Health news stories from across the UK over the last week.
NHS staffing issues in Scotland must be addressed urgently
Latest figures show a drop in the number of nurses and midwives which has led to urgent calls for the Scottish Government to act.
Official statistics reveal the health service had the whole-time equivalent of 61,775 nurses and midwives by the end of September, a decrease of 2.2% on the previous quarter.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland said figures mean that more than 5% of nursing and midwifery posts are unfilled. This is despite third-year nursing students joining the workforce early to help support the response to the pandemic.
Full story – Aberdeen Evening Express
Nicola Sturgeon promises £500 for all NHS staff in Scotland
The Scottish First Minister has pledged to pay every NHS and social care worker in Scotland a £500 Covid bonus and has called on Boris Johnson to make the payment tax-free.
Scottish government officials said the pledge would cost around £180m and cover 391,000 full-time and part-time NHS and social care staff. This would include students who volunteered to help during lockdown, GP surgery staff and palliative care workers. However, the plans have received some criticism.
Full story –The Scottish Herald
Manchester hospital plans advance
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is seeking public feedback on proposals announced earlier this autumn to redevelop North Manchester General Hospital and the Wythenshawe Hospital site.
The trust is working alongside developers and delivery partners to bring forward a healthy living campus at the 67-acre Crumpsall hospital. The plans are costed at around £600m and have secured £54m funding from the Government in early November.
Full story – North West Place
NHS staff mental health crisis revealed as absences soar in pandemic
Latest sickness figures within Norfolk’s NHS have revealed a mental health crisis with more than 30,000 days lost to depression, anxiety and stress in three months of lockdown.
Some trusts in the county saw almost double the number of days lost between April and June 2020 compared to the same three months last year, as staff struggled to cope with the pressures of the first covid peak.
The trusts have rolled out health and wellbeing programmes for those affected but unions argue it is not enough to account for the heavy physical and psychological price staff have paid. Furthermore, mental health charity Mind have warned of the damaging effect of the ‘superhero’ narrative which could prevent some health workers asking for help.
Full story – Eastern Daily Press
‘Sexual orientation should not be a barrier to starting a family’ – Lesbian YouTube stars demand change
A petition has been launched by the couple after they found out they must pay up to £30,000 for IVF treatment privately before the NHS will help them. . Megan and Whitney, the couple behind the petition, consider this discriminatory and have launched a campaign for equality in fertility treatment.
Most heterosexual couples qualify after two years of unprotected sex, but access to IVF treatment on the NHS depends upon where you live.
A recent report from the UK’s fertility regulator confirms a disparity in access to funded IVF with just 14% of IVF cycles for female couples receiving NHS funding, compared to 39% for mixed-sex couples. Moreover, in the south east the disparity is drastically worse with just 3.4% of lesbians receiving NHS funding for fertility treatment.
Full story – Free Radio
NHS Wales front-line staff to get twice-weekly Covid tests
A programme will be rolled-out to test all NHS Wales workers and social care staff twice a week, even those without any symptoms.
The tests will be available to doctors, nurses and all non-clinical staff including porters, cleaners and caterers. Regular testing of hospice inpatient unit staff and staff delivering hospice at home services is also promised.
Full story – BBC News
Virtual group clinics to be rolled out across NHS Wales
Virtual consultations across Wales are to be expanded to include virtual group clinics, for outpatients across primary, secondary and community care.
The video consultations, called Attend Anywhere, has been expanded in use rapidly over the recent months and helped ensure patients can continue accessing healthcare services safely.
So far, there has been just below 11,000 GP consultations and nearly 62,000 secondary and community care appointments taking place virtually in Wales.
Full story – Wales 24/7
Northern Ireland Covid vaccine to be rolled out at seven centres
Leisure centres are among seven venues across Northern Ireland where health services workers will be given the coronavirus vaccine.
Hundreds of people will become vaccinators and are being briefed on the large-scale operation which are expected to swing into action in the coming weeks.
Full story – Belfast Live
Almost 2,500 more NHS nurses in South East England for 2020
The latest NHS Workforce data published this week reveals an increase of 2,491 nurses and 836 doctors in the South East over the last year.
This figure represents a significant proportion of national figures as across England the number of nurses increased by 14,813 and doctors by 6,257.
Additionally, latest UCAS figures reveal record numbers of people accepting a place to study nursing in England – a 23% increase on the same time last year.
Full story – Isle of Wight County Press
Nearly a third of English hospital trusts exceed first peak of Covid patients
Nearly a third of hospital trusts across England have exceeded their first-wave peak of Covid patients undergoing treatment.
Although much of the south-west of England has avoided tier 3 restrictions, hospital cases are considerably higher. Hospital trusts in South Somerset and Devon treated more than twice as many Covid patients on at least one day last week as they did in the peak of the first wave.
Scientists warn that relaxing or scrapping the three-tier system too quickly could further hamper the NHS.
Full story – The Guardian
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