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NHS pay-rise, new mental-health plans and easing of self-isolation rules – this week’s F

3% pay rise for NHS workers in England and Wales

The government has offered nurses and other NHS workers a 3% pay rise following heavy criticism on the proposed 1% rise made by the Department for Health and Social Care in March.

Despite the adjustment to the low figure, some health unions say that a 3% rise does not reflect the huge sacrifices made by staff and the unprecedented pressure that has been put on the NHS workforce.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said “NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts. We will back the NHS as we focus our efforts on getting through this pandemic and tackling the backlog of other health problems that has built up.”

Read the full story in the BBC

New emergency NHS mental health plan

NHS England has announced a plan consisting of five new waiting time standards in order to put mental health on equal footing with physical health/

People who arrive at A&E suffering from mental health problems such as schizophrenia, psychosis, extreme anxiety or depression, or suicidal thoughts will receive urgent help within an hour under the five new waiting time standards, in a drive to reduce long delays.

Paul Farmer, the chief executive of Mind, a mental health charity, said “with increasing numbers of people reaching crisis point, it is critical that they get the right mental health support quickly, which these standards would help to achieve”

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Processed meat found to increase risk of heart disease by a fifth

The largest-ever study regarding the impact of meat on cardiac health has revealed that processed meat raises the risk of heart disease by a fifth.

The team at the University of Oxford found that eating 50g of processed meat per day increased the risk of heart disease by 18% due to its high salt and saturated fat content. They also found that consumption of unprocessed red meat increased by 9% whilst there was no link found between eating poultry and heart disease due to a lower saturated fat content.

Anika Knüppel, a co-lead author of the study, said: “We know that meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and would need to reduce meat production and consumption to benefit the environment. Our study shows that a reduction in red and processed meat intake would bring personal health benefits too.”

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Self-isolation rules eased for key workers

The government announced on Monday that fully vaccinated key workers will be able to avoid instructions to self-isolate in order to continue working even after they have come in contact with Covid.

The government is yet to set out the anticipated list of what jobs will qualify as critical but has said the list will include food, utility, and border staff.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson detailed that the easing of rules will apply to a “very very small number of named critical workers” and that the government did not want to “extend it too widely because this is one of the few shots we’ve got left in our locker to stop the chain reaction of the spread of Covid”.

Read the full story in the BBC.


Quote of the week

As Covid levels continue to rise, a paramedic from east London has spoken out about pressure on the NHS.

“It’s horrendous: the hospitals are very near to not coping and our ambulance service is near to declaring REAP level 4 [extreme pressure]. We are seeing a lot more Covid now with cases rising. We’re taking more people into hospital who are really unwell because they’ve had to wait for treatment during lockdown. Their conditions could have been managed if they were seen earlier but now they’re deteriorating and in the acute phase.”

Find out more from The Guardian.

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