A Welsh Assembly Committee report has found that morale among community nurses in Wales is low and many are leaving the service due to stress and an increased workload. The Committee said the changing nature of healthcare, in particular the move to provide more help in the home and the ageing population, made the role of community nurses increasingly important. Dai Lloyd, the Committee Chair, said: “We are proud of the work that community nurses do. They are unsung heroes in the health service. We are concerned to hear from nurses about low staff morale and in some cases nurses are leaving the service as a result of stress and increased workload.”
The Telegraph reports that the charity Age UK has called for a review of overprescribing, after its More Harm than Good report estimated that nearly two million people over the age of 65 are taking at least seven prescription drugs, putting them at risk of falls and other side-effects with serious implications. Studies have shown that the risk of falling rises by 14 per cent for every drug older people take after the first four. Keith Ridge, the chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England, said: “The NHS is investing in thousands of new clinical pharmacists to … carry out medication reviews with the most vulnerable patients.” The Department for Health said that it was committed to “cutting down unnecessary prescriptions”.
Read more | Read the More Harm than Good report
More than 1,500 people have signed an online petition against proposals by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to change nurses’ shifts, which Plaid Cymru claim would extend them by an extra half hour without pay. According to BCUHB, the change is needed to standardise shift patterns, handover and break durations and to ensure safe staffing on every ward, while reducing agency nursing costs.
The RCN and BMA have warned that abruptly ending freedom of movement could lead to serious disruption and staff shortages in the NHS. A spokesman for the RCN said: “Since the Brexit vote, far fewer EU nurses and midwives are joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council register with less than a thousand joining last year — a 90 per cent fall in numbers since 2016. There needs to be urgent clarity and assurances from the government that there will be no sharp cut off to freedom of movement and that their systems are up to the job of enabling these applications or we risk losing even more nurses at a time when we can ill afford to.” The British Medical Association has also warned of a “workforce crisis” in hospitals due to disruption caused by the immediate end of Freedom of Movement.
Scientists hope that a blood test which can detect ovarian cancer two years earlier than current methods could be used to screen women. Researchers from Queens University in Belfast have found that measuring four proteins together can pick up cancer early, when nine in 10 women will survive. Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest because symptoms are vague or absent so it is often not diagnosed until later stages, when the chance of surviving for five years is just 22 per cent.
A review of NHS hospital catering will aim to restore public confidence in the food served to patients, visitors and NHS staff, a Department of Health report states. Every year, the NHS serves more than 140 million meals to patients across the country. The quality and nutritional value of these meals can vary substantially. Alongside this, new national standards for healthcare food for patients, staff and visitors will be developed by NHS England, NHS Improvement and Public Health England (PHE). The new standards will reflect government nutrition advice, as outlined in PHE Eatwell guide.
Read the report | Read the Eatwell Guide
Health chiefs in Wales say that women who smoke during pregnancy are too ashamed to get help to quit. North Wales has one of the highest rates, at 16%, of mums-to-be who smoke throughout their pregnancy. One in five sudden infant deaths is linked to smoking, as well as long term problems in children such as learning difficulties, hyperactivity, ear, nose and throat problems, obesity and diabetes.
The homelessness situation is continuing to worsen in Chichester, says Donna Ockenden, founder of the Four Streets Project. There has been a very significant increase in homelessness and hunger on the streets since the beginning of April. The numbers are clear that in March the charity fed an average of six people per night and throughout July they saw highs of 25 with an average of 15 per night.
The NMC has responded to the announcement of an extra £1.8bn funding for the NHS. Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar welcomes the statement but also mentions how the NMC want to hear from professionals on the register who are worried about the pressures they face and that recruiting and retaining nurses must be a top priority. She also says ignore social care ‘at our peril’, but hopes the Government’s promise that social care reforms will be unveiled soon are delivered upon.
Irish News reported that Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University will amend its curriculum if any new laws about abortion terminations are introduced. Abortion could be decriminalised if a power-sharing assembly does not return by October 21 – to be bought in line with Britain’s rules. In its quote, Ulster University says students currently undertake a curriculum structured around the Person Centred Nursing Framework and the NMC’s standards for pre-registration education.