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Found 189 results
  1. News Article
    Opt-out blood tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C will be rolled out to a further 46 hospitals across England, the government has announced. Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said the new £20m programme would lead to earlier diagnoses and treatment. Under the scheme, anyone having a blood test in selected hospital A&E units has also been tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, unless they opted out. The trials have been taking place for the last 18 months in 33 hospitals in London, Greater Manchester, Sussex and Blackpool, where prevalence is classed by the NHS as "very high". Figures released by the NHS earlier show those pilots have identified more than 3,500 cases of the three bloodborne infections since April 2022, including more than 580 HIV cases. Ms Atkins said: "The more people we can diagnose, the more chance we have of ending new transmissions of the virus and the stigma wrongly attached to it." She added that rolling out the tests to more hospitals would help ensure early diagnoses so people "can be given the support and the medical treatment they need to live not just longer lives but also higher quality lives". Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 November 2023
  2. Content Article
    Cancer Research UK has set out how the next UK Government could dramatically improve cancer outcomes and prevent 20,000 cancer deaths a year by 2040.  'Longer better lives: A manifesto for cancer research and care' has been developed with the insights of cancer patients and experts from across health, life sciences, government and academic sectors.   The charity said that huge strides have been made in beating cancer – with survival in the UK doubling over the last 50 years.  But it warned that with NHS cancer services in crisis and around half a million new cancer cases each year expected by 2040 – this hard-won progress is at risk of stalling.    With the UK lagging behind comparable countries when it comes to cancer survival, the charity is calling on all political parties to make cancer a top priority in their party manifestos. 
  3. Event
    On the back of the National Point of Care Testing guidance issued in May by the IBMS, RCPath and ACB. This webinar will explore the use case of rapid diagnostic testing to Care, Monitor and Protect. The purpose of a POCT service is to enable the delivery of high quality, accessible diagnostics at the point of need for clinical services, improving clinical outcomes and enhancing the patients’ healthcare experience. The aim should be to ensure that POCT services nationally utilise (and inform) advances in technology to innovate the way in which patients can access diagnostics and clinical services. Technology plays an important part of the patient pathway and in 2022 The World Health Organisation (WHO) published The Target Product Profile (TPP) for readers of rapid diagnostic tests detailing the preferred product characteristics and target regimen profiles. The webinar will provide a guide for commissioners, NHS settings and community pharmacies delivering NHS services. The NHS Long Term Plan highlights the importance of patients receiving care closer to home, shifting from a traditional model of hospital-based services towards a more adaptive community-based approach. Learn about Previous case studies of how Testing to Care, Monitor and Protect has been robustly rolled out across the NHS. Issues faced and how they were overcome. Impact of digital readers when combined with high-quality lateral flow tests in a clinical setting How The Target Product Profile (TPP) for readers of rapid diagnostic tests was developed according to a process based on the WHO Target Product Profiles, Preferred Product Characteristics, and Target Regimen Profiles. Speakers Dr George Newham PhD, Research and Development Manager, SureScreen Diagnostics Dr Rahul Batra, Clinical Innovations and Disruptive Technologies Lead in the Centre for Clinical Infection and Diagnostics Research at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Julie Hart, NHS Pathway Transformation and Market Access Expert: Diagnostics and Artificial Intelligence Dr Andrew Botham, Chief Scientific Officer - TestCard Register for the webinar
  4. News Article
    Over the counter genetic tests in the UK that assess the risk of cancer or heart problems fail to identify 89% of those in danger of getting killer diseases, a new study has found. Polygenic risk scores are so unreliable that they also wrongly tell one in 20 people who receive them they will develop a major illness, even though they do not go on to do so. That is the conclusion of an in-depth review of the performance of polygenic risk scores, which underpin tests on which consumers spend hundreds of pounds. The findings come amid a boom in the number of companies offering polygenic risk score tests which purport to tell customers how likely they are to get a particular disease. Academics at University College London (UCL) who undertook the research are warning that such tests are so flawed they should be regulated “to protect the public from unrealistic expectations” that they will correctly identify their risk of a particular disease. The authors concluded: “Polygenic risk scores performed poorly in population screening, individual risk prediction and population risk stratification. “Strong claims about the effect of polygenic risk scores on healthcare seem to be disproportionate to their performance.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 October 2023
