This year’s World Health Day (7 April 2017) focuses on the World Health Organisation’s one-year global campaign on depression.
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.
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 £1.00 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
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.
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.
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:
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.
Roll out of a fatigue education programme informing doctors and their managers about fatigue and how they can reduce its risks.
Defining the standards for adequate rest facilities and cultural attitudes towards rest in hospitals.
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.
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.
Government outlines plans for expanding medical training | Department of Health | OnMedcia
The Department of Health has published details of its plans to expand the number of undergraduate training places in England, which include expecting newly trained doctors to work for the NHS for more than five years.
The plans, revealed in a consultation document, aim to increase the home-grown medical workforce by 25%. Currently more than 6,000 university training places are available each year for prospective new doctors, but the plan is to increase this number by up to an extra 1,500 each year from September 2018.
It costs £230,000 to train a doctor in England, and the proposals include plans to obtain a return on this investment, by expecting new doctors to work for the NHS for a minimum number of years, otherwise they will be expected to repay some of their training costs.
A similar system “return of service” programme is already used by the armed forces for certain professions. The consultation asks whether a similar system should be introduced to the NHS for doctor training courses and, if so, how long this minimum term of service should be, suggesting that anything from two to more than five might be expected.
Government’s suicide prevention strategy needs greater focus on implementation
The Commons Select Committee has published Suicide prevention. This report on the government’s suicide prevention strategy indicates the government must take action to ensure effective implementation of the strategy. 95% of local authorities have a suicide prevention plan but there is little information available regarding the quality of the plans.
The Department of Health has published Social work: essential to integration. This document is intended to support and inform local and regional health and social care integration initiatives. It explains the contribution that social workers make to integrated services; how social work is essential to the whole system; and the necessity of support to ensure integration succeeds in providing the services people need.
It also includes ‘top tips’ for directors of adult social services and for principal social workers to assist in progressing the integration agenda.
It was developed in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Principal Social Workers’ Network and the Department of Health.