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 related news
A recent Cochrane Review considers the evidence for thoracic imaging tests in the diagnosis of COVID-19. Noting the continuing challenges of accurate diagnosis by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT‐PCR) testing, the review assessed studies on the use of chest imaging tests, including CT, X-ray and ultrasound, to see how accurate these tests are in diagnosing cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19. On the basis of the included studies, the review suggests that chest CT and chest X-ray may be useful for confirming COVID-19 diagnosis, but that CT scans may be less accurate in suspected cases.
Interim findings from the Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) study have been published, offering a view of the levels of infection in the general population in England. The study, led by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, tests over 150,000 participants each month over a 2-week period, and the published findings shows prevalence of infection increased across all age groups and regions. Infection was highest in those aged 18 to 24 with 1 in 100 people infected, and cases increased seven-fold in those aged over 65. The North West had the highest levels of infection and the number of infections in London increased five-fold. The current prevalence of infection is the highest recorded to date by the study team.
The General Medical Council have published new guidance on Decision making and consent, effective from Monday 9 November. The guidance is intended to help doctors have meaningful conversations with patients about their treatment and care options, and is designed to be easy to follow, taking account of the work pressures faced by doctors. A single page summary with key principles doctors need to know, a focus on the importance of taking a proportionate approach, tailored to individual patients, and information on how healthcare colleagues can support decision making.
The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) have each submitted cases to the Treasury, ahead of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. The organisations are united in their calls to the Government to combat staff shortages and inadequate and outdated equipment and IT, the primary obstacles that slow down care for cancer and imaging patients. The full submissions of each organisation can be accessed from this page.
The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Association of Anaesthetists have published guidance on the Safe Drug Management in Anaesthetic Practice. This guidance has been endorsed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and the College of Operating Department Practitioners. The guidance builds upon 2016 guidance, ‘Storage of drugs in anaesthetic rooms’, extending its scope to include other areas where anaesthesia is routinely administered, such as emergency departments and labour wards.
With the move from face-to-face to digital provision of some health care services during the first stages of the pandemic, there is a need to consider the gains, the losses and the balance between the two options, ahead of lasting decisions being made, suggests the King’s Fund. Noting some of the benefits that digital solutions offer patients and staff, and highlighting some of the obstacles preventing access to digital solutions, the argument is made for a balance which draws on the strengths of both face-to-face and digital, taking proper account of the needs and preferences of patients and healthcare professionals.
As Black History Month begins, with restrictions limiting face-to-face events, NHS Employers is keen for staff to engage with celebrations, and share stories and resources online. Their website lists some events that NHS trusts have planned throughout the month, links to further information and resources on Black History Month specifically, as well as resources on inclusion and diversity more broadly. They also offer some key facts, figures and information about the current NHS workforce.
Bringing together NHS Confederation members and partners, the NHS Reset campaign has convened the health and care system to reflect on the learning from the last six months and what it means for the future. The report reflects the views of the NHS Confederation, and highlights five factors which are central to helping reset the way health and care is planned, commissioned and delivered.
- Potential Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms reported through NHS Pathways and 111 online
- Weekly national flu reports: 2019 to 2020 season
- Reports of cases of TB to UK enhanced tuberculosis surveillance systems
- Weekly all-cause mortality surveillance: 2019 to 2020
- Diagnostic imaging dataset for May 2020
- Abortion statistics for England and Wales: 2019
- Abortion statistics during the coronavirus pandemic: January to June 2020
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