World Health Day 2017 – Depression

This year’s World Health Day (7 April 2017) focuses on the World Health Organisation’s one-year global campaign on depression.

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Image source: http://www.who.int

Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

Despite being very common, depression is still under-recognized and undertreated and there is a need to open up dialogue and tackle the stigma associated with it.  The campaign provides information regarding the consequences and management of depression, and how to provide support to people living with depression. Resources include videos, handouts and posters.

Read more at World Health Organisation

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Antimicrobial resistance

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Public Health England has published Antimicrobial resistance: resource handbook.

This updated handbook identifies current national policy, guidance and supporting materials in relation to the infection prevention and control of healthcare associated infections (HCAI) and antimicrobial stewardship in order to aid in the reduction of antimicrobial resistance.  It includes strategy and national guidance, policy and recommendations, education and training, surveillance, and international resources.

 

Every £1 spent on public health in UK saves average of £14

Every £1.00 spent on public health returns an extra £14 on the original investment, according to a systematic review published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. | via OnMedica

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Researchers identified 52 suitable studies published over four decades that had calculated a return on investment (ROI) for local and national public health initiatives and/or had worked out the overall value for money of a project or proposal—otherwise known as the cost-benefit ratio, (CBR).

Analysis of the data from these studies showed that the average ROI for a public health initiative was 14.3 for every unit cost spent on it, while the average CBR was 8.3.

When the overall impact of all 29 interventions was assessed, the ROI on local initiatives was 4.1, meaning that every £1 spent returns £4 plus the original £1 investment, while the average CBR was 10.3.  Even larger benefits accrued for national policies. Analysis of the data from these showed that the average ROI was 27.2 while the average CBR was 17.2.

The authors of the research warn that recent cuts made to public health budgets in the UK are therefore a “false economy” and are set to cost an already overstretched NHS and the wider economy “billions”.  They calculate that the recent £200 million cuts to public health funding in the UK will cost more like eight times as much – £1.6 billion.

Full reference: Masters R, Anwar E, Collins B, et al Return on investment of public health interventions: a systematic review Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, published online first: 29 March 2017

Time to take action on doctor fatigue

March 17th is World Sleep Day and the Royal College of Anaesthetists and  the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland are calling for action on the issue of safe working hours for doctors.

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On World Sleep Day, which highlights the importance of getting adequate sleep, the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) sets out its three-point plan to address the culture surrounding doctor fatigue in hospitals and tackle the problem of excessive fatigue. Such fatigue is known to impair decision making, with consequences for both doctors and their patients. Fatigue at the end of night shifts is of particular concern, with the tragic reports of doctors who have died in car accidents, having fallen asleep at the wheel on their drive home following a night shift.

A survey by the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) also shows that 85% of junior anaesthetists are at high risk of burnout; fatigue is known to be a risk factor for this.

Through a fatigue task group with partners including the RCoA, the AAGBI has devised the following 3-point plan:

  1. Support publication of a national survey about junior doctor fatigue, covering accessibility of hospital rest facilities, commuting after working night shifts and the impact of fatigue on physical and psychological health.
  2. Roll out of a fatigue education programme informing doctors and their managers about fatigue and how they can reduce its risks.
  3. Defining the standards for adequate rest facilities and cultural attitudes towards rest in hospitals.

A&E under pressure

The number of patients waiting four or more hours at A&E has risen more than 300% at some hospitals |  BBC News

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In total, 2.2 million patients were not seen within the target time in 2015-16 – more than double the one million figure in 2013-2014.

The Royal College for Emergency Medicine (RCEM) says there is a “large and systemic problem” caused by a lack of hospital beds.

NHS England said hospitals were under pressure but continuing to cope. Across England in 2015-2016, 85% of patients were seen within four hours.

Full story via BBC News

Suicide prevalence in Engalnd by occupation

Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis reveals which professions have the highest risk of suicide. | Public Health England | ONS

An analysis of ONS suicide prevalence statistics for 2011 to 2015 has been carried out to gain a better understanding of factors that influence suicide, in order to inform the government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy and help identify where inequalities exist amongst different groups.

The new ONS analysis shows that suicides are less common for females than males, and that there are differences in the types of occupation where suicide is more common. For women, occupations with a high risk of suicide include nurses (23% above the national average), primary school teachers (42% above average) and those working in culture, media and sport (69% above average).

For men, low skilled labourers in construction had a risk that was 3 times higher than that the average for England; men working in skilled construction jobs also had an increased risk. Both male and female care workers have a risk of suicide that was almost twice the national average.

To coincide with this publication, Public Health England, Business in the Community (BITC) and Samaritans have joined forces to produce toolkits for employers on how to prevent suicide and how to minimise the impact when it does happen.

The toolkits produced by PHE, BITC and Samaritans include advice on steps employers can take action to prevent suicides and support them and their teams when responding to the death of an employee caused by suicide.

Download the suicide prevention toolkit for employers.

Download the suicide postvention toolkit for employers.

NHS prescription charges to rise

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The price of a single NHS prescription for medicine or appliance in England will rise by 20p from £8.40 to £8.60 from April, the government has announced.

The Department of Health said the cost of an annual pre-payment certificate, which allows unlimited prescriptions within a specified time period, would remain at £104.  Prescriptions are free in the rest of the UK. In England, it is estimated that only around 10% of the population have to pay for them.

The existing arrangements for prescription charge exemptions remain unchanged covering people with certain conditions like cancer, epilepsy and diabetes, pregnant women and new mothers, children under 16 and anyone over 60, and people on a low income.

Dental charges will also rise, meaning a band one course of treatment and urgent treatment will increase by 90p from £19.70 to £20.60, a band two course of treatment will increase by £2.40 from £53.90 to £56.30, and a band three course of treatment will increase by £10.60 from £233.70 to £244.30.

Related: BBC News