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End Of Life Treatment  Rules Tightened

End Of Life Treatment Rules Tightened

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2012
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Hospitals that fail to consult patients and their families about end-of-life treatment could face legal action under new rules.

New legal obligations in the NHS constitution will also make clear that patients have a right to expect single-sex accommodation in hospital.

Ministers say the package of reforms, which is being put out to consultation, will empower patients and ensure that their wishes come first.

Rules on involving individuals and families in treatment decisions are being strengthened after an outcry over the secretive use of the Liverpool Care Pathway.

The Pathway involves withdrawing life-saving treatment from patients who are considered to be dying – including fluids and food.

Families have complained that relatives have been put on the Pathway when they have not been dying and have spoken about fighting for treatment to be reinstated.

Under the new measures, health trusts that fail to discuss issues properly could be sued and doctors who ignore patients and their relatives face being struck off.

The coalition’s policy on single sex wards will also be included in the constitution for the first time.

Other planned changes include a new right for patients to have an acknowledgement, an explanation or apology for any mistakes and a commitment that complaints will be acknowledged in three working days and tougher rules about their handling.

Health Minister Norman Lamb said the Government was determined to protect the founding principles of the health service.

“The NHS is one of this country’s greatest achievements. This Government will always make sure it is free to all, no matter your age or the size of your bank balance,” he said.

“That’s why at the same time as we are protecting its budget, we are strengthening this constitution, which enshrines the right of everyone to have first class care, now and in the future.”

Marie Curie Cancer Care welcomed the proposed new legal right for patients to be consulted on end-of-life care decisions.

But the charity said the Government should go further and called for the next independent national audit of the Liverpool Care Pathway to be brought forward.

Imelda Redmond, director of policy and public affairs at Marie Curie, said: “The Liverpool Care Pathway has enabled thousands of people to experience dignified care in the last hours and days of life. It was developed to spread the hospice model of end of life care into hospitals and other healthcare settings.

“We have become increasingly concerned about the damaging media coverage which reports negative experiences of people in hospital and the end of life. That is why we are calling for the next independent national audit to be brought forward so that we can identify as soon at possible where these failings are taking place.

“Once this is done, an action plan must be put in place for improvements where care is below the highest standards that the public expects.”

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Housework ‘Helps Cut’ Breast Cancer Risk

Housework ‘Helps Cut’ Breast Cancer Risk

  • Posted: Sep 04, 2012
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The largest study of its kind shows that women who lead an active lifestyle can reduce the chance of getting breast cancer.

Housework, brisk walking and gardening can help to cut the risk of developing breast cancer, according to research.

In the largest study of its kind to date, the European Prospective Investigation Of Cancer (Epic), co-funded by Cancer Research UK, found women who take part in moderate to high levels of exercise can reduce the chance of getting breast cancer by up to 13%.

The research looked at the link between diet, lifestyle and the disease in more than 8,000 women who had suffered from breast cancer.

The study shows those who were the most physically active were 13% less likely to develop the disease compared with those who were physically inactive. Women who took part in moderate exercise had an 8% lower chance of getting breast cancer.

Sarah Williams, from Cancer Research UK, said: “This study in itself isn’t completely ‘new’ news but it does fit in very well with what we already know about breast cancer and physical activity, so it’s just making that more solid.

“The good news for women is that this research doesn’t just look at the time we spend in the gym, it involves anything where you’re basically getting a little bit out of breath, getting a bit warm, moderate activity”.

“So, while it obviously includes running and cycling, it also includes the gardening, playing football with the kids, anything where you’re moving around, it counts.”

The Government suggest to take part in 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. Cancer Research UK says only 39% of men, and 29% of women are doing this.

Professor Tim Key, who is based at the University of Oxford and works on the Epic study, said: “This large study further highlights the benefits of being active – even moderate amounts”.

“There is also a lot of evidence that exercise reduces the risk of bowel cancer. More research is needed on other types of cancer, and to investigate the mechanisms which could explain the links.”

Researchers are hoping that the success of the Olympics and Paralympics this summer will inspire more people to get up off the couch and do some exercise.

They say keeping active could help prevent more than 3,000 cases of cancer in the UK.

