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Found 812 results
  1. Content Article
    Breast cancer related lymphoedema (BRCL) is an under-recognised health condition that occurs in 20% of women after receiving breast cancer treatment. BRCL can affect a patient's physical and mental health and is costly to the NHS. In this blog, James Moore, a biomedical engineering researcher at Imperial College, talks about how he has involved patients in designing an innovative solution to this issue.  
  2. News Article
    Many people with breast cancer are being “systematically left behind” due to inaction on inequities and hidden suffering, experts have said. A new global report suggests people with the condition are continuing to face glaring inequalities and significant adversity, much of which remains unacknowledged by wider society and policymakers. The Lancet Breast Cancer Commission highlights a need for better communication between medical staff and patients, and stresses the importance of early detection. It also highlights the need for improved awareness of breast cancer risk factors, with almost one in four cases (23%) of the disease estimated to be preventable. The Lancet Commission’s lead author, Professor Charlotte Coles, department of oncology, University of Cambridge, said: “Recent improvements in breast cancer survival represent a great success of modern medicine. “However, we can’t ignore how many patients are being systematically left behind. “Our commission builds on previous evidence, presents new data and integrates patient voices to shed light on a large unseen burden. “We hope that by highlighting these inequities and hidden costs and suffering in breast cancer, they can be better recognised and addressed by healthcare professionals and policymakers in partnership with patients and the public around the world.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 15 April 2024
  3. Content Article
    Despite tremendous advances in breast cancer research and treatment over the past three decades—leading to a reduction in breast cancer mortality of over 40% in some high-income countries—gross inequities remain, with many groups being systematically left behind, ignored, and even forgotten. The work of the Lancet Breast Cancer Commission highlights crucial groups, such as those living with metastatic breast cancer, and identifies how the hidden costs of breast cancer and associated suffering are considerable, varied, and have far-reaching effects. The Commission offers a forward-looking and optimistic road map for how the health community can course correct to address these urgent challenges in breast cancer.
  4. Content Article
    This Medscape article tells the story of Josephine Vest, who was diagnosed with endometriosis aged 19. Now 30, she describes how her symptoms were dismissed and belittled by GPs and gynaecologists before she received a diagnosis a year after her symptoms began. With an average diagnostic delay approaching nine years across the UK, Josephine counts herself fortunate to have been diagnosed in this time frame. She goes on to describe the obstacles she faced in getting effective treatment and the suspicious attitudes healthcare staff displayed towards her.
  5. Community Post
    In 2010, it emerged that implants manufactured by the French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) had been made with substandard silicone made for mattresses, not cosmetic surgery, and had a high splitting rate. PIP was liquidated and the company's founder was sentenced to four years in prison for fraud. Patient groups say there has been little support, recognition or information for those affected in the UK, and that thousands of women continue to experience health problems.[1] Have you had a PIP implant? What has your experience been? Please comment below (sign up here first, for free) or get in touch with the team at content@pslhub.org [1] Woman pays £11,000 to fix ruptured breast implant
  6. Community Post
    *Trigger warning. This post includes personal gynaecological experiences of a traumatic nature. What is your experience of having a hysteroscopy? We would like to hear - good or bad so that we can help campaign for safer, harm free care. You can read Patient Safety Learning's blog about improving hysteroscopy safety here. You'll need to be a hub member to comment below, it's quick and easy to do. You can sign up here.
  7. Content Article
    Improving maternity care is a key Government and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) priority. In March 2024, an NIHR Evidence webinar showcased research from their recent Collection, Maternity services: evidence to support improvement.  This summary includes videos of researchers’ presentations and captures some of the points raised in the webinar Q&A. It highlights seven features of safety in the maternity units, kind and compassionate care around the induction of labour, and the role of hospital boards in improving maternity care.
  8. News Article
    The US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether to restrict access to mifepristone, a commonly used abortion pill. It is considered the most significant reproductive rights case since the court ended the nationwide right to abortion in June 2022. The Biden administration hopes the court will overturn a decision to limit access to the drug over safety concerns raised by anti-abortion groups. The pill has been legal since 2000. The current legal battle in the top US court began in November 2022 when the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, an umbrella group of anti-abortion doctors and activists, filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. The group claims that mifepristone is unsafe and further alleges that the federal agency unlawfully approved its use in September 2000 to medically terminate pregnancies through seven weeks gestation. Mifepristone is used in combination with another drug - misoprostol - for medical abortions, and it is now the most common way to have an abortion in the US. Medical abortions accounted for 63% of all abortions in 2023, up from 53% in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute. In total, more than five million US women have used mifepristone to terminate their pregnancies. Read full story Source: BBC News, 26 March 2024
  9. Content Article
    Katie Hurst is a general surgery registrar based in the Thames Valley Deanery and chair of the Trainees’ Committee for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. In this interview, we talk to Katie about the work she is doing with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on raising awareness and protecting staff from ionising radiation.
