News From The Web

SNP prepared to vote on English health laws

BBC Health - 21st January 2015 4:49 pm

The leader of the SNP has told the BBC that her MPs will vote on English health matters if it helps to protect the Scottish NHS.

Nicola Sturgeon’s comments come the day before a bill on more tax and spend powers for Scotland is published.

They also add to the heated debate about English votes for English laws.

The Tories want English MPs to have sole say on English laws. Labour, which has 40 Scots MPs, rejects that view, while the Lib Dems back limited change.

The SNP has six MPs in the House of Commons and in practice they do not vote on non-Scottish legislation.

But she explained: “On health, for example, we are signalling that we would be prepared to vote on matters of English health because that has a direct impact potential on Scotland’s budget.

“So, if there was a vote in the House of Commons to repeal the privatisation of the health service that has been seen in England, we would vote for that because that would help to protect Scotland’s budget.”

Read more at BBC Health.

Labour blames coalition cuts for rising A&E numbers

- 11:57 am

The number of extra people seeking accident and emergency care has increased almost 10-fold under the coalition because the government has made major mistakes with the NHS, Labour has said.

The party will reveal on Wednesday that a House of Commons library analysis shows that while total A&E attendances in England rose by 64,000 during its last four years in power, arrivals at emergency departments increased by 595,000 people during the coalition’s’s first four years in office – 930% more than under Labour.

In a Commons debate on the growing pressure on A&E units, Labour will blame the rise under the coalition on cuts to social care services, the removal of the right to see a GP within 48 hours and the closure of NHS walk-in centres.

Read more in The Guardian.

British doctor accused of female genital mutilation

BBC Health - 19th January 2015 5:29 pm

A British doctor performed female genital mutilation on a young mother after she gave birth in hospital, a court has heard.

Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, is accused of carrying out the illegal procedure at the Whittington Hospital in north London.

The junior registrar, of Ilford, Essex, denies the charge in what is the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.

The woman, who cannot be identified, first underwent FGM aged six in Somalia, London’s Southwark Crown Court heard.

She was 24 and living in Britain when she give birth to her first child in November 2012.

The court heard that during labour, her FGM stitches were torn and Dr Dharmasena, a junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology, sewed her back up in a procedure that amounted to FGM.

Read more at BBC Health.

Ambulance dispatch to be delayed by two minutes

Pulse - 18th January 2015 10:55 pm

NHS England is to trial giving 999 call handlers an extra two minutes to decide on whether to send out an ambulance, in light of the last two months’ ‘unprecedented’ demand on the service.

The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust and South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, which together cover a population of around 13 million people, will begin the trial in February with the potential of measures being rolled out nationally if deemed a success in reducing the number of ambulances dispatched per call.

In today’s announcement, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he made the decision to launch the pilots ‘in light of the unprecedented increase in demand for ambulance services in the last two months’, and after asking NHS England ‘to consider whether there were any changes which could be brought forward quickly’.

Under the current system, 999 callers are given 60 seconds to assess the patient’s need before the clock starts ticking on how long it took to dispatch the ambulance - measures that are used to assess the effectiveness of the target.

But Mr Hunt said that “this sometimes leads to ambulances being dispatched unnecessarily, so that fewer ambulances are available for patients who really do need emergency assistance”.

Read more at Pulse.

Wales and Northern Ireland A&E waits ‘worsen’

- 17th January 2015 11:46 am

A&E waiting times in Wales and Northern Ireland have got worse in the past month - dropping well below performance in England.

Hospitals are meant to see 95% of patients in four hours.

But during December just 76.7% in Northern Ireland were, while in Wales it was 81%, a drop since November for both nations.

The figures have been published a week after data for England showed waits were at the longest for a decade.

In England 90.2% of patients were seen in four hours during December in what is proving to be one of the most difficult winters for years.

Data for Scotland lags some way behind the rest of the UK - the latest comprehensive data is from September - although interim figures show hospitals are struggling there too.

Read more at BBC Health.

More than 400,000 extra A&E visits in NHS

BBC Health - 14th January 2015 9:17 pm

The number of A&E visits in England soared by more than 400,000 in 2014, figures show.

The College of Emergency Medicine said that was the equivalent of filling an extra nine emergency departments.

The Health Select Committee has been taking evidence after the worst waiting times in A&E for a decade and many hospitals declaring “major incidents”.

Doctors said it was “absurd” to blame patients, who were advised to go to A&E by services including NHS 111.

The committee heard the reasons for the surge in demand were “many, varied and complex”, but staff were doing a “heroic” job.

Read more at BBC Health.

Paediatrician killed while kayaking in Wales

Daily Mail - 13th January 2015 7:45 pm

A senior paediatrician has been killed while kayaking on a turbulent stretch of river on his day off.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Damian Pryor, 52, was paddling down a stretch of rapids when he began to struggle in fast waters.

Emergency services went to River Tawe at Ynyswen, Swansea Valley, after witnesses saw him going underwater.

Dr Pryor, who worked as a consultant in paediatric intensive care at the University Hospital of Wales, was an active member of the Cardiff Canoe Club.

Read more in Daily Mail.

Antibiotic discovery labelled a ‘game-changer’

BBC Health - 8th January 2015 1:10 pm

The decades-long drought in antibiotic discovery could be over after a breakthrough by US scientists.

Their novel method for growing bacteria has yielded 25 new antibiotics, with one deemed “very promising”.

The last new class of antibiotics to make it to clinic was discovered nearly three decades ago.

The study, in the journal Nature, has been described as a “game-changer” and experts believe the antibiotic haul is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

The heyday of antibiotic discovery was in the 1950s and 1960s, but nothing found since 1987 has made it into doctor’s hands.

Since then microbes have become incredibly resistant.

Read more at BBC Health.

First UK private medical school opens with 36k fees

BBC News - 7th January 2015 6:24 pm

The UK’s first private medical school has opened, with students paying annual tuition fees of £36,000.

The first intake of 67 students is beginning this term at the University of Buckingham.

Although the medical school was expected to particularly appeal to overseas students, most of the students are from the UK.

John Clapham, the school’s chief operating officer, said he was “staggered” by the demand.

Medicine courses are often the most over-subscribed, with universities turning away thousands of applicants.

The University of Buckingham says that there seems to be such demand to study medicine that students and their families are willing to pay higher fees at the private university.

Read more at BBC Health.

Major incidents declared at English hospitals

BBC News - 5th January 2015 9:46 pm

Major incidents have been declared at a number of hospitals in England as medical staff struggle to cope with patient numbers.

Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General implemented the emergency measure for the second time in three weeks.

Hospitals in North Yorkshire and Surrey have also declared a major incident.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said it is putting plans in place as it struggles to cope with demand.

Patients are being urged to visit their GP or attend a pharmacy, walk-in centre or minor injuries unit, if appropriate.

The major incidents will be reviewed regularly and lifted as soon as possible.

Read more at BBC News.