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Found 104 results
  1. News Article
    NHS Test and Trace chief Baroness Dido Harding will be interviewed by HSJ editor Alastair McLellan at 9am tomorrow as part of HSJ’s virtual provider summit. HSJ’s subscribers working in the NHS or a non-profit organisation can register to attend the summit here. Other speakers will include new Health Education England chief executive Navina Evans and King’s Fund chief executive Richard Murray. The subjects due to be covered include how the NHS will tackle the drive to recover routine care, the service’s workforce challenges and how forthcoming legislation may impact the governance of the service. Full details of the programme can be seen here.
  2. News Article
    Matt Hancock has called for British people to routinely get tested for the flu, saying covid diagnostic capacity should be kept and used for “everything” once the pandemic dies down. Speaking at the Commons health and social care committee this morning, the health and social care secretary said the nation “must hold on to” the mass diagnostic capacity it has created for coronavirus. Going further, he called for a change in culture to one of “if in doubt, you get a test”, and for a long-term expansion of diagnostics. Mr Hancock said: “Why in Britain do we think it’s acceptable to solider on when you have flu symptoms or a runny nose, and go in [to work] and make everyone ill? “If you have flu-like symptoms you should have a test for it and find out what is wrong with you and stay at home. We are peculiar outliers in soldiering on and going to work and that… culture, that should change.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 24 November 2020
  3. Content Article
    LATEST Patient Safety Weekly Update #10 (19 November 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #9 (12 November 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #8 (5 November 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #7 (29 October 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #6 (22 October 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #5 (15 October 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #4 (8 October 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #3 (1 October 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #2 (23 September 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #1 (17 September 2020)
  4. Content Article
    Consider your balance between remote and face to face care – have you got it right and how might it need to change in the months to come? Think about how you are going to manage respiratory symptoms over the winter and be aware of the issues with COVID-19 in children and what to do if resuscitation is needed.Shielding is paused and is unlikely to return in the same form as at the start of the pandemic.Know about the standard operating procedure (SOP) for primary care Appraisal is restarting in a very light-touch way and there are other changes to administration.Continue to wear PPE when seeing patients face to face, and continue planning for a much bigger flu vaccination season than usual. Death certification requirements are relaxed for as long as the Coronavirus Act is in force.Look after yourself and your staff.Continue to plan ahead; this will be a marathon, not a sprint.Your core clinical skills are still important.
  5. News Article
    The NHS will rollout twice-weekly asymptomatic testing for all patient-facing staff by the end of next week, according to a letter from NHS medical director Stephen Powis. Government said only last week that universal asymptomatic staff testing would start in December, but government has now agreed it will bring this forward to this week for a first tranche of 34 trusts; and all others next week. The tests at 34 trusts this week will cover “over 250,000 staff,” Professor Powis said. He set out plans for the new testing regime in a letter to Commons health and social care committee chair Jeremy Hunt who has been pressing the government for routine staff testing since the summer. “Staff will be asked to test themselves at home twice a week with results available before coming into work,” Professor Powis said. The new testing regime can start following “further scientific validation of the lateral flow testing modality last week, and confirmation over the weekend from Test and Trace that they can now supply the NHS with sufficient test kits”. Read full story Source: HSJ, 9 November 2020
  6. News Article
    A mass testing pilot of the government's "operation moonshot" has begun in Liverpool. The pilot scheme will see half a million people offered tests, including a new form of rapid testing, even if they do not have symptoms, as Botis Johnson banks on technological advances to steer the nation out of a second wave of COVID-19. Around 2,000 members of the military are helping NHS staff to administer a combination of swab tests and new lateral flow tests which give results within an hour without the need of a lab. Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) tests, which can give results in as little as 20 minutes are being trialled for hospital and care home staff. But it comes as the Guardian reported that some of the technology at the heart of the scheme missed more than 50% of positive coronavirus cases in a Greater Manchester pilot. The OptiGene LAMP test identified only 46.7% of infections during a trial in Manchester and Salford last month, according to a letter from Greater Manchester's mass testing group seen by the newspaper. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that it was "incorrect" to suggest the rapid test has a low sensitivity, adding that it had been validated in another recent pilot. Read full story Source: Sky News, 6 November 2020