  5. News Article
    The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is reviving a programme to mail free rapid coronavirus tests to Americans. Starting 25 September, people can request four free tests per household through covidtests.gov. Officials say the tests are able to detect the latest variants and are intended to be used through the end of the year. The return of the free testing program comes after Americans navigated the latest uptick in covid cases with free testing no longer widely available. The largest insurance companies stopped reimbursing the costs of retail at-home testing once the requirement to do so ended with the public health emergency in May. The Biden administration stopped mailing free tests in June. The Department of Health and Human Services also announced Wednesday that it was awarding $600 million to a dozen coronavirus test manufacturers. Agency officials said the funding would improve domestic manufacturing capacity and provide the federal government with 200 million over-the-counter tests to use in the future. “These critical investments will strengthen our nation’s production levels of domestic at-home COVID-19 rapid tests and help mitigate the spread of the virus,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. Experts say free coronavirus testing proved to be an effective public health tool, allowing people to check their status before attending large gatherings or spending time with older or medically vulnerable people at risk of severe disease even after being vaccinated. It also enables people to start antiviral treatments in the early days of infection to prevent severe disease. Read full story (paywalled) Source: Washington Post, 20 September 2023
  6. Content Article
    When it comes to your health, it's easy to fall into the mindset that unless you are having signs or symptoms of an illness, you can put off going to see your doctor and skip yearly exams or tests. But preventative care—such as blood tests, cancer screening, mental health check-ins, vaccinations and tests for genetic conditions—can help keep you from developing a serious illness or having to receive care at the hospital.  Speak Up™ To Prevent Serious Illness is a patient safety campaign from The Joint Commission designed to educate patients on how to find preventative care services, get past barriers and try to avoid reaching a crisis point with their health. The Joint Commission has produced a video, infographic and distribution guide as part of the campaign.
  7. Event
    Public Policy Projects is holding a roundtable "Improving access to genomic testing and medicine for better outcomes and reduced inequalities" on the 20th September from 10:30am to 12pm on Zoom. This session will be chaired by Parker Moss, Chief Commercial & Partnerships Officer at Genomics England, and will seek to explore how genomic technologies can be better utilised, and how services can be appropriately coordinated, to ensure that emerging technology can be used as a tool for reducing inequalities and bettering the overall standard of care for cancer patients in the NHS. The hosts are looking for individuals from Cancer Alliances, ICB, Genomic Laboratory Hubs, Cell Pathology Centres, and Clinical Diagnostic Centres to attend and share their experiences and views at this session. Find out more and register to attend
  8. News Article
    GPs should offer all patients presenting with signs of colorectal cancer a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) to reduce the waiting times for a colonoscopy, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended in draft guidance. The current NICE recommendation is to offer FIT to people presenting to primary care with low risk symptoms suggestive of colorectal cancer, while people with high risk symptoms should be immediately referred to the suspected cancer pathway. However, patients often have lengthy waiting times for colonoscopy because of limited capacity. NICE estimates that the recommendation should lead to 50% fewer referrals for urgent colonoscopies being made by GPs each year. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 5 July 2023
  9. News Article
    A digital NHS Health Check is to be rolled out across England from next spring, the government has announced, in an attempt to alleviate the pressure on GP surgeries. The initiative will deliver 1m checks in the first four years, according to the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC). Tens of thousands of cases of hypertension are expected to be identified and hundreds of strokes and heart attacks prevented. Patients will be able to access the check via a mobile phone, tablet or computer, the DHSC said. Participants will complete an online questionnaire, enter height, weight, and the results of a cholesterol test which they can carry out at home. They will also be asked to have their blood pressure checked at a pharmacy. The results, which will be available online, will direct people to personalised advice. Referrals to GPs will only be made if further tests and treatment are needed. Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This initiative will help to reach more people and encourage them to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked so that, where necessary, healthcare professionals can work with them to manage their condition. “This could play an important role in helping people live healthier for longer and saving lives in the coming years, while reducing pressure on the NHS.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 June 2023
  10. News Article