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Skin Cancer Rates Are Soaring In The UK

Skin Cancer Rates Are Soaring In The UK

An increasing number of Brits of all ages are being diagnosed with deadly melanomas – but those aged over 50 are worst affected.

The number of cases of malignant melanoma in all age groups is on the rise

The number of Britons aged in their 50s suffering from the most dangerous type of skin cancer has quadrupled in the last three decades.

In 1981 there were about 480 50 to 59-year-olds diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and now it rais3ed to 1,950 a year by 2010, Cancer Research UK said.

Almost five people a day are diagnosed with the disease – which can prove fatal if diagnosed at a late stage.

Figures states that the number of cases of malignant melanoma across all age groups is on the rise.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh are finding new ways to help people recognise earlier the signs of skin cancer earlier.

The team thinks that if they are using  web-based images could  help people recognise skin abnormalities.

Professor Jonathan Rees, who is leading the team, said: “People’s idea of what skin cancer looks like is limited to three or four images that are widely used to promote awareness of the disease – but we don’t think this goes far enough with helping people identify the problem and going to their doctor.

“The team in Edinburgh are working to use the internet and the potential it offers to access many images.

“It’s a bit like bird spotting – using pictures as a guide to what malignant melanoma could look like and helping people make a better decision about seeing their doctor.

“It’s worrying that melanoma rates are on the rise. But, if caught early, melanoma can be treated very successfully so if we can develop a better system of encouraging people to go to the doctor, this could potentially save a great deal of lives.”

Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, added: “We know that cancer survival in the UK lags behind the best in Europe and this is likely because of a combination of many factors including late diagnosis.

“Melanoma is a largely preventable disease. People can reduce their chance of developing skin cancer in the first place if they protect their skin from sunburn.

“But it’s also important that people are aware of the warning signs for malignant melanoma.

“Look out for changes in size, shape or colour of a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin – these should be reported to a GP without delay.

“In particular look for moles or freckles that are asymmetrical, with uneven colours or borders, larger than a pencil top eraser, are itchy or bleed.

“The chances are this won’t turn out to be cancer, but if it is, spotting it early could make a real difference to the outcome.”

A Cancer Research UK spokeswoman also said the charity is working with supermarket Tesco to increase awareness about the importance of early diagnosis.

The store is providing informative leaflets about cancer and is aiming to raise £10m this year to fund 32 early diagnosis research projects across the UK.

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NHS ‘Is Failing’ Mental Health Patients

Nick Clegg launches plans for improved mental health care, as charities say GPs are not taking patient’s symptoms seriously

The NHS is still failing people with mental health problems, despite a Government strategy launched more than a year ago.

Patients in some areas are waiting at least three months for specialist counselling. Some of them end up going private because they need more urgent care.

Others are developing more severe symptoms because doctors do not take warning signs seriously enough.

The charity Mind stated the mental health strategy, called No Health Without Mental Health, has so far failed to improve the outlook for patients.

Chief executive Paul Farmer said: “Having a strategy is only the first step. Action is what makes a real difference to people’s lives.”

 Nick Clegg will join mental health charities  to launch what the Department of Health calls an “implementation framework” to improve care.

Nick Clegg said there will be clear guidance for health and social services, local authorities and housing associations on what they should be doing to help patients. It will say that mental health is just as important as physical well-being.

One in four people will have a mental health problem in any given year.

Unfairly, when money is tight , Guverment is easily seen to cut mental health services . Implementation of the Government strategy stalled while the NHS and social care was reorganised.

Mr Farmer said: “Many people live well with a mental health problem, but far too many don’t.

“There are very high numbers of people out of work because of their mental health and people who can’t take part as equal citizens in our society because of the stigma and discrimination.”

Laura Sherlock has battled with mental illness since she was involved in a car accident in her teens. Her depression became so bad she began to self-harm and had suicidal thoughts.

But her GP told her she was just thinking her way into problems and refused to refer her to a psychiatrist. Only when she developed schizophrenia did she get the help she needed.

“If that support had been there initially, I would not need it now because I would not have got so seriously ill,” she told Sky News.

“There were several times I could have died because of what was going on in my head. It’s just luck and the love of my family that meant that didn’t happen [/box] Tags: , , ,

Administration Warning For NHS Trust

Administration Warning For NHS Trust

The South London Healthcare NHS Trust is warned it could be declared bust in what would be the first case of its kind.

