Health E-News Friday 8 May

Health E-News is a weekly update on policy and guidelines from organisations including NICE and individual Royal Medical Colleges, and news and views on health related subjects and research from trusted sources such as The King’s Fund, Cochrane, The Health Foundation, the NHS and the Department of Health and Social Care.

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COVID-19 guidance and policy

Joint statement addresses death certification during COVID-19 pandemic

A joint statement from the Care Quality Commission, the General Medical Council and Healthcare Improvement Scotland addresses questions raised by changes to the legislation relating to completion of the medical certificate cause of death (MCCD). The statement provides clarity over certification of death in cases where a positive swab diagnosis of COVID-19 is not available, advising practitioners to apply clinical judgement in stating the cause of death. The statement also makes it clear that the inclusion of COVID-19 in any part of the MCCD should be a matter solely for the doctor completing the form.

Government guidance on verifying deaths outside of hospitals

The government has published guidance clarifying practice for verifying deaths outside of hospitals and providing a framework for safe verification of death during the coronavirus emergency. The guidance applies to all cases outside of hospital, and supports verification of death by registered professionals, including paramedics, medical practitioners and registered nurses.

AOMRC statement on CPR and personal protective equipment (PPE)

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AOMRC) have released a statement on the use of PPE when carrying out chest compressions and defibrillation as part of resuscitation, addressing divergent recommendations. Revised guidance from Public Health England does not include CPR on the list of aerosol generating procedures, and advises that first responders can begin CPR and defibrillation without the need for PPE. In contrast, guidance from the Resuscitation Council (UK) considers chest compressions to be an aerosol generating procedure and that PPE should be used where available, while they advise use of a cloth or towel in community settings if there is a perceived risk of infection. The statement also includes links to College specific guidance on CPR and PPE.

COVID-19 related news

IFS report examines evidence of disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on BAME groups

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have published a report examining the evidence that the impact of COVID-19 is not uniform across ethnic groups, including the stark reality that in the UK, per-capita deaths amongst the black Caribbean population have occurred at three times those of the white British population. The report also explores the broader socio-economic impacts on BAME groups of the pandemic more generally. Meanwhile, a study from Imperial College looking at the characteristics and outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 patients, also found an increased risk of mortality amongst people in BAME groups, and figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggest that black males are 4.2 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white males. A recent piece from the King’s Fund considers what can be done to tackle these issues from the perspective of those working in health care.

Chief Medical Officers urge recruitment of more COVID-19 patients

The UK’s four Chief Medical Officers and NHS England and Improvement’s’ National Medical Director have written a joint letter to every NHS Trust, emphasising the importance of enrolling more patients into nationally prioritised COVID-19 clinical trials. In the absence of any proven existing treatment, the need for evidence from trials is especially important in guiding future treatment options.

RCEM set out recommendations for ‘resetting’ emergency department care

In a position statement published this week, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) have set out five fundamental aims that they believe to be necessary for emergency department care in the aftermath of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aims and associated recommendations in the statement call for emergency department care to be reset, and urge wholesale change to improve patient safety and the wellbeing of staff in emergency departments.

RCOT call on members to join the ‘Big Rehab Conversation’

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) are calling on members to join the ‘Big Rehab Conversation’ – a series of one hour virtual sessions held over Zoom every other Thursday evening. The first meeting will take place on Thursday 14 May. The discussions are intended to help set best practice for rehabilitation, and to identify challenges that might arise in the rehabilitation of people recovering from COVID-19. Interested members can sign up here.

Other news

RCN make preparations to mark Nurses’ Day on May 12

Next Tuesday, the 12 May marks Nurses’ Day, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many plans to recognise and celebrate this day will have to be adapted, but the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) highlight the added importance of shining a light on the remarkable work done by nurses, and ask the public and patients to use the day to thank nurses around the world. The RCN website will be updated to note the day.

NICE guidance

Nice guideline

NG175 COVID-19 rapid guideline: acute kidney injury in hospital


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