  7. News Article
    People in Liverpool will be offered regular COVID-19 tests under the first trial of whole city testing in England. Everyone living or working in the city will be offered tests, whether or not they have symptoms, with follow-up tests every two weeks or so. Some will get new tests giving results within an hour which, if successful, could be rolled out to "millions" by Christmas, the government says. Liverpool has one of the highest rates of coronavirus deaths in England. The latest figures show the city recorded 1,754 cases in the week up to 30 October. The average area in England had 153. The pilot aims to limit spread of the virus by identifying as many infected people as possible, and taking action to break chains of transmission. It is thought around four-fifths of people who are infected with coronavirus show no symptoms. Read full story Source: BBC News, 3 November 2020
  8. News Article
    A total of 338 patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19 were discharged from Scottish hospitals into care homes in the three months from March this year, says a report from Public Health Scotland. The discharges were necessary to free up space in hospitals for COVID-19 patients but some care home owners have claimed that it introduced the virus into their premises, causing almost 2000 deaths across Scotland.2 Public Health Scotland says that most of the 3599 discharges that took place in the busiest month of March were among people who had never been tested. Of the 650 who were tested, 78 were positive, but the discharges still went ahead. Scotland has been found to have the highest rate of COVID-19 related deaths in care homes of any part of the UK. Read full story Source: BMJ, 29 October 2020
  9. News Article
    Almost half of hospital patients have been discharged without receiving the results of their coronavirus test – including some patients who were sent to care homes, new research from Healthwatch and British Cross has revealed. Independent national patient body Healthwatch England said it had learned many patients were discharged from hospitals between March and August this year without proper assessments with many vulnerable people sent home without medication, equipment or the care they needed. At the start of the pandemic thousands of patients were discharged to care homes as NHS England instructed hospitals to free up 15,000 beds ahead of the first wave of coronavirus. Approximately 25,000 patients were sent to care homes with some not tested, sparking fears this helped seed care homes with the virus. There have been around 16,000 care home deaths linked to COVID-19. According to a survey of almost 600 discharged patients and interviews with 60 NHS staff, Healthwatch England said it had found serious flaws with the way hospitals had followed NHS England’s instructions. Read full story Source: The Independent, 24 October 2020
  10. Content Article
    Key findings 82% of respondents did not receive a follow-up visit and assessment at home and almost one in five of these reported an unmet care need. Some people felt their discharge was rushed, with around one in five (19%) feeling unprepared to leave hospital. Over a third (35%) of people were not given a contact who they could get in touch with for further advice after discharge, despite this being part of the guidance. Overall patients and families were very positive about healthcare staff, praising their efforts during such a difficult time. Around a third (30%) of people faced an issue with delayed COVID-19 test results, potentially putting family and carers at risk, or in a care home, other residents and staff. Recommendations To help hospitals manage a second wave of COVID-19 hospital admissions ahead of winter, we have made several recommendations based on the experiences of people and staff, including: Post-discharge check-ins and assessments: Services should follow policy and ensure people are offered follow-up support soon after discharge, whether by phone or in person. Discharge checklists: Patients should be asked about the support they need, including any transport home and equipment required. Communication: Patients and carers should be given a single point of contact for further support or questions, in line with national policy. Medication: Waiting for medication can often lead to delays being discharged from hospital. Linking patients to voluntary sector partners or community pharmacists who can deliver medicine could avoid delays. Boost community care capacity and recognise the value of the voluntary care sector in hospital discharge: The current discharge policy depends on follow-up assessments and care being available. Longer-term, more investment is needed to ensure this happens, including in the voluntary care sector.
