NHS winter pressures are becoming an all year reality, warn experts

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The type of intense extra workload pressure often experienced by the NHS in winter has become a year long experience, say experts responding to the publication of the latest official data on the performance of the NHS in England.

NHS England’s combined performance summary data show an NHS that is missing many of its targets and hitting new record lows for performance in some areas.

NHS announces new online symptom checker

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The BMA has warned that planned new digital NHS services, including an online “symptom checker,” should not replace patients’ direct access to GPs.

Brian Balmer, who chairs the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee, said that any new technology that improved patient care and access was to be welcomed, especially if it made appointment booking easier. But he said, “The proposed symptom checker is not the same as a consultation with a GP and should not be considered as such.”

Oily fish intake reduces risk of diabetic retinopathy, study shows

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Older patients with type 2 diabetes who consume dietary omega 3 fatty acids equivalent to at least two weekly servings of oily fish have a significantly lower risk of sight threatening diabetic retinopathy than those who eat less, a prospective observational study has shown.1

Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of vision loss in older people. The pathogenesis is not fully understood, but inflammation, oxidative stress, and microvascular changes play important roles…

Suspected sepsis: summary of NICE guidance

nice_logoGuidelines include:

  • “Think sepsis” in any person with suspected infection

  • Sepsis may present with non-specific symptoms and signs and without fever

  • Have a high index of suspicion of sepsis in those who are aged <1 year or >75 years, pregnant, or immunocompromised, and those who have a device or line in situ or have had recent surgery

  • Use risk factors and any indicators of clinical concern to decide if full assessment is required

  • Offer people at high risk of sepsis broad spectrum antibiotics and intravenous fluids in hospital

More people than ever receiving psychological therapies and recovering

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More people than ever are receiving psychological therapies and April saw the highest recovery rates so far in the history of the programme, end of year data has shown.

The number of people referred for treatment from January to March (Q4) increased to 367,689 by around 17,000 from 350,505 in Q3. The 15 per cent access target was exceeded hitting a new high of 16.8 per cent.

Clinicians rise to the social media challenge

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The challenges of supporting patients to become more resilient and knowledgeable about their conditions are difficult to crack – and social media can be part of the problem.

To address this issue, healthcare teams at Royal Stoke Hospital have started supporting patients by developing self-care videos and facebook groups where clinicians can provide accurate, valuable self-care information to patients in a closed environment.

Eating peanuts in early years reduces allergy risk even with later abstinence

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Children at high risk for peanut allergy who are treated with early peanut exposure from infancy to age 5 remain at low risk even after avoiding eating peanuts for a year, shows a UK study that indicates long lasting benefit from early exposure.

Peanut allergy is a common and potentially life threatening food allergy. A study published last year found that sustained peanut consumption beginning in the first 11 months of life reduced the rate of peanut allergy at age 5