IN BRIEF Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to take extra care after the Met Office issued severe weather warnings in parts of England. Angie Bone of PHE’s extreme events team said: ‘Cold does kill. Our advice is to have plenty of warm food and drinks and try to maintain indoor temperatures of at least 18°C.’ Diclofenac tablets can no longer be bought over the counter in pharmacies because of a small associated risk of heart problems. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has announced that the medication will now only be available with a prescription from a doctor, but can still be bought from pharmacies as a gel. Side effects from use of the tablets can be reported at www.yellowcard. The MHRA drug alert can be read at Nearly 60 per cent of patients with a neurological condition have had trouble accessing the services and treatments they need, according to a report into the state of neurological services. The Neurological Alliance, which surveyed almost 7,000 patients, said that nearly 40 per cent had to wait more than a year after their symptoms appeared to see a specialist, and 70 per cent have not been offered a care plan. The alliance says that those with neurological conditions are ‘invisible patients’. Go to Providing better out of hours care for terminally ill people has been identified as the top priority for palliative care, research published by Marie Curie and the James Lind Alliance reveals. More than 1,400 people in the last years of life, as well as health and social care professionals, took part in the UK survey carried out between December 2013 and May 2014. The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) is calling for improved hospital discharge arrangements for homeless patients. In a report published last week, the QNI calls for improved organisation processes, provision of respite beds, closer collaboration between agencies and improved staff training. Evidence from the report has been sent to the national inquiry into hospital discharge for homeless people led by Healthwatch England. Go to homeless_health/Reports An interactive learning resource developed by midwives and pharmacists in Northern Ireland, could help clarify the position of midwives when supplying and administering medicines. Northern Ireland’s chief nursing officer Charlotte McArdle said: ‘There has been confusion around midwives’ responsibilities in relation to the supply and administration of medicines. This will aid clarity.’ Go to Testing times for Ebola have been cut to as little as 24 hours in Sierra Leone after three new labs set up by Public Health England started work. The labs, each staffed by 16 scientists, have been established in Kerry Town, Port Loko and Makeni. Previously tests for the virus, which has killed more than 8,400 people in west Africa, took up to five days.

NIGHT RESPONSE TEAM CUTS A&E ADMISSIONS A trust has introduced a team of nurses to help monitor adult patients in their homes at night in a bid to reduce emergency admissions. Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s integrated crisis response service (ICRS), launched in September last year, has so far prevented 42 admissions to A&E. Nurses look after patients at home between 10pm and 7.30am, supported by a roaming team of more experienced nurses who can be called on to provide nursing interventions if necessary. ICRS provides short-term care and has helped older people stay in their own home, either following an unexpected injury or illness or when in need of end of life care. Referrals are made by a healthcare professional, social services, GPs, ambulance service or emergency treatment and adult care services. ICRS clinical lead Jo Beeching said: ‘We have seen some good benefits for patients who have become confused because of an infection. We also take a lot of people who have had a fall, but do not require hospital treatment.’

NHS managers must keep spending to prevent HCAIs Almost half of patients are prepared to travel 100 miles for care if their local hospital has a poor record on infections such as MRSA, research has revealed. A survey of 2,003 people across Britain by independent research organisation MindMetre revealed 48 per cent of respondents would travel the considerable distance if concerned about superbugs. Of those polled, 83 per cent were willing to travel 20 miles, while 76 per cent said they would insist their GP refer them to another hospital if the one nearest to home had performed badly on healthcare associated infections (HCAIs). The findings are a ‘warning flag’ to NHS managers that spending on reducing HCAIs must be sustained, the report concludes. Despite success in tackling MRSA and clostridium difficile, new types of infections have appeared over the past five years, it adds. Of those surveyed, 96 per cent placed eradicating HCAIs at the same priority as increasing the nurse to patient ratio. Go to

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NHS managers must keep spending to prevent HCAIs.

Almost half of patients are prepared to travel 100 miles for care if their local hospital has a poor record on infections such as MRSA, research has r...
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