Leading as a Junior Doctor

Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management | September 2018 | Leading as a Junior Doctor

A toolkit produced by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management is designed to help junior doctors build, sustain and run their own local leadership and engagement structures. Many junior doctor representative groups have been in place for several years, while dozens of new forums have been set up in NHS organisations across the country (Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management). 


The toolkit includes:

Evidence: The value of medical engagement 

Evidence: The value of junior doctor engagement

Junior doctor forums to improve junior doctor engagement

Outbreak of preventable eye infection in contact lens wearers

University College London| September 2018| Outbreak of preventable eye infection in contact lens wearers

A preventable eye infection has increased threefold since 2011. The infection -Acanthamoeba keratitis -is rare but preventable according to the lead author of the study, Professor John Dart,  of UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.


The infection causes the front surface of the eye, the cornea, to become painful and inflamed, due to infection by Acanthamoeba, a cyst-forming microorganism

He has said that because of the risks, “this increase highlights the need for contact lens users to be aware of the risks.”

The findings of the study indicate that reusable contact lens wearers with the eye infection are more likely to have used an ineffective contact lens solution, have contaminated their lenses with water or reported poor contact lens hygiene.

The study examined data for South East England from Moorfields Eye Hospital from 1985 to 2016. Between 2000- 2003 there were 8- 10 cases  reported  each year, more recently  there have been between 36-65 cases annually. As Moorfields  treat a third of cases the research team expect the total number to be higher when data from across the country is taken into account.

In addition to the data, the researchers also conducted a  case-control study of people who wear reusable contact lenses on a daily basis (although the disease is also associated with disposable lenses), comparing those who had a diagnosis of Acanthamoeba keratitis to those who had come in to Moorfields A&E for any other reason, from 2011 to 2014 (Source: UCL).

Full news story from UCL 

The article has been published in British Journal of Ophthalmology 


Background/aims Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is a chronic debilitating corneal infection principally affecting contact lens (CL) users. Studies were designed to test claims that the UK incidence may have increased in 2012–2014 and to evaluate potential causes.

Methods Annualised incidence data were collected from January 1984 to December 2016. Case-control study subjects were recruited between 14 April 2011 and 05 June 2017. Reusable CL users with AK were recruited retrospectively and prospectively. Controls were reusable CL users, recruited prospectively, with any disorder other than AK. Multivariable analysis of questionnaire data measured independent risk factors for AK.

Results The current outbreak of AK started in 2010–2011 with an incidence threefold higher than in 2004–2009. Risk factors for AK were: Oxipol disinfection, CLs made of group IV CL materials, poor CL hygiene, deficient hand hygiene, use of CLs while swimming or bathing, being white British, and for those in social classes 4–9.

Conclusion AK is a largely preventable disease. The current outbreak is unlikely to be due to any one of the identified risk factors in isolation. Improving CL and hand hygiene, avoiding CLs contamination with water and use of effective CL disinfection solutions, or daily disposable CLs, will reduce the incidence of AK. In the longer-term, water avoidance publicity for CL users can be expected to reduce the incidence further. Ongoing surveillance of AK numbers will identify changes in incidence earlier. Evaluation of Acanthamoeba contamination in end-user drinking water would contribute to our understanding of regional variations in the risk of exposure.

The full article can be requested by Rotherham NHS staff here 


Planning and preparing for later life

Centre for Ageing Better | September 2018 | Planning and preparing for later life

The Centre for Ageing Better has released Planning and preparing for later life, a report that summarises the findings of a multi-disciplinary scoping review on the topic of planning and preparing for later life. This review focuses on planning for later life (age 60 and over) from mid-life (age 40-60) onwards. It characterises planning for later life as the range of activities people deliberately pursue with the aim of achieving desired outcomes in later life (Source: Planning and Preparing for Later Life).


The review set out to answer the following questions:

  1. Who does or doesn’t plan and prepare for later life during mid-life?
  2. What are the barriers and enablers to planning and preparing for later life?
  3. What can be done to encourage more people to overcome the barriers to planning?

Planning and preparing for later life Summary of research findings

Planning and preparing for later life

Caring, supportive, collaborative? Doctors’ views on working in the NHS

Following the launch of its all member survey in the spring 2018, the BMA has published a report highlighting how the views expressed by doctors will contribute to developing a positive vision for what a caring, supportive, and collaborative health and care system should look like.

Image source: http://www.bma.org.uk

In May and June 2018, doctors across the UK were invited to share their views on a range of issues affecting their working lives and focusing on three themes: culture, structure and workforce.  Just under 8,000 members completed this comprehensive survey. This report sets out the responses received, which together provide a clear picture of the challenges and opportunities facing doctors in the NHS today.

The results reveal that many doctors feel they are working in a non- supportive environment, where patient safety can at times be jeopardised and learning and reflection discouraged. They also demonstrate the dire consequences of insufficient funding, medical personal, support staff, beds and equipment on the doctors working conditions and patient treatments. The results also point out the damaging impact of poor lines of communication and IT support on the efforts to encourage greater innovation and collaboration in our health services.

