The healthmatters blog; commentary, observation and review
The failure by general hospitals to integrate physical and mental healthcare services is leading to poor care for patients with a physical illness who also happen to have a mental health condition, the latest report from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) reveals.
The study is the result of an in-depth review into 552 cases (all patients had a physical illness and a mental health condition) where the confidential enquiry looked into the impact a patient’s mental health condition had on the care they received in hospital. Most of the 552 patients had been admitted through hospital emergency departments (ED).
The NCEPOD report comes at a time when health professionals are expressing concerns that patients with a severe mental illness develop medical conditions a decade earlier in their lives than other people, and die 15 to 20 years younger as a consequence*. Also, a significant number of patients in general hospitals with physical health conditions often have more common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Calling on general hospitals to integrate physical and mental healthcare services as a matter of urgency, report co-author Dr Vivek Srivastava, NCEPOD Clinical Co-ordinator and Consultant in Acute Medicine, says that general hospital staff often don’t have the knowledge or confidence to care for people with mental health conditions appropriately: “Good care was only provided to 46% of patients in this study, showing patients who had a mental health condition suffered the double-whammy of both poor physical and mental healthcare.
“The systems don’t exist to train hospital staff appropriately in the care of patients who also happen to have a mental health condition, so immediately there is an issue with having the confidence to care for this group of patients. Once someone is admitted to hospital it is likely to expose any underlying issue such as a mental health problem, and staff need to have the confidence to deal with this, and have access to and know how to refer to mental health services.”
Dr Srivastava went on to say that as a direct result of poor physical healthcare, patients with a mental health condition stay longer in hospital: “They are often discharged into the community inappropriately and then bounce back in and out of hospital if the underlying health condition is not treated properly.”
One example of poor physical care he highlighted is the failure to provide stop smoking services routinely to people with mental health conditions: “We found high levels of smoking among the patients we reviewed – over a third of them (39.7%) were documented as a smoker compared to 19% of adults in the general population. However, only a minority received effective smoking cessation support. Primary and secondary care services must provide stop smoking services.”
Co-author Dr Sean Cross, NCEPOD Clinical Co-ordinator in Liaison Psychiatry and Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist agrees and expressed serious concern that the health of some patients is so adversely affected: “Our report reveals a massive divide between the physical healthcare and mental healthcare people receive in general hospitals. One in four of us will suffer a mental health condition at some point in our lifetime. General hospitals need to take mental healthcare seriously and understand how to provide holistic care for mind and body.”
Dr Cross also added that mental healthcare often involves use of mental health legislation. “This was not done well in 15/65 patients in the study who were detained under the legislation, either on admission to the general hospital or during their hospital stay.”
Inadequate mental health history was taken by non-mental health clinicians in 21.4% patients at initial assessment and 49.1% during consultant review
46.3% (256) of patients in the study had a review by the liaison psychiatry team during their hospital stay
The first assessment by liaison psychiatry was delayed in a third of those seen according to the reviewers. This impacted the quality of care in 22 patients
Of those patients seen by the liaison psychiatry team, the reviewers judged that their input was adequate in 68.7% of cases
185/231 hospitals had a liaison psychiatry team either available 24/7 in 51.1% hospitals and during extended hours in a further 16% of hospitals
57.3% of hospitals had a policy/protocol specifying which patients should be referred to liaison psychiatry. The liaison psychiatry team was involved in writing/reviewing the mental health hospital policy in 143 hospitals
Only 21/190 (11%) hospitals shared complete access to mental health community records
95/208 (45.7%) hospitals had mandatory training in the management of patients with mental health conditions. There were no hospitals that offered training covering all aspects of management of patients with mental health conditions
Healthcare professionals responding to a separate online survey stated that: 11.4% (151/1323) had no training in basic mental health awareness; 38.9% (497/1276) had no training in management of self-harm; 21.2% (274/1295) had no training in assessing mental health capacity; 41.4% (523/1263) had no training on risk assessment; 58.9% (727/1234) had no training in psychotropic medications; and 19.1% (248/1298) had no training in dealing with violence/aggression.
