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Another plummet for patient referrals and some new findings for COVID-19 immunity – this week&

UK launches study into research long-term health impact of COVID-19

The UK government has announced it will be launching one of the world’s largest research studies into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, known as PHOSP-COVID.

The study, which will be led by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, will involve around 10,000 patients and will assess the impact of COVID-19 on patient health and how individual characteristics, including gender and ethnicity, might influence recovery. There will also be a focus on ways to improve the mental of patients hospitalised with coronavirus.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.

Spanish study casts doubt on herd immunity theory

A Spanish study published in the Lancet involving more than 60,000 people estimates that only 5% if the Spanish population have developed antibodies.

However, for herd immunity to be achieved 70-90% of a population needs to be immune to stop the virus spreading.

This highlights just how important a track and trace system will be and the urgency for a vaccine to be developed.

Read the full story in the BBC News.

Referrals for treatment fell by two thirds during COVID-19

Despite efforts early on in the pandemic to urge the public to use the health service when needed, monthly stats show that new patient referrals in May were down 35% from this time last year.

These data only add to concerns about the growing backlog of elective surgeries and increasing waiting times.

President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Neil Mortensen said: “We have been concerned since the start of this pandemic that suspending elective surgery for a period of months placed a time bomb under what was already a crisis in NHS waiting times. That time bomb has now detonated.”

Read the full story in the HSJ.

Sir Simon Stevens reinforces calls for largest-ever immunisation season for the 2020

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, NHS England’s chief executive commented on the likelihood that the winter flu season will increase the risk of COVID-19 re-surging in the winter.

He stated that the number of people immunised against flu will need to be increased to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This follows suggestions that the flu vaccine could be made available to all over-50s.

However, he raised concerns about how this could be delivered, suggesting that tens of thousands of NHS staff would need to be trained up to deliver the vaccines.

Read the full story in the HSJ.


Quote of the week

This week, the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, chaired by Baroness Cumberlege, published their report of a two-year investigation of cases when women and children endured unnecessary harm because of the continued use of epilepsy drug in pregnancy, a hormone pregnancy test and pelvic mesh implants.

Baroness Cumberlege said:

“‘First Do No Harm’ is a necessary reminder not just to doctors but to the whole healthcare system. We are urging the system to do what it should have done years ago, to help those who have suffered and put in place the processes that will enable it to learn from past mistakes so that we spare other families from such anguish.”

Read more here.

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