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Care visits 'last less than five minutes', £30m for Alzheimer's research and skunk 'causes one in four schizophrenia cases'

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

More than half a million care home visits last only five minutes according to an investigation by charities, the Telegraph reports this morning.

A Freedom of Information request to local authorities showed eight councils provided more than 593,000 care visits to pensioners lasting five minutes or less in the three years from 2010/11 to 2012/13.

The research also found a 14% rise in visits of less than five minutes, with 209,932 such cases in 2012-13, compared with 183,945 in 2010-11.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said financial pressures on councils meant social care had been ‘stripped back to the bone’ in many areas.

She said: ‘Allocating such a short amount of time for home visits makes it impossible to deliver proper care or to allow any normal friendly interaction between the carer and the person receiving care. This is dehumanising, particularly where intimate care is being provided, and robs people of all dignity.’

Elsewhere, a leading charity has announced a major new £30m collaboration on Alzheimers disease research, the BBC reports.

Alzheimers Research UK said the Drug Discovery Alliance would bring researchers at Cambridge, Oxford and London universities together to pool their expertise.

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at the charity, said: ‘Working in universities and hospitals alongside people affected by dementia and their families, academic researchers are best placed to take research breakthroughs and progress them into real world benefits for the people that so desperately need them.

‘The Drug Discovery Alliance is one of the first of its kind for dementia research in the world. We’re providing the investment and infrastructure that is needed to maintain and grow a healthy pipeline of potential new treatments to take forward into clinical testing.’

Lastly, researchers have found that skunk - the particularly potent form of cannabis that has become the most commonly used form in parts of the UK - may be causing up to a quarter of new cases of schizophrenia, the Independent reports.

A study found people who smoke the super-strength cannabis are three times more likely to develop psychosis than people who have never tried the drug – and five times more likely if they smoke it every day.

‘This paper suggests that we could prevent almost one quarter of cases of psychosis if no-one smoked high potency cannabis. This could save young patients a lot of suffering and the NHS a lot of money,’ said Sir Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.

Readers' comments (1)

  • If the carers did anything in those 5 minutes. But they do forward what they do not do to OOH. How many times we get calls from 111, the pad is soaked, pt cannot put on elastic stockings, urine bag is full, pt cannot get his tablets from the table.
    It costs the NHS as an absolute minimum of £ 250 for home visit. Most areas at night do not have nurses, so it becomes a doctor's visit.
    Are we really short of doctors? If a doctor can be used for all the above.

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