Friday Five

The abolishment of PHE, the reality of ‘long-covid’ and a breakthrough for breast cancer – this week’s Friday Five

 

New survey reveals that UK patients have embraced the move to virtual healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic

A new survey conducted by Accenture has revealed that the majority of UK patients have welcomed the switch to virtual healthcare that occurred during COVID-19.

In the survey, 87% of patients reported that the quality of care was as good or better than before the pandemic and 53% expressed a desire to increase the use of technology for communicating with healthcare providers and managing conditions.

These findings suggest that the digital tools that were adopted by the health system during the pandemic could finally stick and become a critical part of the way healthcare is delivered.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.

Proof that patients may experience effects of COVID-19 long after they recover

The initial findings of the DISCOVER project into longer term effects of coronavirus have shown that “Long Covid” is real and patients might suffer debilitating symptoms for many months after they recover from the virus.

In the first study to show a conclusive pattern, researchers at North Bristol NHS Trust found that 75% of patients at Bristol’s Southmead Hospital still experienced issues three months later, with symptoms including breathlessness, fatigue and muscle ache which leave victims struggling to wash dress and return to work.

In response to the findings, the Royal College of General Practitioners said it expected GPs to see an influx of patients with lingering illnesses.

Read the full story in the Telegraph.

Pioneering treatment during breast cancer surgery prevents need for long courses of radiotherapy

Breast cancer patients could avoid repeated hospital visits, after a new study found that a single dose of radiotherapy during surgery is just as effective as multiple of doses of more convention treatments.

The pioneering therapy known as Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy (TARGET-IORT), was developed by clinical staff from University College a London and is administered immediately after a lumpectomy using a small device that is placed inside the breast directly where the cancer is located.

The clinical trial of the drug was run by UCL over the course of 20 years and involved 2298 women aged 45 with a breast cancer tumour up to 3.5cm in size. The findings showed that 8 out of 10 patients treated with TARGIT-IORT had no need for any further post-operative radiotherapy treatments. 

Read the full story in the Telegraph.

NHS staff sign up to COVID-19 sniffer dog trial

A trial has begun to see if medical detection dogs can be trained to sniff out COVID-19, even in people that are asymptomatic.

NHS staff at 11 hospitals across the UK are taking part in the study and will provide “odour samples” which will be used to train the dogs.  

Medical detection dogs have already successfully detected different types of cancer, Parkinson’s and malaria so there is hope that they will be able to detect COVID-19 sod be used to screen travellers arriving from abroad.

Read the full story on BBC News.


Quote of the week

In response to the government’s announcement about replacing Public Health England with a new agency, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation commented on the risk the move presents under the current circumstance and the need for total justification of its reasons.

“If the government wants a longer-term focus on health protection in an agency, it must examine its own actions in reducing the stability and resilience of national public bodies over the years.”

Read the Health Foundation’s full response here.