  11. News Article
    There is growing distrust for the NHS and government in communities that are of fundamental importance to the national effort to counter covid, according to research by NHSX. People in so-called “hard to reach” communities are faced with stigma and racism due to the covid pandemic but have dwindling trust in the health service, the research found. They are worried about how their personal data will be used by the NHS and other state bodies. They are particularly concerned that their details will be passed on to the police or immigration services. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 20 October 2020
  12. News Article
    More than 200 people who went through hotel quarantine in Victoria, Australia, must be screened for HIV amid fears of cross-contamination from incorrect usage of blood glucose test devices. Several such devices were used on multiple people in quarantine between 29 March and 20 August, necessitating screenings for blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV. These monitors, which take a small sample of blood from a fingertip, are intended for repeated use by only one person. While the needle is changed between usages, microscopic traces of blood can remain within the body of the machine, creating a low clinical risk of cross-contamination and infection. Safer Care Victoria, the state’s healthcare quality and safety agency, has assured the public there is no risk of COVID-19 spread as the disease is not transmitted by blood. These devices have since been taken out of circulation. In a statement, a spokesman for the agency said they have identified 243 people who had been tested by one of the shared machines during the timeframe in question, and will be contacted for screening. Everyone “who had conditions or episodes that may have required the test will also be contacted as a precaution”. The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, labelled the incident a “clinical error that was made some time ago”. “Safer Care Victoria have made some announcements in relation to a clinical error that was made some time ago, very low risk, but you can’t take any risks with these things. You have to follow them up properly and that’s exactly what has happened,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 October 2020
  13. News Article
    Ministers have denied care home inspectors access to weekly testing for coronavirus – despite fears they could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 as cases rise across the country, The Independent can reveal. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was told by the Department of Health and Social Care last month it could not have access to regular testing for inspection teams as the watchdog prepares for 500 inspections of care homes during the next six weeks. Officials said the teams, who are assessing care conditions for the vulnerable and elderly, did not get close enough to people to present a risk. During the first wave of the virus, after Public Health England initially said there was no risk to care homes, an estimated 16,000 residents died from the virus. At the height of the crisis up to 25,000 NHS patients were discharged to care homes by the NHS, with many not having been tested for the virus. Labour MP Barbara Keeley said: “The refusal of the Department of Health and Social Care to treat CQC inspectors in the same way as other staff going into care homes puts lives at risk.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 20 October 2020
  14. News Article
    Leaking vials and suspected contamination were identified in a batch of more than 500,000 test tubes produced for the NHS Covid test and trace operation over the summer, whistleblowers have said. The test tubes were provided by a small UK-based company, Life Science Group (LSG), which produces materials for the diagnostics industry. According to the whistleblowers, there have been repeated problems with test tubes filled by LSG leaking. Stocks of some 600,000 test tubes were inspected in August as a result, and records seen by the Guardian describe the discovery of what looked like hair and blood contamination. It is understood firms in the supply chain concluded that the contamination was not hair or blood, following inspections. However, records seen by the Guardian suggested at least one bag of LSG test tubes thought to be contaminated “cannot now be found”. The whistleblowers said that rather than rejecting the entire potentially compromised batch, as would be normal safety protocol with NHS supplies, only part of the batch with visible problems was removed from use. They said they had blown the whistle because they were concerned for public safety. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 October 2020
  15. Content Article
    The ACT-Accelerator is organized into four pillars of work: diagnostics, treatment, vaccines and health system strengthening. Each pillar is vital to the overall effort and involves innovation and collaboration. Dr Jake Suett from the UK, has been selected as a community and civil society representative on the WHO ACT-accelerator diagnostics pillar. You can hear more about Jake's own experience of Long Covid on the hub. To read more about the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, follow the link below.
  16. News Article
    The introduction of weekly covid tests for NHS staff in ‘high risk areas’ will mean other groups missing out or waiting longer, well-placed sources have told HSJ. There is also understood to be a standoff between NHS England and Test and Trace over the regular testing of asymptomatic staff, which was announced for the North of England on Monday. NHS trust labs don’t have enough capacity to test all their staff; and there is not enough spare in “pillar two” commercial labs to carry out hundreds of thousands of additional tests. National bodies are said to be in disagreement over who should do it. NHSE believes they should be provided by T&T, and T&T says NHS labs should expand their capacity to carry them out themselves, HSJ has been told. A senior source involved in the testing programme said there would have to be “trade-offs” for T&T to meet the new NHS demand, with supply having to be cut for others who want tests — mostly the general population, or care home staff. At present the NHS has agreed to carry out 100,000 daily tests by the end of the month, as part of the T&T’s overall 500,000 target. It has been encouraged to do more by T&T, but any expansions may face shortages of equipment and supplies such as reagents, as well as staff and space. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 13 October 2020
