PHE Data week: Immunisation in numbers – 5 fascinating facts | Public health matters

PHE Data week: Immunisation in numbers – 5 fascinating facts

1) We’ve seen 99.9% reductions in infections like diphtheria and Haemophilus influenzae type b


2) 39 vaccines have been introduced in the UK


3) 77% decline in rotavirus infections in babies
For new parents, seeing their baby hospitalised is a nightmare scenario. But since 2013 this situation has been avoided for thousands of families due to the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine. Rotavirus is a common cause of vomiting & diarrhoea in children under five, which prior to vaccination was responsible for thousands of hospitalisations every year.

4) We’ve had 535,000+ visits to the Green Book in the last year
Have you heard of ‘The Green Book’? Thousands of health professionals certainly have, as our guide to vaccines and vaccination procedures is one of the most popular pages on PHE’s website receiving well over half a million page views in the last year.

5) Vaccines can protect people who haven’t been vaccinated

A pilot programme last year showed vaccinating children against flu had dual benefit; as well as protecting them it protects others, such as parents, grandparents and siblings.


via PHE Data week: Immunisation in numbers – 5 fascinating facts | Public health matters.

Is researching adverse events in hospital deaths a good way to describe patient safety in hospitals: a retrospective patient record review study

BMJ Open 2015;5:e007380

Objective Adverse event studies often use patient record review as a way to assess patient safety. As this is a time-consuming method, hospitals often study inpatient deaths. In this article we will assess whether this offers a representative view of the occurrence of adverse events in comparison to patients who are discharged while still living.

Design Retrospective patient record review study.

Setting and participants A total of 11 949 hospital admissions; 50% of inpatient deaths; the other half of patients discharged while alive. The data originated from our two national adverse event studies in 2004 and 2008.

Main outcome measures Overall adverse events and preventable adverse events in inpatient deaths, and in admissions of patients discharged alive. We looked at size, preventability, clinical process and type of adverse events.

Results Patients who died in hospital were on an average older, had a longer length of stay, were more often urgently admitted and were less often admitted to a surgical unit. We found twice as many adverse events and preventable adverse events in inpatient deaths than in patients discharged alive. Consistent with the differences in patient characteristics, preventable adverse events in inpatient deaths were proportionally less and were often related to the surgical process. Most types of adverse events and preventable adverse events occur in inpatient deaths as well as in patients discharged alive; however, these occur more often in inpatient deaths and are differently distributed.

Conclusions Reviewing patient records of inpatient deaths is more efficient in identifying preventable AEs than reviewing records of those discharged alive. Although many of the same types of adverse events are found, it does not offer a representative view of the number or type of adverse events.

via Is researching adverse events in hospital deaths a good way to describe patient safety in hospitals: a retrospective patient record review study — Baines et al. 5 (7) — BMJ Open.

Antibiotic prescribing is higher in deprived areas of England | The BMJ

BMJ 2015;351:h6117

Prescribing of antibiotics has fallen steadily over the past five years in England, but the gap in prescribing levels between the least and most deprived areas is widening, a new analysis indicates.

The charity Antibiotic Research UK and the data analysis company EXASOL used prescribing data released by the government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre on the number of antibiotic prescriptions written by GPs and subsequently dispensed between August 2010 and July 2015. From the data they produced a “heat map” showing the hotspots of antibiotic prescribing in England:


via Antibiotic prescribing is higher in deprived areas of England | The BMJ.

Guide to using community pharmacy in urgent care — NHS Networks

NHS England has published a “quick guide” to making use of community pharmacy in urgent care. The guide is aimed at system resilience groups and commissioners.

quick guideThis document provides practical tips and case studies for System Resilience Groups and local commissioners showing how to extend the role of community pharmacy to relieve pressure on urgent care and how to make best use of the tools such as the Directory of Services, NHS Choices and the Summary Care Record to support this.

