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Found 706 results
  1. Content Article
    There is a lot to be uncertain about these days: school, work, health, family. However, in July one thing was certain: the streaming release of “Hamilton” in the US was going to be epic. The acclaimed musical production tells the story of a U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, intensely American, exploring themes of love, anger, arrogance, heroism, betrayal, mistakes, politics, policy, devotion, family, sacrifice and death. In some ways, it sounds like healthcare in the era of COVID-19. While months of the coronavirus pandemic are behind us, the uncertainties caused by the pace of change and the expected surge of further infection spread bring continued stress, fear and frustration. Disruptions to services, processes and relationships are rampant. They demand continued experimentation across healthcare to address concerns to keep patients, communities and healthcare workers safe. And the lack of a coordinated collective policy response to the crisis only perpetuates discomfort about the unreliability of actions to improve safety and the substantial costs the future holds in store. Ambiguities and dread due to the pandemic are problematic and will be for some time. Continued patient avoidance of care is evident and could be contributing to lack of timely care and diagnosis. An ImproveDx article summarises how fear is keeping patients from getting the care they need, and highlights the importance of recognising that rebuilding trust will take time. To anchor this effort, leaders must view risk as individuals see it rather than just an academic exercise to inform reentry strategies in the months to come. The unsettled nature of care and access to loved ones during COVID can make end-of-life planning particularly fraught with uncertainty. Stanford University School of Medicine has developed the GOOD framework for clarifying steps forward when working with patients and families facing palliative care decisions during the pandemic. Its four elements – Goals, Options, Opinions and Documentation – provide an effective structure for clinicians to have conversations with patients and families to address care management when the path forward is unclear. Prolonged uncertainty can degrade healthcare staff mental and physical health. In Hawaii, one health system sought to make antibody testing available to staff as a strategy to decrease anxiety and improve sensemaking around the crisis. Hawai`i Pacific Health in NEJM Catalyst explores the reasons why those who were tested opted into the programme. The authors found “curiosity” to be a primary motivator. Knowing something – whether positive or not – can reduce one aspect of uncertainty, which the article posits will help clinicians and their community think beyond the doubt to achieve a modicum of control. This single piece of stability will enable a willingness to gather information, to plan and to act. Despite the challenge uncertainty brings, there are individuals who consistently believe the future holds promise. People who are able to act and make a difference despite uncertainty. Much has been said about those in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, but others continue to address persistent uncertainties and unreliableness of care – beyond the pressures of the pandemic. There are many whose tenacity shores up the foundations of the healthcare system to improve its safety. One such leader from the US, John Eisenberg MD, is celebrated every year through an award programme in his name. John was a founding father of patient safety in the US. Through his leadership, national research and improvement programmes were developed and funded to lead government efforts to improve quality and safety. In July for the first time, the John Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards were bestowed virtually. These awards recognise individuals, local efforts and national programmes whose work provides evidence of the value and commitment to engage in work to improve safety. This year’s recipients demonstrated values core to improvement and perseverance in their work toward achieving healthcare that is safe. The awardees have accomplishments that focused on diagnostic error and sepsis reduction. Each of these stories started in tests and trials motivated by commitment to getting healthcare to a better place. For example, Tennessee-headquartered HCA Healthcare was recognised for its SPOT (Sepsis Prediction and Optimization of Therapy) algorithm as a mechanism to identify sepsis quickly to enhance quality and patient safety. Through this enhanced use of technology, SPOT uses basic laboratory and clinical data in real time to provide teams with the information they needed to reduce sepsis mortality across their 173-hospital system. Data triggered alerts that initiated actions to decrease response times by approximately 6 hours rather than relying on shift change as the information sharing mechanism. The SPOT algorithm enhancement to the electronic medical record partnered well with existing sepsis management processes to arrive at improvements. In the climax of Hamilton’s first act, the battle of Yorktown culminates in a chorus of “the world turned upside down”, with the hope that the cacophony will ultimately result in a new country with new freedoms only imagined prior to crisis. It is certain that COVID disruptions will continue to test us all worldwide. Can we challenge ourselves, our peers and our leaders to experiment as necessary to confront COVID-19 while guaranteeing that what was learned will be used to create something better?