  17. News Article
    Senior doctors specialising in infectious diseases have written an open letter expressing "concern" about the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Northern Ireland. The letter is signed by 13 medics from hospitals across Northern Ireland. It calls for the public to stick to government guidance on reducing social interactions and also warns against "stigmatising people and areas with high levels of infection." The letter reads: "We need to support people who test positive. This pandemic requires us to work together to bring it under control urgently. We need to reduce the potential for transmission to protect our health service, and we need to fix our test and trace system to try and gain better control of this virus in our community." On Monday, 616 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Northern Ireland, bringing the total during the pandemic to 14,690. The number of deaths recorded by the Department of Health remains at 584. Among those who have signed the letter are Dr Claire Donnelly, a consultant physician who specialises in infectious diseases; consultant virologist Dr Conall McCaughey and consultant paediatrician Dr Sharon Christie. Entitled an "appeal to people to adhere to Covid public health guidance", the letter lays bare the stark reality of the infections rates. The letter adds: "Worryingly the number of cases is increasing rapidly in many areas over the last week, indicating that we have widespread community transmission in many parts of Northern Ireland." Read full story Source: BBC News, 6 October 2020
  18. News Article
    A technical glitch that meant nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported has delayed efforts to trace contacts of people who tested positive. Public Health England (PHE) said 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were left out of the UK daily case figures. They were then added in to reach Saturday's figure of 12,872 new cases and Sunday's 22,961 figure. PHE said all those who tested positive had been informed. But it means others in close contact with them were not. The issue has been resolved, PHE said, with outstanding cases passed on to tracers by 01:00 BST on Saturday. The technical issue also means that the daily case totals reported on the government's coronavirus dashboard over the past week have been lower than the true number. Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 October 2020
  19. News Article
    The stress and anxiety caused to patients by "poor communication" from NHS bodies in England during the covid pandemic has been criticised by MPs. While recognising the huge burden placed on the NHS, their report said cancelled treatments and surgery had left some "in limbo" and others "too scared" to seek medical help. The report also questioned why weekly testing of NHS staff had not yet begun. And it called for their mental and physical wellbeing to be supported. Jeremy Hunt, who chairs the Health and Social Care Committee, which compiled the report, praised the "heroic contribution" made by front-line NHS staff during the pandemic, which had saved many lives. But he said the pandemic had "massively impacted normal NHS services" and this situation could have been improved with clearer communication to patients and better infection control measures in hospitals. The report, based on evidence from doctors, nurses, patient groups and NHS leaders, said the case for routine testing for all NHS staff in all parts of the country was "compelling" and it should be introduced as soon as possible before winter to help reduce the spread of the virus. The government and NHS England told the committee they wanted to bring in routine testing of staff but any plans depended on the capacity available. Read full story Source: BBC News, 1 October 2020
  20. Content Article
    The inquiry, launched in April, considered the provision of essential health and care services both during and after the pandemic and how the resulting pent-up demand for services would be managed and met. Representatives of the Royal Colleges, NHS Providers, the NHS Confederation, health think tanks, patients and patient groups, the Chief Executive of the NHS and other senior NHS leaders were among those who gave evidence. Members of the Committee pay tribute to frontline NHS and care staff who lost their lives to coronavirus and their bereaved families. Health and Social Care Committee Chair Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said: “We are proud of the heroic contribution made by frontline NHS and care staff during this pandemic, which has saved many lives. Thanks to their efforts not a single coronavirus patient has been denied an intensive care bed or ventilator unlike in other countries. “However the pandemic has also massively impacted normal NHS services, something that could have been mitigated with earlier infection control measures in hospitals and clearer communication to patients whose care was disrupted. Weekly testing of NHS staff has been repeatedly promised in hotspot areas - but is still not being delivered. Failure to do so creates a real risk that the NHS will be forced to retreat into being a largely Covid-only service during a second spike. "We've heard of severe disruption to services, especially cancer, and here we could be looking at tens of thousands avoidable deaths within a year. If we’re to avoid this going forward it is time to give as much priority to avoiding harm and death caused by the interruption of normal NHS services and introduce mass testing for all NHS staff. Today we set out these and other steps the government and NHS leaders must take to manage services through a second wave."