    At least 100,000 people across the UK have had their lives put at risk over the last decade because of delays to them getting tested or treated for cancer, a new report claims. In some cases, patients’ treatment options narrowed or their cancer spread or became incurable as a direct result of their long waits for NHS care, according to Macmillan Cancer Support. The “inhumane” impact of delays on patients is “shameful”, it said, blaming ministers across the four home nations for underfunding and not tackling staff shortages in cancer services. “I’ve had patients arrive for their radical chemotherapy appointment, who wait three hours only to be told that because of staff shortages we can’t deliver their treatment today. It’s inhumane”, said Naman Julka-Anderson, an advanced practice therapeutic radiographer who is also an allied health professional clinical adviser for Macmillan. Many waited longer than 62 days to start treatment – surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy – after a GP referred them as an urgent case, the charity’s analysis of official NHS data found. At least 100,000 of those 180,000 people have seen their symptoms worsen, or their cancer progress or their chances reduce of successfully being treated because they have had to wait. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 June 2023
  11. News Article
    Grail, a company that developed blood tests to detect cancer, mistakenly sent approximately 400 customers letters saying they might be positive for the disease, The New York Times has reported. Grail's Galleri test uses blood to detect cancer signals shared by 50 types of cancers and is available only by prescription, according to the report. Grail said in a statement that one of its vendors sent hundreds of letters with incorrect test results due to a "software configuration issue." "No patient health information has been disclosed or breached due to this issue, and no patient harm or adverse events have been reported," Grail's statement said. The issue was not caused by incorrect test results, according to the company. More than half of people who received the erroneous letter had not yet had their blood drawn for the test. PWNHealth said in a statement that the system it uses to send template messages to people had a "misconfiguration." Read full story Source: Becker's Hospital Review, 4 June 2023
  12. News Article
    A blood test for more than 50 types of cancer has shown real promise in a major NHS trial, researchers say. The test correctly revealed two out of every three cancers among 5,000 people who had visited their GP with suspected symptoms, in England or Wales. In 85% of those positive cases, it also pinpointed the original site of cancer. The Galleri test looks for distinct changes in bits of genetic code that leak from different cancers. Spotting treatable cancer early can save lives. The test remains very much a "work in progress", the researchers, from Oxford University, say, but could increase the number of cancers identified. Read full story Source: BBS News, 2 June 2023
  13. Content Article
    In this blog, University of Sheffield based researcher Dr Nicholas Farr explains why investing in the development of testing methods is key to ensuring medical devices are safe to use. His current work focuses on how the materials used in medical devices react within the body. Most recently, he has looked at mesh implants and how they degrade and change over time. Nicholas and colleagues at the University of Sheffield have developed innovative testing methods that mimic key features of the human body within the lab. He believes this will improve our understanding of the materials being used in the development of medical devices at an early stage in the process – saving time and money, and reducing the risk of patient harm. 
  14. News Article
    Investors are pouring billions into companies claiming they can analyse DNA to find the disease early. But some scientists question if they really work. A pioneering group of people in the US and UK who have elected to take part in a new form of cancer screening known as multi-cancer early detection tests (MCED). The tests use gene sequencing or other novel technologies to detect fragments of DNA expelled by cancerous cells which circulate in people’s blood, allowing the identification of multiple types of cancer from a single blood draw. They have been hailed as “revolutionary” and “cutting edge” by British and US health chiefs. Health bodies in both nations have set up MCED clinical trials in the hope that the tests can be rolled out to the population at large. The UK’s NHS is participating in a clinical trial of the Galleri test involving 140,000 patients. But not everyone is convinced the tests live up to the hype. Several health experts and scientists told the Financial Times that the tests could harm rather than help some patients due to risks associated with misdiagnosis, over-diagnosis and over-treatment. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Financial Times, 17 May 2023
  15. Event
    In the context of the complex challenges across the health and care landscape, including significant workforce shortages and limited clinical capacity, this free online event will consider the role of diagnostics in supporting those working in the system and keeping people out of hospital. The King's Fund event will explore: the potential that increased access to diagnostic testing, and in particular in vitro diagnostic testing, in primary care, the community and in community diagnostic hubs offers to diagnosing people earlier and avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions what innovations in patient pathways mean for those working across the system and how they are being supported to make changes, in the context of the significant challenges they are facing the role integrated care systems can play in developing diagnostic services that encourage innovation and are designed with people and communities at their heart. Register
  16. Event
    Sir Mike Richards’ review of diagnostics, Diagnostics: recovery and renewal, which was commissioned in response to recommendations in the NHS Long-Term Plan, outlined a new diagnostic model for services. The review identified key enablers to drive and deliver much needed to change to optimise diagnostic capacity and improve efficiency, along with the need for a major expansion of the workforce and improved connectivity and digitisation across all aspects of diagnostics. Demand for almost all aspects of diagnostics has been rising year on year. The public’s familiarisation with swab testing and testing closer to home through the Covid-19 has provided a strong launch pad to change the approach to diagnostics in response to this rising demand This King's Fund event will explore what can be learnt from the NHS reponse to Covid-19, how partners are working to reshape diagnostic pathways through community diagnostic centres, point-of-care testing and increasing workforce capability and capacity. Register
  17. Community Post
    During the COVID pandemic, it was clear that Emergency Departments across the UK needed to adapt and quickly, with my trust not exempt from this. We have increased capacity, increased our nursing and doctors on the shop floor, obviously with nurse in charge being responsible for all areas. We have different admission wards in terms of symptoms that the patient has, but also have a different type of flow, which i am getting my head around to be able to share I have seen departments split into 2 and various other ideas coming out from various trusts. Which got me thinking about patient safety and how well this is managed. So.... How is your department responding to the pandemic? Do you have any patient safety initiatives as a result of the response? Is there a long term plan? The reason why i am asking this, is so we can share practice and identify individual trust responses.
  18. Community Post
    HOW SAFE ARE OUR GP PRACTICES during covid-19? For the health care professionals, their patients, and families of patients? I'm a 65-yr old diabetic needing routine B12 injections. My GP tells me to turn up as normal so I don't develop neurological problems. I don't think anyone in the practice has been tested for covid-19. I'm refusing to turn up since I suspect the GP practice to be a covid-19 hot-spot. I don't want to transmit this virus to my frail, elderly asthmatic husband who's undergone cancer treatment and a lot of surgery. I've persuaded the GP to give me a precription for oral B12. Have I done the right thing? How can I help GPs and patients in far worse dilemmas than mine?
  19. 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 staff having to be redeployed to support others. There is concern about it rising further in the new year. One trust is looking at whether staff who test positive could opt to work on wards dedicated to covid patients. Louise Ashley, the chief executive of Dartford and Gravesham Trust in Kent, tweeted yesterday that some nurses had asked if they could come into work while positive but asymptomatic. Ms Ashley later confirmed to HSJ that the trust had assessed the request and “unfortunately” had to refuse it. The two main reasons for the decision were that staff may have the more dangerous Delta strain and that it be too difficult to keep them isolated from other staff. She added: ”I am amazed at their commitment to their patients and colleagues – very humbling after the two years they have been through. We are seeing high levels of staff absenteeism but we are hurrying through PCR tests to get staff back to work and are managing safe staffing levels currently.” There is also growing concern over NHS staff access to testing, which is required to enable contacts to come to work if they are negative. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 31 December 2021
  20. 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 struggling to obtain tests despite ministers putting testing at the centre of efforts to control the spread of Omicron. Demand for the tests has also been boosted by a change in quarantine rules that allows people to emerge from self-isolation after seven days instead of 10, as long as they carry out two negative lateral flow tests. In a letter sent to MPs on Wednesday evening, Javid acknowledged the intense strain being put on the system as cases of the Omicron variant continue to increase, with 183,037 new infections recorded on Wednesday. “In light of the huge demand for LFDs seen over the last three weeks, we expect to need to constrain the system at certain points over the next two weeks to manage supply over the course of each day, with new tranches of supply released regularly throughout each day,” he wrote. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 30 November 2021