  2. News Article
    Two new tests for COVID-19 that are said to deliver results within 90 minutes are to be introduced across NHS hospitals and care homes, to speed up diagnosis ahead of winter and differentiate coronavirus infection from flu, the government says. But some experts were surprised by the government’s decision, saying the particular tests were not well-known. No data had been published concerning their evaluation. The government had made mistakes in buying tests that turned out to be sub-standard in the past, they said. “Repeatedly through the pandemic the government has raced ahead purchasing tests on the basis of manufacturer’s claims, and have found later when independent studies are done that the tests do not have adequate performance for use in the NHS,” said Professor Jon Deeks from Birmingham University, part of a team who have been evaluating tests of this sort. “We would hope that the government would wait for proper evaluations, and consider the scientific evidence for all available tests before signing further contracts. The mistakes made in test purchasing have wasted millions of pounds as well as put lives at risk.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 3 August 2020
  3. News Article
    Trusts have been set a series of “very stretching” targets to recover non-covid services to nearly normal levels in the next few months, in new guidance from NHS England. NHS England and Improvement set out the system’s priorities for the remainder of 2020-21 in a “phase three letter” sent to local leaders. It said the NHS must “return to near-normal levels of non-covid health services, making full use of the capacity available in the ‘window of opportunity’ between now and winter”, when further emergency and covid pressures are anticipated. In recent weeks providers have found it very difficult to resume many services, with many running at well below normal capacity, due to infection prevention measures, staffing gaps, and other covid-related barriers. The targets in the new guidance for phase three of the NHS’s covid response include: In September trusts must deliver “at least 80 per cent of their last year’s activity for both overnight electives and for outpatient/daycase procedures, rising to 90% in October (while aiming for 70% in August)”; “This means that systems need to very swiftly return to at least 90 per cent of their last year’s levels of MRI/CT and endoscopy procedures, with an ambition to reach 100 per cent by October.” “Trusts must hit 100 per cent of their last year’s activity for first outpatient attendances and follow-ups (face to face or virtually) from September through the balance of the year (and aiming for 90 per cent in August).” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 31 July 2020
  4. Content Article
    Following discussion with patients’ groups, national clinical and stakeholder organisations, and feedback from seven regional ‘virtual’ frontline leadership meetings, NHS England and Improvement have set out NHS priorities for this third phase. Their shared focus is on: Accelerating the return to near-normal levels of non-Covid health services, making full use of the capacity available in the ‘window of opportunity’ between now and winter. Preparation for winter demand pressures, alongside continuing vigilance in the light of further probable Covid spikes locally and possibly nationally. Doing the above in a way that takes account of lessons learned during the first Covid peak; locks in beneficial changes; and explicitly tackles fundamental challenges including: support for our staff, and action on inequalities and prevention. As part of this Phase Three work, and following engagement and discussion, NHS Engagement and Improvement have published a more detailed 2020/21 People Plan,
  5. News Article
    The list of lingering maladies from COVID-19 is longer and more varied than most doctors could have imagined. Ongoing problems include fatigue, a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, achy joints, foggy thinking, a persistent loss of sense of smell, and damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. The likelihood of a patient developing persistent symptoms is hard to pin down because different studies track different outcomes and follow survivors for different lengths of time. One group in Italy found that 87% of a patient cohort hospitalized for acute COVID-19 was still struggling 2 months later. Data from the COVID Symptom Study, which uses an app into which millions of people in the United States, United Kingdom, and Sweden have tapped their symptoms, suggest 10% to 15% of people—including some “mild” cases—don’t quickly recover. But with the crisis just months old, no one knows how far into the future symptoms will endure, and whether COVID-19 will prompt the onset of chronic diseases. One such patient is Athena Akrami. Her early symptoms were textbook for COVID-19: a fever and cough, followed by shortness of breath, chest pain, and extreme fatigue. For weeks, she struggled to heal at home. But rather than ebb with time, Akrami’s symptoms waxed and waned without ever going away. She’s had just 3 weeks since March when her body temperature was normal. “Everybody talks about a binary situation, you either get it mild and recover quickly, or you get really sick and wind up in the ICU,” says Akrami, who falls into neither category. Thousands echo her story in online COVID-19 support groups. Outpatient clinics for survivors are springing up, and some are already overburdened. Akrami has been waiting more than 4 weeks to be seen at one of them, despite a referral from her general practitioner. Read full story Source: Science, 31 July 2020
  6. News Article
    New analysis by the Health Foundation reveals the devastating impact the pandemic has had on social care in England. The independent charity says the findings provide further evidence that the government acted too slowly and did not do enough to support social care users and staff, and that protecting social care has been given far lower priority than the NHS. The Health Foundation finds that policy action on social care has focused primarily on care homes and that this has risked leaving out other vulnerable groups of users and services, including those receiving care in their own homes (domiciliary care). It also notes that the shortcomings of the government’s response have been made worse by longstanding political neglect and chronic underfunding of the social care system. Since March there have been more than 30,500 excess deaths* among care home residents in England and 4,500 excess deaths among people receiving domiciliary care. While high numbers of excess deaths of people living in care homes have been well reported, the analysis shows there has been a greater proportional increase in deaths among domiciliary care users than in care homes (225% compared to 208%). And while deaths in care homes have now returned to average levels for this time of year, the latest data (up until 19 June) shows that there have continued to be excess deaths reported among domiciliary care users. The Health Foundation says that decades of inaction by successive governments have meant that the social care system entered the pandemic underfunded, understaffed, and at risk of collapse. Read full article here.
