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Found 105 results
  1. News Article
    Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will strike today in an ongoing dispute with the government about pay and concerns about patient safety. Up to 100,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will take part after it balloted its members in October. It has said that low pay is the cause of chronic understaffing that is putting patients at risk and leaves NHS staff overworked. It will be the second day of strikes in December, after an initial day of industrial action on 15 December, the RCN’s biggest in its history. It meant the cancellation of thousands of outpatient appointments and non-urgent operations. More strikes have been threatened for January unless talks between union negotiators and the government takes place before Thursday, 48 hours after the strike on Tuesday. The RCN’s general secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen, said: “For many of us, this is our first time striking and our emotions are really mixed. The NHS is in crisis, the nursing profession can’t take any more, our loved ones are already suffering. “It is not unreasonable to demand better. This is not something that can wait. We are committed to our patients and always will be.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 December 2022
  2. News Article
    English hospitals have increased emergency fuel supplies and put staff on standby to postpone operations and switch off X-ray scanners amid heightened concerns over energy provision this winter. NHS hospital trusts across England have put their power plans under the microscope as they look to protect patients from potential outages for lifesaving equipment. Responses to freedom of information requests to 63 NHS trusts revealed that 41 are re-examining their plans for a loss of power for this winter. A further 10 trusts said they conducted routine reviews of their business continuity plans this year, while 12 had not revised their strategies. National Grid warned in October that, in extreme circumstances, it would be forced to enact planned three-hour power cuts with a days’ notice. Major hospitals are exempt from this system, called rota disconnection, however businesses and the government have studied their plans for a complete power failure on the network. Despite the pressure on the NHS budgets, the responses show that most hospitals have up-to-date plans and backup generators to ensure lives are not lost due to lack of power. A quarter of hospital trusts said they were able to run indefinitely on backup diesel generator power, providing they had access to fuel supplies. Just over 10% said they could run on backup power for 10 days. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 12 December 2022
  3. Event
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    The past couple of years have placed enormous pressures on the mental health and wellbeing of the population. The current cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on people’s state of mind with millions feeling stressed about rising food and energy prices as we head into winter. Delivered by Maximus, the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, can help employees and employers during this difficult time with their mental health. Completely confidential, the service is available at no charge to anyone with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues, affecting their work. Remploy already helped thousands of people across England, Scotland and Wales, to remain in, or return to work, so our expertise speaks for itself. Led by Bethany Kimberley and Kaylena Mushen, this webinar will introduce the service, covering facts and statistics around mental health. It also looks at the service’s aims, eligibility criteria and referral process, plus what support and workplace adjustments are available at home, in an office, or other place of work. The session will also introduce and additional service, offering virtual one-to-one support appointments for employees. Learn how to gain access to fully-funded expert advice and support for up to nine months, which includes – A well being plan to help employees stay in, or attend work. Ideas for suitable workplace adjustments. Tailored coping strategies. Facts and statistics around mental health. Aims of the service. Details of the eligibility criteria and referral process. The support and interventions available. Register
  4. News Article
    Ill patients are refusing sicknotes from their GP because they cannot afford time off work, while doctors suffer “moral distress” at their powerlessness to do more to help the most vulnerable, the new leader of Britain’s family doctors has revealed. More patients are experiencing asthma attacks or other serious breathing problems because they cannot afford to heat their homes, said Dr Kamila Hawthorne, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, while many have reported deteriorating mental health due to financial stress. Soaring food costs are also leading to a rise in fatigue, mouth ulcers and weak muscles, with people deficient in key vitamins because they cannot afford to eat anything other than a poor diet. So many patients are presenting with complex physical and psychological problems related to poverty, domestic violence, childhood abuse or poor housing that GPs are suffering psychologically from their inability to take the requisite action, she said. Hawthorne said: “Recently I’ve had patients refusing sicknotes because they can’t afford not to work. Quite often, when it’s clear that somebody needs some time off, they won’t take it. “These are people who ideally, medically, should not be at work [because] they have a chronic condition such as asthma or diabetes, but quite often mental health problems, quite severe mental health problems, I [see] some cases that really do require a bit of sicknote peace and quiet to try and help them get better. “I’ve been really surprised in the last year that when I’ve offered a sicknote they’ve said: ‘Oh no, no, I can’t take time off. I need the money from work.’ They’ve refused. They say: ‘I need to keep working to earn and to feed myself and my family.’ I don’t take it personally, of course, but I feel sad for people because for a few minutes you enter their lives and see that it’s really tough.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 23 November 2022
  5. News Article
    A coroner has written to the health secretary warning a lack of guidance around a bacteria that could contaminate new hospitals' water supply may lead to future deaths. It follows inquests into the deaths of Anne Martinez, 65, and Karen Starling, 54, who died a year after undergoing double lung transplants at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge in 2019. Both were exposed to Mycobacterium abscessus, likely to have come from the site's water supply. The coroner said there was evidence the risks of similar contamination was "especially acute for new hospitals". In a prevention of future deaths report, external, Keith Morton KC, assistant coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said 34 people had contracted the bacteria at the hospital since it opened at its new site in 2019. He said the bacteria "poses a risk of death to those who are immuno-suppressed" and there was a "lack of understanding" about how it entered the water system. There was "no guidance on the identification and control" of mycobacterium abscesses, the coroner said. Mr Morton said documentation on safe water in hospitals needed "urgent review and amendment". "Consideration needs to be given to whether special or additional measures are required in respect of the design, installation, commissioning and operation of hospital water systems in new hospitals," he said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 22 November 2022
  6. News Article
    A case of MRSA has been reported at the congested asylum processing centre at Manston in Kent, the Guardian has learned, after it emerged that Suella Braverman ignored advice that people were being kept at the centre unlawfully. The antibiotic-resistant bacteria was identified in an asylum seeker who initially tested positive for diphtheria. But the asylum seeker was moved out of the site in Ramsgate to a hotel hundreds of miles away before the positive test result was received, raising concerns about the spread of the infection. The Manston site is understood to now have at least eight confirmed cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious and potentially serious bacterial infection. Migrants are meant to be held at the short-term holding facility, which opened in January, for 24 hours while they undergo checks before being moved into immigration detention centres or asylum accommodation such as a hotel. But giving evidence to a committee of MPs last week, David Neal, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, said he had spoken to a family from Afghanistan living in a marquee for 32 days, and two families from Iraq and Syria sleeping on mats with blankets for two weeks. Conditions at the site left him “speechless”, he said. On a visit to the site on 24 October, Neal was told there were four confirmed cases of diphtheria. Protective medical equipment for staff has now been brought on to the site. Although diphtheria is a notifiable disease, meaning cases must be reported to authorities, those at Manston have not appeared on weekly public health reports. A Home Office spokesperson said it was “aware of a very small number of cases of diphtheria reported at Manston”, and that proper medical guidance and protocols were being followed. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 30 October 2022
  7. Content Article
    The impact of climate change on public health is extensive (see diagram from the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare below) and has been declared an ‘emergency’. The climate crisis threatens to undo the gains we made to public health over the last 50 years and threatens the lives of millions. It impacts on the most vulnerable members of society – those who contribute to global warming the least and who are least resilient to its effects. Avoidable deaths are happening now – we’ve seen the devastation caused by the recent floods in Pakistan, and the ongoing famine in Somalia means thousands face starvation. Both these are directly attributable to global warming. The climate emergency is literally on our doorstep and we have to act now – not in the future. We have to act in response to an emergency. As healthcare professionals we have a duty to care, to protect