World MS Day 2018

World MS Day 2018|May 2018 |MS registries: putting people with MS at the heart of research

Today (30 May 2018) is World MS Day and the World MS day website raises awareness of multiple sclerosis (MS) and also highlights how one person sharing information about their MS could benefit someone else on the other side of the world.

World MS Day
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Further details are at World MS Day 2018 

World MS day Brain banks: advancing the neurological research worldwide 

World MS day MS registries: putting people with MS at the heart of research

NHS staff numbers from 1949

NHS Digital | May 2018 | Historical workforce statistics in lead-up to NHS70

NHS Digital has published figures which show how the NHS workforce has grown and evolved over the past seven decades:


  • In 1949, there were 11,735 full time equivalent hospital doctors in England and Wales, including 3,488 consultants.
  • By 2018 there were 109,509 full time equivalent medical and dental staff, including 46,297 consultants, in England.
  • In 1949, there were 68,013 registered nurses in hospitals in England and Wales.
    In 2018, that number stood at 320,422 (headcount).
  • There were 5,637 midwifery staff in 1949. By 2018 there were 26,519 (headcount).
  • In 1963 there were 22,159 GPs in England and Wales, 19,951 of whom were male and 2,208 of whom were female.
  • In 2018 there were 41,693 GPs, 17,366 male and 21,736 female (headcount).

Source: NHS Digital 


Successful weight loss maintainers have different behavioural and physiological responses to food, says study

University of Birmingham | May 2018 |Successful weight loss maintainers have different behavioural and physiological responses to food

Researchers at Birmingham University have discovered that leaner individuals have different responses to food compared to those with or those who have had obesity. The team compared the saliva production and heart rate (response) to pizza (stimuli) across the sample and found that obese individuals responded to the food, as their heart rate rose and saliva production increased. By contrast, the lean group who did not have a history of obesity were unresponsive.

In addition to the stimulus-response test, participants also completed cognitive tasks to gauge their motivation to gain, and avoid losing food and monetary rewards in a computerised task.  The sample had to decide whether a neutral symbol was associated with winning food, losing food, winning money or losing money. The ability of the lean group and the group with obesity to learn the task was affected by losing and winning food equally but the weight loss maintainers performance was less affected by food wins and more affected by food losses. Importantly, the three groups did not differ in their ability to learn the task in general as there was no difference in learning the task using monetary reward or losses (via University of Birmingham).

The full, undabridged details are available from the University of Birmingham

Breastfeeding: A Mother’s Gift, for Every Child

Unicef | May 2018 | Breastfeeding: A Mother’s Gift, for Every Child

A new report from Unicef shares new analysis on breastfeeding practices around the world and sets out key recommendations for governments, the private sector, civil society and communities in low-, middle- and high-income countries to increase breastfeeding rates. The report finds that more than 1 in 5 babies in high-income countries are never breastfed, compared to 1 in 25 in low- and middle-income countries (Unicef).

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The full report is available to download from Unicef here 

Advancing dental care

Health Education England | May 2018 |Advancing dental care

Health Education England (HEE) commissioned the Advancing Dental Care Education & Training Review to consider the skills and composition of the future dental workforce that will best meet future patient need, and the training structures and funding models that will deliver that workforce.
During the first phase of the Advancing Dental Care project, the review team conducted a six-month engagement and evidence-gathering exercise.  They identified and explored a series of options to improve training, shared thinking as widely as possible, and engaged with stakeholders to develop proposals (HEE).

HEE have produced an accompanying video:

The findings and recommendations of the review are set out in the first Advancing Dental Care Report

The key messages  and recommendations include:

  • obtaining further data to better understand the workforce and current funding models;
  • developing a needs-based approach for training commissioning;
  • encouraging flexibility for the service and the workforce;
  • providing early careers support; and

unlocking the potential of the oral health team, by encouraging team-working and utilisation of all full scope of practice for all oral healthcare professional

Full details are available from HEE 

The full report Advancing Dental Care: Education and Training Review  can be downloaded here 

The King’s Fund: Hypothecated funding for health and social care: how might it work?

The King’s Fund | May 2018 | Hypothecated funding for health and social care: how might it work?

A new publication from The King’s Fund looks at the argument for and against hypothecation- the  the earmarking of a tax to be spent on a specific area of public
expenditure. The paper sets out the problems hypothecation is meant to solve, and the conditions under which it might do so, and provides a brief history of hypothecation in the UK (The King’s Fund).