  7. Community Post
    Why do we need GP referrals to this service for assessment? Early patients untested cannot get access to GPs, not being believed, dismissed, told they are delusional. se have been sat for months unable to get referrals ...today someone got a referral and the NHS denied them that too. So we are getting no support. We are having a host of around 200 effects (Ive documented them), most of us are weeks 12 to 33 and having lung cognitive and heart problems. We needs mri and ct scans now and we cant be joining the back of already lengthy outpatient appointments. theresa huge backlog. When is someone going to help us? #longtailgoing viral @postcovidsynd Post Covid 19 Syndrome Support Group International (facebook). Sir Simon Stevens from NHS England doesn't have time to answer our letter, he said the Seacole Centre has been set up...but it only takes tested positive patietns and the phone numbers don't work. He told us to watch himself on the Andrew Marr show..which was about this app. As you can see we still cant get referrals here either as we need GP referrals adn we cant get them/..did no one raise this? I think they did...as I did with Senior Government Advisors. Nothing has been offered to untested patients. The medical community are very much aware that we were sent home so to deny we are sick and label it as anxiety is a scandal. Likewise, graded therapy (I note exercise is on here) is not recommended as we have heart problems and some of us have done it and had heart attacks...dangerous information to share with people suffering 200 symptoms thatt the medical community have not followed us on .... health-problems (1).pdf
  8. Content Article
    The outcome is that the RCP released a statement on its website relating to revised guidance on the use of early warning scores for COVID-19 inpatients. The RCP suggest that all staff should be aware that any increase in oxygen requirements should be an indicator of clinical deterioration as the early warning score might not significantly increase.
  9. News Article
    Initial data from the COVID-19 Infection Survey. This survey is being delivered in partnership with IQVIA, Oxford University and UK Biocentre. Full article here Table of contents in the report: 1. Main points 2. Number of people in England who had COVID-19 3. Regional analysis 4. Incidence rate 5. Test sensitivity and specificity 6. COVID-19 Infection Survey data 7. Collaboration 8. Glossary 9. Measuring the data 10. Strengths and limitations 11. Related links
  10. News Article
    People are being warned to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of sepsis after a study found that as many as 20,000 COVID-19 survivors could be diagnosed with the condition within a year. One in five people who receive hospital treatment for the coronavirus are at risk, according to the UK Sepsis Trust. Sepsis is triggered when the body overreacts to an infection, causing the immune system to turn on itself - leading to tissue damage, organ failure and potentially death. If spotted quickly, it can be treated with antibiotics before it turns into septic shock and damages vital organs. Read the full article here.
  11. News Article
    More than a quarter of black, Asian and minority ethnic NHS staff had not yet had a risk assessment in relation to their exposure to coronavirus, according to the latest data collection by national NHS leaders. Full article here on the HSJ website (paywalled)
  12. News Article
    One of the world’s foremost virus experts has said survivors will be living with the effects of Covid-19 for “years to come” after he was struck down by a severe infection, and called for added support for those who have recovered from the disease. Professor Peter Piot, who as director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has been at the forefront of the academic response to the pandemic, has spent his entire career studying viruses such as Ebola and HIV. Prof Piot spent a week at the Royal Free Hospital in London in early April after contracting the disease. “I spent a week in isolation on a ward with three other men. I couldn’t leave the room. When I came out the thing I remember most is seeing the sky. London was deserted - it was in acute lockdown,” he said. The fever and splitting headache he had felt before being admitted were gone and apart from chronic exhaustion he was feeling better, he said. Getting out of bed was a struggle and he had to take rests when going up the many flights of stairs of his tall Georgian townhouse. But a week later he took a turn for the worse - he became breathless and his heart rate shot up to over 100. Read the full article here
  13. News Article
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged last week that a significant number of COVID-19 patients do not recover quickly, and instead experience ongoing symptoms, such as fatigue and cough. As many as a third of patients who were never sick enough to be hospitalized are not back to their usual health up to three weeks after their diagnosis, the report found. Read the full article here
  14. Event