  10. Content Article
    Women and people born biologically female have unique health needs across the life span, and their health outcomes often differ from those of men. Although women make up greater than half of the world’s population, these unique needs remain both insufficiently understood, due to decades of exclusion from scientific and medical research, and inadequately addressed, due to systems and cultures that often dismiss or devalue their experiences. This article discusses highlights from the National Academy of Medicine's Annual Meeting Scientific Symposium in October 2023 on the subject of women’s health. It looks at improving representation in research, bridging the gap in terms of social determinants of health and the need to reassess and research the female chromosomal makeup.
  11. Content Article
    Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has produced a leaflet for pregnant people who have experienced vaginal bleeding in later pregnancy. The leaflet aims to give women and families more information about possible causes of bleeding and recommendations that might be made for changes in pregnancy care. The leaflet has been produced in partnership with the parents of baby Quinn Parker, who tragically died in July 2021 after suffering oxygen starvation in the womb.
  12. Content Article
    This episode of the Business of Healthcare podcast delves into the complex and sensitive topic of the mesh scandal which has impacted countless women's lives. Host Tara Humphrey welcomes Consultant Gynecologist and Urogynecology subspecialist Dr Wael Agur to share his expert insights on the rise and fall of mesh devices in surgical procedures. Wael offers a candid look at the multifaceted issues surrounding patient consent, the role of manufacturers, aggressive marketing strategies, and the ethical dilemmas faced by medical professionals.
  13. News Article
    The wait to be diagnosed with endometriosis has increased to almost ten years, a "devastating" milestone say women with the condition. It now takes almost a year more than before 2020 to be diagnosed, according to research published by Endometriosis UK, which is setting up new volunteer-led support groups in Wales. The wait in Wales is also the longest in the UK, the research found. The Welsh government said it knew there was "room for improvement". "Nobody listened to me, and to feel like women are still going through that 20 years after my diagnosis is horrific," said Michelle Bates. The 48-year old from Cardiff was diagnosed aged 25 after suffering with "harrowing" pain from age 13 onwards - a 12-year wait. "I went back and forth to the GP with my mum, who was the only one who believed in my pain," she said. The study by Endometriosis UK, which is based on a survey of 4,371 people who received a diagnosis of endometriosis, showed almost half of all respondents (47%) had visited their GP 10 or more times with symptoms prior to receiving a diagnosis, and 70% had visited five times or more. It also found 78% of people who later went on to receive a diagnosis of endometriosis - up from 69% in 2020 - were told by doctors they were making a "fuss about nothing", or comments to that effect. Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 March 2024
  14. Content Article
    Getting a diagnosis for endometriosis now takes almost a year longer than before the pandemic, according to new research published by Endometriosis UK during Endometriosis Action Month 2024. The new study shows that diagnosis times in the UK have significantly worsened over the last 3 years, increasing to an average of 8 years and 10 months, an increase of 10 months since 2020.    This lengthy wait means a delay in accessing treatment, during which the disease may progress, leading to worsening physical symptoms and a risk of permanent organ damage.  Endometriosis impacts the physical and mental health of 1 in 10 women and those assigned female at birth in the UK from puberty to menopause, although the impact may be felt for life.
