IN BRIEF The number of patients given antibiotics for coughs and colds has soared by 40 per cent since the millennium, amid warnings that the public is developing a ‘worrying reliance’ on the drugs. A study of 537 GP practices by Public Health England and University College London also found that the highest prescribing practices were twice as likely to give antibiotics for coughs and colds as the lowest prescribers. The study looked at whether practices were keeping to treatment guidelines between 1999 and 2011. Mutations in a gene have been found to cause rare cases of Wilms tumour, the most common kidney cancer in children. Scientists at the University of London’s Institute of Cancer Research identified mutations in the CTR9 gene – which helps regulate when genes are switched on and off in cells – in six children with Wilms tumour. Study leader Nazneen Rahman, head of genetics and epidemiology at the institute, said it was hoped the findings will lead to further research and improved treatments. People with low levels of vitamin D in their blood may be twice as likely to develop dementia, according to research published in the journal Neurology. The study of 1,658 people was led by David Llewellyn, senior research fellow in clinical epidemiology at the University of Exeter. He said: ‘During this hottest of summers, hitting the beach for just 15 minutes of sunshine is enough to boost your immunity levels.’ Former nurse Carlyn Chisholm is one of 22 new life peers announced by Downing Street, following a campaign by Nursing Standard to increase the number of nurse peers. Ms Chisholm’s last nursing post was at Royal United Hospital in Bath 15 years ago. She has since become the co-chair of the Conservative party’s candidates committee and is a trustee of the National Osteoporosis Society. A parish nurse who has given up more than 1,000 hours to care for vulnerable and isolated people has received a Point of Light volunteering award from prime minister David Cameron. Claire Gillett from Cambridgeshire, who gives moral support and advice to people of all faiths, said: ‘I am overwhelmed and honoured to receive this award.’ Health staff are urged to better support patients with cancer who struggle to follow their treatment plan because of loneliness. A study by charity Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that more than 20,000 people in the UK are missing appointments, not taking medicine properly, are unable to pick up prescriptions or refuse treatment because they are lonely. Taking aspirin daily can reduce the risk of developing – and dying from – bowel, oesophageal and stomach cancer, according to a study by Queen Mary University of London. It found that taking aspirin for ten years could cut bowel cancer cases by around 35 per cent and related deaths by 40 per cent, and rates of oesophageal and stomach cancers were cut by 30 per cent.

NURSE ADMITS TO FALSIFYING RECORDS A nurse has pleaded guilty to nine counts of wilful neglect while working at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, Wales. Rebecca Jones admitted falsifying patient records during a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court last week. Proceedings have been adjourned until October. Ms Jones was suspended by the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board last year, and is one of 15 nurses to be suspended following an investigation into the alleged falsification of records. Fourteen of the nurses are employed at the Princess of Wales Hospital, with another at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. The board is also continuing spot checks of blood sugar level record-keeping across all of its hospitals in the wake of problems, which first emerged in early 2013.

Medication patch may help people with schizophrenia Mental health research nurses are recruiting patients to take part in an ongoing landmark trial to test an antipsychotic medication patch to treat schizophrenia. Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is testing the patch, which releases the medication asenapine into the bloodstream though the skin. Researchers believe that this non-invasive method of delivery will increase compliance among patients who will no longer have to receive injections or remember to take their medication. One participant said: ‘The trial has been excellent. I think the patch is better because I have a problem with remembering to take my tablets. I have also experienced fewer side effects. When you take tablets, you get side effects straight away.’ Ramin Nilforooshan, the trust’s consultant psychiatrist and medical lead for research and development, said the patch could eventually improve treatment for people with schizophrenia nationally and internationally. The trust is working with Richmond Pharmacology to test the patch, and the trial runs until the end of the year.

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Nurse admits to falsifying records.

A nurse has pleaded guilty to nine counts of wilful neglect while working at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, Wales...
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