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Found 2,340 results
  1. Content Article
    Neonatal herpes is a rare, and potentially fatal, disease which usually occurs in the first four weeks of a baby's life. Early recognition and treatment have been shown to significantly improve babies' chances of making a full recovery. In the second blog of this series, Sarah de Malplaquet, Chief Executive and Founder of the Kit Tarka Foundation, shares Kit’s story, who died at just 13 days old. Sarah reflects on a number of ‘missed signs’, highlighting the urgent need for increased awareness among staff.  
  2. News Article
    Three more babies have died from whooping cough this year as cases continue to rise across the country, according to the UK Health Security Agency. Since January, there have been 4,793 confirmed cases of whooping cough, with 181 babies under the age of three months diagnosed with the illness. A total of eight babies have now died from whooping cough this year. Pregnant women have been urged to get the whooping cough vaccine in order for their babies to be protected before they are old enough to receive the vaccine themselves. Babies can first be vaccinated against the disease when eight weeks old, while pregnant women are advised to get the vaccine at 16 and 32 weeks. Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, a consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with those families who have so tragically lost their baby. “With whooping cough case numbers across the country continuing to rise and sadly the further infant deaths in April, we are again reminded how severe the illness can be for very young babies. “Pregnant women should have a whooping cough vaccine in every pregnancy, normally around the time of their mid-pregnancy scan (usually 20 weeks). This passes protection to their baby in the womb so that they are protected from birth in the first months of their life when they are most vulnerable and before they can receive their own vaccines. “The vaccine is crucial for pregnant women, to protect their babies from what can be a devastating illness.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 June 2024
  3. Content Article
    At a recent meeting of the 'Safer Healthcare Biosafety Network' (SHBN), members learned of a new initiative designed to improve the safety of healthcare workers in the event of a future pandemic. It should also greatly reduce nosocomial (healthcare acquired) infection. David Osborn explained that the intention is to shift the focus for respiratory protective equipment (RPE) away from FFP3 respirators more towards powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs). Although FFP3s provide efficient protection, they have several disadvantages for use in the healthcare sector, particularly when providing prolonged care of infectious patients. At the height of the pandemic, given the shortage of respirators, a new type of PAPR was developed at Southampton University and used to great effect. Staff reported that, whilst previously they had been coming to work in fear of infection, they now felt safe and secure in the knowledge that they were well protected. David is supporting Professor Kevin Bampton (Chief Executive, British Occupational Hygiene Society) and Professor Paul Elkington (Director, Institute for Medical Innovation, Southampton University). Following the SHBN, David prepared a briefing note (attached below) providing more details of the project.
  4. Content Article
    This podcast looks at preventing respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) outbreaks within healthcare facilities and strategies to minimise transmission of RSV among healthcare workers and patients during an outbreak. 
  5. Content Article
    One in ten severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections result in prolonged symptoms termed long coronavirus disease (Covid), yet disease phenotypes and mechanisms are poorly understood. This study profiled 368 plasma proteins in 657 participants ≥3 months following hospitalisation. Of these, 426 had at least one long Covid symptom and 233 had fully recovered.  The study aimed to understand inflammatory processes that underlie Long Covid. The findings suggest that specific inflammatory pathways related to tissue damage are implicated in subtypes of Long Covid, which might be targeted in future therapeutic trials. Related reading on the hub: Top picks: 12 research papers on Long Covid
  6. News Article
    Experts and patient groups have warned that the high cost of private Covid vaccinations could exacerbate health inequalities and leave those more at risk from the virus without a vital line of defence. Both high street chain Boots and pharmacies that partner with the company Pharmadoctor are now offering Covid jabs to those not eligible for a free vaccination through the NHS, with the former charging almost £100 for the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. While Pharmadoctor says each pharmacy sets its own prices, it suggests the Pfizer/BioNTech jab will set customers back £75-£85, while the latest Novavax jab will cost about £45-£55. However experts have raised concerns that the high cost of the private jabs will widen inequalities, with the vaccinations unaffordable for many. “The most disadvantaged in society are most likely to be exposed to respiratory viruses due to things like poverty, intergenerational households and crowded workplaces. While they might be most in need of a seasonal vaccine, they will also be the least likely to afford £100 in the midst of a cost of living crisis,” said Dr Marija Pantelic, of the University of Sussex. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 March 2024
  7. News Article
    The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has called on the UK government not to wait until after the upcoming general election to approve an infant immunisation programme against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), so that babies can be protected next winter. In June 2023 the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) recommended developing an RSV immunisation programme for infants and for older adults.1 It issued a fuller statement reiterating the advice in September 2023.2 But the government has yet to make a final decision on rolling out an RSV immunisation programme. A letter signed by more than 2000 paediatricians and healthcare professionals says that the sooner a full RSV vaccination programme is implemented the more effective it will be and that it “could save child health services reaching breaking point.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 20 March 2024
  8. Content Article
    The South East London Long Covid programme has released 10 short animated films to help people with their recovery.  The films offer guidance, tools, and tips on how to help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of ongoing issues.
