Home General Info & Awareness Health In The News [ 08/02/2023 ]

Health In The News [ 08/02/2023 ]

by InvisiblyMe

Health In The News : A short round-up of recent health news, from new tech to help diabetics and an NHS boss opining that hospitals are “horrible”, to new migraine drugs and the most commonly searched medical conditions last year.

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“Artifical Pancreas” Technology To Be Offered To Struggling Diabetics

NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has agreed to the use of a new technology for Type 1 diabetics who are unable to adequately manage their condition and are thus at higher risk of complications. 

A continuous glucose monitor that can monitor levels 24/7 will be attached to the body, where it can transmit this vital data to an insulin pump. An algorithm will calculate the amount of insulin to be delivered and it will then be administered. 

This is a more convenient and effective way compared to regular finger-prick blood testing to check levels throughout the day and self-administering insulin injections.

A bird's eye view showing a close up of three hands against a purple background. Two hands wear gloves, with one holding a diabetes glucose monitor, and the other holding the finger of the patient as though about do to a finger prick blood test.

For those who haven’t be able to control their diabetes through this typical method, or via an insulin pump, the new ‘artificial pancreas’ technology could help stabilise their condition and lower the risk of long-term complications. 

While the NHS price is still be negotiated, it’s thought that around 105,000 people in England could be offered this new technology. 

You can read more about the soon-to-be-available diabetic technology here.

Full Sick Pay For NHS Staff During Covid To Be Halved

Since the Covid19 pandemic started, there was a special policy in place that enabled NHS staff to be off work with Covid19, or when needing to isolate due to potential Covid, to receive their full pay for the full period of time off. There’s no time limit on the sick leave, and some staff have been off for 2 years with “long Covid”, receiving their full wage for the duration.

Most employees of other companies or the self-employed received nothing or minimal sick pay, and many couldn’t afford to take the time off even when sick, whether with Covid or something else. This policy for NHS staff wasn’t highlighted to the public during the pandemic and it seems many people were totally unaware of it, but it has raised questions about the feasibility of strikes given the other benefits of working for the National Health Service.

The policy is soon to change as from February 2023, the rate of sick pay for NHS off work due to Covid will drop to half the rate of their wage.

You can read more about the Covid19 sick pay policy for NHS staff changing here.

Covid Boosters For 2023

In Covid health news, it seems the pandemic is over for many people and has been for some time, while some are still feeling the effects and being more cautious due to vulnerability. As the virus still circulating and causing deaths and hospitalisations, some countries worldwide are already considering new Covid19 booster vaccination schemes for 2023. In the UK, the JCVI has recommended there be a spring booster roll-out for the extremely vulnerable (the smaller group) and further boosters in autumn for the “at risk” groups (middle group). No mention has yet been made about the wider not-at-risk public. More details are thought to be following shortly about the criteria for the spring booster for those who may be interested.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that The White House would be looking to terminate the public health & national emergency status (first declared during the Trump administration in 2020) on May 11th. This signals a move away from pandemic status, instead treating Covid19 as a more typical seasonal respiratory illness.

You can see the government statement regarding UK 2023 booster vaccines here.

NHS Boss Says Hospitals Are “The Worst Place You Can Possibly Be”

The NHS legal executive of East Suffolk & North Essex Foundation Trust has candidly shared his opinion that hospitals are “the worst place you can possibly be”. Speaking to other health staff, he explained that they need a “change in the narrative” so that patients are adequately informed during their stay and their treatment. “[Hospitals] are horrible places”, an opinion shared by many patients who’ve had to use NHS healthcare. He went on to say: “The food is rubbish, we don’t let you sleep, we don’t let you know what’s going on.”

A photo of the front of a hospital close up showing the Hospital sign with white cross.