This Quick Guide identifies how Community Pharmacy can reduce demand on other urgent care services by:

1. Providing emergency supplies of prescription medicines;

2. Supporting self-care of minor illnesses and providing minor ailment services;

3. Providing flu vaccinations;

4. Reducing repeat prescription workload in general practice through repeat dispensing;

5. Supporting people with long term conditions to get the most benefit from their medicines;

6. Minimising adverse effects and admissions related to medicines;

7. Helping people understand new medicines and changes to medication (especially on discharge from hospital).

via Guide to using community pharmacy in urgent care — NHS Networks.

Homeopathy on prescription could be banned from NHS | The Guardian

Threat of judicial review has apparently forced ministers into launching a consultation to ensure funds are spent only on most effective treatments


GPs in England could be banned from prescribing homeopathy after the threat of a judicial review apparently forced ministers to launch a consultation on the move.

The move comes after the Good Thinking Society threatened to challenge the department’s refusal to add homeopathic products to the NHS’s “schedule 1” blacklist, which details the products NHS doctors cannot prescribe, effectively blocking taxpayer funds from being used for them. It includes more than 3,000 products, ranging from pharmaceutical drugs to Ribena.

The four conditions that Singh said homeopathy failed to meet were whether it was effective, whether it was cost-effective, whether there were cheaper alternatives, and whether it was so widely available on the high street it did not need to be prescribed.

“By any of those criteria homeopathy should be blacklisted,” Singh said. “This is money that could be spent on drugs that do work. It’s not about being anti-homeopathy, it’s about being pro-patient and spending money on drugs that do work.”

via Homeopathy on prescription could be banned from NHS | Life and style | The Guardian.

Mental Health under pressure

The King’s Fund has published Mental health under pressure.  This briefing paper aims to focus on mental health as a system of care, examining individual pressures within the wider context of provider and commissioner actions.  It draws together information from a number of different sources, providing a particular insight into provision and quality in order to provide an overview of the state of mental health services and care in England.  This paper focuses on services for adults between the ages of 16 and 65.

Also from the Kings Fund: An alternative guide to mental health care in England:

Additional link: BBC news report

Earlier cancer diagnosis in England

The proportion of cancers diagnosed as an emergency at hospital has decreased, according to Public Health England.  At the same time, the proportion of cancers diagnosed through urgent GP referral with a suspicion of cancer has increased.

PHE has published the data, which covers more than 2m patients diagnosed with cancer from 2006 to 2013. This tells us how people are diagnosed, with associated survival rates, for 56 different cancer sites and is a vital tool to help improve early diagnosis.

A ‘retail policy’ in search of a customer? What the public really think about NHS targets

Natalie Berry | The Health Foundation

The Health Foundation has carried out research into what the public think about NHS targets. Some of the results are listed below

  • First, awareness of the core NHS targets was very low. Some were able to point to improvements in waiting times for A&E and hospital services, based on their recollections of negative media coverage of this topic 15-20 years ago, but few of these realised that targets had been involved in reducing the waits.
  • Second, people’s starting point on the issue of targets was largely negative. At best, targets made them think of bureaucracy and at worst, of a ‘private sector ideology’ suited to selling cars but not health care.
  • Third, people’s minds changed quite a lot once they had a chance to understand and engage with some of the arguments, both for and against targets. People actually started to think that targets might just be a ‘necessary evil’ policy approach in some cases.
  • Participants saw communicating ‘the what’ of targets policy as a job for politicians. They wanted to know about any new or amended targets as changes happened and for this information to come straight from the Secretary of State for Health or Prime Minister, because from a voters’ perspective, this is where the buck stops.

Read the full story via A ‘retail policy’ in search of a customer? What the public really think about NHS targets | The Health Foundation.

Giving adults voice, choice and control in social care — NHS Networks

Voice, choice and control : How registered nurses, care and support staff in the care sector can support people to achieve these aims.

Voice, choice and control report

The Department of Health has published guidance on how registered nurses, care and support staff can enable relationship-centred care, and how they can work with others to achieve personalised care and support

The guidance is for staff across a range of care settings, including care home staff and carers who look after people in their own homes.

via Giving adults voice, choice and control in social care — NHS Networks.