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The full paper can be downloaded from The King’s Fund 

CQC publishes review of how local health and social care systems work together in Bradford

Care Quality Commission |May 2018 | Under pressure: safely managing increased demand in emergency departments

The Care Quality Commission (CQC)  has published a report into one of its targeted reviews of local authority areas, the review looks at how local health and social care systems work together in Bradford.

The report finds that there was a clear shared and agreed purpose, vision and strategy described in the Happy, Healthy at Home plan which had been developed by the organisations that make up the local system in Bradford. This was articulated throughout all levels of the system. CQC found that most staff were committed to the vision – whether working in adult social care, primary and secondary care sectors, or in the voluntary sector.

Source: Care Quality Commission

The full report is available from CQC here 

Using data in the NHS: the implications of the opt-out and GDPR

The King’s Fund | May 2018 | Using data in the NHS: the implications of the opt-out and GDPR

A new ‘long read’ from the King’s Fund focuses on the use of data in the NHS and considers the implications of opt-out and GDPR. It looks at the system for protecting patient data, how the way the NHS handles patient data is changing and the implications of these changes. The key messages are given below:


Key messages

  • Patient data is not only vital for managing an individual’s care, it also plays an important role in other ways: planning health services, improving diagnosis and treatment and evaluating the effectiveness of policy. These ‘secondary uses’ of data offer significant opportunities to improve care, especially if advances in technology and data analysis can be harnessed.
  • Public confidence in data-sharing has been tested by several high-profile breaches of data security and confidentiality, while the NHS is still recovering from the controversy associated with the programme. Nevertheless, the public trust NHS organisations to manage patient data, and there is strong support for data being shared to improve care and for further research.
  • Safeguards governing the secondary use of patient data have been strengthened in recent years and will be bolstered by the implementation of a new national data opt-out alongside the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018.
  • These changes will not have any impact on depersonalised datasets, so most secondary analysis and research will be unaffected. However, analysis that relies on using confidential patient information – including some of the national patient surveys and specific efforts to evaluate NHS services and conduct research – may be affected.
  • The consequences will depend on opt-out rates. If large numbers of people opt out of allowing confidential patient information to be used for research, this could affect the quality and validity of the data on which this research depends, potentially undermining important work to improve services and treatments.
  • National policy has to keep a balance between responding to legitimate public concern about the security and confidentiality of data and enabling data to be shared and used by NHS organisations and third parties. It is also essential that NHS national bodies are transparent with the public about how patient data is used.
  • NHS England and NHS Digital must ensure that opt-out levels are kept under review and put in place a long-term plan to promote the benefits of NHS organisations and third parties being able to access and use patient data. At the same time, NHS organisations must ensure they are beyond reproach in the way they use patient data (The King’s Fund).

The article can be read in full at The King’s Fund


NHS England NHS launches public campaign to highlight new stronger protections around health and care information

NHS England Managing the Friends and Family Test (FFT) in line with GDPR

House of Commons Library Patient health records and confidentiality

12 million people to benefit from better joined up NHS and social care work

NHS Improvement | May 2018| 12 million people to benefit from better joined up NHS and social care work

Over 12 million people will soon benefit from better joined up NHS and social care as four more areas, covering four and a half million extra people, are given more control to improve local services.


NHS England chief Simon Stevens and Ian Dalton, head of NHS Improvement, have called on the NHS to ‘supercharge’ integration as Gloucestershire, West Yorkshire and Harrogate, Suffolk and North East Essex and North Cumbria will join the ten areas already part of the integrated care development programme (NHS Improvement).

The full news item is available at NHS Improvement 

Adult substance misuse statistics published

Public Health England & Department of Health  | May 2018 |Adult substance misuse statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS)


The report presents statistics submitted by services delivering structured substance misuse interventions. These services are vital components of local authority treatment and recovery systems and the interventions they deliver can improve the lives of individuals, the life chances of their children and the stability of their communities. They also have a significant impact in reducing drug and alcohol-related ill health and death, the spread of blood-borne viruses and in reducing crime. The harmful effects of alcohol and drugs are greater in poorer communities and effective treatment services can play an important role in addressing these inequalities (Public Health England & Department of Health).

The full report can be downloaded here