In order to overcome the divide between mental and physical healthcare, liaison psychiatry services should be fully integrated into general hospitals. The structure and staffing of the liaison psychiatry service should be based on the clinical demand both within working hours and out-of-hours so that they can participate as part of the multidisciplinary team.
All hospital staff who have interaction with patients, including clinical, clerical and security staff, should receive training in mental health conditions in general hospitals. Training should be developed and offered across the entire career pathway from undergraduate to workplace based continued professional development.
Patients who present with known co-existing mental health conditions should have them documented and assessed along with any other clinical conditions that have brought them to hospital. And when seen by mental health services (liaison psychiatry) the review should provide clear and concise documented plans in the general hospital notes at the time of assessment.
National guidelines should be developed outlining the expectations of general hospital staff in the management of mental health conditions, such as the point at which a referral to liaison psychiatry should be made and what triggers the referral.
Record sharing (paper or electronic) between mental health hospitals and general hospitals needs to be improved. As a minimum patients should not be transferred between the different hospitals without copies of all relevant notes accompanying the patient.
NCEPOD Chair, Professor Lesley Regan, said: “For many years mental healthcare in the NHS has been underfunded, and you may rightly conclude from this new NCEPOD report that patients with mental health conditions are seriously disadvantaged when treated for physical disorders in hospital. And, I fear that the patients we studied could well be only the tip of the iceberg.”
She said that a general hospital workforce, including doctors and nurses, has to be educated to understand the gap together with the training and support to have the competence and confidence to bridge the gap at every level of care.
“Treat as One found that in more than a third of the patients whose care was reviewed by liaison psychiatry but delayed, that the liaison psychiatry team did not attend until the patient was declared ‘medically fit’. However, this is a ‘catch 22’ because in many cases the physical illness cannot be treated effectively until the mental illness is recognised.
“This report should be a clarion call that we have a major problem that will be difficult to untangle, and in the meantime we are failing a significant proportion of our patients.”
Giant murals are bringing the outdoors to patients at the new £4.7m Woolverstone Macmillan Cancer Centre in Suffolk, thanks to a collaboration between leading arts & health consultants Willis Newson and Macmillan Cancer Support.
The new Woolverstone Macmillan Centre at Ipswich was completed in June 2016 and was the result of a substantial extension and reconfiguration of the existing Oncology and Haematology Day Unit.
The old unit was very cramped and the lack of space meant little privacy and dignity during treatments, it also meant it wasn’t always possible to discuss information in private, or for everyone to have family and friends with them during their treatment.
Key to the ethos of the new centre is a commitment to creating a better patient environment. Staff are able to do their job even more efficiently in a space that helps, rather than hinders and patients and their friends and family are welcomed with carefully designed interiors and courtyards which incorporate art.
The new design has created an improved therapeutic fit-for-purpose space, which will allow more people to be seen each year (21,000, up from only 9,000), new chemo suites, additional treatment bays, a separate teenage/young adult area, ‘Quiet Rooms’ and a dedicated Staff Room.
Willis Newson worked with Ipswich Hospital, construction partner Kier, interior designers from ADP architects and landscape designers, Fira on the Macmillan project.
ARTS IMPROVING WELLBEING
Willis Newson worked with the Macmillan Cancer Support team to produce an arts strategy, to consult and engage patients and then commissioned artists to produce work for the space.
Creative Director of Willis Newson, Bronwen Gwillim, delivered a series of creative engagement workshops to get to the heart of how patients wanted their new space to look and feel.
Bronwen commented: “I’ve been involved with arts and healthcare for 25 years and I know from experience that art can make a huge difference to the feel of the building.
“With this project we knew we had the chance to create somewhere really special to support the healing and wellbeing of Macmillan’s patients.
“We wanted the centre to have a unique identity, something really unique to Suffolk, and the response we got from the staff and patients really helped to develop that.”
Patients in the workshop were asked to think about their favourite place and the sensory and emotional experience of being there. They then described this place by making a simple mood board and writing words and poems.
