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May’s cancer strategy, winter bed pressures and sober October – this week’s Friday

Emergency £240m to free up hospital beds this winter

In a bid to free up hospital beds and ease pressure on the NHS this winter, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that an emergency £240m will be provided, enabling elderly people to be cared for at home.

In January this year, despite a mass cancellation of routine patients, 1000 patients were waiting more than 12 hours.

At the Conservative party conference Matt Hancock said “We will use this money to get people who don’t need to be in hospital, but do need care, back home, back into their communities, so we can free up those vital hospital beds.

“And help people who really need it get the hospital care they need.”

However, some have criticised that this funding will be “nowhere near enough” and shadow care minister Barbara Keeley said “tinkering at the edges” was not going to solve “a severe crisis in social care caused by eight years of Tory austerity”.

Read more on the BBC.


Go Sober for October – Is it worth it?

Many will take part in Go Sober for October in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and apart from raising money the charity suggests that participants may also benefit from less snoring, better sleep, and increased energy.

Trust Me I’m a Doctor teamed up with scientists from University College London and The Royal Free Hospital, led by liver specialist Prof Rajiv Jalan, to conduct studies into the effectiveness of cutting out alcohol for a month.

Shorter term benefits were found to be weight loss and general feeling of well-being i.e. quality of sleep and concentration. Longer term benefits tended to be more noticeable in those who drank more than the governments recommended 14 units a week, such that after cutting out alcohol for a month, heavy drinkers drank 70% less 3 weeks afterwards.

Read more on the BBC.


May announces new cancer strategy

The prime minister has announced a new cancer strategy for the NHS that will see patients diagnosed and treated faster to improve cancer survival rates.

The strategy included reducing the bowel cancer screening age from 60 to 50. Ms May has said that “Through our cancer strategy we will increase the early detection rates from one-in-two today to three-in-four by 2028”. Ms May also announced the government’s intention to build rapid diagnostic centres to “help people get treatment quicker”.

Read more in the HSJ.


Leeds goes live with GP Connect 

Leeds has become the first city to go live with a platform which promises to make information held within a patient’s GP record available across all care settings.

GP Connect is being rolled out by EMIS Health and is designed to enable clinicians in community, mental health and acute trusts to access primary care data on their patients. It can also make it easier to manage appointments, by providing clinicians in secondary settings with the ability to book GP appointments for their patients.

Alistair Walling, chief clinical information officer for Leeds said, “Using the technology to provide timely information to care professionals when supporting patients’ care whether at home, in the community or hospital helps provide safer and better care.”

Read more in Digital Health.


Police used stun guns on mentally ill patients 96 times in a year

The Guardian reports that mental health patients have had a stun gun drawn, aimed or fired at them almost 100 times in just over a year.

Data provided by 28 police forces in the UK after a freedom of information request, shows police officers in the UK were called to hospitals and other mental healthcare facilities where a stun gun was used 96 times since 1 April 2017, the date when forces were required to keep data on this.

Greater Manchester and Avon and Somerset police forces have both used stun guns on mental health patients 18 times since April 2017

The North Norfolk MP, Norman Lamb, said “In my view, it is inappropriate to use them in a mental health setting. These are hospitals and people who are there are patients, not criminals.”

Read more on the Guardian.


Quote of the week

Our quote of the week comes from University of Oxford’s Prof Irene Tracey, who has been talking the BBC2 Horizon team with regards to their programme “Can my brain cure my body?”, focusing on the placebo effect.

“The average person thinks that placebo is something that’s a lie or some fakery, something where the person has been tricked and it isn’t real. But science has told us, particularly over the last two decades, that it is something that is very real, it’s something that we can see played out in our physiology and neurochemistry.”

Read more on the BBC website.

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