Friday Five

Tackling waiting lists, 4-hour A+E to be dropped and a ‘political pantomime’ – this week’s Friday Five

Surgeons suggest ‘surgical hubs’ to sort waiting lists

The Royal College of Surgeons have called for £1billion in government funding to tackle long waiting lists.

During last year’s first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, all non-urgent surgeries were cancelled. Surgeons have suggested that surgical hubs that could continue in the event of another wave of covid- 19, should be identified across England.

Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “Surgery must be available on the NHS all year-round, not stop and start. If a dangerous new variant of COVID-19 takes hold, or another bad flu arrives in the autumn, we cannot allow surgery to grind to a halt again or waiting lists will become insurmountable.”

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.

Increased risk with Covid during pregnancy

Having coronavirus near the time of birth could increase risks of stillbirth and premature birth, finds study.

Researchers from the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit found that 12% of pregnant women who tested positive for coronavirus had a premature birth.  Only 5.8% of those who had a negative test gave birth early.

Professor Asma Khalil emphasised the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine and precautions for pregnant women saying that: “While it is reassuring that the overall increases in the rate of stillbirth and pre-term birth remain low, this study does show that the risk of stillbirth or premature birth may be increased in women who have the infection around the time of birth.”

Read the full story in the BBC.

 

4 hour A&E target to be dropped

NHS England has announced that it plans to shift the existing four hour target to six or eight hours.

Currently, the existing framework aims for patients to stay in Accident and Emergency departments for less than 4 hours. Following a recent consultation, NHS England say they are considering a different approach. This looks at implement targets for aspects of an A&E admission e.g. pre-hospital response times and discharge decisions.

The proposals still need to be approved by the government.

Read the full story in the HSJ.

Moderna vaccine is “highly effective” in teenagers

A US study, which looked at the vaccine for teenagers aged 12-18, found no cases of coronavirus for those who had two doses.

Moderna reported the jab as 93% effective, with no significant side effects or concerns. Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna said: “We are encouraged that mRNA-1273 was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 in adolescents. It is particularly exciting to see that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Researchers will follow up participants for 1 year to investigate long-term efficacy and safety.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.


Quote of the week

There’s no shortage of interesting quotes this week amongst the allegations made by Dominic Cummings. The former chief adviser to Boris Johnson has made multiple claims criticising the government’s handling of the pandemic. However, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group are calling the political back and forth ‘disrespectful’ and are urging a full public enquiry into the claims.

Matt Fowler, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said:

“This political pantomime continues to show a level of disrespect to our lost loved ones and brings us no closer to the answers we need for lives to be saved.”

Read more about Cumming’s claims and the public response in the Guardian.