and promote public health. Our nursing unions agree and, as the most trusted profession for the 20th consecutive year, nurses are ideally placed to deliver this vital climate emergency health message. Working in a greener way should be an integral part of every nurse’s role – not just a job for some bloke in the Estates Team who’s changing a few old light bulbs and installing recycling bins! Sustainable ways of working clinically comes in many forms – from prescribing to reduce unnecessary pharmacological waste, to general dietary health advice to our patients (cutting down on meat and dairy is the most effective way an individual can reduce their own carbon footprint – by up to 70% and is great for the pocket and the waistline). Metered dose inhalers have a terrible carbon footprint, as do some anaesthetic gases. In my department, we’re exploring the use of a light-source treatment for cancer patients having chemo and radiotherapy – which maintains the mucosal lining and prevents the need for complex pain management, prolonged feeding regimes and, ultimately, hospital admissions. Living and working greener is just generally better all round – for our health and that of our planet. And if by looking after our planet our own health improves, then it’s win-win! What can you identify in your clinical practice to reduce waste and cost and help meet the Net Zero targets? Because it’s only by working together, that we’ve a chance of meeting them! We would love to hear what you and your trust are doing about sustainability and climate change. Is this something you've discussed at work? Share your good practice and ideas in the comment field below. Further blogs from Angela Climate change: why it needs to be on every Trust's agenda
  8. News Article
    Trusts need hundreds of millions of pounds to remediate dangerous roofs. A series of freedom of information requests submitted by New Civil Engineer has revealed five of the worst affected trusts have applied for £331.9m of additional funding to be spent on fixing reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete planks during the next three years. In response to NCE’s freedom of information investigation, Liberal Democrat deputy leader and health spokesperson Daisy Cooper said “patients are paying the price for years of neglect” by successive governments. “It is truly shocking that patients are being treated in crumbling buildings that could be at risk of collapse. The NHS is crying out for the funds to fix creaking roofs so that patients can be treated safely. The public needs to know that the funds to fix this are on the way as soon as possible.” Read full story Source: HSJ, 17 October 2022
  9. News Article
    Rolling power cuts enforced this winter if gas supplies run extremely low could endanger thousands of people who use life-saving machines at home, health leaders have warned. They spoke out after National Grid warned on Thursday that households could experience a series of three-hour electricity outages this winter to manage extreme gas shortages, for example if Vladimir Putin shuts off supplies from Russia and cold weather sends demand soaring. Such an event would mean consumers in different parts of the country being notified a day in advance of three-hour blocks of time during which their power would be cut off. The prospect of rolling power outages caused alarm among some health groups, with particular concerns for the thousands of vulnerable patients who rely on electrical devices to keep themselves alive and healthy. Laurie Cuthbert, a director of Kidney Care UK, a health charity, said thousands of adults and children depended on a constant source of power to provide life-saving dialysis at home. Andy Fletcher, the chief executive of Together for Short Lives, which advocates for the UK’s 99,000 seriously ill children and their families, said: “For seriously ill children a three-hour blackout could deprive them of vital life-saving equipment such as ventilators, oxygen and temperature control. Families would be forced to decide whether to admit their child to hospital, which would be extremely disruptive and distressing.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 October 2022
  10. Content Article
    There are 3 sessions in the Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare programme, all presented through key concepts and case studies. Sessions 1 and 2 are suitable for all in the NHS healthcare workforce. 1. Building a Net Zero NHS An introduction to environmentally sustainable healthcare. By the end of the session, learners will be able to: describe how the climate emergency affects health. explain the relevance of the NHS Net Zero plan to their work. identify case studies that reduce waste and pollution. 2. Environmental Sustainability in Quality Improvement Integrating environmental, social and financial considerations into quality improvement. By the end of the session learners will be able to: recognise sustainability as a domain of quality. describe how sustainability adds value to each step of a QI process. identify the steps for embedding sustainability into quality improvement. identify appropriate resources for undertaking a sustainable QI project. 3. Environmental Sustainability in Dentistry Applying environmental sustainability principles and practices to the dental setting.