More detail: BMA press release:  Launch of new project calls for solutions to NHS challenges amid fears of unsafe care and blame culture

Full report: Caring, supportive, collaborative?  Doctors’ views on working in the NHS

World Alzheimer’s Day

Today, 21 September 2018, is World Alzheimer’s Day. Coinciding with this, Alzheimer’s Disease International have released  the World Alzheimer Report 2018: The State of the art of dementia research: New frontiers. 

Image source: http://www.alz.co.uk/

This report is written to be of appeal to a broad audience including governments and policymakers, academics and researchers and the general public with an interest in dementia.

Essentially the report is an overview of where we are currently: the hopes and frustrations, the barriers, the enablers and the ground-breaking work being undertaken.


The report’s key calls-to-action:

  • Improving the sharing, using and disseminating of data and using registries in the best possible way.
  • A minimum 1% of the societal cost of dementia to be devoted to funding research in: basic science, care improvements, prevention and risk reduction, drug development and public health.
  • Attracting researchers and skill to the sector
  • Increasing the scale of new research with the global ratio of publications on neurodegenerative disorders versus cancer at just 1:12
  • Involvement of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the research process.
  • Encouraging innovation, the use of technology and entrepreneurship.

Full report: World Alzheimer Report 2018

To support the 2018 World Alzheimer’s Month campaign, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) in partnership with ITN Productions have released the documentary film below  ‘Every 3 seconds’ to help raise awareness of global impact of dementia:


What do people want from social care?

Healthwatch | September 2018 |  What do people want from social care? 

Healthwatch have released a briefing which provides an overview on what people have told Healthwatch they want from social care in the future.


Key findings:

  1. Many people don’t know how care is funded and expect it will be free at the point of use
  2. Most people have given ‘little thought’ to their future care needs
  3. Individuals want to know if a care service is safe, will meet their needs and the comparative cost
  4. Many people don’t know where to go for information to help them plan
  5. People want a reliable and trustworthy source for advice on social care

The full briefing is available to download from Healthwatch



Urology Awareness Month

The Urology Foundation | Latest News 

September is Urology Awareness Month which has three key foci: to increase awareness, raise funds and smash taboos about urological conditions.  The Urology Foundation  have produced several case studies of what it is like be a urology patient.  


Case studies from The Urology Foundation:

Leading the charge: the people smashing the urology taboo online

What it’s like to lose your bladder AND your bowel function in your 20s

Lessons I have learnt from Bladder Cancer



College report finds UK wide histopathology staff shortage

The Royal College of Pathologists | September 2018 | College report finds UK wide histopathology staff shortage

According to a workforce census from The Royal College of Pathologists only 3% of NHS histopathology departments have enough staff to meet clinical demand.

Image source: rcpath.org

The census Meeting pathology demand  highlights the intense pressures that histopathologists face from increased workloads, such as new NHS screening programmes. In addition, services are facing more complex work as personalised medicine develops and guides new therapies. Outdated IT systems compound these pressures (Source: The Royal College of Pathologists).

The full report based on the census’ findings,  Meeting pathology demand- – Histopathology workforce census, is available to download from The Royal College of Pathologists.



Number of children being vaccinated decreases for fourth year in a row

HS Digital | September 2018|  Childhood Vaccination Coverage Statistics- England 2017-18

New figures released by NHS Digital indicate that uptake of 9 of the 12 early childhood vaccinations has declined for the fourth year in a row. 


Key facts:

  • In 2017-18, coverage declined in nine of the 12 routine vaccinations measured at ages 12 months, 24 months or five years in England compared to the previous year.
  • MenB coverage is reported as a national statistic for the first time this year and achieved 92.5% at 12 months.
  • In 2017-18, DTaP/IPV/Hib coverage at 12 months declined for the fifth year in a row, decreasing 1.6% since 2012-13 and is at its lowest since 2008-09. However, coverage at 24 months has remained above the 95% target since 2009-10.
  • Coverage for the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine as measured at two years decreased in 2017-18 for the fourth year in a row. Coverage for this vaccine is now at 91.2%, the lowest it has been since 2011-12 (Source: NHS Digital).

NHS Digital  Childhood vaccination coverage statistics 

The Guardian Take-up of MMR vaccine falls for fourth year in a row in England


Stoptober Campaign 2018

Public Health England | September 2018 |One person quits smoking every 80 seconds in England

This year’s Stoptober campaign is offering a free online ‘Personal Quit Plan’ to help smokers find the right stop smoking support for them. The online plan asks a number of questions and provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously.


Smokers will be advised that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are most effective when used in combination – an all-day patch together with a fast-acting option such as an inhaler or lozenges to help them deal with any immediate cravings (Source: PHE).

Of interest:

ASH  New data shows smokers are getting the message on e-cigarette

In the news:

Yorkshire Evening Post Just one in ten of us will be smokers in 2023, say health officials

BBC News ‘Don’t go cold turkey’ to quit smoking