  9. News Article
    People experiencing Long Covid have measurable memory and cognitive deficits equivalent to a difference of about six IQ points, a study suggests. The study, which assessed more than 140,000 people in summer 2022, revealed that Covid-19 may have an impact on cognitive and memory abilities that lasts a year or more after infection. People with unresolved symptoms that had persisted for more than 12 weeks had more significant deficits in performance on tasks involving memory, reasoning and executive function. Scientist said this showed that “brain fog” had a quantifiable impact. Prof Adam Hampshire, a cognitive neuroscientist at Imperial College London and first author of the study, said: “It’s not been at all clear what brain fog actually is. As a symptom it’s been reported on quite extensively, but what our study shows is that brain fog can correlate with objectively measurable deficits. That is quite an important finding.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 February 2024
  10. Content Article
    Poor memory and difficulty thinking or concentrating (commonly referred to as “brain fog”) have been implicated in syndromes occurring after Covid-19 — a situation that has led to suggestions that Covid-19 may have lasting cognitive consequences. However, objective data on cognitive performance are largely lacking, and how long such deficits may persist and which cognitive functions are most vulnerable are unclear. In this observational study, Hampshire et al. invited 800,000 adults in a study in England to complete an online assessment of cognitive function. The authors estimated a global cognitive score across eight tasks. They hypothesised that participants with persistent symptoms (lasting ≥12 weeks) after infection onset would have objectively measurable global cognitive deficits and that impairments in executive functioning and memory would be observed in such participants, especially in those who reported recent poor memory or difficulty thinking or concentrating (“brain fog”). They found that participants with resolved persistent symptoms after Covid-19 had objectively measured cognitive function similar to that in participants with shorter-duration symptoms, although short-duration Covid-19 was still associated with small cognitive deficits after recovery. Longer-term persistence of cognitive deficits and any clinical implications remain uncertain.
  11. News Article
    The medical regulator failed to sound the alarm over Covid vaccine side effects and should be investigated, MPs have said. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for approving drugs and devices and monitors side effects caused by treatments. But the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on pandemic response and recovery, an influential group of MPs, has raised “serious patient safety concerns”. It has claimed that “far from protecting patients” the regulator operates in a way that “puts them at serious risk”. Some 25 MPs across four parties have written to the health select committee asking for an urgent investigation. In reply, Steve Brine, the health committee chairman, has said an inquiry into patient safety is “very likely”. In a letter to Mr Brine, the APPG said that there was reason to believe that the MHRA had been aware of post-vaccination heart and clotting issues as early as February 2021, but did not highlight the problems for several months. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 27 February 2024 Related reading on the hub: Interview with Charlet Crichton, founder of UKCVFamily
  12. News Article
    Accountability is top of the wishlist from the Covid inquiry as it comes to Wales, say bereaved families and those charged with protecting vulnerable people. Over the next three weeks the focus will largely be on the decisions made by the Welsh government during the pandemic. From the timings of lockdowns to the rationale of doing things differently to the UK government, the hearings will scrutinise actions taken in Wales. For many, it will be a chance to hear the justifications for policies that they say left them feeling unsupported and alone. Ann Richards did not get to say a final goodbye to her husband Eirwyn before he died from hospital-acquired Covid in January 2021. Ann still wonders if non-urgent healthcare had been fully up and running, could Eirwyn have been discharged sooner, or perhaps even avoided a hospital admission altogether? Additional rules put in place to reduce the spread of the virus meant there were delays in getting a purpose-built wheelchair – delaying his discharge from hospital. "I understand there had to be rules in place," said Ann. "But it's the wellbeing of the patients I think they lost a lot of." Read full story Source: BBC News, 26 February 2024
  13. News Article