  11. Content Article
    Climate change: a health emergency The NHS has a huge carbon footprint, producing around 25 million tonnes of carbon a year – equivalent to all the emissions from Sri Lanka! Carbon dioxide emissions attributable to the NHS in England are greater than the annual emissions of all the aircraft leaving Heathrow, and if healthcare was a country, it would be the fifth largest polluter! The NHS declared climate change, ‘a health emergency’ – it undermines the foundations of good health, deepens health inequalities and threatens to undermine the gains made in public health over the last 50 years. As trusted messengers, healthcare professionals have a moral duty to act, to protect and improve public health, and should be demanding stronger action to tackle the problem. The human cost of climate change is enormous – resulting in poor air quality, extreme weather events, scarcity of resources (safe drinking water/cultivatable land), conflict and war, displacement of people and exploitation of the most vulnerable members of society. Climate change will result in increased disease, cancers, malnutrition, mental disorders, and threatens the lives of millions. We‘re likely to experience frequent pandemics that spread more easily. Covid-19 and its impact will seem like the ‘warm-up act', dwarfed by the devasting effects of climate change. Those who contribute to the problem the least, are likely to be the most affected by the impact of climate change. Those whose carbon footprint is the lowest, are those who are far less resilient to its effects. Termed ‘climate injustice’ – the most susceptible groups are children, the elderly, minority groups, women, the poor and the sick. Global temperatures are rising. We are seeing the effects of this already. We see forest fires, floods, trees torn up by their roots and wheely bins flying round in storms! We’ve experienced unprecedented temperatures this summer. These events are happening here and now, and are literally on our doorsteps. They are almost not news worthy, they happen so often these days. My own hospital is in an area that has flooded twice in the last 2 years. If the area is flooded, supplies can’t get in, staff can’t get in and patients can’t be treated. We are trying to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degree. If temperatures rise beyond this, we can expect irreversible damage to our planet which will be catastrophic in terms of health. If we see global temperatures rise by 2–3 degrees, three-quarters of Spain will be ‘desert-like’. Ninety-nine percent of Cyprus will turn to dust. We are on course to reach a 1.5 degree warming in less than 8 years! My children will be 22 and 25 years old. Climate change will affect our own lives and is certain to have a huge impact on our children and grandchildren's health. The NHS has declared climate change a health emergency – but many healthcare professionals have not even talked about ‘sustainability’ in their working lives, let alone are acting in response to an emergency. We have a moral duty to act, to protect lives and promote social justice. We need to act as Greta Thunberg says, ‘like our house is on fire!’ What can we do? There are things we can do in our home and working lives to reduce our carbon footprint. Reducing meat and dairy consumption is the most effective way an individual can reduce their carbon footprint (by up to 70%!). Eating less meat is better health wise and lighter on the pocket. Taking more exercise and not using our cars as often, is better for the environment and brings health benefits too. There are movements in healthcare to reduce our carbon footprint, but we could see significant improvements if healthcare professionals were aware of the problem and considered the carbon costs of their clinical decision just as much as we think about what we spend. Some of these actions are easy wins that staff probably do in their own homes but don’t even think about at work – turning off lights, computers, fans and air conditioning when not in use are all simple things we can do. When sending emails, we can consider our electronic carbon footprint, when sending large files, attachments, or even just whether ‘replying to all’ is necessary. Working on a laptop uses a third of the energy of a computer – could this switch be made? As prescribers we can consider alternatives with lower carbon footprints. Dry-powder combination inhalers are a great example of how to effectively reduce our carbon footprint; not only are they much kinder to the planet, but they bring about health benefits with better asthma control and, therefore, less need for healthcare services. The benefits of ‘social prescribing’ should be considered – prescribing ‘exercise regimes’ rather than more medications, which may positively influence our patient’s lives as they benefit from being generally in better shape. We can share these messages with our patients too – as greener ways of living are just generally better for the environment and good for our health. As healthcare professionals, we can influence not only our patients, but our friends, colleagues, managers, suppliers and politicians to act and bring about positive changes. Sustainability needs to be on the agenda – literally! We need to be acting like we’re facing an emergency. Initiatives at Christie's I got myself involved with sustainability by just asking questions about what we were doing in my Trust. Since first approaching my CEO, things have taken off massively and I’ve got involved in a number of initiatives around green projects, and I now get funding to work on sustainability each week. I’ve worked with local school children to create ‘No Idling’ signs around the Trust to improve air quality around the site and hospital nursery (I even asked a policeman to turn off his engine when idling outside the Trust!). I’ve used the hospital