The countryside and coastline of Suffolk emerged strongly as a theme to inspire both the artwork and interior design of the centre.
This idea was then developed into three complementary nature-based themes which are used throughout the unit to aid way-finding and navigation.
The themes create an authentic sense of place and connection to the local area by reflecting local Suffolk scenery from woodland, coastal and heathland areas.
Artists Carry Akroyd and Julia Allum created large-scale murals inspired by the perspectives shared by patients in the consultation sessions and also informed by conversations with staff.
The murals are digitally-printed onto vinyl wallcoverings which are durable, robust and comply with infection control regulations.
They include scenes from the Suffolk landscape, including the Orwell Bridge, the beach at Southwold and a typical heathland scene. They are situated in the entrance and the patients’ waiting area, in order to create a positive first impression and to provide a pleasant distraction for any patients who are anxious or stressed about their visit.
BRINGING PATIENT VIEWS INTO THE DEVELOPMENT
Kristine Lea, 56, a former psychiatric nurse from Holbrook is one of the team of patients brought together to help design the artwork.
“I’ve got ovarian cancer. I was diagnosed in 2013. There’s no cure for it. I had a year after my initial diagnosis and treatment. But last April it reoccurred and I have been on chemotherapy treatment since.
“We took the place that we love, Suffolk, the river and the countryside and the seaside and we talked about all of this.
“We tried to bring that together and talk from that about the hospital environment and the colour scheme. If you look at the finished artwork, there’s a lot of open farmland and shoreline and the heather that you see. It is our natural environment.
“I grew up here and have lived here all my life. It’s a beautiful place. To see that depicted on the walls of the hospital where you are receiving treatment is a wonderful thing for all of the people who come to the Woolverstone Macmillan Centre.”
Patient consultation was also used to inform the interior design throughout the centre, with the bright colour scheme they chose creating a bright, friendly environment.
Artworks have also been integrated into the interior and exterior spaces in other resourceful ways to enhance the design and functionality of the Woolverstone Macmillan Cancer Centre.
Detailed botanical illustrations of local flowers have been used on movable screens in treatment spaces, increasing modesty, privacy and dignity for patients and visitors.
3 laser-cut screens provide a focal point in the largest courtyard space, creating visual links between the interior and exterior by using artwork in the same style as the feature wall murals.
The powder-coated, stainless steel screens not only add interesting artistic detail to the garden area, but also offer a practical function by increasing privacy and screening off unsightly external heating units.
Kwesi Marles, Design Lead for Macmillan Cancer Support said: “We seek to create spaces in which patients’ needs come first and that reassure and reflect the excellent and expert care being delivered.
“Art can lift the spirits, calm troubled minds and provide welcome distraction. By introducing art into the cancer centre at Ipswich we seek to create unexpected delight.”
A study commissioned by the Mayor’s Fund for London gives insights into diets of children living in poorer households. It shows that one in five children living in low-income households have a maximum of just one piece of fruit and veg a day, a study has found. A poll of 2,000 parents of children aged 4-16 has revealed those living in poorer households eating less fruit and veg, fewer meals and skipping breakfast more often.
Eighteen per cent of youngsters in homes earning £10,000 or less have a maximum of just one piece of fruit and veg on an average day, with a quarter of their parents branding the five-a-day campaign ‘unrealistic’. Children in households with an income of £40,000 or less eat an average of just three portions of fruit and vegetables a day but this rises to four a day in richer homes.
Researchers also found that three quarters of parents say their food bill increases when their children are off school, with more than one in twenty saying it increases by a quarter or more. When it comes to cooking, 27 per cent say their children have no interest in helping to prepare meals, with 36 per cent saying they get no help from their partner.
The stats emerged in a study commissioned by the Mayor’s Fund for London, which is launching a £1m Kitchen Social campaign to try and increase food and activity clubs for the capital’s children during the school holidays.
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of the Mayors Fund for London said: “All parents want the best for their children, but it seems there are many struggling to give their children the diet they need.
“There are 220,000 London children entitled to free school meals during term time, but there is nothing to help ensure they receive nutritious meals during the 170 days that they are not at school.
“It is not acceptable in a city as prosperous as London for children from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds to be eating a worse diet than those in more well-off homes.
“We want to try and ensure all children have access to healthy food, regardless of their background.”
The study found more than four in ten children in homes with an income of £10,000 have days where they don’t always have three meals, compared to less than one in five children in homes earning £60,000+
More than half of those in homes with an income of £10,000-£20,000 say their children often leave the house without eating anything for breakfast.
In comparison, less than a third of parents with incomes of £60,000 or more say the same.
One in five parents of low-income households say the cost of healthy food is the main reason their child’s diet isn’t as good as it should be.
But 81 per cent of all parents agree that a child’s ability to learn can be affected by their diet and what they eat.
The study found the average child has three portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with more than one in four having days where they don’t eat three full meals.
And almost one in four parents admit their children sometimes leave the house without eating breakfast.
While four in ten blame fussy eaters for their children’s diet, 13 per cent believe it could be better if healthy food was cheaper.
And one in ten parents say time is an issue as work commitments mean convenience foods are usually their only option.
Parents also admit that when preparing their child’s packed lunch, whether or not their son or daughter will eat it is their biggest consideration, with 57 per cent saying this is a major factor guiding what they put in.
Just 33 per cent think about whether or not it is healthy.
The Mayor’s Fund for London’s new Kitchen Social campaign is aiming to raise the profile of holiday hunger and the negative impact it has on young Londoners.
It has set an initial target of raising £1m to get the project off the ground and is now calling on the capital’s businesses, community groups, borough councils, foundations, charities and individuals to join its drive to provide nutritious meals and positive activities to some 50,000 children and young people in London over the next 3 years.
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of the Mayor’s Fund for London added: “We know that it works because last year we ran several pilot projects that saw more than 4,000 healthy, balanced meals delivered to more than 600 children and young people in the school holidays.
“Additional benefits include social integration and access to group and physical activities, plus they learned about cooking and healthy eating.”
To get involved in the programme visit mayorsfundforlondon.org.uk
Responding to today’s NHS performance figures from NHS England and numerous recent reports about winter pressure on the health and care system and an A&E crisis, Stephen Dalton, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“Pressure on A&E departments is being caused by a lack of funding in primary, community, mental health and social care.
“Health and care staff on the front line are working harder than ever this winter and are continuing to ‘just about cope’, but this is simply not sustainable.
“We have been issuing warnings of the system approaching a tipping-point for some time, but we are now starting to see proof that this point has been reached. The Government must accept that limited investment at a time of increased demand has consequences.
“While broad public health programmes have their place, only further and quicker Government intervention can fix the imbalance in services that is at the root of this crisis.
“We are also calling for an urgent cross-party process to inform public debate on funding and structures, setting out a plan for the long-term sustainability of the health and care system.”
One third (31%) of UK adults drink alcohol too much and are exceeding weekly alcohol guidelines, according to data from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace*, developed by VitalityHealth and delivered in partnership with the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer. Britain’s Healthiest Workplace studies both exposure to health risks, and people’s motivation to make changes to their health.
- Britain’s Healthiest Workplace investigates the lifestyle factors people are looking to improve in 2017
- Exercise and weight the two health factors UK adults are most keen to change.
Drinking habits were shown to differ by age group. The study showed that people over 60 drink most regularly, drinking alcohol on around 10 separate occasions in any given month. This is very different to the drinking habits of young people, (aged between 18 and 30) who drink less regularly, but are more likely to consume more in a single session. On average, those aged between 40 and 60 tend to consume the most alcohol, (approximately 12 units per week on average). The research also found that men drink more than women, both in terms of how regularly they drink, and how much they consume in each session.
Surveying people’s attitudes to alcohol shows that changing this behaviour may be a challenge. Of the 31% who drink alcohol too much and exceeded government health guidelines, 56% were happy with the amount they drink and had no intention of cutting down; a further 38% recognise that they should drink less, but do not intend to in the short term, while only 6% reported being motivated to change.
Attitudes to other health risks, however, are very different. The areas where people appear most motivated are body composition and physical activity. While around 50% were at risk for having an unhealthy BMI, 78% of this group expressed a motivation to change. 41% of people were at risk for not exercising enough, and of this group 69% expressed a motivation to change. Only 12% of those at risk said that they were happy with the amount of exercise they are doing.
50% of people are at risk for following an unhealthy diet, with 34% of this group being motivated to change. Of 11% of respondents who were current smokers, 38% were either motivated to, or actively trying to, stop smoking.
|Lifestyle factor||At risk||Happy as things are/not interested in changing||Understands the issue, but does not intend to change||Understands the issue and is motivated to change|
|Alcohol||31% at risk of exceeding the governments weekly alcohol guidelines of no more than 14 units per week||56% are happy with the amount they drink||38% know they should drink less but do not intend to cut down||6% would like to cut down the amount they drink|
|Body composition||51% at risk of being outside the healthy BMI range of 18.5 and 24.9||17% are happy with their weight||5% would like to change their weight, but not right now||78% would like to change their weight|
|Physical activity||41% at risk of not reachingthe government recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week||12% are happy with the amount of exercise they do||19% feel they should be doing more exercise, but do not intend to change their lifestyle right now||69% would like to do more exercise|
|Nutrition||50% at risk of not eating a healthy diet (5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day).||40% are happy with their diet||26% feel their diet is not good, but do not currently intend to change||34% would like to change their diet|
|Smoking||11% at risk due to being a current smoker.||15% do not intent to stop smoking||48% would like to stop smoking but not right now||38% are either actively trying to stop, or are motivated to stop smoking.|
Shaun Subel, Strategy Director at VitalityHealth, said:
“The new year is often associated with resolutions and provides people with a great opportunity to make changes to their lifestyle after the excesses of the festive season. However, our findings show that people’s lifestyle choices are complex and changing them can sometimes pose a challenge. Often people do not recognise that their lifestyle is potentially damaging to their health, or are put off making changes until a future date, prioritising short term gratification over the long-term health impact.
“We’d encourage everyone to make sure they are aware of government health guidelines and motivate themselves to make positive changes to their lifestyle today, which can lead to significant health improvements in both the short and long-term.”
People who lead a more active lifestyle generally enjoy a better overall state of wellbeing and happiness than their less physically-active counterparts, according to new research. 44% of people feel wellbeing at its highest when playing sport or exercising.
The study* from Central YMCA surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults from across the UK and found that being physically active causes a 13% boost to wellbeing scores, while being less active depletes these scores by up to 19% – unveiling a 32% divide between the most and least physically-active in society.
The research revealed that those who lead physically active lifestyles attain the highest wellbeing scores – achieving 6.92 on an index of 10, against a national average wellbeing score of 6.13. In addition, almost half (44%) of research respondents said they felt wellbeing at its highest when playing a sport or exercising.
Commenting on the findings, Rosi Prescott, chief executive at Central YMCA, said: “These results confirm something we at Central YMCA have been aware of for a long time – physical activity greatly impacts our overall wellbeing and happiness. Our organisation works with people every day to help them lead more active lifestyles so we see first-hand how increases in physical activity can impact your mood, wellbeing and ultimately happiness. So, we’re not surprised that the research has shown those who are more active typically enjoy wellbeing scores that are up to a third better than those who are less active.”
The report also uncovered that those who had found themselves becoming more active over the last three years demonstrated an 8% uplift in wellbeing scores, while those whose fitness levels had decreased saw their scores fall by over a fifth.
Previous research from the Mental Health Foundation found participation in regular physical activity increases self-esteem, can help reduce stress and anxiety, and can work as a preventative measure when it comes to the development of mental health problems.
Rosi continued: “As we move into 2017, and many of us take on New Year’s resolutions, it’s a great time to reflect on whether we’re doing enough exercise in our daily lives. Even something as simple as a brisk 15-minute walk can make a world of difference. But don’t be fooled into thinking physical activity alone is the answer to better wellbeing and happiness – we need to ensure we have a good mix of exercise, mental stimulation and positive relationships in our lives if we want to truly reach our highest sense of wellbeing and self-satisfaction.”
