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Friday five: our round-up of the five top health stories this week

This week the ‘airbnb for care’, mental health and blood thinners have dominated the news.

NHS considering Airbnb model for social care

CareRooms, a new online platform, is being considered by the NHS as an alternative to social care. Willing hosts with a spare bedroom can earn money through the model for hosting patients needing recovery support. Hosts can earn approximately £50 a night and up to £1,000 a month by hosting patients who “want to stay in the family home and live independently for longer”. Read more on The Times (£).

Report finds 300,000 leave work each year due to mental health conditions

A Thriving at Work report has found that up to 300,000 people with long-term mental health conditions have to leave their jobs each year, costing the economy up to £99bn a year. The report has 40 recommendations for both employers and the government to support people in staying in work. These include creating an online wellbeing portal; and promoting the gig economy.  Read more on the BBC.

Blood-thinning drugs may reduce dementia risk

New research from a Stockholm Danderyds University Hospital in Stockholm, has found that blood-thinning drugs reduces the risk of dementia in those with Atrial fibrillation. The study found that those who were prescribed anticoagulants within a month of diagnoses had a 29% lower risk of getting dementia. Read more on NHS Choices.

Conservatives urged to back the Labour Party’s push to scrap ‘Dementia Tax’

The shadow social care minister, Barbara Keeley, has called for a debate to scrap the so-called ‘dementia tax’ policy from the Conservative Party’s which will culminate in a vote. Labour are calling on the government to “not proceed” with the policy and commit to extra funding. Read more on The Guardian.

NHS operating theatres are ‘wasting two-hours a day’

A new study by NHS Improvement of operating theatres in 100 trusts finds that 1.64 million operations were performed in 2016. However, they found that due to time wastage over 280,000 more operations could be performed each year. Croydon University has been highlighted as an example of good practice, who have worked hard to reduce time wastage by planning their operations better. Read more on iNews.

Quote of the week – Alan Milburn on technology and innovation in the NHS:

“The NHS needs to face outwards, to go with this tide of innovation, instead of seeking to stand in its way. The cyberattack on NHS trusts in May reinforced for many fears about advances in technology and the potential threat it poses to privacy. Of course, the right safeguards are needed, but it is time we stopped seeing the internet and data as a threat to health, rather than something that can be harnessed for the common good. Technology is never neutral. It can be a force for good or ill. But in healthcare the time has come to move our mindsets to embrace it instead of resisting it. In country after country, change will have to happen not just because cash is running out. But because time is running out for health systems that were designed to deal with yesterday’s challenges, not tomorrow’s opportunities. If we can summon up that same spirit of creativity and courage that created the NHS in the first place we can reshape how care is provided so that we improve outcomes, optimise resources and empower patients. That would ensure the NHS is able to outlive us all.”

Read more on The Guardian.

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