  15. News Article
    Women who freeze their eggs are being misled by some UK clinics about their chances of having a baby, a fertility charity says. The Fertility Network was reacting to BBC analysis that found 41% of clinics offering the service privately could be breaching advertising guidance. The watchdog which sets guidance says clinics "must not give false or misleading information". It comes as a record number of people are freezing their eggs. The UK fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), also said it was concerned about the information given to those considering egg freezing. A successful pregnancy is not guaranteed by the procedure. Egg freezing for non-medical reasons, also known as social egg freezing, is an increasingly popular method for women to preserve their fertility in order to have children at a later date. Read full story Source: BBC News, 13 March 2024
  16. News Article
    Women working for the NHS will be entitled to two weeks’ leave if they have a miscarriage, in a move hailed as a major step to wider recognition of the trauma of baby loss. NHS England has announced that all staff who lose a baby before 24 weeks should receive up to 10 days’ paid leave to help them recover from the distress involved. “Baby loss is an extremely traumatic experience that hundreds of NHS staff experience each year and it is right that they are treated with the utmost care and compassion when going through such an upsetting experience,” said Dr Navina Evans, its chief officer for workforce, training and education. Women will also be able to take further paid time off after a miscarriage for medical examinations, scans or other tests, or to receive mental health support, as well as the two-week grieving period. Rachel Hutchings, a fellow at the Nuffield Trust health thinktank, said its recent research into how parenting and caring responsibilities affect surgeons found that some staff who had a miscarriage did not feel well supported by the NHS. “Although some organisations had already introduced additional support for people who experienced baby loss, it is incredibly welcome that this policy recognises the experiences of these individuals and will ensure a more consistent approach”, said Hutchings. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 13 March 2024
  17. News Article
    Almost £35 million will be invested to improve maternity safety across England with the recruitment of additional midwives and the expansion of specialist training to thousands of extra healthcare workers. The investment, which was announced as part of the Spring Budget 2024, will be provided over the next 3 years to ensure maternity services listen to and act on women’s experiences to improve care. The funding includes: £9 million for the rollout of the reducing brain injury programme across maternity units in England, to provide healthcare workers with the tools and training to reduce avoidable brain injuries in childbirth investment in training to ensure the NHS workforce has the skills needed to provide ever safer maternity care. An additional 6,000 clinical staff will be trained in neonatal resuscitation and we will almost double the number of clinical staff receiving specialist training in obstetric medicine in England increasing the number of midwives by funding 160 new posts over 3 years to support the growth of the maternity and neonatal workforce funding to support the rollout of maternity and neonatal voice partnerships to improve how women’s experiences and views are listened to and acted on to improve care. Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said: "I want every mother to feel safe when giving birth to their baby. Improving maternity care is a key cornerstone of our Women’s Health Strategy and with this investment we are delivering on that priority - more midwives, specialist training in obstetric medicine and pushing to improve how women are listened to in our healthcare system. £35 million is going directly to improving the safety and care in our maternity wards and will move us closer to our goal of making healthcare faster, simpler and fairer for all." Read full story Source: Gov.UK, 10 March 2024
  18. Content Article
    Over the years, we have worked with many amazing women who share our aim of reducing avoidable harm in health and social care. In this blog, to mark International Women’s Day 2024, we are celebrating women who campaign for patient safety. 
  19. News Article
    The menopause is not a disease and is being “over-medicalised”, experts have said. High-income countries, including the UK, commonly see menopause as a medical problem or hormone-deficiency disorder with long-term health risks “that are best managed by hormone replacement (therapy)”, they said. Yet, around the world, “most women navigate menopause without the need for medical treatments”, the experts, including from the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and King’s College London, said. They argued there is a lack of data on whether health problems are caused by menopause or simply by ageing. In a first paper in The Lancet Series on the menopause, the experts said: “Although management of symptoms is important, a medicalised view of menopause can be disempowering for women, leading to over-treatment and overlooking potential positive effects, such as better mental health with age and freedom from menstruation, menstrual disorders, and contraception.” Series co-author Professor Martha Hickey, from the University of Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospital, said: “The misconception of menopause as always being a medical issue which consistently heralds a decline in physical and mental health should be challenged across the whole of society. “Many women live rewarding lives during and after menopause, contributing to work, family life and the wider society. “Changing the narrative to view menopause as part of healthy ageing may better empower women to navigate this life stage and reduce fear and trepidation amongst those who have yet to experience it.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 5 March 2024
  20. Content Article
    Menopause is an inevitable life stage for half the the world’s population, but experiences vary hugely. Some women have few or no symptoms over the menopause transition while others have severe symptoms that impair their quality of life and may be persistent. Many women feel unsupported as they transition menopause. To better prepare and support women, the Lancet Series on menopause argues for an approach that goes beyond specific treatments to empower women with high-quality information, tools to support decision making, empathic clinical care, and workplace adjustments as needed. Targeted support is needed for groups who experience early menopause or treatment-induced menopause, and for those at increased risk of mental health problems. The authors recognise how gendered ageism may contribute to negative experiences of menopause and call for reduced stigma and greater recognition of the value and contribution of older women. Further reading on the hub: The impact of menopause on mental health (HSSIB blog All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause: Inquiry to assess the impacts of menopause and the case for policy reform - conclusions Raising awareness of surgical menopause