nursery children to create green Christmas decorations, help with 'Clean Air Day', and have even enlisted their singing talents – performing a song I wrote: A Note from Greta - starring the Christie's Nursery kids. We’ve now secured funding to run the Green Ward competition, which encourages sustainable ways of working in both the clinical and non-clinical areas with prize money and support provided by The Centre for Sustainable Health Care. We have plans to join the Royal College of Nursing's 'Gloves Off Campaign' to reduce the PPE wastage; we have sustainability training in place for all new staff and plan to introduce Board level training too. I’ve lectured about climate change in and out of my hospital, we have a well-attended and passionate Sustainability Committee and have plans to include sustainability our Trust’s corporate objectives. I’d urge you to think and talk about sustainability and climate change in everything you do. I’d encourage you to do one green think today and start your own green journey. Who knows where it might lead you… We would love to hear what you and your trust are doing about sustainability and climate change. Is this something you've discussed at work? Share your good practice and ideas in the comment field below. Further blogs from Angela The climate crisis: Are we bothered? A blog from Angela Hayes
  12. News Article
    One of the NHS’s biggest hospital trusts is facing major problems after its IT system failed because of the extreme temperatures earlier this week. Guy’s and St Thomas’ trust (GSTT) in London has had to cancel operations, postpone appointments and divert seriously ill patients to other hospitals in the capital as a result of its IT meltdown. The situation means that doctors cannot see patients’ medical notes remotely and are having to write down the results of all examinations by hand. They are also unable to remotely access the results of diagnostic tests such as X-rays and CT and MRI scans and are instead having to call the imaging department, which is overloading the department’s telephone lines. GSTT has declared the problem a “critical site incident”. It has apologised to patients and asked them to bring letters or other paperwork about their condition with them to their appointment to help overcome doctors’ loss of access to their medical history. One doctor at GSTT, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “This is having a major effect. We are back to using paper and can’t see any existing electronic notes. We are needing to triage basic tests like blood tests and scans. There’s no access to results apart from over the phone, and of course the whole hospital is trying to use that line. “Frankly, it’s a big patient safety issue and we haven’t been told how long it will take to fix. We are on divert for major specialist services such as cardiac, vascular and ECMO.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 July 2022
  13. News Article
    Being in a productive and supportive work environment is linked to better mental health. However, those experiencing mental health problems are often either excluded from the workplace or not supported appropriately when in work, according to new guidance from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. As many as one in six people of working age are diagnosed with a mental health condition. Mental health problems are a leading cause of absence from work, but ‘good’ work can improve overall wellbeing. This is achieved by improving self-esteem, feeling useful, building a routine, and importantly, avoiding poverty, which adversely impacts health in many ways. ‘Good’ work should offer standard benefits such as job security, an appropriate wage, positive work/life balance, and opportunities for career progression as well as supportive mental health and wellbeing policies. These practices should support employees with existing mental health disorders while minimising the risk of developing issues with mental health and well-being. This includes flexible working policies, use of appropriate reasonable adjustments to help people maintain employment and access to counselling and support services as needed. The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for better support for people with mental health problems to find, return to, and remain in good work, and for employers and Government to recognise the valuable contribution these people make to the workforce. Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “We all need to do more if the workplace is to consistently play a positive role in a person’s mental health and wellbeing. We know that issues such as insecure work and unemployment can have a disproportionate impact on the wellbeing of people with mental health conditions. “Psychiatrists and occupational therapists can play a key role between employers and patients, ensuring staying in good work is seen as an important outcome of treatment. We must put in place better support for people with mental health problems to find, return to, and remain in good work and for employers and Government to recognise the valuable contribution these people make to the workforce.” Read press release Source: Royal College of Psychiatrists, 14 July 2022
  14. Content Article
