensure women have access to good-quality, understandable and targeted health care information. Commit to better data collection to inform planning and address inequality. Better understand and address the needs of those with children as an urgent priority ahead of the new prison places. Acknowledge and address the range of reasons why hospital appointments might be missed.
  8. Content Article
    This document provides hospital and health system administrators and leaders with: specific improvement ideas for five system-level strategies that address the challenges of preventing, identifying and treating opioid use disorder brief case examples describing other hospitals’ approaches source literature and additional resources, including cost savings data, where applicable.
  9. Content Article
    Coroner's concerns There were excessive delays in handing over patients at hospital. The West Midlands Ambulance Service Serious Incident report found that there were excessive handover of patients at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, with some holding for over 4 hours. This impacted on the ability of the West Midlands Ambulance Service getting to patients. Oral evidence was given to the effect that this was a national issue, and not limited to the acute trusts within the West Midlands.
  10. News Article
    the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is seeking public comment on a potential change that would require opioid analgesics used in outpatient settings to be dispensed with prepaid mail-back envelopes and that pharmacists provide patient education on safe disposal of opioids. This potential modification to the existing Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy would provide a convenient, additional disposal option for patients beyond those already available such as flushing, commercially available in-home disposal products, collection kiosks and takeback events. Patients commonly report having unused opioid analgesics following surgical procedures, thereby creating unfortunate opportunities for nonmedical use, accidental exposure, overdose and potentially increasing new cases of opioid addiction. Since many Americans gain access to opioids for the first time through friends or relatives who have unused opioids, requiring a mail-back envelope be provided with each prescription could reduce the amount of unused opioid analgesics in patients' homes. Data show educating patients about disposal options may increase the disposal rate of unused opioids and that providing a disposal option along with education could further increase that rate. Mail-back envelopes have several favorable characteristics. They do not require patients to mix medications with water, chemicals or other substances nor use other common at-home disposal techniques. Opioid analgesics sent back to Drug Enforcement Administration-registered facilities in mail-back envelopes do not enter the water supply and landfills (instead, they are incinerated). The nondescript mail-back envelopes provided would be postage paid, offering patients a free disposal option. Additionally, there are long-standing regulations and policies in place to ensure that mail-back envelopes are fit for that purpose and can safely and securely transport unused medicines from the patient's home to the location where they will be destroyed. "The FDA is committed to addressing the opioid crisis on all fronts, including exploring new approaches that have the potential to decrease unnecessary exposure to opioids and prevent new cases of addiction. Prescribing opioids for durations and doses that do not properly match the clinical needs of the patient not only increases the chances for misuse, abuse and overdose, but it also increases the likelihood of unnecessary exposure to unused medications," said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. "As we explore ways to further address this issue more broadly, the mail-back envelope requirement under consideration for these unused medications would complement current disposal programs and provide meaningful and attainable steps to improve the safe use and disposal." Read full story Source: Cision, 20 April 2020
  11. News Article
    The prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and deaths from drug overdoses increased in the US over the past two years, showing the pandemic’s effect on public health. “Even in the face of a pandemic, 2.4 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis were reported,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. STDs declined during the early months of the pandemic in 2020 but then increased rapidly. Cases of gonorrhoea increased by 10% during 2020 compared with 2019. Cases of primary and secondary syphilis increased by 7% and congenital syphilis in newborns increased by 13%.2 New data suggest that primary and secondary syphilis—the most infectious stages of the disease—continued to increase during 2021, the CDC said. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s national centre for HIV, viral hepatitis, STD, and tuberculosis prevention, said, “The unrelenting momentum of the STD epidemic continued even as prevention services were disrupted.” His colleague, Leandro Mena, director of CDC’s division of STD prevention, said, “The pandemic increased awareness of a reality we’ve long known about STDs. Social and economic factors—such as poverty and health insurance status—create barriers, increase health risks, and often result in worse health outcomes for some people.” Another disturbing trend during the pandemic has been the increase of deaths from drug overdoses, especially among teenagers. Just over 100 000 Americans died of drug overdoses during the year to April 2021, according to the CDC’s national centre for health statistics—an increase of 28.5% from the previous year. Read full story Source: BMJ, 19 August 2022
  12. News Article
    A young woman died following “gross failings” and “neglect” by a mental health hospital in Essex which is also facing a major independent inquiry into patient deaths. Bethany Lilley, 28, died on 16 January whilst she was an inpatient at Basildon Mental Health unit, run by Essex Partnership University Hospitals. The inquest examined the circumstances of her death this week and concluded that her death was contributed by neglect due to a “plethora of failings by Essex University Partnership Trust”. Following the three week inquest, heard before coroner Sean Horstead, a jury found “neglect” contributed to Ms Lilley’s death and identified “gross failures” on behalf of the trust. The jury identified a number of failings in her care including evidence that cocaine had made its way onto a ward where she was an inpatient. There was evidence of “very considerable problems in the record-keeping at EPUT psychiatric units.” It was also concluded staff failed to carry out a risk assessment of Ms Lilley in the days leading up to her death, and failed to carry out observations. Ms Lilley’s death is one of a series of patients who have died under the care of mental health services in Essex, which have been brought into the light following the campaigning of bereaved families. Read full story Source: The Independent, 19 March 2022
  13. News Article
