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January 2022

New national body to take powers from scandal-hit watchdog

The health secretary has announced a new national body to carry out ‘independent’ and ‘family-focused’ investigations of maternity services. Sajid Javid told the Commons today that a new special health authority would be established to run the national maternity investigation programme, which is currently a responsibility of the Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch.

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January 2022

NHSE warns of significant variation in pregnant women’s vaccination uptake

HSJ reports that an NHS England letter has warned of “significant variation” in the uptake of the covid-19 vaccine amongst pregnant women, and called on systems to enable more “spontaneous” antenatal vaccination. NHS England says there’s “significant variation in uptake between regions and systems and in every system, between women of different ethnicities, decile of deprivation in their local area, and age groups.

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January 2022

Mandatory vaccination: we’ll keep it under review, says minister

The Independent reports that the health and social care secretary has said the requirement for patient-facing nursing and other NHS staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be kept under review. Sajid Javid told the Commons health and social care committee that it is the professional duty of every NHS worker to be vaccinated but added it was right to keep COVID-19 policies under review. Please check that this info above is in the actual link below

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January 2022

Trainee nurses: Covid inspires record numbers to sign up

The work of NHS nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic has inspired record numbers of students to apply to join the profession, a report has found. Universities admissions service UCAS, based in Cheltenham, said the number of 18-year-olds choosing to study nursing has increased by 38% since 2019.

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January 2022

RCM calls for immediate delay to NHS staff mandatory vaccination plans

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is calling for an immediate delay to Government plans for mandatory COVID vaccination of NHS staff in England, fearing a catastrophic impact on maternity services. Under current regulations, introduced late last year, all patient-facing NHS staff must be fully vaccinated by 1 April 2022, unless exempt, or risk losing their jobs. That means that staff who are currently unvaccinated would need to have had their first dose by 3 February to comply.

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January 2022

NHS app to helps families eat healthily

The Guardian has reported that Public health minister Maggie Throup has announced that an updated NHS app will help families switch to healthier food as part of the Better Health campaign and to tackle high levels of childhood obesity. The NHS Food Scanner app will be able to scan product barcodes to bring up information about the food’s nutritional content – and will now suggest healthier alternatives. Ms Throup said: “The new year is a good time for making resolutions, not just for ourselves, but for our families. Finding ways to improve their health is one of the best resolutions any of us could make.”

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January 2022

Government set to scrap free lateral flow tests

The Times has reported that the Government is reportedly set to end the universal distribution of free lateral flow tests for COVID-19, with free tests to be reserved for high-risk settings like care homes, schools and hospitals, and for those showing symptoms of the virus. A senior Whitehall source told the Sunday Times that it is “likely we will move to a scenario where there is less testing but where we have a capacity to ramp it up if necessary, such as in the winter”, while contact tracing by NHS Test and Trace is also likely to be scaled back. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, warned against the move, saying it would be an “utterly wrongheaded” move and raising concerns about the implications for devolved nations’ testing budgets under the Barnett formula.

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January 2022

Covid: Armed Forces send 200 personnel to support the NHS in London

The BBC has reported that the Armed Forces have sent 200 personnel into NHS hospitals across London to plug staff shortages. The Ministry of Defence will provide 40 defence medics and 160 general duty personnel for the next three weeks.

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January 2022

Rule change for asymptomatic people who receive positive lateral flow

Nursing Times has reported that covid-19 testing rules for people without symptoms in England are being temporarily relaxed, as cases continue to soar following the emergence of the Omicron variant. From 11 January, asymptomatic people who test positive on a lateral flow device (LFD) will no longer be required to confirm their result with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

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January 2022

NHS to begin the move to dismiss staff who refuse Covid19 vaccine or redeployment

The Government stated in 2021 that all patient-facing NHS staff would need to have received both their first and second doses by April 2022. This would require staff to have received their first dose of the Covid19 vaccine no later than 3 February. The HSJ has reported that NHS trusts will be told next week how they should go about dismissing potentially thousands of NHS staff who have decided not to be vaccinated against Covid. For more information about COVID-19 and mandatory vaccinations please see here.

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January 2022

Covid: Boris Johnson confirms Plan B rules to continue for three weeks

The BBC reports that England’s current Plan B rules will continue, for now, Boris Johnson has confirmed – as new figures show a record one in 15 people had Covid on New Year’s Eve. In an update to MPs, the prime minister said the Covid measures will be reviewed again by 26 January.

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January 2022

Staffing crisis will prevent NHS recovery, MPs warn

The Independent and the BBC have reported that MPs have said the Covid pandemic has had a “catastrophic” impact on NHS waiting lists and that the current wave of the Omicron variant is exacerbating an already serious staffing crisis that the government is failing to address. A new report from the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee warned that staff shortages have impacted, and will continue to impact, its ability to provide care.

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