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Two weeks in primary care...News Roundup

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Shingles vaccination for people in their 70s

The shingles vaccination has been made available for people in their 70s across the UK beginning this month.

All people aged 70 on 1 September 2013 are eligible to have the vaccination. If patients are over 70 but under 80, they will be able to have the vaccination on a catch-up basis. Seventy-nine-year-olds will be offered the vaccine first, followed by 78-year-olds the following year and so on until the age group has been fully vaccinated. After that the injection will be required as people reach their 70th birthdays.

The programme was led by the DH following a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Two thirds of nurses considered leaving job

Around 62 per cent of nurses have considered quitting their jobs in the last year, according to a survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) due to high levels of stress in their jobs.

Out of 10,000 nursing staff surveyed, two-thirds felt that they were unable to give their patients the care and attention that they wanted to because they were too busy. Over 80 per cent believed that their workload had increased in the last 12 months.

Rachel McIlroy, from the RCN, identified pay freezes, staff shortages and negativity about the profession, following the Francis report in February 2013, as some of the reasons behind these results.

New video to treat and prevent pressure ulcers

A video on how to treat and prevent pressure ulcers has been released by the Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust.

Judy Harker, a specialist nurse consultant for tissue viability at the Trust, describes the different types of pressure ulcers as well as identifying the groups of people that are most at risk of developing an ulcer. She also outlines which areas of the body are most susceptible.

The video is available to download from the Trust's website or can be viewed on their YouTube channel at:

Faulty gene may contribute to cancer

A gene found in mice may protect against ovarian cancer according to research by scientists at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute.

If a gene called Helq was faulty it increased the chance of the mice developing tumours.

Dr Simon Boulton, senior author of the paper from the institute, said that if it plays a similar role in humans this may, in the future, lead to women being screened for genetic errors that could increase their risk of ovarian cancer.

Mice without either of the two copies of Helq were twice as likely to develop ovarian tumours as well as become less fertile. Even losing a single copy of the gene caused the mouse to develop more tumours the researchers found.

Nurses among most sleep deprived in UK

Nurses average just six hours and 11 minutes of sleep a night according to new research. This is one hour and 49 minutes less than the recommended eight hours sleep.

They spend around an hour and 26 minutes worrying about work in bed instead of sleeping. This means that they spend 26 per cent of their time in bed thinking about work. The top reasons given for lack of sleep are heavy workload, job dissatisfaction and feeling undervalued in the workplace.

Stevie Williams, from the Edinburgh Sleep Centre said: 'Frequently not getting enough sleep has strong negative effects on health and performance.' Travelodge undertook the research for their annual 'Sleep and Professions' study.

Forthcoming Events
Date: 18 September 2013 Event: Making Every Contact Count Location: Newcastle Contact:
Date: 21 September 2013 Event: National Immunisation Conference Location: London Contact:
Date: 25 September 2013 Event: QNI Annual Conference Location: London Contact:

Desire to help families motivates health visitors

Health visitors are motivated by a desire to help families and children, research by the National Nursing Research Unit at King's College has found.

The study undertook workshops and focus groups with 22 health visitors and 17 student health visitors in two study sites in England. The research found that four aspects of the profession were perceived as making a difference: connecting with families and communities, working with others, using knowledge, skills and experience and having professional autonomy and flexibility.

When the work felt 'more of the same' health visitors reported that they lost sight of the reasons they joined the profession. Recruits wanted more information about the role before they joined.

Chronic constipation becoming a serious issue

One in five adults over the age of 65 suffers from chronic constipation according to a new report, 'The Burden of Constipation in our Ageing Population - Working Towards Better Solutions' published by the International Longevity Centre UK.

The report also reveals how chronic constipation, be it functional or secondary to identifiable causes, affects as much as 80 per cent of the older adult population living in care homes.

If left untreated it can result in serious medical consequences such as faecal impaction, a condition where retention of solid faeces prevents normal evacuation.

The research included in the report highlights how the absence of preventative strategies for constipation has a significant impact on quality of life of older people.

The International Longevity Centre UK is a registered charity.

New primary care position at NHS England

Professor Clare Gerada has been appointed clinical chair for primary care tranformation in London by NHS England. She will take up this position when she finishes her position at the Royal College of General Practioners (RCGP) in November.

The details of the role will be released at a later date, but the position comes after NHS England published 'Improving General Practice - a Call to Action', on how to improve primary care services.

An NHS England spokeswoman said: 'Primary care in London faces unique challenges due to the diverse population it serves. NHS England is working to improve services across the capital, ensuring all Londoners receive the best care possible. Dr Gerada's wealth of expertise will assist with this, and her appointment is great news for London.'

Funding for healthcare in rural Scotland areas

£1.5 million has been invested to test innovative ways of delivering healthcare in rural areas of Scotland. NHS Highland will be given the money to build sustainable health and care services in collaboration with local communities. Campbeltown, West Lochaber, Islay and Mid Argyll are among the areas that will be trialling services.

The model being set up in Campbeltown involves the local community hospital and three local GP practices providing round the clock care, as well as providing an enhanced Scottish Ambulance Service response to support the service. In West Lochaber GPs from several practices will work together with the wider health and care team to provide care to patients.

Vital statistics
Rural Scotland
£1.5m will be invested to improve services in rural Scotland
70%of comunities deemed to be part of rural Scotland
18.7% of the population live in rural or remote areas

Rural Scotland will receive funding to trial various models to improve its primary care services.

Source: Scottish Government

Flu vaccination available in Northern Ireland

The flu vaccine for children has been launched in Northern Ireland.

This year the vaccine will be offered to children aged two-to-three years and to those in the school year primary six (aged nine to 11). The programme is being phased over several years to eventually cover all children aged between two and 16.

Primary six children will receive the vaccination at school and two-and-three-year-old children will be vaccinated through local GP surgeries.

At-risk children of all ages will continue to receive the flu vaccine as before. For medical reasons a small number of children will not receive the nasal vaccine, but will be offered the injection instead.

The vaccination is also being rolled out in England, Wales and Scotland.

PHE releases first set of health checks data

Just under 600,000 NHS health checks were offered in the first quarter of 2013-2014 and a total of 286,717 people received one in the same period. Across England the average uptake was 47.9 per cent in comparison to an average of 47.5 per cent for the first quarter of 2012-2013.

This is the first set of figures to be released by PHE since the responsibility for the programme moved from primary care trusts to local authorities in April this year. The data covers April, May and June.

Shortage of Epilepsy specialist nurses

Children with epilepsy may not get the care they need in community environments.

Despite NICE guidelines stating that every school should have access to a dedicated epilepsy nurse research published in the 'Archives of Disease in Childhood' has found that these guidelines are not necessarily being correctly implemented.Specialist nurses are needed to ensure correct usage of medication and seizure procedures.

Sexual Health course

Nurses and midwives in Birmingham will be able to develop their knowledge of the nature, risks and effects of sexually transmitted infections and all methods of contraception, by taking a new course in sexual health. It will begin at the end of September and is being delivered by New Attitudes, a contraception and sexual health service based in Erdington.

The course, 'Contraception and Sexual Health - Theory and Practice,' has been accredited with 30 CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points at level three by Staffordshire University. It will be led by Catherine Hill (right) who has 20 years of experience in sexual health education and now works as nurse consultant at New Attitudes, part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

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