News

Worst-ever waiting times, cannabis medicine approval and more election promises – it’s this week’s Friday Five!

A&E waiting times at worst-ever level

The NHS has recorded its worst A&E waiting times in England since current targets were introduced in 2004.

Only 83.6% or A&E patients were seen within four hours in October, which is far below the 95% target.

Doctors and hospital bosses have announced fear will be a very tough winter for the NHS.

Read more in The Guardian.

Labour promises to outspend Tories on the NHS

Labour has pledged to give the NHS £5.5bn more a year by 2023-24 than the £20.5bn that the conservatives have promised.

The party has said this would bring an end to the lengthening delays in A&E and cancer treatment, tackle the NHS’s staffing crisis, bring back bursaries for student nurses, bolster mental healthcare and pay for a new generation of hospitals, GP surgeries and mental health facilities.

The conservatives have said this would be “a major error” as Labour’s plans to shorten the working week would further reduce the funding available.

Read more in the BBC.

Woman dies in Ipswich after codeine abuse

A coroner has questioned the safety of online pharmacies after the death of a woman as a result of her addiction to the opioid painkiller codeine.

The inquest into her death found that she had been prescribed codeine for back pain, but she later bought more online.

Her excessive use of codeine caused acute pancreatitis and later pneumonitis which led to her death.

Read more in the BBC.

 

Cannabis-based medicines approved for NHS

Two cannabis-based medicines, Epidyolex and Sativex, have now been approved for NHS use.

Doctors will now be able to prescribe Epidyolex for children with two types of severe epilepsy which can cause multiple seizures a day. The other treatment is called SativexIt and has been approved for treating muscle stiffness and spasms, in multiple sclerosis.

The approval of these drugs comes after the success of randomised controlled clinical trials and regulatory processes.

Read more in the BBC.


Quote of the week

In response to NHS England’s announcement that hospital waiting times have reached their worst-ever level, Dr Nick Scriven, of the Society of Acute Medicine, said:

“These figures are truly worrying as we haven’t even reached the ‘traditional’ winter period yet.”