Thursday, 21 August 2014

Can we ignore NHS charges any longer?

Can we ignore NHS charges any longer? This is the second in a series of guest blogs that we’ll be publishing in the run-up to the launch of the final report from the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England.

Each blog will focus on one of the possible options for funding future health and social care considered in the commission’s interim report. Here, Andrew Haldenby and Cathy Corrie of independent think-tank Reform discuss why new NHS charges are necessary and why no political party wants to talk about them.

The commission will make its final recommendations on 4 September.

Guidance: Ebola: infection control and prevention for acute trust staff

Guidance: Ebola: infection control and prevention for acute trust staff Guidance is also available on the risk assessment and management of viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHF), including Ebola, from the VHF algorithm page. Public Health England

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Superbug measures 'lack evidence'

Superbug measures 'lack evidence' Researchers suggest some standard methods to reduce the spread of MRSA infections need to be re-evaluated as they may do more harm than good. BBC News

Keeping knowledgeable: how NHS chief executive officers mobilise knowledge and information in their daily work

Keeping knowledgeable: how NHS chief executive officers mobilise knowledge and information in their daily work This study aimed to investigate how chief executive officers of NHS trusts make decisions and mobilise particular knowledge and ‘evidence’ in the course of their day-to-day activities. National Institute for Health Research

Sepsis: Antibiotics 'not working'

Sepsis: Antibiotics 'not working' Patients are dying from sepsis because of a lack of effective antibiotics, an expert is warning. BBC News

Urgent care change pilots started

Urgent care change pilots started NHS England has established a series of pilots for a "system-wide transformation" of emergency services, including restructuring A&Es and enhancing the NHS 111 service. E-Health Insider

Could failure to breastfeed cause depression?

Could failure to breastfeed cause depression? Mothers who plan, but are unable, to breastfeed their babies are more likely to suffer from postnatal depression, report BBC News and The Independent.

A study of 14,000 women in England found that those who planned to breastfeed but had not managed to were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop postnatal depression, compared to women who had no intention of breastfeeding.

Around 1 in 10 women develop postnatal depression, which is not the same as the “baby blues”, but a serious illness that can affect a mother’s ability to bond with her baby. It can also affect the baby’s longer-term development.

It can develop within the first six weeks of giving birth, but is often not apparent until around six months. It’s important to get professional help if you think you may be suffering from this illness.

The study had several limitations. For example, both antenatal and postnatal depression were self-reported rather than clinically diagnosed, which may make the results less reliable.

Due to the nature of the study’s design, it cannot prove that not breastfeeding raises the risk of postnatal depression. However, it highlights the need to support new mothers who want to breastfeed but are unable to do so.

Common antibiotic linked to 'tiny' rise in heart deaths

Common antibiotic linked to 'tiny' rise in heart deaths An antibiotic given to millions of people in the UK to treat chest infections has been linked to an increased risk of heart death, report The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.

A Danish study of three antibiotics found the risk of death from any heart condition while taking the antibiotic clarithromycin is slightly higher than with penicillin V.

Clarithromycin is used for respiratory infections, and 2.2 million doses were prescribed in England in 2013. However, it is not recommended for people with abnormal heart rhythms.

Researchers compared the number of people who had a heart-related death after being put on a course of either clarithromycin, roxithromycin (not used in the UK) or penicillin.

The study, published online in the British Medical Journal, found there were an extra 37 cardiac deaths per 1 million courses of clarithromycin compared with penicillin.

But the risk was still very low. As this was a cohort study, it cannot prove that any of these deaths were as a result of taking clarithromycin, as it did not account for all of the other factors that could have influenced the results.

CCGs urged to fund epilepsy GPSI service to replace 'failed' QOF indicators

CCGs urged to fund epilepsy GPSI service to replace 'failed' QOF indicators Commissioners should fund additional GPSI-run epilepsy services in the community to address shortcomings in care following the scrapping of QOF indicators for the condition, according to a GP expert. GP Online

Emergency admissions for typical primary care conditions drop

Emergency admissions for typical primary care conditions drop Asthma admissions rise sharply from August to September. OnMedica

How the NHS can deal with soaring drugs prices

How the NHS can deal with soaring drugs prices National Institute of Clinical Excellence decisions have sparked debate over funding the spiraling cost of medication

Last week the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (Nice) ruled that offering abiraterone, demonstrated to extend life by up to four months in advanced prostate cancer, was not cost effective as a treatment when given before chemotherapy. Described as a kick in the teeth by Prostate Cancer UK, the decision comes after a similar Nice ruling the week before on kadcyla, shown to prolong life for a certain group of breast cancer patients. Blockbuster drugs with ever increasing benefit are expensive, and there are lots on the way.

To allow room for financing such drugs, first, doctors need to get back to the principle of prescribing drugs from the current arsenal of pharmaceuticals that they can be confident will offer benefit. A study from University College London and Public Health England suggests that inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for viral coughs and colds is on the rise, raising the spectre of resistant strains of bacteria. For such common ailments, simple bed rest is often the best prescription. The lengthy appointment and explanation needed to justify the absence of a prescription requires time that todays NHS doctors have less of. All too often, I fear, a prescription playing on the dogma of taking a medicine being a solution to an ailment, is just easier.A far more sinister trend, leading to doctors switching to newer, more expensive drugs over older, cheaper ones, is a growing feeling that in some cases we are being misled by drug manufacturers. To make the right choices for their patients, doctors need to be able to trust the evidence of patient benefit. Randomised controlled trials, considered the gold standard for testing the efficacy of a new drug against conventional treatment or placebo, are expensive and time consuming to run, requiring extensive drug manufacturer sponsorship to coordinate results across continents and thousands of patients. Continue reading... The Guardian

The 'suicide tourists': 126 Brits opt for assisted death in Switzerland since 2008

The 'suicide tourists': 126 Brits opt for assisted death in Switzerland since 2008 British people are the second biggest group of “suicide tourists”, according to a new study, which shows that the number of people travelling to assisted dying clinics in Switzerland has doubled in three years. The Independent

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