Unfortunately, many patients have had dire experiences in hospitals and it’s nothing new. But for those who know how bad it can be, the problem is far worse than the food. It’s the attitude, poor treatment, rude nurses, delays and negligent care. At best, the patient has a nightmare experience, but at worse, their health declines or they could die, so these awful experiences shouldn’t be taken lightly. The problem for the UK NHS is that things continue to get worse in terms of fewer beds, fewer staff but more patients, and more red tape that works against the best interests of the patients.

In talking about how standards have slipped and have become the norm, Mr Hulme said that “we have, sadly, come to accept the unacceptable… If we had had five patients overnight in A&E without a bed in a pre-Covid world, it would have led almost to a major incident. Now, if it’s five, we are really pleased, we think it’s a good night. It’s not a good night. It’s a dreadful night. We have lowered the bar and lowered the bar.”

You can read more about Mr Hulme’s comments on NHS hospitals here.

Three New Eczema Treatments Now Available

It’s estimated that around 6 million people in the UK live with atopic dermatitis, or eczema. It’s a condition that shouldn’t be underestimated as it can be serious enough to cause a huge impact on life. There’s now hope for individuals who are unresponsive to conventional treatments in the form of three new prescriptions that are said to work very quickly : abrocitinib, upadacitinib and tralokinumab.

These new options are for patients with mediate to severe eczema. Tralokinumab is a monoclonal antibody medication that blocks key proteins, interleukin-4 and -13, that trigger inflammation. Abrocitinib and upadacitinib are JAK inhibitors that block janus kinases enzymes in order to prevent the immune system attacking the body and the skin.

You can learn more about the new eczema treatments here.

New IV Migraine Drug Given The NICE Go Ahead

Migraine sufferers will know that it’s not always easy to find a drug that works for you, and it’s even harder to find one without intolerable side-effects. For many years there were no new treatments for NHS patients but in recent years there have been a few getting recent green lights for use, such as Aimovig and Ajovy. The latest to be given the NICE go-ahead for NHS use is eptinezumab, a preventative treatment given via IV in hospital every 12 weeks.

Eptinezumab is a monoclonal antibody treatment that blocks CGRP to prevent the dilation of blood vessels (also referred to as a “Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist”).

The treatment is for those who’ve not responded to at least 3 other preventatives and, similarly to the other newer treatments, is typically for those who live with chronic migraines (15+ per month).

You can learn more about eptinezumab being accepted by NICE here.

A woman lying back on a sofa with a pained expression on her face as she holds an ice bag to her head as though suffering a migraine.

Most Requested Medical Concerns In The UK Revealed

The NHS has published data illustrating the most often visited medical advice pages on its site. From this, it seems the public are particularly concerned about, or are most commonly experiencing, a few key health issues. 

The most commonly searched issue with 16.3 million views was Covid19, perhaps unsurprisingly given how many have now been infected since the pandemic begun. 

In second place is long covid, with a small portion of individuals still suffering with post-viral symptoms months after they’ve recovered from the initial infection.

In third place is high blood pressure, a condition that can put individuals at greater risk of serious complications like heart attack and stroke. If you have concerns around elevated BP, please speak to your doctor as lifestyle changes or medications may be required. 

In fourth place is chickenpox, which may come as a surprise as it hasn’t been mentioned in the media much in recent times but it’s a condition that has never taken a break from affecting primarily children. 

In fifth place was ADHD. Sixth was fever in children. Seventh was scarlet fever. Eighth was diarrhoea and vomiting.

You can read more about the most often viewed NHS health advice pages here.

A black scroll divider.

Are you surprised by any of these health news stories, or have you seen any interesting updates you’d like to share?

Caz  ♥

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Sandee February 8, 2023 - 5:23 pm

I always say if you want to get sick go to a hospital or a rest home. That will surely make you sick.

Have a fabulous day and rest of the week, Caz.. ♥

InvisiblyMe February 13, 2023 - 4:21 pm

It’s such a sad contradiction, isn’t it?
Thanks for reading, Sandee – I hope you both have a lovely week ahead! 💜 xx

Marilee Wein February 8, 2023 - 6:18 pm

There are always many amazing things to perk us up when so much seems out of sorts.

InvisiblyMe February 13, 2023 - 4:38 pm

Absolutely – the wonders of some clever minds & amazing developments in science + technology! It inspires a lot of hope, doesn’t it? 🙌

c.a. February 8, 2023 - 7:21 pm

Hi, Caz.
I recall another Brit mentioning NICE to me once and it caught my attention very quickly. C.S. Lewis, in That Hideous Strength, his third novel in his sci-fantasy trilogy, introduced NICE back in 1945. His NICE was for National Institute for Coordinated Experiments and was a nefarious agency that dictated government policy according to eugenic, utilitarian principles. In the novel, NICE takes over Britain and attempts to create an anti-human totalitarianism in which human rights are abolished and people are used as disposable tools in medical and social experiments.
Set up by the Labour government in 1999, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (N.I.C.E.) produces “guidance” for the NHS on what drugs and treatments should be provided by Britain’s government-funded health system. From the extraction of wisdom teeth to the funding of Alzheimer’s drugs, to the provision or withdrawal of nutrition and hydration to disabled patients, N.I.C.E. lays down what will and will not be paid for by Britain’s National Health Service. Scarily getting close to the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments. Hmmmm. 😉
❤️&🙏, c.a.

InvisiblyMe February 14, 2023 - 3:49 pm

Hahaha yes! You told me about this before but you’ve said it really well here and it seems all the more strange, doesn’t it? As if someone read the novel and thought “hmm that’s a good idea. What words will fit the NICE acronym so we can make this a reality?” Unfortunately NICE is often not NICE at all. Sometimes NICE does help patients with their guidelines and stipulations, and sometimes it’s the local NHS areas and practices that stand in the way of patient needs. Either way, things aren’t always (or often?) done for the best interest of the patients.

Liz February 8, 2023 - 8:36 pm

One time I had a nurse with a bad attitude in A&E. This was going back a few years ago. She was abrupt and I thought to myself is it any wonder patients snap. I couldn’t snap because of how I felt at the time. Otherwise I would have gave back what I was given. Then what would have happened? Would have been my fault.
It left me feeling very upset and I swore blind I wouldn’t be in a hurry to go to A&E if I was dying.

Some years later when I ended going in A&E, I had a better experience and have done since.
The only issue I have is the accessibility part at times as a deaf person.

InvisiblyMe February 14, 2023 - 3:56 pm

I’m sorry about your previous bad experience. It can be enough to put us off for life, for unfortunately sometimes we need the help and we can’t go elsewhere (as much as I’d prefer to go to the vets). You make a good point with how you couldn’t snap or stand up for yourself because of how you felt – patients are vulnerable, often on their own when they most need someone there on their side, and can’t fight for themselves. Even if they did, they’d be the ones in the wrong. When I had a bowel twist in the first year of the pandemic 2020, our local A&E had shut and I had to go to a different city again. I had such a bad experience there before, not to mention bad experiences generally with individuals at the local hospital (mostly nurses, and the odd doctor/consultant) that I said to my mum I’d rather die at home than go back. But I was in such a bad way and ended up going because I couldn’t do that to her. I don’t understand why someone who is clearly quite misanthropic goes into such a profession as nursing. It boggles the mind. I hope if ever you need to go back to A&E that you have only good experiences & the care that you deserve 🙏

Cindy Georgakas February 8, 2023 - 8:45 pm

Great article Caz!❣️
I’m with you here. Love this new gadget that sounds promising for diabetes. The only way you will find me at a hospital is if it’s and emergency. 🙏🏼

InvisiblyMe February 14, 2023 - 4:07 pm

I’m glad you like the news round-up – thank you, Cindy! I’m totally with you about hospital, too. I would do anything to never, ever have to step foot in one ever again. They keep telling the public not to go to A&E unless it’s an emergency but who in their right mind wants to go just for the fun of it?! 😆 I’m hoping the new gadget and others to follow can make managing diabetes easier for people, too. Technology is pretty awesome. xx

The Oceanside Animals February 9, 2023 - 3:13 am

Charlee: “Artificial pancreas, wow! I wonder if that could help with other things some day, like pancreatic cancer. They had a lot of pancreatic cancer in New York where our Dada grew up.”
Chaplin: “When it comes to COVID our Mama and Dada are pretty cautious still, but they do go out more now and even finally stopped wearing masks in the grocery store and stuff. They even have been back to the dance studio a few times!”