*Participants of the nationwide study were asked to rate 14 statements to determine how various lifestyle factors, such as levels of physical activity, experiences of education, mental stimulation and relationships impacted overall wellbeing.
For the full report findings please visit: http://www.ymca.co.uk/
News from Nowhere has a commercial theme at the beginning of 2017, asking “what’s in the January sales for health and wellbeing seekers?”
Less is more as ‘mini facelifts’ look set to be biggest trend for 2017, with enquiries up 589% in past three months, and by 135% over the past 12 months,according to WhatClinic.com. The youth-enhancing procedure is set to continue its domination as a key trend for 2017.
Breast implants remain the cosmetic procedure of choice in the UK despite a slight decrease of 9% in enquiries compared to the previous year. Yet the numbers seeking this cosmetic enhancement surgery almost doubled those of the second most popular procedure, eyelid surgery. At number two on the top ten list, is eyelid surgery, with an 8% increase in enquiries, and an average cost of £2,691, in the UK.
Fat reducing surgeries also featured on the list, showing double digit growth in enquiries during 2016. Liposuction saw a 64% increase in enquiries and jumped to third place on the most popular procedures list. Enquiries for male breast reduction surgery, saw a 58% increase on 2015 figures and costs £3,567 on average. Despite its higher average price tag of £5,168 in the UK, tummy tucks have also seen a huge increase in enquiries in 2016, up 56% in the past 12 months.
Dr Foued Hamza, Cosmetic Surgeon, Queen Anne Street Medical Centre, London said of these figures, “More and more patients are seeking less aggressive and less invasive procedures, in particular ones that have faster recovery times. Patients are seeking ‘lunchtime procedures’ which means they are in and out quickly and get more subtle treatments.”
2016’s top 10 most popular cosmetic surgery procedures based on volume of traffic to WhatClinic.com
Change in enquiries over the last year
Average price UK
|1. Breast Implants||
|2. Eyelid surgery||
|5. Tummy Tuck||
|6. Fat Transfer||
|8. Breast Reduction||
|10. Breast Lift||
Don’t be alone with your New Year resolutions
Those thinking of making a lifestyle change this New Year might want to speak to a qualified GP first, according to private, on-line GP clinic ‘Push Doctor’. Whether it’s losing a few pounds, changing your diet, cutting back on drinking, quitting smoking or improving general wellbeing, having a doctor on hand to talk through and review progress could be important.
According to Push Doctor, getting advice from a medical professional could be the difference between success and failure for people seeking a positive lifestyle change in 2017, and with health and fitness at the top of many people’s New Year resolution list, it’s never been so important to speak to a GP.
The internet is filled with advice and information on diet and exercise, however following the wrong advice could be damaging to your health. A GP can help banish any dangerous diet myths and can provide advice on the safest way to introduce or increase physical activity into your daily routine, as if done incorrectly, these things could cause back ache, fatigue, joint damage and light headedness.
Push Doctor, offers access to one of 7,000 GMC-registered UK General Practitioners within six minutes. Eren Ozagir, CEO and founder of Push Doctor adds: “There is no better feeling than achieving a goal you have set for yourself, whether it’s losing a few pounds or getting on top of stress. The important thing to remember is that GPs are here to help and you don’t have to go through important lifestyle changes alone.”
On a slightly different note, the NHS Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) has obtained representation rights for hospital doctors. This makes it into a serious rival to the British Medical Association (BMA), which until now had a monopoly in negotiating about hospital doctors’ pay and conditions with the NHS. The BMA has lost some standing in the eyes of some junior doctors, after its failure to stop the introduction of a new contract for junior doctors see Junior doctors dispute.
