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Found 155 results
  1. News Article
    It was hailed as a cutting-edge laboratory that would play a key role in response to Covid-19 and future epidemics, carrying out 300,000 tests a day. Announcing the project in November 2020, then-health secretary Matt Hancock said the project “confirms the UK as a world leader in diagnostics”. But less than 18 months later, the Rosalind Franklin Laboratory – named in honour of the renowned British scientist – has been plagued by failure while costing almost twice as much as its initial £588m budget, The Independent understands. Instead of being at the forefront of the fight agai
  2. News Article
    A dramatic drop in testing for Covid-19 has left the world blind to the virus’s continuing rampage and its potentially dangerous mutations, the head of the World Health Organization has warned. The UN health agency said that reported Covid cases and deaths had been dropping dramatically. “Last week, just over 15,000 deaths were reported to WHO – the lowest weekly total since March 2020,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. While saying this was “a very welcome trend”, he warned that the declining numbers could also be a result of significant cuts in testing for the v
  3. News Article
    Pregnant women should be tested for Group B Strep to save the lives of dozens of babies every year, campaigners have warned. Group B Strep is the most recurrent cause of life-threatening illness in newborn babies, with an average of two babies a day identified with the infection. Each week, one of these babies goes on to die while another develops an ongoing long-term disability. More than one in five women carry Group B Strep, a common bacteria that normally causes no harm and no symptoms. However, its presence in the vagina or rectum means babies can be exposed to it during labour
  4. Content Article
    The document includes guidance on: staff IPC considerations: vaccination, personal protective equipment (PPE), staff movement, testing IPC considerations for people receiving care: vaccination, testing environmental considerations: ventilation, waste management considerations specific to care homes: admissions, testing, visiting, outbreak management.
  5. News Article
    Patients are being put at risk in the UK because very few sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests offered online meet official standards, experts have warned. The NHS provides free in-person tests for STIs via its network of sexual health and genitourinary medicine clinics. Patients can also order tests via the internet from both NHS-commissioned and private providers, a practice that has become increasingly popular during the pandemic. However, new research in the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal published by the BMJ found that few online STI test services meet national re
  6. News Article
    Overstretched hospitals are stopping routine Covid tests for new patients as “brutal” pressures mount on doctors and nurses, The Independent understands. On Monday there were 1,702 new Covid admissions to hospitals in England as of 9 April – with 16,442 positive patients occupying beds – the NHS leaders warn their ability to tackle the backlog in planned care is at risk. Despite pleas from NHS chiefs to measures such as mask-wearing back into force, ministers said there were no plans to change guidance. The Independent understands at least two major hospitals, in Newcastle and Y
  7. Content Article
    Key points The government is expected to publish its COVID-19 exit plan on 21 February. This comes a month earlier than initially scheduled and is expected to lift existing restrictions – including the requirement to isolate after testing positive – in England from 24 February. Given the continued high prevalence of the Omicron variant, and pressures on services, this plan must represent a cautious and carefully planned exit if the NHS is to continue to concentrate on delivering the full range of care that people value and expect. A survey of NHS Confederation members, which
  8. News Article
    Pregnant women with suspected pre-eclampsia will now be offered a test on the NHS to detect the condition. Pre-eclampsia affects some women, usually during the second half of pregnancy or soon after their baby is born. It can lead to serious complications if it is not picked up during maternity appointments, with early signs including high blood pressure and protein in the urine. In some cases, women can develop a severe headache, vision problems such as blurring or flashing, pain just below the ribs, swelling and vomiting. Tests have been available to help rule out the con
  9. News Article
    Lateral flow tests could cost care home visitors £73 a month, a leading UK charity has said, as it renewed calls to keep the devices free in such settings. The government has previously announced that free testing for the general public will end from 1 April, and that this will include care home visitors. However, charities have warned the shift away from free tests could place a heavy financial burden on those visiting care homes, where testing is still advised. James White, the head of public affairs and campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the proposed charge on lateral
  10. News Article
