Displaying items by tag: Health

Thursday, 23 June 2022 23:36

Covid cases increasing

Covid infections are up 43% across the UK, following the Jubilee weekend of partying and two new fast-spreading subvariants of Omicron, BA4 and BA5. People can catch them even if they have recently had other types of Covid. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which compiles the data, says it is too early to say if this is the start of another wave. Millions celebrated the Queen's Platinum Jubilee between 2 and 5 June, giving Covid many opportunities to spread. It usually takes a few days for people to show symptoms or test positive after catching it, so the latest data covers some of that Jubilee mixing. There were 11,778 new confirmed positive test result on 17 June 2022, and 80,128 people in the last 7 days. An increase of 17,771 compared to the previous 7 days. Data is being monitored closely: see


Published in British Isles
Thursday, 09 June 2022 23:29

Long Covid care

The Royal College of Nursing is urging the Government to increase investment in long Covid research after being warned that patients are suffering under a ‘postcode lottery’ in care. Some clinics treat long Covid as a physical condition, while other clinics treat it as psychological. Existing services are woefully inadequate to meet the level of demand. Latest official data estimates that two million people have said they are experiencing long Covid. There is also a need for nursing expertise to be used more widely to treat the condition. Where nursing staff are used in long Covid care, they play a pivotal role in managing patient care and treating chronic symptoms. Nursing staff see first-hand how life-limiting long Covid can be, especially when patients are suffering with complex chronic symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, and brain fog. There are not enough specialist services to meet the growing demand, and the help patients get varies hugely across the country.

Published in British Isles

Some medical students need to work multiple part-time jobs to afford to complete their degrees. Final year students have stopped training because they don't have enough money to survive.

For that year, they get a bursary to live on (maximum £6,458). It is not enough - especially for those from low-income backgrounds. They are campaigning for better NHS bursaries. Penny Sucharitkul hopes to be a vascular surgeon, but the money does not even cover her rent. She is from a single-parent family, and relying on Universal Credit after her father lost his job during the pandemic. On top of studying full-time, she works as a martial arts instructor and a clinical research assistant. She says working-class students are treated unfairly. ‘We're getting up at 6 am, training all day, then going to work again. It’s incredibly taxing on our mental health. We're burning people out before they've even started in the NHS.’

Published in British Isles
Friday, 13 May 2022 09:21

Pakistan: vaccination campaign stalling

Health workers in Pakistan are marking children’s fingers as having had a polio vaccination, when in reality parents have refused the vaccine after believing conspiracy theories that they are harmful, blasphemous, or a plot to sterilise Muslims. This is the biggest challenge - to eradicate the crippling virus in one of its last haunts. Deteriorating security along the border is making the situation worse, as militants cross from Afghanistan - the only other country where polio is still circulating. After two years free of polio Pakistan has two poliovirus cases. They were also paralysed, raising further concerns that there may still be hundreds of cases in the region. On average, only one in 200 infections leads to paralysis. Bill Gates, who invests billions in the polio fight, said ‘it would be tragic if the disease made a comeback because it would spread back across the world and eventually you have what you had before 1988 - hundreds of thousands of paralysed children.’

Published in Worldwide

Fred Parry attributes twenty years of sobriety to a rehab clinic, saying recovering from alcoholism was the best thing that ever happened to him. He is now a cellist, a music teacher, a husband and father. When his son Adam began battling addiction, Fred sent him to the same clinic to recover. He did for a short time, but Fred could not afford further rehab. Adam didn’t present like an alcoholic; he was well-spoken, intelligent, often reading three books at a time. But he was tortured and couldn't find a way out. Addiction took over when he started studying chemistry at University. He dropped out and was hospitalised six times for alcohol-related seizures. Fred was told by a doctor, ‘There's nothing you can do for an alcoholic, just lock them up and throw the key away’ Adam died after another seizure. He was 32. Mr Parry wants the Scottish government to improve access to addiction treatment services, including residential rehab.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 28 April 2022 23:52

Deadly outbreak of children’s hepatitis

Officials said a lack of exposure to common infections during young children’s ‘formative’ years, owing to pandemic measures, may be fuelling a global outbreak of hepatitis, the deadly liver disease. A total of 114 cases of ‘acute hepatitis of unknown origin’ have been reported in Britain since the first spate of cases was detected in Scotland less than four weeks ago. Health officials said they had detected as many cases in the past three months as they would normally expect to see in a year; the vast majority of cases involved children aged five and under. Experts have previously raised concerns about the long-term impact of lockdown on children's education and physical and mental health. However, this is the most serious potential health complication to have emerged so far. Liver experts said these cases may be the ‘tip of the iceberg’, as some symptoms could be missed.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 28 April 2022 22:44

Ethiopia: ‘let’s die at home’

Ayder Referral Hospital, Tigray’s main hospital, is now turning away sick people they can no longer treat. They have run out of supplies, casting doubt on the government’s claim to have opened the war-torn Ethiopian region to humanitarian aid. 200 patients, including babies with meningitis and tuberculosis and a 14-year-old boy with HIV, have been turned away. Two cancer patients waiting for operations were turned away due to no cancer drugs. These needy people are suffering from widespread famine and the ravages of a brutal 17-month war. Officials said they could only accommodate patients with food or money. A paediatric ward nurse said ten patients left when there was no more food: they said, ‘Pray for us; instead of dying here let’s go home and die there.’ 

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 28 April 2022 22:41

DRC: new Ebola outbreak

On 23 April WHO reported an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A patient aged 31 began experiencing symptoms on 5 April. He was sick for over a week before going to a local health facility. On 21 April he was admitted to an Ebola treatment centre but died that day. Recognising the symptoms, health workers submitted samples to test for Ebola. Now there are investigations to determine the source of the outbreak. The disease has had a two-week head start and medics are playing catch-up. The positive news is that the health authorities have more experience than anyone else in the world at controlling Ebola outbreaks quickly. By 27 April everyone had been inoculated in the province’s capital city, and over 230 Ebola contacts had been identified and monitored. Three vaccination teams will soon reach those at highest risk. See

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 15 April 2022 04:41

Valneva Covid vaccine approved in UK

A new Covid vaccine has been approved for use in the UK by regulators. It is manufactured by Valneva, using more traditional technology - similar to how polio and flu shots are made. It contains a whole copy of the virus which has been inactivated, so that it can't cause the disease but does teach the body how to fight it. The UK was due to receive 100 million doses of the jab, but the government cancelled the deal in September due to a ‘breach of obligations’. As with the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, it is designed to be given as two doses. The Commission on Human Medicines said, ‘We have advised that the benefit risk balance is positive. The vaccine is approved for people aged 18 to 50 years, with the first and second doses to be taken 28 days apart.’

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 31 March 2022 22:30

NHS maternity scandal

The police are investigating 600 cases of maternity care in a probe of hospital failings pointing to hundreds of baby deaths. Sajid Javid revealed the scope of the police inquiry during a Commons statement on Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust on 30 March. Mistakes at its hospitals led to babies being stillborn, dying after birth, or being left badly brain damaged. West Mercia police are investigating whether there was evidence to support a criminal case against the trust or any individuals involved. They have been talking to medical experts and prosecutors. The inquiry remains active, but no arrests have been made. The review, led by senior midwife Donna Ockenden, examined 1,600 incidents amid parents' fears over safety spanning the years 2000 to 2019, and concluded that catastrophic failures and repeated mistakes may have led to the deaths of nine mothers and 200+ babies and left other infants with major injuries.

Published in British Isles
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