  21. News Article
    Opill, the first birth control pill approved for over-the-counter distribution, is now being shipped to retailers and pharmacies, the company behind the pill, Perrigo, announced on Monday. It will be available in stores and online later this month. The Food and Drug Administration approved Opill last year, paving the way for the United States to join the dozens of countries that have already made over-the-counter birth control pills available. Opill, which works by using the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy, is meant to be taken every day around the same time and, when used as directed, is 98% effective. The pill’s arrival on shelves comes at a deeply fraught time for US reproductive rights: not only has the US supreme court demolished the national right to abortion, but the nation’s highest court is set to hear arguments over two abortion-related cases over the next few months. “Week after week, we hear stories of people being denied the reproductive health care they so desperately need because of politicians and judges overstepping into the lives of patients and providers. Today, we get to celebrate different news,” Dr Tracey Wilkinson, a pediatrician in Indiana and a board member with Physicians for Reproductive Health, said in a statement. “As Opill makes its way to pharmacies across the country, I am relieved to know that birth control access will become less challenging for so many people, but especially young people.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 4 March 2024
  22. News Article
    Women are waiting nearly nine years for an endometriosis diagnosis in the UK, according to research that found health professionals often minimise or dismiss symptoms. The study by the charity Endometriosis UK suggests waiting times for a diagnosis have significantly deteriorated in the past three years, increasing to an average of eight years and 10 months, up 10 months since 2020. In Scotland, the average diagnosis time has increased by four months. The report, based on a survey of 4,371 people who have received a diagnosis, shows that 47% of respondents had visited their GP 10 or more times with symptoms before being diagnosed, and 70% had visited five times or more. The chief executive of Endometriosis UK, Emma Cox, said: “Taking almost nine years to get a diagnosis of endometriosis is unacceptable. Our finding that it now takes even longer to get a diagnosis of endometriosis must be a wake-up call to decision-makers to stop minimising or ignoring the significant impact endometriosis can have on both physical and mental health.” The report includes examples of patients’ experiences, with many being told that their pain was “normal”. One said: “I was constantly dismissed, ignored and belittled by medical professionals telling me that my symptoms were simply due to stress and tiredness. I persevered for over 10 years desperate for help.” Another said she had been told she was “being dramatic” after going to her GP as a teenager with painful periods. Another said: “A&E nurses told me that everyone has period pain so take paracetamol and go home.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 4 March 2024
  23. Content Article
    Women of colour frequently report that their race has impacted the quality of care they receive. In this study, women of colour who experienced a traumatic birth described the racist and gendered stereotypes ascribed to them (uneducated, negligent, (in)tolerant to pain, and dramatic) and how those stereotypes impacted the obstetrical care they received. Ultimately these experiences caused long-term harm to their mental health, decreased trust in healthcare, and reduced the desire to have children in the future.
  24. News Article
    An inquiry into birth trauma has received more than 1,300 submissions from families. It is estimated that 30,000 women a year in the UK have suffered negative experiences during the delivery of their babies, while 1 in 20 develop post-traumatic stress disorder. The investigation is a cross-party initiative, led by MPs Theo Clarke and Rosie Duffield, in collaboration with the Birth Trauma Association. Ms Clarke the Conservative MP for Stafford, triggered the first ever parliamentary debate on the issue in October. In an emotional exchange in the House of Commons, she described her own experience following her daughter's birth at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in 2022. She bled heavily after suffering a tear and had to undergo two-hour surgery without general anaesthetic, due to an earlier epidural. The Birth Trauma Association, which is administering the inquiry, invited the public to submit written accounts of their own experiences. Dr Kim Thomas, from the association, said she had received an "overwhelming" number of personal accounts. Some cases date back as far as the 1960s. Read full story Source: BBC News, 25 February 2024
  25. News Article
    An unprecedented number of women are being investigated by police on suspicion of illegally ending a pregnancy, the BBC has been told. Abortion provider MSI says it knows of up to 60 criminal inquiries in England and Wales since 2018, compared with almost zero before. Some investigations followed natural pregnancy loss, File on 4 found. Pregnancy loss is investigated only if credible evidence suggests a crime, the National Police Chiefs' Council says. File on 4 has spoken to women who say that they have been "traumatised" and left feeling "suicidal" following criminal investigations lasting years. Speaking for the first time, one woman described how she had been placed under investigation after giving birth prematurely, despite maintaining that she had never attempted an abortion. Dr Jonathan Lord, medical director at MSI, which is one of the UK's main abortion providers, believes the "unprecedented" number of women now falling under investigation may be linked to the police's increased awareness of the availability of the "pills by post" scheme - introduced in England and Wales during the Covid-19 lockdown. Scotland also introduced a similar programme. These "telemedicine" schemes, which allow pregnancies up to 10 weeks to be terminated at home, remain in effect. Campaigners are concerned that it is possible for women to knowingly or unknowingly use the pills after this point. MSI's Dr Lord says criminal investigations and prosecutions further "traumatise" women after abortions, and that women deserve "compassion" rather than "punishment". "These women are often vulnerable and in desperate situations - they need help, not investigation and punishment," he says. Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 February 2024
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