    A leading figure in the World Health Organisation Foundation has criticised the UK’s move to dismantle its Covid testing programme as the disease surges in other parts of the world. Mr Anil Soni, chief executive of the WHO Foundation, said in an interview with The Independent that maintaining surveillance over Covid-19 was “incredibly important” and the “dismantling of the testing infrastructure here strikes me as very worrying.” The WHO Foundation chief warned people were “looking the other way” from counties where there is low vaccine coverage to maintain the hope that Covid is ove
  11. News Article
    A painful infection that mainly affects women is too often dismissed as "women's problems". One in every two women suffer a urinary tract infection (UTI) and they are the second most common infection globally. Among those affected is Hannah Hanratty, 36, who suffered months of agony despite multiple negative tests. During her pregnancy, Mrs Hanratty felt the "razor-blade burning pain" when passing urine. It soon developed into a constant pain. Two weeks after giving birth she needed antibiotics following a routine procedure and said the pain immediately went. "It was a UTI all along
  12. 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
  13. News Article
    Abolishing free Covid tests for those who look after the vulnerable will amount to a “tax on caring” that would cost them more than £500 a year, ministers have been warned. All remaining domestic Covid regulations that restrict public freedoms are ending, with Boris Johnson announing a move away from government intervention to “personal responsibility”. However, the scale of free testing to be retained is still being thrashed out within government. Current data suggests that nearly 4 million people take regular Covid tests, including those who visit and help vulnerable relatives. Tha
  14. News Article
    NHS staff absences due to covid have risen by a further 11,000 staff in a week in England, figures seen by HSJ reveal. At a national level, the number of absences for covid-related reasons - including isolation - rose to about 44,200 on 29 December, up from 32,800 on 22 December. The 29 December figure has pushed up overall absence for all reasons to 103,727 - 7.8% of the total reported workforce - the leaked data shows. Numerous senior NHS managers have said their main concern at present is about the level of staff absences, which in some cases is undermining services, with st
  15. News Article
    The health secretary, Sajid Javid, has warned MPs he may need to “constrain” the Covid testing system over the next fortnight, as demand for lateral flow kits surges. Ministers have repeatedly encouraged members of the public to test themselves using a lateral flow device (LFD) before attending gatherings or meeting vulnerable relatives. However, test kits have repeatedly been unavailable online in recent days, and many pharmacies have complained of being unable to secure them. Labour has accused the government of presiding over a “shambles”, with many members of the public stru
  16. News Article
    Mass lateral flow testing cut the number of people needing hospital treatment for Covid by 32% and relieved significant pressure on the NHS when the measures were piloted last year, a study has shown. Liverpool conducted the first city-wide testing scheme using rapid antigen tests in November last year, amid debate about whether or not lateral flow tests (LFTs) were accurate enough to detect the virus in asymptomatic carriers. It expanded the project to cover the whole of the Liverpool region, offering people LFTs whether or not they had symptoms. Key workers did daily tests before g
  17. Content Article
    Key findings from this report: Among a sample of records analysed, the most common description of the patient safety concern, in 26.6% of records, was that a patient had either tested positive for Covid-19 or was a person under investigation. Procedural issues with Covid-19 testing represented 13% of records analysed. The results indicate a need to close the loop on critical processes, such as testing, during a public health emergency. The exposure of patients and staff to individuals with positive Covid-19 test results was identified in 18.2% of records analysed. Results i
  18. News Article
    Authorities were aware of discrepancies in Covid test results across England one month before the lab responsible was ordered to shut down its operations, legal papers show. An estimated 43,000 incorrect false negative tests were processed for the NHS by the Immensa laboratory in Wolverhampton between 8 September and 12 October. UK Health Security Agency became aware of an “unusual spike” in suspicious test results on 14 September, with large numbers of people testing positive on lateral flow devices but negative via PCR. It took a month before the UKHSA determined that the “lik
  19. News Article
    The spread of the Omicron variant, which is racing through the population at a staggering speed, has brought renewed focus to the value and reliability of the at-home lateral flow test (LFT). These rapid testing devices were initially viewed with caution by some scientists, who were concerned that the LFTs simply weren’t effective enough in detecting infections. But as more data has accumulated over the past year, the consensus around the devices has shifted and become far more positive. Research from University College London, published in October, suggested that LFTs are likel
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