NICE: Traditional under the tongue temperature-taking helps patients avoid hypothermia during surgery

Traditional under the tongue or armpit temperature-taking are among the recommended ways of monitoring a patient’s temperature to help avoid hypothermia during surgery, says NICE.


The updated guideline on preventing and managing hypothermia during surgery also says that some familiar methods of taking a patient’s temperature – such as infrared ear thermometers and forehead strips – should not be used to measure the temperature in adults before, during or after surgery.

Hypothermia is classed as the body temperature dropping below 36.0°C – if this happens during surgery it can lead to the patient losing more blood, more chance of heart problems, and slower healing.  Normal body temperature is typically in a range between 36.5ºC and 37.5ºC.

Read the full overview here

The social care crisis is pulling NHS trusts further underwater

Managers tell of the equivalent of several wards of patients stuck in hospitals for want of social services | The Guardian


The government’s refusal to find any new money for social care will inflict significant and lasting damage on the NHS and the lives of its patients.

The local government finance settlement announced by the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, this week did virtually nothing to alleviate the growing social care crisis. He simply allowed local authorities to bring forward council tax increases and shifted £240m from housing.

Compare that with Local Government Association figures showing adult social care funding fell from £14.7bn in 2012-13 to £14.1bn in 2015-16, while demand continues to rise.

Read the full news story here

Policy paper update: nursing, midwifery and allied health students will no longer receive NHS bursaries

Changes to healthcare education funding for student nursing, midwifery and allied health students | Department of health


From 1 August 2017, new nursing, midwifery and allied health students will no longer receive NHS bursaries. Instead, they will have access to the same student loans system as other students. This guidance explains the reforms.

Read the full paper here


Health impact assessment of the UK soft drinks industry levy

Briggs, A.D.M. et al. The Lancet Public Health. Published online: December 15 2016


Background: In March, 2016, the UK Government proposed a tiered levy on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs; high tax for drinks with >8 g of sugar per 100 mL, moderate tax for 5–8 g, and no tax for <5 g). We estimate the effect of possible industry responses to the levy on obesity, diabetes, and dental caries.


Interpretation: The health impact of the soft drinks levy is dependent on its implementation by industry. Uncertainty exists as to how industry will react and about estimation of health outcomes. Health gains could be maximised by substantial product reformulation, with additional benefits possible if the levy is passed on to purchasers through raising of the price of high-sugar and mid-sugar drinks and activities to increase the market share of low-sugar products.

Read the full article here

Relationships between nurse staffing levels and clinical outcomes

Leary A, et al. (2016)  BMJ Open. 6:e011177


Objectives: Nursing is a safety critical activity but not easily quantified. This makes the building of predictive staffing models a challenge. The aim of this study was to determine if relationships between registered and non-registered nurse staffing levels and clinical outcomes could be discovered through the mining of routinely collected clinical data. The secondary aim was to examine the feasibility and develop the use of ‘big data’ techniques commonly used in industry for this area of healthcare and examine future uses.

Conclusions: The relationship between staffing and outcomes appears to exist. It appears to be non-linear but calculable and a data-driven model appears possible. These findings could be used to build an initial mathematical model for acute staffing which could be further tested.

Read the full article here

New resources on e-cigarette use in pregnancy

New resources launched and webinar scheduled on e-cigarette use in pregnancy | via The Royal College of Midwives

Two new resources on the use of e-cigarettes during pregnancy have been launched to help midwives in their consultations with women. The resources were developed in response to midwives and health visitors being asked for advice on e-cigarette use.

An infographic and a briefing has been produced by the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, which is a partnership of stakeholders, including the Royal College of Midwives.

These resources  for health professionals  address some of the most frequently asked questions in consultations with women who have expressed an interest in using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

The documents say that, although not completely risk-free, electronic cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoking for users, with no known risks to bystanders and that e-cigarettes contain no carbon monoxide.

The briefing can be accessed here

Click on the image below to view the infographic:

Image source:

Helping parents spot the signs of sepsis

Sepsis awareness campaign will help parents and carers of young children recognise the symptoms of sepsis.

A nationwide campaign has been launched to help parents spot the symptoms of sepsis to protect young children and save lives.The campaign is principally aimed at parents and carers of young children aged 0 to 4.

The campaign, delivered by Public Health England and the UK Sepsis Trust, follows a number of measures already taken by the NHS to improve early recognition and timely treatment of sepsis. This includes a national scheme to make sure at-risk patients are screened for sepsis as quickly as possible and receive timely treatment on admission to hospital.

Leaflets and posters are being sent to GP surgeries and hospitals across the country. These materials, developed with experts, will urge parents to call 999 or take their child to A&E if they display any of the following signs:

  • looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • feels abnormally cold to touch
  • is breathing very fast
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • has a fit or convulsion

The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that there are more than 120,000 cases of sepsis and around 37,000 deaths each year in England.

Click Here to Download Sepsis Symptoms Poster

Image source:


National Prostate Cancer Audit 2016 Annual Report

Image source:

90% of men receiving curative treatment for prostate cancer say their care was very good

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the third most common cause of cancer-related mortality in the United Kingdom, with about 40,000 new cases each year resulting in 10,000 deaths. The NPCA audit looks at whether NHS services in England and Wales for men diagnosed with prostate cancer meet recommended standards.

This is the third Annual Report from the National Prostate Cancer Audit (NPCA) and presents current data regarding prostate cancer care in England and in Wales. In this report, the NPCA gathered information directly from patients to find out their views of their experience of care and the functional impact of radical treatments on their lives.

The full report is available to download here

View press release here

Health needs of looked after children

The Local Government Association has published Healthy futures: supporting and promoting the health needs of looked after children.

This report focuses on the higher health needs of looked after children and young children which are often met less successfully than their peers, leading to poorer outcomes.  The report includes seven case studies of positive initiatives in local authorities around the country.

Numbers and circumstances

  • There are over 70,000 looked after children in England.
  • Six per cent of looked after children are unaccompanied asylum seekers.
  • The majority (75 per cent) of looked after children are placed with foster carers.
  • Over 60 per cent of children in care are looked after due to abuse and neglect.

The role of clinical commissioning in shaping healthy cities

NHS Clinical Commissioners has published Shaping healthy cities and economies: the role of clinical commissioning.

This report provides examples of how clinical commissioners in some of England’s major cities are helping to drive economic growth and deliver public services in a way that meets local needs.  It includes case studies from Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Nottingham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester.

Shaping healthy cities and economies: The role of clinical commissioning’highlights the following programmes:

  • Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is leading the work to tackle physical inactivity – which drives higher health expenditure, productivity loss, absenteeism and disability and has an overall annual cost to society of £8.2bn
  • Across Manchester a CCG led programme is supporting people to address underlying issues contributing to unemployment and help people find and maintain jobs that best suit their individual needs
  • Liverpool where the CCG is using its commissioning and procurement levers to  support the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of its population
  • Newcastle CCG is helping to drive workforce transformation and find new ways to attract and retain new staff, particularly younger people, a key need for the local economy
  • Leeds is home to one of Europe’s largest teaching hospitals and a number of biotechnology companies, and has positioned itself as an Innovation Health Hub to accelerate innovation in public and private sector – through this Leeds CCGs are supporting plans to drive £1bn in investment and create 10,000 new jobs and training opportunities
Image source: