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generic nursingtThe UK is leading the humanitarian response by donating over 2 million medical items to Ukraine including vital medicines, wound packs, and intensive care equipment.

  • Latest shipment left in flight on Friday morning with thousands of doses of medicines, including pain relief
  • Secretary of State for Health and Social Care affirms UK’s commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine

More than 2 million items of medical supplies have been given to Ukraine by the UK to help the country cope with the medical emergency caused by the Russian invasion.

Proton beam therapyThe youngest patient in the UK to be treated using pioneering proton beam therapy has helped mark the three years since the treatment was made available on the NHS in England. Teddy Slade, who recently celebrated his fourth birthday, was just 18 months old when he underwent proton beam therapy for a rare brain tumour, making him the youngest patient in the country to be treated at the UK’s first NHS high energy centre at the Christie Cancer Centre. After surgery to remove the tumour, Teddy was given proton beam therapy at the newly opened centre at The Christie in Manchester for six and half weeks. Now Teddy, who lives in Stockport with mum and dad, Amy and Dan, only requires regular check-ups to monitor his progress and is enjoying pre-school – and living a full and normal life.

Proton beam therapy is a specialist form of radiotherapy that targets cancers very precisely, increasing success rates and reducing side effects, which makes it an ideal treatment for certain cancers in children who are at risk of lasting damage to organs that are still growing. The therapy  uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue, most often in the treatment of cancer. The chief advantage of proton therapy over other types of external beam radiotherapy is that, as a charged particle, the dose is deposited over a narrow range of depth, and there is minimal entry, exit, or scattered radiation dose.

Shrewsbury hospitalWhen three apprentices started on a pioneering programme within the Medical Engineering Services department (MES) at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) little did they know within a few months they would have a key role to play as the pandemic struck.

Rhys Arnold, Carnell McKenzie and Kurran Singh Rai are the first apprentices in MES for over 25 years. They are part of a 33-strong team which manages a mammoth 34,000 medical devices of which over 20,000 are owned by SaTH.

Nigel Watkinson, Medical Engineering Services manager at SaTH, said: “To put this into context the apprentices had a few months to settle and then COVID hit. It has been a good grounding and we couldn’t have predicted that – they have had to hit the ground running at a time of a pandemic the likes of which the NHS has not seen before.”

He said that they looked at an apprenticeship scheme within MES as nearly half of the department’s staff were at or about to reach retirement age and there was also recognition within the mechanical engineering industry that there was a shortage of technicians.

Tsunami hit TongaThe UK is sending vital humanitarian assistance and redeploying a Royal Navy ship to support Tonga respond to the catastrophic tsunami that hit the islands.

Water, tents and protective equipment to be sent to tsunami-hit Tonga. Vital UK support will be sent on Australia’s HMAS Adelaide, while HMS Spey is also being redeployed to the Pacific Island to support the international response. The support for Tonga comes as the Foreign and Defence Secretaries conclude talks with their Australian counterparts in Sydney today, furthering UK cooperation to the Indo-Pacific region.

The UK will redeploy a Royal Navy ship and work with Australia and New Zealand to deliver vital aid to Tonga, after a once in a thousand year volcanic eruption caused a catastrophic tsunami to hit the islands. UK-funded supplies will be onboard the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Adelaide, which is due to set sail for Nuku’alofa this morning (Friday 21 January), while Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has authorised Royal Navy ship HMS Spey to sail to Tonga to support the humanitarian and disaster relief effort. In total 17 pallets of supplies are being sent on HMAS Adelaide today, all items provided were at the request of the Tongan government, including 90 family tents, 8 community tents and 6 wheel barrows.

needle-free covid-19 vaccineA trial has begun of a new needle-free Covid-19 vaccine to protect against future variants of the virus. The jab uses a jet of air that pushes the vaccine into the skin, which could prove an alternative to those who have a fear of needles and used as a COVID-19 booster shot.

The University of Southampton said in a statement “If successful it could be scaled up and manufactured as a powder to boost global vaccination efforts, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.”

The NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is delivering the first trial of the vaccine candidate, DIOS-CoVax. The trial team are calling for healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 50 in the Southampton area. Participants must have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine but not their third dose booster. The first participant was given the vaccine in the CRF facility at University Hospital Southampton on Tuesday 14 December.

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