The HCSA – which claims to have 3500 members – has in the past recruited hospital doctors who support the NHS, and now may attract discontents who may be less interested in the ideological differences between the two organisations and more interested in their combativeness with their employers. Unlike the BMA, the HCSA is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The TUC already has an affiliated organisation for doctors, the Medical Practitioners Union, now known as Doctors in Unite. Doctors in Unite has a very small membership, mostly of GPs, and does not have negotiating rights. In the trades union world GPs are weaker and fewer in number than specialists, just like they are in the NHS.
As today is the Winter Solstice, Shaun Subel, Strategy Director at VitalityHealth, has commented on the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Given that in the run up to Christmas, many people are exhausted due to work events, gift stresses and travelling to see family, this comment could work nicely for an online piece or for a wider feature about the importance of rest.
Shaun Subel, Strategy Director at VitalityHealth comments on the UK’s inability to get a good night’s repose: “The shortest day of the year is upon us and despite this being the longest period of night time, too many of us still fail to get a good night’s sleep. VitalityHealth’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace data suggests that the optimal level of being asleep is between seven and eight hours a night. People who rest less than this lose nearly five additional days of productive time each year, which can be traced directly back to their lack of time asleep. From a health perspective, people with suboptimal amounts of rest also typically have more health risks than those with adequate periods of time asleep, resulting in a reduction in their life expectancy of around three years.
“While we are improving our understanding of the importance of good sleep, effective interventions in this sphere are arguably still lacking. We have seen that healthier people sleep better, and that making healthy lifestyle choices aids good sleep. As such, we strongly advocate that people engage in healthy lifestyles as this can have a profound knock-on impact on their sleep.”
Bold steps are needed to ensure UK science has a prominent place in the global economy after Brexit, says a Lords report out today.
The UK needs to retain current scientific talent and attract even more of the world’s leading scientists according to the Science and Technology Committee’s report A time for boldness: EU membership and UK science after the referendum. The UK should expand and enhance existing programmes. But it must also ‘search out the world’s most accomplished scientists and persuade them to pursue careers here’. The Government should send repeated signals to the global science community that the UK remains a welcoming place for talented scientists.
The report welcomes the major increase to science funding announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.The Committee recommends that, in addition, the science and research budget should be re-based at an early opportunity to compensate fully for any reduction of funding from the EU.
Government must attract leaders to pursue career in the UK
UK scientific leaders should not to be consumed entirely with UK-EU negotiations and should explore scientific collaborations and shared protocols with the rest of the world – particularly where there is potential to build on existing relationships such as ones with the USA.
The UK should offer to host – in partnership with governments and funding bodies from other countries – one or more new, large-scale international research facilities. This would be a bold move to signal the UK’s global standing in science.
Uncertainty over the future relationship between EU and UK science is having a corrosive effect on the UK research base. But the Government has the power to mitigate many negative effects of Brexit and use it as a catalyst to address long standing underperformance in economic productivity.
Lord Selborne, Chairman of the Committee said:
“Positive assurances have been sent from the Government to UK science. We welcome the major increase in science funding announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement and the Government’s separate assurance that it will underwrite funding for approved Horizon 2020 projects applied for before Brexit.
“The UK’s outstanding reputation and performance in the scientific world depends critically on redoubling efforts to persuade many of the world’s most talented scientists to pursue careers in this country. Our proposal to find global scientific leaders will help to tackle this and nurture the next generation of research leaders in the UK
“It is vital the UK is still seen as open to scientific talent; the Government has the ability to send this message to the scientific community enabling us to become world leaders after Brexit and beyond.”
Key Findings from the report
Freedom of Movement
The report maintains that the Government should distinguish in the immigration statistics and the net migration target between students—holding Tier 4 visas—and other immigrants; and the Government should treat student numbers separately for immigration policy making purposes.
The EU referendum result and mixed messages from the Government could undermine the shared ambitions of the Government and the research community to welcome talented scientists to the UK.
We recognise that at this early stage, there is little documented evidence of scientists from other EU Member States deciding not to come to the UK because of the EU referendum, or of UK scientists deciding not to work in other EU Member States for that reason. But there is a clear perception in the scientific community that discrimination is occurring.