    The Royal Society of Medicine's International COVID-19 Conference brings together thought leaders from around the world to share the key clinical learnings about COVID-19.Session 1: Respiratory effects: critical care and ventilationChair: Dr Charles Powell, Janice and Coleman Rabin Professor of Medicine System Chief, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai> Professor Anita K Simonds, Consultant in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, RBH NHS Foundation Trust> Dr Richard Oeckler, Director, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota> Dr Eva Polverino, Pulmonologist, Vall D’Hebron BarcelonaSession 2: Cardiovascular complications and the role of thrombosisChair: Rt Hon Professor Lord Ajay Kakkar PC, Professor of Surgery, University College London> Professor Barbara Casadei, President, European Society of Cardiology> Professor K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India> Professor Samuel Goldhaber, Associate Chief and Clinical Director, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Harvard Medical SchoolSession 3: Impacts on the brain and the nervous systemsChair: Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President, Royal Society of Medicine> Dr Hadi Manji, Consultant Neurologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, National Hospital for Neurology> Dr Andrew Russman, Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center, Cleveland Clinic> Professor Emily Holmes, Distinguished Professor, Uppsala UniversitySession 4: Looking forwardChair: Professor Roger Kirby, President-elect, Royal Society of Medicine> Dr Andrew Badley, Professor and Chair of Molecular Medicine, Chair of the Mayo Clinic COVID research task force, Mayo Clinic> Professor Robin Shattock, Professor of Mucosal Infection and Immunity, Imperial College London> Professor Sian Griffiths, Chair, Global Health Committee and Associate Non-Executive member, Board of Public Health England> Dr Monica Musenero, Assistant Commissioner, Epidemiology and Surveillance, Ministry of Health, Uganda Book here
  15. Content Article
    HSJ revealed this month that the ’call before you walk’ model is being trialed in London, Portsmouth and Cornwall, with system leaders keen for a wider roll-out ahead of winter. In these trials, which have received the backing of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, NHS 111 is being used as a “triage point” enabling patients needing urgent treatment, but not facing medical emergencies, to book access to primary care, urgent treatment centres or same-day emergency “hot clinics” staffed by specialists. Emergency patients just walking in, or those arriving via ambulance, will be treated, in theory, as per the current system. Similar models are used in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands where they have high approval ratings. But these are vastly different healthcare systems with better resourced out of hospital services. So, can the model work in the English NHS? It is critical to view efforts to introduce ‘call before you walk’ in the wider policy context. The move is part of a far wider radical overhaul of emergency care pathways broadly designed to address the dangerous overcrowding seen in EDs in recent years.
  16. News Article
    A third of GPs believe it will take up to a year or longer for their practice to return to pre-Covid levels of capacity, even with ‘no future spikes’ of the virus. The data comes from the BMA’s latest COVID-19 tracker survey, which polled almost 2,000 GPs in England and Wales. GPs have previously warned that they are battling a backlog of referrals and patients who have been ‘overlooked’ during the coronavirus crisis. Around 26% of the 1,770 GP respondents said consultations would take between three and 12 months to return to normal when asked how quickly their practice will ‘return to full pre-Covid levels of capacity... assuming there are no future Covid spikes’. And a further 7% of GPs believed it could take ‘longer’ than a year or that consultations would ‘never’ return to pre-Covid levels. Read full story Source: Pulse, 23 July 2020
  17. News Article
    Healthcare staff working at the height of the covid-19 pandemic in England were not properly protected and were forced to work in an unsafe environment, MPs have been told. Appealing before the health and social care committee on 21 July, experts criticised the government and NHS management for their failure to provide staff with sufficient testing and personal protective equipment (PPE). The committee was gathering evidence for its inquiry into the management of the COVID-19 outbreak. Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, said he believed that the failure to implement better testing systems in the early days of the pandemic had contributed significantly to the problems. He said, “At the height of the pandemic, our own research—which backs up what’s been done elsewhere—found that up to 45% of healthcare workers were infected and they were infecting their colleagues and infecting patients, yet they weren’t being tested systematically. “In the healthcare environment we weren’t providing proper protection, and it’s important because it protects the most vulnerable in our society and it protects our healthcare workers. They deserve to work in a safe environment, and some of them are dying because of what they do. They deserve better.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 22 July 2020
  18. Content Article
    The webinar included speakers: Sue Grange, deputy director of people and organisational development at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Theresa Nelson, chief officer for workforce development at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The event covered: a summary of the changing nature of the workplace and what this means for wellbeing reflections from setting up a Nightingale hospital facility and what can be taken from this into local employer and system-wide planning of wellbeing support the approach Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has adopted to supporting the wellbeing of staff through the next phases of working with the pandemic.
  19. Content Article
    The report offers an ethical framework and practical recommendations to help guide good practice nationally and locally to ensure: Clarity about goals of testing. Access, effectiveness, and efficiency. Acknowledgement and management of the strengths and limitations of the current test. Understanding how the test is used in practice and the implications of these uses. Clarity in relation to choices about testing both in principle and in practice. Clarity about data protection and confidentiality. Trustworthiness and legitimacy. High quality information and communication about testing.