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NAPC News 6 June 2012
Patients Are Dying Because Of Errors By Young Doctors
Thousands of patients are dying because doctors are failing to carry out adequate assessments when they are admitted to hospital, according to the National Confidential Enquiry Into Patient Outcomes And Death. The assessment of more than 500 cases of patients who suffered cardiac arrest in hospital found catastrophic failings in there care, which precipitated heart and lung failure.
The report said that there was an unacceptable variation in standards of care in hospitals, with many relying too heavily on junior and inexperienced doctors to manage the admission of seriously ill patients. This frequently led to misdiagnoses and a failure to not the warning signs of deterioration in patients, who were on the verge of cardiac arrest. All too often the response was a ’futile and undignified attempt to save a patient’s life through the use of CPR, even though he chances of survival are as low as 10 per cent and can often leave a patient disabled.’
Labour Urged Doctors To Abandon Plan For Strike
Doctors were urged by Labour leadership at the end of last week to abandon this month’s strike because of the harm that industrial action could have on the seriously ill.
Non-urgent operations and routine GP and hospital appointments will be cancelled when the British Medical Association members stage their first strike for almost 40 years in protest against the pensions shake-up.
There are concerns that industrial action by doctors will create a three month backlog and affect one million patients needing surgery or hospital appointments.
Commercialisation Of NHS Trusts
The Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trusts has set up an advertising agency to sell billboard space around its hospitals and on its website.
It is thought to be first time an NHS trust has launched an advertising venture, though many trusts receive income advertising.
Acutely Ill Patients Not Allowed To Die With Dignity
A report by the National Confidential Enquiry Into Perioperative Deaths has concluded that one third of acutely ill patients in hospital, many of them nearing the end of their lives, are not getting the best care and may be subjected to futile resuscitation attempts that prevent them dying with dignity.
George Findlay, an intensive care specialist, author of the report and clinical co-ordinator for the Enquiry, said that there ‘should be ceilings on intervention.’
Four Hour A&E Visits At Highest Level In 8 Years
A King’s Fund reports has found that the number of patients spending more than four hours in A&E is at its highest since 2004.
Of all admission from January to March 2012, 4.2 per cent waited more than 240 minutes. The health charity said the increase coincided with emerging evidence of rises in trolley waits as some hospitals struggled to find patients beds.
Drug Link To Cancer
A drug widely prescribed for diabetes patients dramatically increases the risk of bladder cander, according to Canadian research.
Type 2 diabetes sufferers, who use pioglitazone every day for more than two years double their chances of developing the disease, according to scientists,
The medication for controlling blood sugar levels is already known to increase the risk of heart failure, but the European Medicines Agency decided to keep it on the market.
Canadian researchers, who analysed UK medical records of 115,000 people on the drug, found that patients who had taken it increased their risk of bladder cancer by 83%, but that rocketed with long term use.
Premature Babies Face Mental Illness Risk
Premature babies are twice as likely to suffer from mental conditions and illnesses in adulthood as those born on schedule, according to researchers at King’s College, London.
Babies born at 36 weeks or earlier had double the chance of being admitted to hospital for mental disorders as those born on term. Those born at 32 weeks or earlier had three times the risk.
The study found that babies born at 36 weeks were about one and a half times more likely to experience psychosis and nearly three times as likely to have bipolar disorder.
Babies born at 32 weeks were three times as likely to experience depression, more than seven times as likely to bipolar disorder and three and a half times more likely to develop an eating disorder.
Drinking By Children Halved
A new NHS study has found that drinking by children had halved in the past decade. The number od adults binge drinking had fallen over the past six year, with 74 per cent of men and 83 per cent of women now drinking within the weekly recommended guidelines.
Aspirin ‘s Triple Whammy Against Cancer
Aspirin has ‘triple whammy’ cancer-busting properties, according to two ground breaking studies.
Scientists at the University of Bristol found that aspirin can stop cells mutation and becoming cancerous by starving them of vital nutrition.
A second Cancer Research funded study, published in Gastroenterology, revealed how aspirin could kill cancer cells by controlling two processes that influence energy use in cells.
How Cholesterol Is Key To A Cure For Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s sufferers have been offered hop after scientists solved a mystery surrounding the formation of toxic plaques which ravage the brain.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University in the US now hope to develop drugs to halt the process and so prevent and possibly treat Alzheimer’s disease.
The US scientists found that when a part of amyloid precursor protein binds with cholesterol it is moved to regions of the cell membrane called ‘lipid rafts’ where molecules hit it. This splits the amyloid protein, producing amyloid-beta, which clumps together and forms the deadly brain plaques.
New Hope For The Paralysed
Paralysed patients have been given renewed hope after scientists enabled rats with severed spins to run again.
Professor Gregoire Courtine said the study revealed that the body could recover from some injuries previously thought to cause permanent paralysis. Using a cocktail of drugs and electrical impulses, researchers ‘regrew’ nerves linking the spinal cord to the brain.
Professor Courtine’s team, based in Switzerland, believe human trials could begin next year for patients with spinal injuries, thanks to a £7 million grant.
Dr Elizabeth Bradbury, of King’s College London, said: ‘This is ground-breaking research and offers great hope for the future of restoring function to spinal injured patients. However, some questions remain before we know how useful this approach may be in humans.’
Charities Urge Transformation Of Care For Elderly
Charities, care providers and campaigners have made a final plea to David Cameron to seize the opportunity to transform the provision of care for the elderly or leave families ‘picking up the pieces of our inadequate system’.
Organisations, ranging from Saga to local authorities, who assess and pay for care, to companies who provide the services, have agreed a common position on reform and urged the Prime Minister to take a decision.
Ros Altmann, director general of Saga, said: ‘We now call on the Government to be bold, not to duck this difficult issue, and to address the unfairness of the current care funding system. This is about families and communities who are having to pick up the pieces of our inadequate system.’
Court Ruling Could Help Disabled People Get Access To Care
The UK Supreme Court has ruled that local authorities must be more open and transparent about how they reach decisions about the funding of individuals who apply for social care support, so that people can challenge decisions more easily.
Hospital Alcohol Cases Jump By 10% In A Year
The number of patients admitted to A&E as a result of alcohol abuse has risen by more than 10 per cent in a year.
Nearly 1.2m were brought in last year with conditions including liver disease, alcohol poisoning or for injuries sustained while drunk. Figures from the NHS Information Centre show that the numbers of such admissions have more than doubled since 2002, when they were first recorded.
Additionally, the NHS spends £2.5m a year on drugs to treat alcoholics. Some 167,800 prescriptions were handed out last year for medicines, which are used to help alcoholics abstain by making them sick when they drink.
Emily Robinson, of the charity Alcohol Research, said: ‘As a country, we face a huge NHS bill because of problems caused by alcohol. That means we need to government to take action across a whole range of policy areas such as advertising, pricing, availability and instigating treatment to help bring the number going into hospital because of alcohol down.’