    Pregnant women should be asked how much alcohol they are drinking and the answer recorded in their medical notes, new "priority advice" for the NHS says. The advice, from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), is designed to help spot problem drinking that can harm babies. Infants with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) can be left with lifelong problems. The safest approach during pregnancy is to abstain from alcohol completely. The more someone drinks while pregnant, the higher the chance of FASD - and there is no proven "safe" level of alcohol. But the risk of harming the baby is "likely to be low if you have drunk only small amounts of alcohol before you knew you were pregnant or during pregnancy", the Department of Health says. An earlier draft of the recommendations for NHS staff in England and Wales suggested transferring data on a woman's alcohol intake to her child's medical notes - but this has now been dropped, following concern women who needed help might hide their drinking. The Royal College of Midwives spokeswoman Lia Brigante said: "As there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the RCM believes it is appropriate and important to advise women that the safest approach is to avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy and advocates for this. "We are pleased to see that the recommendation to record alcohol consumption and to then transfer this to a child's record has been reconsidered. "This had the potential to disrupt or prevent the development of a trusting relationship between a woman and her midwife." Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 March 2022
  14. News Article
    Having Covid-19 puts people at a significantly increased chance of developing new mental health conditions, potentially adding to existing crises of suicide and overdoses, according to new research looking at millions of health records in the US over the course of a year. The long-term effects of having Covid are still being discovered, and among them is an increased chance of being diagnosed with mental health disorders. They include depression, anxiety, stress and an increased risk of substance use disorders, cognitive decline, and sleep problems – a marked difference from others who also endured the stress of the pandemic but weren’t diagnosed with the virus. “This is basically telling us that millions and millions of people in the US infected with Covid are developing mental health problems,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of research and development at the VA St Louis Healthcare System and senior author of the paper. “That makes us a nation in distress.” The higher risk of mental health disorders, including suicidal ideation and opioid use, is particularly concerning, he said. “This is really almost a perfect storm that is brewing in front of our eyes – for another opioid epidemic two or three years down the road, for another suicide crisis two or three years down the road,” Al-Aly added. These unfolding crises are “quite a big concern”, said James Jackson, director of behavioural health at Vanderbilt University’s ICU Recovery Center, who was not involved with this study. He is also seeing patients whose previous conditions, including anxiety, depression and opioid use disorder, worsened during the pandemic. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 February 2022
  15. News Article
    Thousands of children are falling through the cracks in youth addiction services owing to Covid, staff shortages and funding cuts, psychiatrists have said, as figures suggest the number able to get help has fallen to the lowest on record. Analysis of data from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) found that 11,013 under-18s were in treatment for drug and alcohol dependency in England in 2020-21, which was 3,278 fewer (23% less) than in 2019-20. It was the sharpest annual fall since records began, and means 13,481 fewer children were being treated than at a peak in 2008-09. The vast majority of children in treatment (89%, or 9,832) had a problem with cannabis and 41% (4,459) had a problem with alcohol. About 12% (1,333) were struggling with ecstasy use and 9% (976) reported a problem with powder cocaine. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, which analysed the data, said the pandemic, together with “drastic” historical funding cuts, was preventing young people from accessing the drug and alcohol treatment they need, potentially condemning them to a life of addiction. Dr Emily Finch, the vice-chair of the addictions faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Children and their families up and down the country are having their lives blighted by drug and alcohol use due to drastic cuts, workforce shortages and the impact of the pandemic. “Addiction is a treatable health condition. Intervening early will mean many kids won’t go on to have an addiction in their adulthood, keeping them out of the criminal justice system and helping them to live full lives. It’s now time for the government to act on their promise and deliver the multimillion-pound investment into drug services.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 3 February 2022
  16. News Article
    More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, setting another tragic record in the nation’s escalating overdose epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated Wednesday. The provisional 2021 total translates to roughly one U.S. overdose death every 5 minutes. It marked a 15% increase from the previous record, set the year before. The CDC reviews death certificates and then makes an estimate to account for delayed and incomplete reporting. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called the latest numbers “truly staggering.” The White House issued a statement calling the accelerating pace of overdose deaths “unacceptable” and promoting its recently announced national drug control strategy. It calls for measures like connecting more people to treatment, disrupting drug trafficking and expanding access to the overdose-reversing medication naloxone. Experts say the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem as lockdowns and other restrictions isolated those with drug addictions and made treatment harder to get. Read full story Source: AP News, 11 May 2022
  17. Content Article
    The Global Drug Policy Index measures how drug policies align with many of the key UN recommendations on how to design and implement drug policies in accordance with the United Nations principles of health, human rights, and development. The Index is composed of 75 indicators that run across five dimensions: The absence of extreme sentencing and responses to drugs, such as the death penalty The proportionality of criminal justice responses to drugs Funding, availability, and coverage of harm reduction interventions Availability of international controlled substances for pain relief Development The UK scores relatively low on 'Proportionality and Criminal Justice' and there is a need to reflect on this at a policy level. Read testimonies of people who have been directly affected by drug policies in the 30 countries covered by the Global Drug Policy Index.
