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This week's Friday Five: 11/11/22

NICE approves new breast cancer treatment for NHS patients

Pembrolizumab, a new immunotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), will now be available to NHS patients following NICE approval.

Pembrolizumab offers a much needed solution. Previously, there was no treatment available specifically for patients with early-stage TNBC, an aggressive form of breast cancer with high risk of recurrence. The treatment is designed to be used in the earlier stages of the disease, so will lead to better survival rates and outcomes for patients.

Lauren Sirey, a patient with TNBC who received the treatment as part of an early clinical trial said: "This treatment allowed me to make a full recovery and I'm now approaching my five-year all clear."

Read more at Pharmaphorum here.

ONS reports decline in England's overall health

The annual health of the population report by the Office of National Statistics found that the health index for England declined from 100.5 in 2019 to 100.1 in 2020.

The health index provides a single value representing overall health in England. The key metrics that led to this reduction in the index were related to life satisfaction, mortality and mental health. However, increases in some metrics reflected positive changes in the nation's health such as reduced air pollution and reduced crime, likely due to the impact of the pandemic.

Gwen Nightingale, assistant director at the Health Foundation, said: “Good health is one of the nation’s primary assets, and the index provides leaders with authoritative information to inform local plans to improve health. The index also provides a common language to talk about health, and this is why we would like to see central government departments using the health index to describe progress and understand the local picture.”

Read more at the ONS here.

NHS considers change in payment model to tackle waiting lists

NHS England is reportedly considering a new 'controversial' payment model, known as Payment by Results, in order to increase elective activity.

The payment by results model means trusts are paid only for each unit of activity delivered. It is hoped that this will drive activity levels by providing a larger incentive to clear the growing waiting list. This differs to the current payment model where elective care is delivered through a block contract but providers that treat more patients receive additional payments.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the King’s Fund: “One of the benefits of PbR is at least it was simple. For all its faults, you had a really clear principle of money following the patient – if you do more activity, you get more revenue – so I can understand why people are drawn back to a simpler time."

Read the full story in HSJ here.

Cutting edge prosthetic arms now available to all amputee patients

The NHS has announced that it will offer all amputee patients new bionic arms that are controlled by electrical brain signals and offer much greater functionality.

All eligible patients will be able to access this potentially life changing treatment that was previously only available to military veterans. Previous prosthetic arms offered by the NHS had little to no functionality, but technological advancements now mean that prosthetic limbs can be linked to brain activity and enable patients to carry out daily activities.

Darren Fuller, 46, who lost his right hand and forearm said: “It will massively change peoples’ lives because they will be able to do things more independently – they have amazing functionality. I can hold a paint brush and paint or pick up a glass and drink from it. I have a seven-year-old daughter and it allows me to do a lot more with her such as arts and crafts. I don’t feel excluded from any part of her life anymore and there’s not much I can’t do with her."

Read the full story at NHS England.

Quote of the week

For the first time ever, NHS nurses belonging to the Royal College of Nursing are going on strike to fight for better pay. Nurses across the country have been sharing their reasons for voting for strike action.

One nurse interviewed by The Telegraph said: “I don’t hate nursing – it is the most fabulous, emotionally nourishing career – but my job isn’t looking after patients any more. It’s firefighting."

Read the full story in The Telegraph.


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