InvisiblyMe February 14, 2023 - 4:16 pm

You’re right, it’s an exciting development for diabetes & beyond – I really hope they could use the tech for pancreatic cancer, that’d be incredible. I wonder why it was so prevalent a condition in NY? Maybe that’s a stupid question but I’ve no idea. I’m glad your mama & dada are getting back to life again but it is hard. There’s caution and then there’s the fact we still don’t know what the real risks are. Is it safe enough? Who knows. I can’t get past the things I’ve done for years now, like antibacterial cleaning and hand sanitizing constantly. But I’m also going out with a mask & feeling a little easier with it, too. I bet it’s good to get back on the dance floor!

James Viscosi February 9, 2023 - 4:00 pm

I would have to agree that the hospital is no place to be, although my experience was probably better than most. I only had one nurse we didn’t like (who wondered why I wasn’t filling out paperwork after, you know, almost having died not long before), and although they kept telling me the cafe had good food I certainly never got any of it and, yeah, they definitely didn’t let me sleep, but I couldn’t sleep when I got discharged either because I still had to take medication every four hours. But at least when I had to wake up at midnight and 4am and stuff I was doing it at home …

InvisiblyMe February 14, 2023 - 4:20 pm

I’m glad the experience after your Event wasn’t the worst, but yeah, they don’t seem to get being ill sometimes. Nurses always try to get me to shower the day after surgery when I’m off my face and can’t move. I wonder if they do the routine blood testing and such so often and feed people gross food just so you don’t get too comfortable there 😆

Blanca Pascual February 9, 2023 - 8:13 pm

Great post Caz! Thank you so much for sharing this detailed health news update. The first news about the artificial pancreas sounds very promising!

InvisiblyMe February 17, 2023 - 10:32 pm

It’s certainly an exciting development, isn’t it? Thanks for the comment lovely, I’m really glad you liked the post! Have a fab weekend 🌻 x

Belladonna February 10, 2023 - 3:54 pm

Hospitals are a feeding ground for germs. Also you feel like a science project when they come in and poke at you.
You gave us a lot of information and uncovered so many illnesses that leave you so clueless when the doctors are talking so fast and throwing around language a non doctor wouldn’t understand. My mom and my niece are both diabetic (different types) and I’m pleased to see they have an easier way to check their sugar levels.
Thank you for sharing this with us. How are you doing?

InvisiblyMe February 17, 2023 - 10:46 pm

It’s such a contradiction, isn’t it? You should be in the best place in a hospital – sterile, clean, all the help & meds right there. Sadly doesn’t seem to work the way it should when so many get sick (or sicker) in hospital. I’m sorry your mum & niece both have diabetes. Do they get on okay with it and manage well? I know care for diabetics is better today than it was even 10 years ago, but it could alway be better. Anything that can help with that is a winner. Thanks for the comment lovely, I’m glad you like the post. I’m okay thank you, ticking along.. How’re you doing? I hope you’re doing okay and that you have a fab weekend ahead! xx

Belladonna February 18, 2023 - 8:43 pm

Hey girlie, all is well here. They are doing so well with managing their diabetes. My mom has type one and my niece has type two. It’s just great that they don’t have to prick themselves every single day and they’ve come up with some really cool monitors to help check their levels. I hope you’re having a great weekend and thanks for providing us with great articles to read.