  21. News Article
    When Sarah found herself suffering sudden bouts of breathlessness in May, she took herself to hospital. But after her COVID-19 swab test came back negative, doctors said she was probably anxious, and sent her home. Despite this, Sarah’s symptoms continued to worsen. A week later, she was rushed to hospital in an ambulance. Paramedics told her that based on her clinic observations, she should be in a coma. Then came more surprising news: She had tested positive for coronavirus Sarah’s story – given to a patient safety charity under a pseudonym – is one that resonates with Dr Claudia Paoloni, president of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association. She detailed another case in which a patient tested negative twice: once when she was first admitted to hospital and once later in her hospital stay. She finally tested positive on her third test – by which time she was on a ventilator in intensive care. Paolini believes COVID-19 swab tests produce a troublingly high rate of false negative results, and the problem lies in the reliance on a single test. “To use as a one-off test in any capacity to exclude someone from having COVID-19 is a folly.” If you want to exclude someone from having the virus, Paoloni said, you must do multiple tests and collect multiple negative results. “If the test and tracing system is not working, which is the case here, transmission will continue unabated in the community.” The most recent data published by the Office for National Statistics says the test’s sensitivity - which it says can tell us how likely it is to return a false-negative result, may be somewhere between 85% and 98%. Dr Deenan Pillay, Professor of Virology at University College London and member of Independent Sage, a group of scientists providing transparent advice during the crisis, said a significant number of self-administered tests could be coming back negative for people who do in fact have the virus. “The single biggest reason why a swab from someone who has COVID-19 comes up as negative is the quality of the swab that is taken,” Dr Pillay said. “Swabbing your nose and throat in a way that will pick up the virus means really scraping down the side of the wall of the nose or back of the throat to get cells from the lining of the throat. That’s not a pleasant thing to do.” This is of course true for at-home testing, which relies on the patient or a family member to collect the swab. But it could be true at testing centres, too. Tom, a 29-year-old from London whose name has been changed for this story, said there were no medical staff on site when he visited a Covid testing centre in London. The only people he interacted with were staff from a third-party contractor paid to carry out testing. “The man simply handed me a test, read out the instructions to self-administer the test, and asked me to do it myself,” he said. Pillay agrees that testing methods are likely to have an impact on false negative results. “I have seen the documentation given out at testing centres and it is very confusing,” he said. “Centres often expect you to administer the test yourself or get someone else in your car to administer it for you, all of which creates difficulties.” Pillay believes the solution lies in having medically trained staff at testing centres. “The way the system is developed at the moment, outsourced to private companies like Deloitte and Lighthouse Labs, is just woeful,” he said. “The whole system is failing at the moment. And it’s happening just as the numbers of infections are starting to rise,” Dr Pillay said. Read full story Source: Huffpost, 27 September 2020
  22. News Article
    NHS hospitals have been banned from launching their own coronavirus testing for staff and patients who have symptoms – despite a nationwide shortage in tests. Leaked NHS documents, passed to The Independent, show the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has now capped funding for COVID-19 testing in the health service, even though the lack of tests has left hospital doctors, nurses, teachers and other key workers forced to stay at home. The diktat warned hospitals that, if they did choose to go ahead, the six figure costs would have to come from their own budgets. The warning was sent just a day after testing tsar Baroness Dido Harding admitted to MPs that demand for coronavirus tests is three to four times the number available. One senior NHS director told The Independent that NHS trusts had the ability to buy Covid-19 test capacity in local laboratories but now faced the risk of not getting the money to pay for it. They said: “This is just barmy at a time when we have cases rising and we need to get test results for staff and patients who are isolating at home waiting for results. Read full story Source: The Independent, 18 September 2020
  23. News Article
    A lack of coronavirus tests for NHS staff is leading to staff absences and services being put at risk, hospital bosses have warned. NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, said staff are having to self-isolate rather than work because they cannot get tests for themselves or family members. It comes after widespread reports of people struggling to get tested. The home secretary defended the system, saying capacity was increasing. The government's testing system - part of its test, track and trace operation which Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised would be "world-beating" - has faced criticism in recent weeks. An increase in demand for coronavirus tests has led to local shortages - with some people being directed to test sites hundreds of miles from their homes. One doctor working in a coronavirus hotspot said she applied for a test for herself and her partner after they developed coughs and fevers. After refreshing the website for five hours, she managed to get an appointment but on arrival was told no booking had been made. She had taken screenshots of a confirmation code but was not sent a QR code to scan. "I showed the screenshots but I was told that the appointments weren't happening," she said. "I have to say I burst into tears. I was meant to be seeing patients and I feel guilty." Dr Rachel Ward, a GP in Newbury, told BBC Breakfast she was seeing a lot of patients who were struggling to get tests, saying a lot of families were "at the end of their tether" as it was "very stressful when you are faced with two weeks off work". She said if the staff at her practice were unable to get tests and had to self-isolate it would have a "huge impact" on patients as some of their healthcare workers are booked in to administer 100 flu jabs in a day. Read full story Source: BBC News, 14 September 2020
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