  18. Content Article
    'To support all prescribers in prescribing safely and effectively, a single prescribing competency framework was originally published by the National Prescribing Centre/National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2012. NICE and Health Education England approached the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) to manage the update of the framework on behalf of all the prescribing professions in the UK. A Competency Framework for all Prescribers was first published by the RPS in July 2016. Going forward, the RPS will continue to maintain and publish this framework in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary group with representatives from professional regulators, professional organisations, prescribers from all prescribing professions, lay representatives and other relevant and interested stakeholder groups from across the UK. ' Since the 2016 framework, there have been various changes that needed to be included in the update of the framework, these include: Legislation changes introducing paramedic prescribers in April 2018. Current prescribing topics, such as remote prescribing, social prescribing, psychosocial assessment and eco-directed sustainable prescribing. Publication of the RPS Competency Framework for Designated Prescribing Practitioners in December 2019; for further information, please see 'A competency framework for designated prescribing practitioners'. Supporting tools
  19. Content Article
    Before the coronavirus pandemic, the nation was struggling with escalating drug overdose deaths. Now, there are some who are convinced that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to further increases in opioid overdoses. Public services were disrupted. Some treatment programmes had to restrict access, reduce staffing, and increase supply between limited provider visits. Many addicts are homeless and do not have Internet or telemedicine contact. Social distancing may have prevented some individuals from having anyone around to administer naloxone (Narcan, Evzio). Inadequate border restrictions have likely increased drug supply with higher potency. These conjoint "opioid epidemics" have heightened and stirred conversations about prescribing and regulatory practices, "war on drugs" rhetoric, the "fifth vital sign," opioid accessibility, prescription rates, and effectiveness of opioids for non-cancer chronic pain, among many others. With the rise in opioid use and death, a review of the many and sometimes paradoxical expressions of akathisia is warranted.
  20. Content Article
    Key points Smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol use are leading risk factors driving the UK’s high burden of preventable ill health and premature mortality. All are socioeconomically patterned and contribute significantly to widening health inequalities. This report summarises recent trends for each of these risk factors and reviews national-level policies for England introduced or proposed by the UK government in England between 2016 and 2021 to address them. Based on our review, it assesses the government’s recent policy position and point towards policy priorities for the future. Population-level interventions that impact everyone and rely on non-conscious processes are most likely to be both effective and equitable in tackling major risk factors for ill health. Yet recent government policies implemented in England have largely focused on providing information and services designed to change individual behaviour. As well as relying heavily on policies that promote individual behaviour change, the strength of the government’s approach has been uneven for the leading risk factors, and decision making across departments has been disjointed. Action to tackle harmful alcohol use in England has been particularly weak. To reduce exposure to risk factors and tackle inequalities, government will need to deploy multiple policy approaches that address the complex system of influences shaping people’s behaviour. Population-level interventions that are less reliant on individual agency and aim to alter the environments in which people live should form the backbone of strategies to address smoking, alcohol use, poor diet and physical inactivity. These interventions need to be implemented alongside individual-level policies supporting those most in need. The strong role played by corporations in shaping environments and influencing individual behaviour must also be recognised and addressed in a consistent way through government policy. The costs of government inaction on the leading risk factors driving ill health are clear. As the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and seeks to build greater resilience against future shocks, now is the time to act.