This site is intended for health professionals only

NHS failing to support stroke survivors, blood test that could detect breast cancer, and the positives of ‘negative pressure healing’

The BBC reports today that ‘many stroke survivors feel abandoned after they leave hospital', and are being ‘denied the chance to make the best recovery because of a lack of post-hospital care'.

A new report by the Stroke Association, based on evidence given by over 2,000 patients and carers,  says many patients are released from hospital and then ‘abandoned' without regular assessments or access to specialists.  It says this is especially true for those patients who are left with disabilities following their stroke.

Jon Barrick, of the Stroke Association said: ‘The NHS and local authorities are failing in their responsibilities.'

The BBC coverage focusses on a case study of Ann Frewer, a 75 year old widow who had a stroke last year. She told the BBC she was told to ask neighbours for help rather than being discharged from hospital with a care plan.  She said: ‘Sometimes I hear this called 'care in the community'. The reality is that it's more like sending you to prison. If you are on your own, it's more like solitary confinement.

Elsewhere today, and The Guardian reports of a blood test that could detect the risk of breast cancer. Researchers funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign discovered a strong association between risk of the disease and a molecular change in a particular white blood cell gene.

The paper reports:  ‘They found a strong association between molecular modification of a white blood cell gene called ATM and breast cancer risk. The scientists looked for evidence of a chemical effect called methylation, which "switches" genes on and off.

‘Women showing the highest methylation levels affecting the ATM gene were twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those with the lowest levels.'

And finally, the Daily Mail brings us news of a ‘tiny vacuum' that can be used to clean wounds and is believed to help lower the risk of infection.  

The vacuum (called a PICO machine) apparently drawers blood into the wound area, promoting healing and stopping the wound of reopening after surgery.

This process, known as ‘negative pressure healing', is used in hospitals but because of the size of the equipment could not be used by patients at home.

But the new ‘tiny vacuum' PICO machine, can be used at home.  This is also cheaper than keeping patients in hospital, as the PICO machine costs that NHS £120/week as opposed to £400/night for a stay in hospital.