    Covid vaccines have been linked to small increases in heart, blood, and neurological disorders, according to the largest global study of its kind. An international coalition of vaccine experts looked for 13 medical conditions among 99 million vaccine recipients across eight countries in order to identify higher rates of those conditions after receiving the shots. They confirmed that the shots made by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca are linked to significantly higher risk of five medical conditions - including a nerve-wasting condition that leaves people struggling to walk or think. Read full story Source: Daily Mail, 19 February 2024
  14. Content Article
    Extracts of a letter from David Osborn to the UK Covid-19 Public Inquiry Legal Team regarding misleading evidence by Professor Yvonne Doyle, which: Highlights errors in Prof Yvonne Doyle’s evidence to the Inquiry relating to the declassification of Covid‑19 as a high consequence infectious disease. Calls into question Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam’s evidence to the Inquiry in which he sought to attribute responsibility for the downgrade from FFP3 to FRSM to Public Health England. The letter sets out his involvement in the issue of the 4-Nations IPC guidance version 1.0 which implemented that downgrade. Further reading on the hub: Healthcare workers with Long Covid: Group litigation – a blog from David Osborn
  15. Event
    Are all of your severely immunocompromised patients aged 50 and over vaccinated against shingles? These patients are eligible for vaccination through the National programme Discuss identifying and vaccinating your most vulnerable patients, and how GSK can support you. This event is organised and funded by GSK­­. Further information and registration
  16. News Article
    Italy will carry out an inquiry into its handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a move hailed as “a great victory” by the relatives of people killed by the virus but criticised by those who were in power at the time. Italy was the first western country to report an outbreak and has the second highest Covid-related death toll to date in Europe, at more than 196,000. Only the UK’s death toll is higher. The creation of a commission to examine “the government’s actions and the measures adopted by it to prevent and address the Covid-19 epidemiological emergency” was approved by the lower house of parliament after passing in the senate. Consuelo Locati, a lawyer representing hundreds of families who brought legal proceedings against former leaders, said: “The families were the first to ask for a commission and so for us this is a great victory. The commission is important because it has the task, at least on paper, to analyse what went wrong and the errors committed so as not to repeat the massacre we all suffered.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 February 2024
  17. Content Article
    A forthcoming three-part ITV drama Breathtaking, set in a fictionalised London hospital, tells the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic through the eyes of Acute Medical Consultant Dr Abbey Henderson. The series is based on Dr Rachel Clarke’s book of the same name. She worked on Covid wards and is also one of the writers on the series. Rachel joins Women's Health host Emma Barnett to discuss it. Listen from 1:40
  18. Content Article
    How does it feel to confront a pandemic from the inside, one patient at a time? To bridge the gulf between a perilously unwell patient in quarantine and their distraught family outside? To be uncertain whether the protective equipment you wear fits the science or the size of the government stockpile? To strive your utmost to maintain your humanity even while barricaded behind visors and masks? Rachel is a palliative care doctor who looked after some of the most gravely unwell patients on the Covid-19 wards of her hospital. Amid the tensions, fatigue and rising death toll, she witnessed the courage of patients and NHS staff alike in conditions of unprecedented adversity. For all the bleakness and fear, she found that moments that could stop you in your tracks abounded. People who rose to their best, upon facing the worst, as a microbe laid waste to the population.
  19. Content Article
    In December 2022, a newly formed group called 'Long Covid Doctors for Action' (LCD4A) conducted a survey to establish the impact of Long Covid on doctors. When the British Medical Association published the results of the survey, the findings were both astonishing and saddening in equal measure.[1] The LCD4A have now decided that enough is enough and that it is now time to stand up and take positive action. They have initiated a group litigation against those who failed to exercise the ‘duty of care’ that they owed to healthcare workers across the UK during the pandemic.  In this blog, I summarise how and why I feel our healthcare workers have been let down by our government and why, if you are one of these healthcare workers whose life has been effected by Long Covid, I urge you to join the group litigation initiative.
