Our roundup of the health news headlines on Monday 12 December.
The Daily Mail reports this morning that the NHS has launched a campaign to ‘encourage revellers to use A&E wisely over the festive period’ with a series of videos depicting ‘bizarre anecdotes’ including a woman who visited the hospital to have her frozen turkey carved with a ‘powerful medical saw’.
Another sees a group of guys bring their friend to accident and emergency to have the word ‘dick’, written in permanent ink, removed from his head.
The videos are all part of the NHS’s preparation for festive Friday, the last Friday before Christmas and the busiest shift of the year for 999 teams. As the Mail reports: ‘Around 40% of all A&E attendances are for alcohol-related injuries and illnesses, according to experts, with the figures rising dramatically over the Christmas and New Year period’.
Dr Mike Cheshire, medical director at NHS North West, told the Mail: ‘As many as one in four people who go to A&E units could use alternative facilities like pharmacies or GP surgeries’. So the message is apparently clear: If you’ve got ‘dick’ written on your forehead, visit your friendly, local GP and ask them to scrub it off for you.
The Government has announced plans for a ‘hotel review-style website’ for care homes, the Guardian reports today. The proposals are part of the white paper on social care due to be published in spring. The ratings and reviews will include details of ‘records of mistreatment or abuse, the latest information from inspections as well as feedback from residents and relatives’ and aim to ‘expose failures to treat people with dignity and respect, such as abuse and theft’.
How effective a ratings and reviews website for care homes will be is still unknown but an article in the Telegraph yesterday suggests that the Government does need to take some sort of action on care homes. According to a report by the CQC following 9,500 inspections earlier this year, 30% of hospitals and care homes are breaking regulations, brought in last year, that were meant to ensure respect and dignity.
Examples include ‘hospital patients having ‘do not resuscitate orders’ placed on them without them or their relatives being told, and a hospital patient with dementia who needed help to eat being left with a hot meal for an hour and a half with no assistance’. Cynthia Bower, chief executive of the CQC is quoted in the Telegraph as having said staff were failing to treat those they were looking after ‘as equal human beings’.
And finally, back to the Mail again and a warning from cancer specialist Professor Karol Sikora that the rising cost of cancer treatment could ‘bankrupt’ healthcare systems. Professor Sikora spoke in light of the news that the annual bill for cancer treatment in the UK is forecast to rise from £9.4billion to £15.3billion in a decade. Sikora’s solution is to invest in new ways to administer chemotherapy at patients’ homes.