It has been stated that NHS hospital trust is losing £1m a week has been put into administration in a last effort to save it from collapse.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley brought in the measures to try to turn around the dire finances of South London Healthcare NHS Trust.

It is the first NHS Trust in the country to be placed under the control of a special administrator tasked with putting it on a viable footing.

The trust currenty operates 3 different hospitals and got a  deficits of more than £150m over the past three years. It is thought to be on course to lose between £150m and £375m by 2017.

Its chief executive was informed on Monday night that the trust is likely to be put into the “unsustainable providers regime”, which was introduced by the last Labour government but never before used.

Mr Lansley  first step was sending a letter in the legal process towards installing a special administrator  to sort out this issue.

The administrator will take over the board and recommend measures to the Health Secretary to put the trust’s finances on a sustainable basis.

These are the hospitals that are run by the trust include Queen Mary’s in Sidcup, the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich and the Princess Royal in Bromley.

The trust released a statement reassuring patients that services would continue as normal.

Sources stated close to Mr Lansley said long-standing difficulties had been made worse by Labour’s merger of the three hospitals’ smaller trusts in April 2009 and by two private finance initiative (PFI) deals that are now costing £61m a year in interest payments.

It has been stated that the hospital’s deficit last year – covered by money from elsewhere in the NHS budget – was equivalent to the salaries of 1,200 nurses or 200 hip replacements a week.

In his letter, Mr Lansley wrote: “I recognise that South London Healthcare NHS Trust faces deep and long-standing challenges, some of which are not of its own making.

“Nonetheless, there must be a point when these problems, however they have arisen, are tackled. I believe we are almost at this point.

“I have sought to provide NHS organisations with the help and support they need to provide these high quality, sustainable services to their patients, which South London Healthcare NHS Trust stands to benefit from.

In the current economic climate is a high possibility that other NHS trust could be in a similar situation in the future.

South London Healthcare NHS Trust pointed out that it had one of the lowest mortality rates in England and infection rates three times lower than the national average.

In a South London Healthcare NHS Trust statement it said: “We have entered into discussions with the Department of Health and NHS London on the best future for the trust and our priority, and that of others involved, is to make sure that our longstanding and well-known financial issues are resolved.

“Our staff have worked hard for patients and in spite of significant financial issues, we are extremely proud that we now have among the lowest mortality and infection rates in the country.

“We expect these discussions to come to a conclusion in the second week in July when a decision will be taken by the Secretary of State.”

” In the meantime we can reassure local patients and the public that our staff will continue to provide services as normal.”

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Warning Over Women’s ‘Apple-Shaped’ Figures

Warning Over Women’s ‘Apple-Shaped’ Figures

A survey found out that 16% of women are moderately or morbidly obese, according to a survey.

Due to unhealty lifestyle, most women with “apple” figure put their life at risk.

A survey of 54,000 people found more than half had a Body Mass Index (BMI) that exceeded the healthy 18-25 range, with more than 16% classed as moderately or morbidly obese.

The majority of British women would be classed as a “high health risk” because their waist measures 5cm (2in) more than the recommendation of 80cm (31.5in) or less.

Before, the most typical female body shape was the” Pear” it has now been replaced by the “apple” shape

The findings showed excess weight around the waist increases the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes and can harm fertility.

The research, from charity Nuffield Health, suggested the average waist measurements of women from every part of England and Scotland were the organisation is concerned about their health,

Waistlines were largest in the North and the Midlands, with an average of 87cm (34in) and smallest in London, where the average was 82cm (32in).

Nuffield’s head of physicians and diagnostics Dr Davina Deniszczyc said expanding waistlines were “a worrying problem”.

“Whilst waist size may seem like a cosmetic issue, this isn’t about women fitting into their skinny jeans,” she said.

“Rather, it’s an important indicator of overall health and well-being, particularly when taken into account with other health measurements.

“Fat being stored around the waist can contribute to significant health issues, such as breast cancer and infertility.”

Of the women who took part in the survey, half were aged between 26 and 46.

The results came from Nuffield’s Health MOT, which measure heart rate, cholesterol, aerobic fitness, blood pressure and sugar levels.

Many Britons suffer from a lack of sleep, with general averaging seven hours per night.

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