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Simon Stevens steps down, Covid passport updates and huge impact of miscarriages – this week’s Frida

Simons Stevens to step down as NHS CEO

Chief Executive of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens will step down from his role at the end of July. The government has announced that he will receive a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life in recognition of his services to health.

An article in the HSJ outlines his career in the NHS. It includes reforms during the 2010 financial crash and the Covid vaccination programme alongside ongoing challenges such as NHS workforce issues and waiting lists crises.

“Joining the health service in my early twenties was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, followed three decades later by the privilege of leading the NHS through some of the toughest challenges in its history”, said Sir Simon.

Read the full story in the Telegraph and at HSJ.

Nearly 70% of adults have Covid antibodies

68 per cent of adults have protective antibodies against coronavirus in their blood, from either vaccination or previous infection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS figures come from a study measuring levels of antibodies of 20,000 people. Rates of antibodies were highest among older age groups, who were more likely to have had two doses of the vaccine.

Deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, noted that it is unknown how protective these antibodies will be against new variants of the virus, but that he was hopeful that, for severe disease, protection would be “much more solid”.

Read the full story in the Telegraph.

NHS app to be used as Covid ‘vaccine passport’

Transport secretary Grant Shapps, has said that people will be asked to show evidence of Covid vaccination and testing before travelling. Work has begun to develop the NHS app to add a feature to show if someone has had the vaccine.

Shapps confirmed “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application – actually, it will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on – to be able to show that you have had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing.”

Christopher Dye, professor of epidemiology at the University of Oxford, believes that Covid passports will be in place long-term: “One reason is that Covid is not going to go away; it is going to be endemic around the world, it is going to keep resurfacing, and I think that, just as we’ve had yellow fever passports for years and years and years, we’re going to have Covid passports too,” Dye said.

Read the full story in the Guardian.

Study shows 43% higher rate of miscarriage among black women

Miscarriage rates among black women found to be 43% higher than for white women, according to research by Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage. Scientist are calling for further research into why this is.

The study is also pushing for improved care following miscarriages : “For too long, miscarriage has been minimised and often dismissed. The lack of medical progress should be shocking. Instead, there is a pervasive acceptance. The era of telling women to ‘just try again’ is over.”

The report, published in the Lancet, looked at the physical impact of miscarriage and found that it raised risks of suicide by four times and increased likelihood of long-term health problems such as blood clots, heart disease and depression.

Read the full story in the BBC.


Quote of the week

Health secretary Matt Hancock tweeted a photo getting his vaccine. Here’s what he had to say:

“It didn’t hurt a bit, just like the Queen said. Barely a scratch.”

Read more in the Times.

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