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NAPC News 11 April 2012
Male Mothers And NHS Statistics
A study of NHS statistics has found that 17,000 men were admitted to hospital for obstetric services, a specialism of pregnant women and their babies.
Another 8,000 men apparently went to see a gynaecologist and another 20,000 were listed as having been in need of a midwife.
The figures of 2009/10 also showed that more than 3,000 children required geriatric services.
Doctors at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London alerted the British Medical Journal to the errors, which were due to data entry mistakes.
Hospitals Hit By Vermin Invasion
NHS hospitals have called in pest controllers hundreds of times a year to deal with infestations of vermin, putting patients at risk of disease and infection.
At the same time, the service is leading the fight against hospital superbugs by embracing technology used by NASA to protect other planets.
NHS Blunders On Newborns Set To Cost £235m
Blunders by hospital staff which leave newborn babies brain damaged in the first few days of their lives are set to cost the NHS more than £235m, official figures revealed.
NHS lawyers have set aside £235.4m to settle 60 claims in which babies allegedly suffered brain damage or a serious arm injury, called Erb’s palsy, after maternity staff failed to notice they had dangerously low blood sugar levels. In two of the cases, the hypoglycaemia was so serious that babies died, according to lawsuits.
NHS Litigation Authority figures obtained by the Guardian showed that in England in the past decade, it had received 79 claims for damages of harm to babies relating to undetected or untreated hypoglycaemia. Of those, 19 were closed with no compensation. It has paid damages of between £300,000 and more than £7m in 19 other cases and is defending 41 other similar actions. Seven of the 19 settled cases have each involved damages of more than £6m.
What Can And Should Be Done About Nursing
The Independent reported yesterday on the proliferation of complaints about the decline and inadequacy of standards of nursing care in the NHS.
Care Check Row
Ministers were at loggerheads with the NHS watchdog at the weekend after a public spat over who was responsible for the cancellation of hospital and care home inspections.
The Department of Health rebuked the Care Quality Commission after a row over the cost of spot-checks on abortion clinics ordered by Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health. Officials came close to accusing the Commission of leaking a letter from Dame Jo Williams, the chairman, in which she said that visiting abortion clinics had meant cancelling 580 inspections.
Secrecy Adds To Fear Over Health Reforms
Ministers have mad ‘general alarm’ over the NHS reforms even worse by refusing to publish a register showing how risky the changes might be, a judge has ruled.
The Government had been fighting to keep the document secret for fear it could worry the public; It argued that civil servants ‘think the unthinkable’ when they compile the document listing all the possible worst case scenarios.
However, the Information Tribunal said the document could even be ‘reassuring’, because keeping it secret made the risks seem worse than they were.
Enlarging A Cannabis Plantation
GW Pharmaceuticals is preparing to enlarge its clandestine marijuana plantation, which is an undisclosed location somewhere in the South of England. The company is proposing to increase its production of Salivex, its recently licensed cannabis-based drug for multiple sclerosis.
GW is shaping up to be a stand-out beneficiary of the government’s ‘patent-box’, which provides a rock bottom 10 per cent rate of corporation tax for profits on UK patented inventions. GW Pharmaceuticals’ entire corporation fits inside the patent box because its technology platform, extracting chemicals from cannabis plants, qualifies as a UK invention.
The US Food and Drug Administration has warned that a second counterfeit version of Avastin, the best selling cancer drug, has been found in the US, packaged as the Turkish brand of the medication.
The FDA said that the counterfeits did not contain the active ingredient of Avastin, which is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney and brain.
Gene That Cuts Risk Of Breast Cancer In Younger Women
A gene which reduces the risk of breast cancer in younger women by altering oestrogen levels has been identified, raising hope of more effective treatment.
The finding represents an ‘important step toward’ understanding how hormones and breast cancer are related and may help to modify the way in which doctors monitor and treat the disease, researchers said.
Scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine studied hormone levels in the urine and blood of more than 700 pre-menopausal women, while taking account of natural variations which occur due to the menstrual cycle.
Women with lower traces of oestrogen in their urine were significantly more likely to have a more common genetic variant, which is known to be linked to the way sex hormones are broken down. Those who had the gene variant, which is shared by about 15 per cent of all women, had 22 per cent lower levels of oestrogen traces, suggesting the gene was breaking oestrogen down more efficiently.
Treat Appendicitis With Antibiotics Rather Than Operation
Two thirds of appendix operations may be unnecessary and could be treated simply by using antibiotics, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
Academics said there was good evidence for treating ‘uncomplicated’ cases of appendicitis with antibiotics tended to be better for the patient than surgery.
The researchers from Nottingham Digestive Disease Centre NIHR Biomedical Research Unit said that while appendectomy had been the ‘mainstay’ treatment since it was first reported in 1889, antibiotics had been ‘overlooked’. ‘The role of antibiotic treatment in acute, uncomplicated appendicitis may have been overlooked mainly on the basis of tradition,’they wrote.
Drugs Not The Best Option For People At Risk Of Psychosis
A study conducted by five universities found that ‘benign’ psychological treatments, including Cognitive Therapy (CT), were effective in reducing the severity of psychotic experiences that can lead to conditions such as schizophrenia.
Professor Andrew Gumley, who led the research team at the University of Glasgow, said: ‘This study has very important implications for ensuring that young people who are at risk of developing psychosis are offered psychological therapy [rather than drugs as a first resort]’.
Children To Benefit From New NHS Cancer Treatment
Hundreds of children with rare cancers will benefit from two new centres that will offer a pioneering treatment called proton beam therapy, the Government announced at the end of last week.
By 2017, two hospitals will be offering the treatment, which is better than standard therapies at killing cancer tumours without damaging healthy tissue.
Children treated with proton beam therapy, a type of radiotherapy that uses high-energy particle beams, have better success rates, while it also reduces side effects such as deafness, loss of IQ and secondary cancers.
At the moment, almost 400 patients requiring the treatment, originally deemed too expensive for the NHS, are flown to private clinics in Switzerland and America every year.
New Hope For Arthritis Cure
Millions of people crippled by arthritis have been offered new hope after scientists discovered a molecule that can ‘regrow’ damaged cartilage.
Researchers at the Scripps Institute in California and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in San Diego have found a molecule called kartogenin which spurs cartilage regeneration in mice. They say the findings, published online in the journal, Science, suggest that the molecule could be the basis of a new drug based therapy for osteoarthritis. Although more research is needed, it is likely it would be administered by injection straight to the damaged area.