Despite Pain February 10, 2023 - 4:51 pm

Interesting post, Caz. The artificial pancreas must be a real breakthrough for diabetics. And the IV migraine treatment. Will you be able to get it? You suffer so much with migraines – it would be amazing it this could benefit you.

Getting treatment and quality care (and decent food) really seems to be a bit of a lottery in the UK, doesn’t it? When hubby was admitted in December, he gave every aspect of his care a 10 out of 10, including the food. Perhaps especially the food – and Ian likes good food. I asked him if they provided decent food for people with dietary restrictions like coeliac, and he sent me a photo of the menu. It was fantastic. In January, I had to go for a colonoscopy and was given a gluten-free sandwich afterwards along with a packet of gluten-free biscuits. The sandwich was made from the nicest gluten-free bread I have tasted and filled with delicious ham. From reading posts on coeliac groups, that kind of treatment varies up and down the country. Some hospitals don’t provide any gluten-free food at all leaving patients relying on relatives to bring in meals! I consider myself but, really, that kind of treatment should be the same everywhere.

InvisiblyMe February 19, 2023 - 4:45 pm

The artificial pancreas really is exciting, isn’t it? I hope it’s a good sign for things to come to make diabetic treatment and management increasingly more convenient and effective. I’ve actually just started a new migraine treatment (self-injection) and I’m on month two. Nothing so far, still get migraines often twice a day most days apart from the odd day off. Apparently it can take three months to start working, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

You’re right, decent care here does seem to be a lottery. I’ve never heard of good NHS hospital food though, that’s a misnomer if ever I’ve heard one! I’ve never seen GF options on any hospital menu and the regular food has always been sketchy at best. It’s weird they don’t cater to conditions that many people are in hospital for and with. Every time I’ve been in, I can’t eat a lot of things because I need low fibre, low residue and really simple. Nothing fits. I can have are biscuits when the tea trolley comes through or toast if a nurse is willing to make some. It’s okay if you have someone nearby who can bring some suitable snacks in, but that’s not always possible. xx

disturbedByVoices February 14, 2023 - 4:39 am

My sister works as a respiratory therapist for hospital here in the States, and the horror stories she’s told me have scared the hell out of me. I have migraines too, but they don’t hurt anymore, so I guess I can count my blessings on that one. Well thought out excellent post as usual. 🖤

InvisiblyMe February 19, 2023 - 4:51 pm

Aw that sucks. Does your sister still enjoy her job, despite the horror stories? I hope you don’t have to go to hospital to ever experience them for yourself! It’s so, so annoying that it’s well known there are problems but they get brushed over. How patients are treated almost doesn’t matter anymore. As for your migraines, I’m sorry you get them too but I’m glad they’re perhaps not as bad anymore. I hope it stays like that and you don’t have further issues with them. Migraines are really underrated. I had no idea how bad they could be or how debilitating they could be until I started getting them like this. They’re such a mystery too with many people never finding a cause for them. Thanks very much for the comment – I’m really glad you like the post! I hope you have a good week ahead 😊

disturbedByVoices March 7, 2023 - 7:20 am

She does, she just loves helping people. I still have the very occasional migraine, like once every few years, but they’re completely painless now. Their infrequency is in great part due to my figuring out what was causing them — an allergy to aspartame from my drinking Diet Coke when I was younger. I understand food allergies are often the cause and I just happened to notice the correlation. Hope you’re doing well, your blog and writing are really very well done and a pleasure to read.

Nancy Homlitas February 23, 2023 - 2:55 pm

Thank you for your recap of health updates. Hospitals have often been compared to giant petri dishes of growing bacteria., so it’s wise to only go there if it’s a true emergency. Many healthcare and government workers took unfair advantage of COVID time off with pay while grocery store staff, laborers, etc., worked during the worst of the pandemic. As always, this a wonderfully thorough report!

Abbas Anwar March 29, 2023 - 9:03 pm

Great article Caz! Thanks for sharing the health update


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