    Recommendations For Government Giving workers with mental health problems early access to occupationally focused healthcare, which should include helping them to obtain, remain in, or return to, appropriate work. Expanding vocational support services in both NHS and community settings for patients with mental health problems to help them remain in, or return to, work. Improving access to flexible benefits and sick leave for patients with chronic fluctuating health conditions to help patients remain in, or return to, work. Ensuring that all employers (including the NHS) recognise the benefits of ensuring that all supervisors, from the most junior upwards, feel confident to identify potential mental health difficulties in their staff and to speak with them about such difficulties using a salutogenic approach (an approach to wellness that focuses on health rather than disease). For the NHS: All healthcare staff understand the close links between someone’s state of mental health and their ability to work. This is especially important when providing care for people who work in safety critical occupations (e.g. vehicle operators, emergency services etc). All healthcare staff provide care in a way that helps patients stay in, or return to, appropriate work. All NHS staff understand the key role that occupational health services have in helping to support patients staying in, or returning to, appropriate work. Ensuring, as a priority, that all NHS supervisors, from the most junior upwards, feel confident enough to identify potential mental health difficulties in their staff and to speak with them about such difficulties using a salutogenic approach (an approach to wellness that focuses on health rather than disease). For psychiatrists Routinely exploring a patient’s employment history – including their current employment status – to understand what role it may have played in contributing to their state of mental health. Viewing it as an important treatment outcome to help patients to obtain, remain in, or return to, appropriate work. Encouraging healthcare colleagues to recognise the mental health benefits of being in work and to consider work as a key treatment outcome for any care provided. Advocating for their patients by appropriately communicating with employers and occupational health providers to challenge any discrimination or stigma that exists about mental health, with the aim of helping their patients remain in, or return to, appropriate work. For employers: Ensuring that those in supervisory positions, from the most junior upwards, feel confident enough to identify potential mental health difficulties in their staff and to speak with them about such difficulties using a salutogenic approach (an approach to wellness that focuses on health rather than disease). Adopting policies and practices which support people who develop mental health conditions to remain in, or return to, appropriate full- or part-time work. Recognising the value of occupationally focused mental healthcare in helping their staff remain in, or return to, appropriate work.
  15. News Article
    A spike in Covid absences and the extended heatwave have left NHS hospitals and ambulance services struggling to cope. The hot weather is also driving more patients to A&E departments, and callers are being urged not to use 999 except in serious emergencies. All 10 ambulance trusts in England are on black alert, the highest level, while health leaders warn that “ill-equipped” hospital buildings are struggling to store medicines correctly amid the abnormally high temperatures. Martin Flaherty, managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, said: “The NHS ambulance sector is under intense pressure, with all ambulance services operating at the highest level of four within their local resource escalation action plans, normally only ever reserved for major incidents or short-term periods of unusual demand. “Severe delays in ambulance crews being able to hand over their patients at many hospital emergency departments are having a very significant impact on the ambulance sector’s ability to respond to patients as quickly as we would like to, because our crews and vehicles are stuck outside those hospitals.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 12 July 2022
  16. News Article
    Patients may be turned away at A&E in Portsmouth as the UK’s heatwave drives extreme hospital pressures. Staffing pressures coupled with additional strain from the current heatwave have forced Portsmouth Hospitals University Foundation Trust to declare a critical incident. The trust said it only had space in its emergency department for patients with life-threatening illnesses and critical conditions and so would be forced to redirect other patients elsewhere. In a statement, Portsmouth Hospitals University FT said: “Our emergency department remains full with patients and we have very limited space to treat emergency patients. We are only able to treat patients with life-threatening conditions and injuries, so anyone patients who arrive at ED without a life-threatening condition or injury, will be redirected to alternative services that can help... “Our immediate priority is to ensure there are beds available to admit our most seriously ill patients into and we are focusing on safely discharging as many patients as possible. We ask that families and loved ones support us with this and collect patients as soon as they are ready to be discharged.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 July 2022
  17. Event
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    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic health and care staff have been working in different ways and designing new ways to meet the needs of patients and service users, all while under a huge amount of pressure. This event from the King's Fund will take a look at some examples of those changes and how people working in health and care have been working remotely, flexibly and in an agile way to meet the demands created by the pandemic and to develop new and improved ways of working for the future. Sign up now to hear about: the role of visible, collaborative and inclusive leadership to support staff and allow innovation how to keep staff health and wellbeing a priority while also delivering change how teams across health and care were able to be upskilled and remain flexible for these new ways of working. Register
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