Friday Five

Antidepressants, the NHS workforce crisis and advances in health tech – this week’s Friday 5

Oxford University scientists call for one million more people to be given antidepressants

New research published by Oxford University scientists found that over one million extra people would benefit from being prescribed antidepressants. They studied data from 522 trials, covering 116,000 patients, which found that all of the 21 antidepressants prescribed were better than a placebo. Newer antidepressants were found to be tolerated better as they had fewer side effects, whilst the most effective drug in reducing depressive symptoms was amitriptyline.

Read more on The Independent.


NHS England figures show one in 11 posts are vacant

NHS England has released figures that show that there are almost 100,000 current vacant roles. This comes on the back of NHS Providers showing a year-to-date deficit of £1.3bn, causing NHS Improvement to revise its estimate of the year-end deficit to a staggering £931m, 88% worse than previously thought. Meanwhile, there were 5.6 million A&E visits in the three months to December, over 250,000 more than the previous year.

Read more on The Guardian.


Tech campaign to prevent strokes could save the NHS £81m a year

A new campaign will see the roll out of over 6,000 devices to prevent strokes which could save the NHS £81 million a year. There are a range of technologies that are being distributed to GP practices, pharmacies and community centres, which include blood pressure cuffs and devices that detect irregular heartbeats. The project is to prevent strokes that occur due to atrial fibrilliation (AF), and aims to identify 130,000 new cases of AF over 2 years which prevent over 3,650 strokes and potentially save 900 lives.

Read more on DigitalHealth.


One in Seven trusts fail to resume elective care

Pulse found that out of 86 trusts who responded to their questions, 12 had not fully restarted elective procedures. This comes almost a month after NHS England’s suspension on such treatment was lifted. A number of trusts have restarted some elective operations, whilst others are still cancelling treatment and outpatient appointments. This has led to patients waiting for hip and knee operations attending other services such as general practice for pain relief.

Read more on Pulse.


New tool created to highlight missed clinical trial deadlines

A new tool has been created by Dr Ben Goldacre and a team of researchers from Oxford University, to highlight which US drug companies miss clinical trial deadlines. Trials Tracker aims to promote transparency within the notoriously private pharmaceutical industry and aims to “nudge” companies into properly disclosing data. The FDA are legally able to fine companies $10,000 a day for each day they miss the reporting deadline, however these are rarely collected. The tracker covers number of trials reported; fines that could have been imposed; and total fines claimed by the US Government.

Read more on The BBC.


Quote of the week – Faiza Shaheen on the UK workforce crisis:

…we need to start listening. When things don’t add up you don’t just keep plugging in the same numbers, and shouting about success. The economy may well be doing well by traditional measures, but these measures simply fail to reflect the reality of people’s lives…”

Read more on The Guardian.