Infection control has been high on the political agenda and on the agenda of the NHS in England in recent years. There have been many successes, not least the reduction in MRSA bloodstream infections and cases of Clostridium difficile infection. However, other health care associated infections that have not been monitored as rigorously are growing in incidence. New infections, including the growing number of more resistant strains of bacteria, are in danger of spreading. As a result, infection control needs to remain central to the work of the NHS.
This learning report is based on the findings of a large research study that identified and consolidated published evidence about infection prevention and control initiatives. The researchers synthesised this with findings from qualitative case studies in two large NHS hospitals, including the perspectives of service users.
Doctors considering strike action may worry about the effect on patients. David Metcalfe and colleagues examine the evidence and find that “patients do not come to serious harm during industrial action provided that provisions are made for emergency care.”
Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer mean that more people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis, but not everyone is living well.
The consequences of treatment can include physical and psychological effects, such as chronic fatigue, sexual difficulties, mental health problems, pain and urinary or gastrointestinal problems. Certain cancer treatments also increase the risk of other serious long-term conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis or a second primary cancer.
Macmillan Cancer Support estimate that at least 625,000 people in the UK experience long term health conditions caused by cancer or its treatment – to estimate prevalence amongst GP practice populations, this is the equivalent of about 15 patients per 1500 list size.
Who is the toolkit for?
The toolkit provides resources and information for primary care professionals to identify and manage the consequences of cancer treatment, and support patients to live well after a cancer diagnosis. It is designed to be used by any general practice in the UK, and is appropriate for everyone who provides or commissions services for people living with and beyond cancer.
Led by the Medical Research Council, the institute will bring together world-leading experts, universities and organisations to drive forward research and innovation in fighting dementia. The disease affects an estimated 850,000 in Britain, a figure that’s expected to double in the next 20 years.
The institute will have a central UK hub, with links to universities across the country and will build on the centres of excellence in dementia already operating across the UK.
The National Childbirth Trust has launched a baby blues campaign which aims to encourage people to talk more openly about maternal mental health, to avoid the mistake of dismissing potentially serious mental health issues in themselves, friends or family and to seek help. The charity says that almost one in five callers to its helpline have mental health worries to discuss, while almost a third have not spoken to a healthcare professional about their concerns.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced a new guideline to try to reduce premature birth rates in England and Wales, which have shown no decline over the past 10 years.
More than 52 000 babies—around 7.3% of live births in England and Wales—were born preterm in 2012. Premature birth is the second most common cause of death in children under 5, and babies who are born early are more prone to health problems such as heart defects, lung disorders, cerebral palsy, and delayed development.
The guideline says that intravenous magnesium sulphate should be given to women at risk of preterm birth to reduce the risk of neurological disorders. It should be offered to women at 24 to 29 weeks of pregnancy and considered for women at 30 to 33 weeks who are in established preterm labour or are having a planned preterm birth within 24 hours.