Hospitals are bringing in GPs, reopening mothballed wards and offering daycare for their staff’s children in a desperate attempt to avoid being overwhelmed this winter reports The Guardian. NHS trusts are expanding A&Es, paying for patients to be cared for in nursing homes and looking after more people at home to help them cope with the impending winter crisis, which experts have warned will be the toughest ever. Patients also face being moved between hospitals to help relieve overcrowding as the NHS braces for a surge in demand during December, January and February. The unprecedented array of emergency measures are a response to signs that in some places the number of people turning up at A&E is as much as 30% higher than a year ago.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is calling for more specialist midwives in every trust and health board so that every woman gets the high-quality care and support they need throughout their pregnancy. The RCM is also calling on healthcare professionals and commissioners to work together to reduce the significantly higher mortality rates among black and minority ethnic women during pregnancy and childbirth. The call comes as the sixth MBRRACE-UK ‘Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care report was published.
Some relatives of former patients at the Tawel Fan ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital are taking legal action against the health board which ran it. The Health and Social Care Advisory Service report was called a “cover up”. An earlier probe claimed patients at the Denbighshire unit had been kept like “animals” before it shut in 2013. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which ran the ward, said it has acted on findings in both reports.
According to Court Circular, an official record of past royal engagements, the Duchess worked at the Kingston Hospital Maternity Unit in London for two days. The private visit was reportedly in connection to her Early Years work, outlined on the Royal Foundation website. According to its official 2017-18 annual report, Kingston Hospital Maternity Unit in Surrey delivered 5,330 babies in the time period. In 2017 its Supervision of Midwifery team won an LSA award for ‘Team of The Year.’
The centralisation of vascular services by a health board has prompted calls for an independent review. North Wales Community Health Council wants the inquiry to use the same methods as the one carried out over the Tawel Fan unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Betsi Cadwaladr health board consulted the public on the original plans in 2013, but did not do so this time. The health board said: “To date no serious incidents relating to the centralisation have been reported.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is calling for better joined up services, as part of its “Better for Women” report. It emphasises the need for national strategies to meet the needs of girls and women across their life course – from adolescence, to the middle years and later life. There should also be greater focus on moving the UK away from providing a disease intervention service towards a preventative health service, says the report.
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The NHS bursary for student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in Wales has been extended until 2023, it has been announced. Health minister Vaughan Gething promised that the bursary would be available for an additional two cohorts for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years.
Findings from the RCN’s recent employment survey show that nursing staff across the UK are under such pressure that six out of 10 say they cannot provide the level of care they want to. The annual survey, which was first carried out in 1986, also shows that barely a quarter of respondents think their pay is appropriate for the level of responsibility and stress they face at work. Three in 10 say they have suffered physical abuse from patients, or patients’ relatives, in the last 12 months.
The next UK Government must tackle the massive strain NHS services are under, as thousands of mental health appointments for young people are cancelled, says mental health charity Mind. The charity has uncovered data that shows that in the past year the NHS in England has cancelled 175,000 appointments in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – an overall increase of 25% compared to the previous year.
According to new research published in the journal BMJ Open, 1 in 3 UK doctors working in obstetrics and gynaecology may suffer from workplace burnout. Burnout is a condition triggered by long-term stress and overload at work, and is associated with emotional exhaustion, lack of empathy and connection with others, and feeling a lack of personal accomplishment. The study found 36% of doctors met the criteria for burnout and were more likely to report anxiety, irritability and anger.
England’s most senior nurse has called on the NHS’ million-plus frontline workers to protect themselves and their patients this year by taking up their free flu jab.
Ruth May, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, is spearheading this year’s drive to ensure that as many NHS staff as possible get vaccinated against seasonal flu – meaning they are both less likely to need time off over the busy winter period, and less likely to pass on the virus to vulnerable patients.
A ground-breaking survey of midwives who collectively care for over 15,000 women per month found almost all of them had seen a pregnant woman who was homeless in the past six months. Frontline maternity staff said cuts to benefits, changes in the welfare system, and widespread issues with suitable housing in many areas of the UK are disproportionately affecting pregnant women.