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September 2020

North Wales health board urged to tackle massive patient backlog resulting from Covid crisis.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board recently announced that it plans to slowly reintroduce services that were put on hold due to Covid-19. The chief officer of the North Wales Community Health Council, Geoff Ryall-Harvey has reacted, saying it was ‘good news’ that the services were restarting but he has concerns that the scale of the waiting list could overwhelm the health board if it isn’t tackled efficiently. He has made a plea to health board bosses : “Do everything you can. Patients are depending on you.”

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September 2020

‘Hellish’ bullying culture at North Wales health board described by a whistleblower. 

Speech therapist Bethan Mair Williams claims staff at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) were harassed and treated inappropriately. The health board has been under special measures for the past 5 five years. Williams told the Newyddion news programme that the situation was so bad it would cause her to vomit before she started work. Adrian Thomas, from BCUHB, said the concerns were being taken seriously and an investigation had been commissioned.

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September 2020

Covid-19 mental health helpline for NHS staff draws thousands of calls.

NHS England reports that more than 2 thousand 500 people have contacted a mental health helpline set up to support NHS staff during the Covid-19 crisis. Any staff needing help can phone : 0300 131 7000 or text FRONTLINE to 85258 to access psychological support from volunteers. The service is being delivered by charities such as Hospice UK and the Samaritans. 

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September 2020

Public Health England unveils plans for supermarket and restaurant calorie reduction. 

The move by PHE forms part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to persuade the food industry to create products with less fat, salt and sugar to help improve peoples’ health. Cafes, fast food takeaways and restaurants are being asked to reduce the calories in the goods they sell by 20% by 2024. The targets are only voluntary. Anti-obesity campaigners have called for them to be made compulsory. 

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September 2020

Previously unpublished letters reveal Florence Nightingale’s father’s influence on her nursing approach. 

The “Lady with the Lamp” and pioneer of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale was herself encouraged to exercise regularly and take fresh air as part of a strict family regime. A letter from her father, William Nightingale has been unearthed, instructing his daughter to exercise for ten minutes before breakfast and for a further 20 minutes later in the day. The letter also insisted that she should spend an hour outdoors every day before dinner.

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September 2020

Leaked report : NW England ‘never left the epidemic stage’ of Covid-19.

A confidential report by Public Health England that was leaked to the Observer newspaper suggest that the coronavirus lockdown had limited effects in parts of the north west of England. It also claims  that the virus may now be firmly established and endemic in those areas. The study links higher concentrations of Covid-19 with issues of poverty, crowded housing and ethnicity.

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August 2020

Essex hospital warned over maternity care.

Basildon University Hospital has been ordered to carry out urgent improvements to its maternity services after inspectors found six serious incidents where babies were born in a ‘poor condition’. The inspection was carried out by the Care Quality Commission in June in response to concerns raised about patient safety by a whistle-blower. The hospital’s maternity services were rated inadequate overall and the watchdog issued a warning notice to Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the services, ordering urgent improvements to ensure the safety of mothers and babies.

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August 2020

Public health body replacing Public Health England will be pandemic-ready.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that Public Health England will be replaced by the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), a new body focused on preparing for external threats like pandemics. Baroness Dido Harding, who runs NHS Test and Trace in England, will head up the new institute. The move follows intense scrutiny of PHE over its response to coronavirus.

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August 2020

Politicians warn that new CEO of special measures health board won’t be a ‘silver bullet’

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been under high level monitoring from the Welsh government since June 2015, following a report  by Donna Ockenden which found evidence of “institutional abuse” at the Tawel Fan mental health ward at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Denbighshire. The board has now announced that Jo Whitehead will be taking over the reins as Chief Executive.

Shadow Health Minister Andrew RT Davies said: “History has taught us that changing the name plate on the CEO’s door at Betsi Cadwaladr is not a silver bullet to solving the problems at the health board.”

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August 2020

Welcome investment of £172m into nursing apprenticeships 

In a bid to tackle staff shortages in the NHS and recruit more than 50,000 nurses by 2024-25, the government has announced that it will invest £172m into nursing degree apprenticeships. The money should allow healthcare providers to take on up to 2,000 apprentices each year for the next four years, the BBC reports.

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