Friday 5

Cancer-eating drugs, mismanagement of NHS records, and a parliamentary first- this week’s Friday 5

A drug has been designed to help the body to ‘eat and destroy’ cancer

A new drug has been announced which scientists say can destroy dangerous cancer cells. The drug boosts white blood cell activity, which the immune system uses to destroy any unwanted diseases such as cancer. Writing in the Natural Biomedical Engineering journal, the scientists say that following tests carried out in mice, the treatment worked in reducing aggressive breast and skin cancer tumours. The research on the drug is part of a growing area that more and more scientists are involved with in investigating how the body can be used to fight back against such diseases.

Read more at BBC News.


Research shows that a third of women would be better off without any screening for breast cancer

A study by researchers at the University College London has found that women who are at lower risk of breast cancer would be better off not being invited to NHS screenings. Modelling carried out by the team found that screening according to risk would reduce the number of women who undergo the unnecessary procedure, without substantially increasing the number of those who are missed. The researchers concluded that selective screening, therefore, represents the opportunity to do more good than it would harm. In fact, it would not just reduce over-diagnosis and the stress it causes women, but it would also be more cost-effective for the NHS.

Read more on the Guardian.


Nurse arrested following a probe into the deaths of 17 babies

 Nurse Lucy Letby was arrested on suspicion of the murder of eight babes and the attempted murder of a further six. As part of the investigation, police are investigated 15 non-fatal collapses at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit between March 2015 and July 2016. Letby’s arrest is part of a long-running investigation into the higher-than-expected number of baby deaths at the hospital. Cases being investigated affect families across Cheshire and North Wales.

Read more at BBC News.


The NHS records of 150,000 patients have been shared against their wishes

In a statement to Parliament on Monday, Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price announced that a major IT provider had failed to register patients’ preferences. “NHS Digital recently identified a supplier defect in the processing of historical patient objections to the sharing of their confidential health data… As a result, these objections were not upheld by NHS Digital in its data disseminations.” Doyle-Price said. The IT failure stretches back over three years to March 2015. NHS Digital has now confirmed that all new patient preferences are being honoured, whilst it continues to work through the historical opt-outs.

Read more on the HSJ (£).


In announcing a global disability summit, the International Development Secretary is the first government minister to use sign language in the House of Commons

Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, has announced that the UK will be hosting its first global summit on disability. However, it was her delivery that grabbed attention, with Ms Mourdant speaking and signing the announcement. “For too long in the world’s poorest countries, disabled people have not been able to reach their full potential because of stigma or not enough practical support… I am proud to be focused on this area which has been neglected for too long.” Ms Mordaunt said and signed. In response, Commons Speaker John Bercow responded in speech and sign language, saying ‘that is good news’. It is believed to be the first time a Minister has used sign language in the House of Commons.

July’s summit will be hosted by the British government, with the government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance.

Read more on the Independent.


Quote of the week-

As we celebrate the seventieth birthday of the NHS, we inevitably look forward towards its future, as well as reflecting on its past. However, to do so without thinking of Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the NHS, would be impossible. Therefore, our quote of the week is one in which Nye Bevan sums up the very reason that we have the NHS…

“Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune the cost of which should be shared by the community.”