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Confirmation of the end of VCOD, white people at higher risk of cancer, NHS unprepared for ageing po

Compulsory Covid jabs for care home staff scrapped

On Tuesday, the government confirmed that a requirement for health workers to have a COVID-19 vaccination would no longer be introduced in April and care home workers would no longer be required to have the shots from March 15.

Regulations making vaccination a requirement for patient-facing healthcare staff in England were due to come into force on 1 April, with new legislation required to revoke this.In response to a public consultation on revoking the legislation, published today, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed it will ‘bring forward regulations to revoke vaccination as a condition of deployment’. Out of more than 90,000 consultation responses, 90% of respondents supported revoking the mandate for healthcare staff, with only 9% saying it should still be enforced.

It said that it ‘fully [recognises] the calls for clarity and for quick revocation of the regulations’ and that the new regulations will come into force on 15 March ‘in order to provide certainty for employers, their staff, patients and people who receive care or support ahead of 1 April’. The DHSC added that the consultation responses ‘showed clearly the strength of feeling about the policy, both through the large number of total responses received and the clear preferences indicated’.

Read the full story in Pulse.

White people at much higher risk of most cancers in England, study finds

Black, Asian and mixed-heritage people are much less likely to develop cancer than white people, in England, an analysis suggests. However, there are exceptions – prostate and blood cancer are two to three times more common in black people. Cancer Research UK’s analysis, published in the British Journal of Cancer, is based on three million cancer cases in England from 2013-17.

Overall, compared to the white population, cancer rates were 38% lower in Asian people, 4% lower in black people and 40% lower in mixed-heritage people. The risk of developing cancer is based on many different factors, including someone’s age and the genes they inherit – but about 40% of cases in the UK are preventable and due to lifestyle choices. Other reasons for the variations in cancer rates between ethnic groups include access to screening, vaccines and support to live a healthy lifestyle. Lower levels of smoking among most black and Asian groups is one reason they are at lower risk of some lifestyle cancers – such as bowel, breast and lung – than white people, the study suggests.

Dr Katrina Brown, a Cancer Research UK statistician and author of the study, said “We already know that the burden of cancer weighs heaviest on the most deprived in the UK…More research is needed to understand the challenges faced by different ethnic groups and how the cancer journey differs for people.”

Read the full story in BBC News.

NHS ‘woefully unprepared’ for care of an ageing England

The NHS is “flying blind” and “woefully unprepared” to cope with England’s rapidly ageing population, senior doctors have warned as stark new figures reveal the country has only one full-time geriatrician to care for every 8,000 older people. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said the drastic shortage of specially trained physicians to look after the rising number of elderly people and a lack of NHS workforce planning meant England was “sleepwalking into an avoidable crisis of care for older people”.

Its analysis of NHS and Office for National Statistics data shows there is just one full-time geriatrician for every 8,031 people over the age of 65 in England. There are also regional disparities, with one geriatrician caring for more than 12,500 over-65s in the east Midlands, while the figure in north-east and central London is one per 3,254. Estimates suggest that by 2040 there could be as many as 17 million over-65s. But the college warns that many doctors will soon be requiring geriatric care themselves as 48% of consultant geriatricians are due to retire within the next decade.

“I have dedicated my career to working in the NHS – a service that I am fiercely proud of – and yet it scares me to wonder what might happen should I need care as I get older,” said Dr Andrew Goddard, the president of the RCP. “There simply aren’t enough doctors to go round, not least within geriatrics. The workforce crisis we’re facing is largely down to an astonishing lack of planning. All successful organisations rely on long-term workforce planning to meet demand and it’s absurd that we don’t do this for the NHS and social care system. The government needs to … make workforce planning a priority.”

Read the full story in The Guardian.

More support needed for GPs to treat eating disorders

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the British Medical Association (BMA) say doctors are not getting the right support to treat eating disorders and need more time with patients and more specialist units.

It comes after a survey was conducted on GP experiences by the charity Beat. Over 92% asked thought their GP needed more training with eating disorders. Beat Eating Disorders asked nearly 1,700 people about their experience of trying to get a diagnosis from their GP. Out of those questioned, 69% also said they felt their GP didn’t know how to help them. The survey has been released to coincide with Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

Dr Richard Van Mellaerts is part of the BMA’s GP committee and said “People with eating disorders should never feel that GPs are a barrier to accessing care, so it is vital that medical education and training supports doctors to identify eating disorders and support their treatment,

Read the full story in the BBC News.

Quote of the week

As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, Mind Charity has released some advice on how to deal with feeling overwhelmed and anxious from the constant stream of upsetting, bad news.

The mental health charity tweeted:

“There’s no question that the news is difficult to read and absorb right now. But we’ve got some things that might help you feel a bit less stressed:

1) Limit your news intake. Watching or reading the news can be a helpful way to stay informed, but it can also increase our anxiety or fear.

2) Tailor your feeds. When a news story is developing, it can be tempting to go online and see what others are saying. But that might leave you feeling anxious – especially if people are sharing content you’re trying to avoid, or posting concerning feelings or opinions.

3) Talk to someone. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling and say your worries ‘out loud’. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself

4)Take action. Activism can be a great antidote to feelings of helplessness. When you’re feeling distressed about something specific, it could help to do something proactive.

The idea of conflict in Europe is an unfamiliar one to many of us, and for some it could bring anxiety over what, if anything, might come next. Anxiety is a natural human response. We experience it when we feel we’re under any sort of threat. Feeling anxious can be the ‘right’ way to feel, and doesn’t always mean you have a mental health problem.”

For more information and advice, visit

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