We recommend that the Government, through its global science and innovation network, or the British Council, should perform annual surveys around the world assessing the UK’s reputation in the global scientific community as a welcoming place to pursue a scientific career. The results of these surveys should be published.
The Government must ensure that it has appropriate scientific advice during the Brexit negotiations. The voice of the scientific community should be heard alongside the voice of business during the Brexit negotiations and in making future alliances.
Proton Partners International Ltd has received formal planning permission to build a new private-sector cancer treatment centre in Reading, Berkshire. Proton Partners will invest £30 million in its cancer centre in the Thames Valley Science Park and will offer proton beam therapy among other conventional cancer therapies.
The Reading centre will be the third to be built in the UK by Proton Partners and will help to meet growing demand for proton beam therapy, a specialised type of cancer treatment that is not yet available in the UK. Two other Proton Partners centres are under construction –in Newport, Wales and in Bomarsund, Northumberland.
The Reading centre will include facilities for proton beam therapy, a linear accelerator, as well as a CT suite and an MRI. It is expected that each Proton Partners centre will be able to treat up to 500 patients a year and will accept NHS patients, medically-insured private patients and self-paying patients.
Mike Moran, chief executive officer of Proton Partners, said: “We are delighted that our new centre will be built at the heart of one of the most exciting health and life sciences projects in Europe. Located just off the M4 corridor and with connections to Heathrow, this centre will make proton beam therapy available to patients from the South of England as well as international patients”.
Some people don’t mess about
‘Defend our NHS Wirral’ doesn’t like the local Sustainability & Transformation Plans so on December 9th a group of them arrived at the offices of Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group and delivered multiple letters and many signatures to every single CCG board member telling them they must not sign any STP-related contracts in December. DONHSW opposes the STP, every single local council opposes it – and it would be, in DONHSW’s collective opinion, a dereliction of the CCG’s duty to help implement the STP. There’s a report and photos on their Facebook page
There is no escape!
Pharmaceutical companies should still be preparing for EU General Data Protection Regulation in the New Year – regardless of Brexit – according to John Culkin, Director of Information Management, Crown Records Management.
Pharmaceutical companies should think twice before cancelling or delaying preparations for the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as the UK prepares to push ahead with Brexit in 2017. The new Regulation, due to be in force in May 2018, aims to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for data protection across the European Union. Some of the key aspects of the bill include huge fines for data breaches, new rules around the collection of personal data and new rights for European citizens to ask for data to be deleted or edited. Many firms will also be required to appoint a Data Protection Officer.
It is tempting for businesses to think that because the UK intends to leave the EU this regulation will not apply. That isn’t the case. Although an independent Britain will not be part of the Regulation, in reality it will still be impossible to avoid its implications.
The Regulation governs the personal data of all European citizens, providing them with greater control and more rights over information held about them. So any company holding identifiable information of an EU citizen, no matter where it is based, needs to be aware. With millions of EU citizens living in the UK, too, it’s hard to imagine that many businesses here will be unaffected.
The same applies to data breaches involving the personal data of European citizens. So it will still be vital to have a watertight information management system in place which allows businesses to know what information they have, where it is, how it can be edited and who is responsible for it.
Even though the UK has voted to leave the EU, data in Great Britain & Northern Ireland will continue to be regulated by the current Data Protection Act, which was passed in 1998. It will remain in place after exit, at least until Parliament decides to introduce a new law or amend it.
It’s worth noting that the UK’s data protection laws precede EU legislation by more than a decade, and go beyond the current requirements set out by the EU, for instance with the power given to the ICO to issue fines. It’s pretty hard to see data regulation in the UK varying much from the essence of the EU GDPR which, after all, we have been heavily involved in drafting over the last few years. Having clear laws with safeguards in place is more important than ever in the modern world with a growing digital economy that relies on the safe sharing of data. So if businesses think that leaving the EU is suddenly going to change the agenda it is a dangerous stance to take.
Failing to prepare for the Regulation could leave businesses open to fines, loss of reputation and – just as importantly – see them miss out on a chance to make the most of their data.