  21. 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 going to work to show they were not infectious. Now an analysis has shown that it was more successful than Liverpool’s scientists and public health teams had anticipated, after they compared Covid cases and outcomes in the region with other parts of England. Professor Iain Buchan, dean of the Institute of Population Health, who led the evaluation, said: “This time last year, as the Alpha variant was surging, we found that Liverpool city region’s early rollout of community rapid testing was associated with a 32% fall in Covid-19 hospital admissions after careful matching to other parts of the country in a similar position to Liverpool but without rapid testing. “We also found that daily lateral flow testing as an alternative to quarantine for people who had been in close contact with a known infected person enabled emergency services to keep key teams such as fire crews in work, underpinning public safety.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 19 December 2021
  22. 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 “likely cause was a technical issue at the Immensa laboratory”, according to court papers filed by the government in response to a lawsuit. The Independent also revealed in October how machines at the Wolverhampton lab were poorly maintained, concerns over quality control dismissed and untrained staff regularly “left to their own devices”. Samples at the site were wrongly processed or cross-contaminated, leading to incorrect test results, while faulty air conditioning and fluctuating humidity levels within the lab also led to spoiled tests, whistleblowers said. Read full story Source: The Independent, 22 December 2021
  23. 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 likely to be more than 80 per cent effective at detecting Covid, and up to 90 per cent effective for those who are most infectious. However, the emergence of Omicron has changed the conversation. Its rapid acceleration throughout the UK, with more than a million infections expected by next week, has placed the country’s key testing routes – both at-home (LFT) and lab-based (PCR) – under immense strain. “Testing capacity will almost certainly fail to keep up with Omicron,” said Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. “Even with best efforts we can scale supply linearly, but demand will grow exponentially.” Experts have called on the government to temporarily drop the reliance on PCR lab testing, which typically takes 24 hours or more to return a result but is seen as more reliable, in favour of the lateral flow devices. These can be taken from the comfort of your own home and give a result in a matter of minutes. “LFT will be good enough, especially on people showing symptoms,” said Alan McNally, a professor of microbial evolutionary genomics at Birmingham University. Read full story Source: The Independent, 17 December 2021
  24. News Article
    The former chairman of the UK competition regulator has condemned the market for PCR tests for travellers, describing it as a “rip-off jungle”. After the reimposition of the requirement to take the tests on return from abroad, Lord Tyrie accused the government of once again allowing the companies offering PCR tests to manipulate the system by making them available at unrealistic prices. “For this policy to get into a mess once might be seen as a misfortune but for it to resurface again after all the warnings over the summer would have to be described as carelessness,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “It was a scandal waiting to happen and it’s now happened and it needs very urgent action.” Last week, the Guardian revealed that a slew of the cheapest deals on PCR tests had been removed from the government website amid concerns travellers were being misled by companies advertising the coronavirus testing service for less than a £1. Private companies offering day two tests for travellers are listed on a government website for consumers to search. However, most of the deals were found to not be suitable for most travellers as they were often offered in only one location, on limited dates and only available to those who could attend in person. “It appears that some of the worst practices – misleading online advertisements, overpricing, unacceptably poor service among them – are still widespread,” said Tyrie, the former head of the Competition and Markets Authority, and the ex-chair of the Treasury select committee. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 8 December 2021
  25. News Article
    Misdiagnosed Type 1 diabetes patients could be freed from the need to take insulin after a new test is rolled out. Scotland will become the first country to offer the C-peptide blood test to all patients who have had a Type 1 diagnosis for at least three years. The test shows how much insulin a patient's body is producing itself. A pilot by NHS Lothian allowed some people who had been taking insulin to stop or reduce the treatment. The test will be available from 1 November. C-peptide testing, which has been used as part of diagnosis for some patients for many years, can help distinguish whether a patient has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. C-peptide is made in the body at the same time as insulin. By testing levels of C-peptide, doctors can work out how much insulin a diabetes patient is making themselves. If C-peptide is present in significant amounts, it might indicate that the person does not have Type 1 diabetes at all, and consequently may not need daily insulin injections. The tests will be offered at hospital diabetes centres. Public Health Minister Maree Todd said that tackling diabetes was a priority for the Scottish government and that she wanted everyone living with diabetes to access safe, effective healthcare, treatment and support. She said: "Type 1 diabetes is a significant health challenge right across the world." Read full story Source: BBC News, 31 October 2021
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