Stories about outbreaks, pandemics and clinical practices usually dominate mainstream media for weeks on end. 2014 was no exception as there were a number of conditions and practices that took over both mainstream media and healthcare publications.
The healthcare story that gripped mainstream media in 2014 was the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. As of 14 December there have been a reported 6915 deaths out of 18,603 confirmed cases.
Although the threat to the UK has remained small, the RCN and NHS England released guidelines for primary care nurses and healthcare workers on how to advise patients that are concerned about Ebola or are travelling to the infected areas.
A few cases were recorded outside Africa, in the US and Spain, but it has remained mostly contained in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Despite being illegal since 1980, 2014 saw the first prosecution against FGM. It rose in prominence over the last year, due to increased energy in campaigns to raise awareness and eradicate FGM. April saw the revision of safeguarding guidelines to include information about FGM, while in September; the country's first clinic for children affected by FGM was opened at University College Hospital. High profile campaigners such as David Cameron, Theresa May and Stephen Fry have spoken about how a shocking number of girls are still at risk.
Due to the increase in the ageing population, dementia has become a point of focus for the NHS in 2014. The government has launched a number of initiatives directed at the treatment and support of dementia patients throughout 201 such as asking towns to become dementia friendly, dementia friends and asking businesses to recognise dementia. Initiated by the G8 summit on dementia in December 2013, 2014 focused on employing figures to tackle diagnosis rates and medicines.
Long considered the poor cousin of physical health, mental health has never received a proportional amount of funding from the NHS based on its cost to the economy. This year saw the introduction of the first ever waiting times for mental health services as well as a clear budget increases for services. Many organisations such as the CQC and the Health Select Committee expressed concerns about the provision of services to those with mental health conditions.
One of the largest outbreaks of scarlet fever on record in England and Wales occurred in the summer of 2014. At its height, notifications totaled 11,118. Eighty per cent of those affected were aged between two and 10.