  20. News Article
    A group of doctors with Long Covid are preparing to launch a class action for compensation after contracting SARS-CoV-2 at work. The campaign and advocacy group Long Covid Doctors for Action (LCD4A) has engaged the law firm Bond Turner to bring claims for any physical injuries and financial losses sustained by frontline workers who were not properly protected at work. On 25 January Bond Turner, which specialises in negligence cases, complex litigation, and group actions, launched a call to action inviting doctors and other healthcare workers in England and Wales to make contact if they believe that they contracted covid-19 as a result of occupational exposure.1 Sara Stanger, the firm’s director and head of clinical negligence and serious injury claims, said that the ultimate aim was to achieve “legal accountability and justice for those injured.” She told The BMJ, “I’ve spoken to hundreds of doctors with long covid, and many of them have had their lives derailed. Some have lost their jobs and their homes; they are in financial ruin. Their illnesses have had far reaching consequences in all areas of their lives.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 25 January 2024 Nurses, midwives, and any other healthcare workers who are suffering with Long Covid and which they believe they contracted through their work and who wish to join the action should visit the Bond Turner website here: https://www.bondturner.com/services/covid-group-claim/. Although this action has been initiated by doctors in the first instance, it is not limited to doctors. Further reading on the hub: Questions around Government governance My experience of suspected 'Long COVID' How will NHS staff with Long Covid be supported?
  21. News Article
    A “national call to action” has been made by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) after a worrying surge in the spread of measles in London and the West Midlands. Professor Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of the health board, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that people have “forgotten what measles is like”, and that children can be unwell for a week or two with symptoms including a nasty rash, high fever and ear infections. She added that the virus is highly infectious, with health officials warning that serious complications can arise that include hospitalisations and death. This comes as official figures show uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is at its lowest point in more than a decade. Read full story Source: The Independent, 19 January 2024
  22. News Article
    Health experts have warned “we must act now” as measles cases have soared across the country amid an increase in unvaccinated children. There were 1,603 suspected cases of measles in England and Wales in 2023, new statistics from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) show. MMR cases have increased significantly in the last two years - in 2022, there were 735 cases, and just 360 the year before. On Friday, Birmingham Children’s Hospital said it had become inundated with the highest number of children with measles in decades. The hospital treated more than 50 children for the disease in the last month. Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Chair of the UK Health Department's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, warned that unless more children are vaccinated there will be an increase in hospital admissions and even deaths. He told The Independent: “The main reason for this new outbreak is the increase in unvaccinated children in the last few years. “Vaccinations have decreased below 90 per cent and this is dangerous. The vaccine is powerful if we use it, and it will protect our children. “We must act now and the increased cases are a warning that there will be consequences if we don’t. There will be children with severe infections, brain damage and even death.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 15 January 2024
  23. News Article
    More than 7,000 Covid-related hospital admissions could have been prevented in the UK in the summer of 2022 if the population had received the full number of jabs recommended, according to research in The Lancet. Some 44% of the UK population was under-vaccinated, with younger people among the most likely to skip doses. In a first, health records for everyone over five in the UK were analysed. The same approach could now be used to understand other diseases. The entire population of the UK is 67 million, and all those over the age of five had their anonymised electronic health data analysed for The Lancet study. With about 40,000 severe hospital admissions related to Covid during that summer, the research estimates that more than 7,000 - 17% - would have been avoided if everyone had taken up the offer of the vaccine and booster doses for which they were eligible. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 January 2024
  24. Content Article
    The Covid-19 pandemic led to unprecedented healthcare disruption across the UK. In England, the number of patient referrals waiting to be treated in hospital was more than 7·2 million at the end of October, 2022. In response, the UK Government set up an elective recovery taskforce (ERT) in December, 2022, to help NHS England tackle this backlog. Ahmar Shah and colleagues estimated the extent of healthcare disruption during the Covid-19 pandemic to aid decision making regarding the necessary capacity increases that are required to address the ensuing backlog. The study, published in The Lancet, found NHS waiting list for elective treatment increased between 1 Jan 2012, and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting a gradual service decline. The waiting list then substantially increased during the pandemic, but this substantial increase is likely to represent a substantial underestimation of the backlog because of the anticipated large numbers of people who have still not come forward for care. Even if the ambitious target of 30% increase in capacity is achieved during the next 3 years, several years (beyond the end of 2025) will be needed for the backlog to clear. This study emphasises the need to improve health-care system resilience to ensure that the effects of any future emergencies on the provision of routine care are minimised.
  25. Content Article
    The BMA has sent a letter to Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, highlighting the increasing concerns from their members about the protection of healthcare workers and patients from Covid-19, particularly in light of the rise in cases, hospitalisations and deaths that occurred in September and October. 
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