190,000 new ‘Dementia Friends’ at M&S, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy
Following December’s G8 summit, the UK continues to lead the world in the fight against dementia with a £90 million package to improve dementia diagnosis and care and the appointment of a World Dementia Envoy to raise funds for research towards a cure. Leading British businesses have also signed up to the cause with over 190,000 staff at M&S, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy to learn to support customers who have dementia. Following the ambition set out as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, NHS England will invest £90 million in diagnosing two thirds of people with dementia by March 2015. As part of this, NHS England will work with local areas where we know that in some it takes up to 25 weeks to carry out diagnostic assessments whereas in others the wait is as little as six weeks on average.
Proposed changes to Care Quality Commission registration requirements set out basic level of care that all health and care organisations must provide. The consultation asks for views on new draft regulations that will introduce fundamental standards as legal requirements that all providers of health and social care must meet to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The fundamental standards will make it clear that there are some standards of safety and quality that should always be met. They will be used as part of the CQC’s inspections and regulation of care providers – the CQC will be able to hold providers to account if they are not being met, including through the courts where appropriate.
"Frankincense 'fights cancer'," is the festive health headline from the Mail Online. The "aromatic substance from the Nativity story could help treat ovarian tumours," it says. The news is based on a University of Leicester press release entitled "Christmas gift brings treatment hope for cancer patients". In tests, Leicester University researchers found that a chemical in frankincense killed cells from hard-to-treat tumours.
Unfortunately, many more Christmases are likely to pass before anyone is treated with frankincense for ovarian cancer. This is because the news is based on positive early findings from research carried out on the AKBA compound found in frankincense and ovarian cancer cells in a lab.
The press release says the researchers have been able to show the ability of the compound to combat cancer cells in late-stage ovarian cancer. This is festive news, and the press team at the University of Leicester should be congratulated for their ingenuity.
However, limited conclusions can be drawn from the preliminary findings of this laboratory study as it is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. And some of the claims should not be taken at face value; in particular the press release's claim that frankincense has no known side effects. Such claims would need rigorous scientific evaluation before they could be verified.
This research is still at a very early stage and as the press release points out, frankincense is yet to be studied for the treatment of ovarian cancer in humans.
While the use of frankincense as a cancer cure may still be a long way off, you may be surprised to learn that all three of Jesus' nativity gifts have been explored for their medical properties.
The government has published a full response to the 290 recommendations made by Robert Francis, following the public inquiry in to the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. This follows the government's initial response in February 2013, which included the introduction of a new hospital inspection regime and legislation for a duty of candour on NHS organisations so they have to be open with families and patients when things go wrong
Actions on safety and openness include:
NHS Direct announced earlier this year that it would seek to withdraw from its NHS 111 contracts, and Commissioners have now identified alternative providers. NHS Direct's 111 staff and call centres are due to transfer to five Ambulance Trusts by the end of November, details of which are currently being finalised. In the light of these transfers, the Board of NHS Direct has reviewed its future as a viable independent organisation and, in agreement with the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England, has arrived at a decision to cease operations at the end of this financial year.
No patient services will be affected by the Board's decision, as we expect each of the services that NHS Direct is commissioned to provide beyond March 2014, will be transferred to other organisations, together with the staff who provide them. At its Board meeting on Monday 28 October, NHS Direct NHS Trust will launch a formal consultation on the implications for staff of this decision. It is hoped that the number of redundancies arising will be kept to a minimum through transfer and redeployment of staff to other organisations.
In September NHS England confirmed that the telephone contingency service, which has been providing in support of NHS 111 in some areas of England, will cease at the end of February 2014. It is NHS England's intention, at this stage, not to continue to commission the Dental Nurse Assessment Service or the Complex Health Information and Medicines Enquiry Service beyond 31 March 2014. As a result, we expect all elements of the original 0845 telephone service will cease by March 2014. These intentions are subject to ratification by NHS England's Board.
Chair of NHS Direct, Joanne Shaw, said "The closure of NHS Direct marks the end of its 15 years of continuous innovation, during which time it has led the world in remote health assessment, advice and information. It is an enormous privilege to have been part of this journey, and I look back over my 10 years with NHS Direct with gratitude and respect for the staff who have created this exceptional service. I look forward to seeing other organisations take forward a number of the services developed by NHS Direct, and I wish them well as they exploit the ever-growing reach and power of technology, to provide value to patients and the NHS."