FGM: mandatory reporting in healthcare

Resources explaining healthcare professionals’ duty to report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in girls under 18.

FGM posterFrom 31 October 2015, healthcare professionals must report to the police any cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in girls under 18 that they come across in their work.

These documents support the introduction of the duty. They include:

  • a poster explaining what the duty means for healthcare professionals
  • guidance on what healthcare professionals should do if they think a child has had or is at risk of FGM
  • a training package to introduce the duty to healthcare professionals
  • a leaflet explaining the duty to patients

via FGM: mandatory reporting in healthcare – Publications – GOV.UK.

Global safe staffing expert questions ‘crazy’ NHS nursing policy

HSJ: 30 October, 2015

One of the world’s leading experts on nursing and safe staffing has questioned current NHS policies towards nurses and suggested some could even put patients at greater risk.

  • Evidence shows minimum nurse to patient ratios work, says global expert
  • Linda Aiken says there is no evidence the UK has a staffing policy on nursing
  • Substituting nurses for non-nurse roles increases poor outcomes claim

Linda Aiken, director of the Centre for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at Pennsylvania University in the United States, told HSJ evidence on safe nurse staffing ratios was clear and proved “they do work”.

She said the NHS’s plan to create a nursing assistant role at band 4 was “crazy”, as evidence in the US showed this actually increased mortality and poorer outcomes.

Her comments contrast with current nursing workforce policy in the NHS, which has seen work on nurse safe staffing levels by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence suspended and a move towards a more team based approach by NHS England and chief nurse Jane Cummings.

via Global safe staffing expert questions ‘crazy’ NHS nursing policy.

New tool helps NHS staff to identify trafficking victims

Recent research has highlighted that many victims of human trafficking come into contact with NHS services during the time they are trafficked, or after their escape. In response to this, the Department of Health has launched an updated tool to help NHS staff identify and care for trafficked people and refer them for further support.

Carry on reading via NHS England » New tool helps NHS staff to identify trafficking victims.

The research:

Human trafficking and health: a cross-sectional survey of NHS professionals’ contact with victims of human trafficking

Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis

The Lancet: Volume 386, No. 10005, p1739–1746, 31 October 2015

Long working hours might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but prospective evidence is scarce, imprecise, and mostly limited to coronary heart disease. We aimed to assess long working hours as a risk factor for incident coronary heart disease and stroke.

Employees who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours; the association with coronary heart disease is weaker. These findings suggest that more attention should be paid to the management of vascular risk factors in individuals who work long hours.

via Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data for 603 838 individuals – The Lancet.

World Health Organisation links processed meats to cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), has evaluated the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.

Researchers classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect. Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans.

The WHO did stress that meat also had health benefits. Cancer Research UK said this was a reason to cut down rather than give up red and processed meats.

Reference to the research:

International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology, 2015

Further reading :

Processed meat and cancer – what you need to know. Cancer Research UK

Processed meats do cause cancer – WHO   BBC News

LGA: networks ‘barrier to integration’

The different internet networks used by the NHS and social care are a barrier to providing integrated care, according to the Local Government Association.


Speaking at a recent event on developing local digital roadmaps, Mark Golledge, programme manager for health and care informatics at the LGA, said that “network infrastructure” is one of the main challenges faced by organisations looking to share information across care boundaries.

NHS services in England and Scotland use the secure N3 network to share information online, whereas social care services tend to use the Public Services Network.

There are plans to create a combined Health and Social Care Network, but according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre this won’t be in place until 2016-17. The NHS contract for N3, which is run by BT, is due to end some point in 2017.

Read the full article via LGA: networks ‘barrier to integration’.

Why the drug development pipeline is not delivering better medicines | The BMJ

BMJ 2015;351:h5542


Despite the large number of new medicines entering the market every year, few offer important clinical advantages for patients. Huseyin Naci, Alexander Carter, and Elias Mossialos explain the reasons for this innovation deficit and offer some solutions

“Many in the pharmaceutical sector suggest that the industry is in crisis. Industry analysts fret that financial rewards are no longer sufficient for companies to maintain the investment needed to develop clinically useful drugs.1Despite these concerns, regulators in the US and Europe granted marketing authorisations to a record number of new medicines in 2014. However, the majority of new medicines offer few clinical advantages over existing alternatives. We discuss how both government and drug company practices contribute to the ongoing innovation deficit in the sector.” Carry on reading via Why the drug development pipeline is not delivering better medicines | The BMJ.