Friday Five

Inconsistent PPE, mental health in older adults and lack of diversity in medical education – this week’s Friday Five

Healthcare workers calling for better protection against Covid

Medical organisations are meeting with government officials to call for tighter guidelines on personal protective equipment (PPE).

Countries, such as the US, have stricter rules on protection which require higher-grade face marks. In the UK, only exposure to certain procedures qualify healthcare workers to wear this higher standard of mask. Representatives of the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing are among the organisations asking for guidelines to be reconsidered.

Dr Barry Jones, who has been raising concerns with Public Health England throughout the pandemic, said: “If the present guidelines were effective, why have we had such a high death rate among the public, and health and care staff?”

Read the full story in the BBC.

Mental health and self-harm “forgotten” in over-65s

NHS mental health director is looking to challenge perceptions that “self-harm doesn’t happen to older people”.

Professor Nav Kapur highlights the increased risk of self-harm amongst over-65s following the pandemic. He also noted that in one study, over 65s who had self-harmed were 3 times more likely to commit suicide than younger adults who had also self-harmed.

Colin Menz, from charity Harmless, which supports people struggling with self-harm, said that often older people feel they “should have it under control by now.”

Read the full story in the BBC.

 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved in the UK

UK health regulator has approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use in the UK.

Given in one dose, the UK government have 20 million doses scheduled to be delivered ‘later this year’.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said : “This is a further boost to the UK’s hugely successful vaccination programme, which has already saved over 13,000 lives, and means that we now have four safe and effective vaccines approved to help protect people from this awful virus.”

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.

Covid tests inaccessible for visually impaired people

Charities say blind people do not have equal access to lateral flow tests, despite government initiatives.

Care minister Helen Whately, said that “New tools are being introduced for those ordering home test kits who are visually impaired, including improved boxes which are easier to assemble for the returning of tests; instructions in braille, audio and large print; and an RNIB information line hear [sic] a recorded version of the instructions.”

However, Royal National Institute of Blind People have said that resources and guidance on how to access lateral flow tests is unclear.

Read the full story in the HSJ.


Quote of the week

In the 2014 British Association of Dermatology handbook, only one picture was of non-white skin. Students have been petitioning, and this BBC video explores why.

Here’s what Professor Colin Melville, director of education and standards at the General Medical Council, said on the issue:

“We know that we can always do more to ensure our standards are being met, and we will work on this to encourage greater BME representation in medical teaching and training.”