Intensive care, emergency calls and adolescent mental health – this week’s Friday 5

Lack of intensive care beds puts patients’ lives at risk

Four in five intensive care units (ICUs) have a chronic lack of beds and staff shortages and are sending their patients to other hospitals. In 80% of hospitals, transfers are happening for non-clinical reasons, a monthly occurrence in 21% of units. The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine found that the 210 ICUs in the UK were on average short of 12 nurses, with numerous doctors telling of the strain their units are under.

Read more on The Guardian.


Five patients made 8,303 emergency calls in a year

Data from a freedom of information request has shown that five patients made a total of 8,303 emergency calls in a year. The highest number from a single patient was 3,594 to London’s Ambulance service. Whilst East Midland Ambulance service received 1,244 from a single patient, and South West Ambulance service received 1,044 from one person. An NHS spokesman said such calls were often related to mental health, chronic pain or substance dependency.

Read more on BBC.


PM ordered report into mental health published by the CQC

The Prime Minister told the Care Quality Commission to undertake a review into child and adolescent mental health services last January, which has been published this week. The report found that whilst the plans to improve services were positive and welcomed investment, the speed of delivery was too slow, risking “unnecessary distress” and “avoidable deteriorations” in adolescent mental health. The CQC visited 10 areas in the research for the report, and made recommendations for local, regional and national organisations to improve the services offered.

Read more on the HSJ (£).


Ireland’s Supreme Court ruling paves the way for abortion referendum

Ireland’s Supreme Court’s seven judges unanimously ruled that an unborn child does not have inherent constitutional rights outside the right to life, referenced in the Eight Amendment. The Eight Amendment gives unborn children the right to life, deeming abortion illegal, other than in exceptional circumstances. This ruling has potentially removed any legal hurdles to the Irish Government holding a referendum on abortion, which has been mooted for May.

Read more on Sky News.


Microsoft announces new projects including a new AI-driven clinical platform

Microsoft has announced a number of new projects all of which build on artificial intelligence and the cloud. One of the projects launched is a suite of new collaboration tools for health workers embedded in Microsoft 365; and new integrations with TeraRecon and Intuitive Surgical for Project InnerEye. These projects aim to equip health clinicians with “intelligent health” tools to improve the patient experience.

Read more on The Nuffield Trust.


Quote of the week – Dr Amir Hannan, on giving patients access to health records:

“Consultations are already changing from reading off the screen – what patients can just as easily read themselves – to spending more time focusing on planning for the future and gaining a shared understanding.”

Read more on The Richmond Group.