Teach mental health, schools urged

Put mental health on timetable, schools urged

Teenagers with mental health issues need more help, argues a brand new charity

Mental health lessons needs to be at the timetable in every secondary school within the UK a brand new charity has urged.

Too many pupils with symptoms of depression or anxiety are let down or ignored, claims charity MindFull.

It has launched a brand new online counselling service to support and advise 11- to 17-year-olds.

MindFull’s founder Emma-Jane Cross said poor mental health among teenagers was “one of the most last great medical taboos within the UK today”.

The charity’s inaugural report requires a “sea-change” in approaches to young people’s mental health.

‘Epic’ scale

In her foreword, Ms Cross describes the dimensions of the issue as “epic” with thousands “teetering at the brink” of significant mental illness, risking “terrible long-term effects” for both individuals and society at large.

Too many “are having to resort to harming themselves on purpose if you want to cope, or worse still are wondering ending their very own lives”, she added later.

The report demands awareness of the significance of mental health to be integrated into every aspect of young people’s development particularly in schools and health services.

“We have to move far from only tackling the indicators of acute poor mental health and well-being to spotlight education, prevention and early intervention,” say the authors.

“Teenagers should be encouraged to talk out about their mental health and well-being and feel confident that, once they do, they may receive the support they want as swiftly and as easily as possible.”

The charity says its new online support service can help do that by providing professional counselling and peer support for youth.

It says it can even be working with schools to coach youngsters on tips on how to focus on mental health issues.

The charity has the backing of Labour leader Ed Miliband and of campaigners for better mental health support for teens.


Psychologist Prof Tanya Byron said: “Just as we glance after our children’s physical health, it is vital we provide support for his or her mental well-being.

“Children and kids are clearly not getting the assistance they wish. That’s why this new online support from MindFull is so important.”

Lucie Russell of the YoungMinds charity said: “Children and children are growing up in a poisonous climate. They exist in a 24/7 online world where they never switch off, where cyberbullying, consumerism and pornography, sexting and the pressure to have the very best body bombard them daily, where any exam grade below a C means failure and employment prospects are bleak.

“We all know from our extensive work with teens that the support they so desperately need once they aren’t coping is grossly lacking but we also know from services that they’re under huge funding pressures and are overwhelmed with demand.”

Health minister Norman Lamb said the federal government was “placing an unprecedented emphasis on mental health”, particularly for kids and youth.

“Greater than a 3rd of kids and kids now live in a space where children and adolescent mental health services has been transformed.

“We’re investing £54m into improving access to mental health treatments for youngsters and teenagers.”

Hospital death rate probe extended

Probe into ‘high death rate’ hospitals extended

A total of 14 hospitals in England are being investigated after the reporting into failings at Stafford Hospital

Another nine hospital trusts are to be investigated for prime death rates within the wake of the damning report at the NHS over its handling of the Stafford Hospital scandal.

The NHS’s system of regulation and monitoring was heavily criticised by the Francis inquiry last week.

It prompted ministers to launch an instantaneous inquiry into five trusts with high death rates.

Another nine have now been added to that list, bringing the complete to fourteen.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh will lead the investigation after the analysis of knowledge through up the brand new group.

The nine trusts are: North Cumbria University Hospitals, United Lincolnshire Hospitals, George Eliot Hospital, Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals, the Dudley Group, Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Medway and Burton Hospitals.


Death rates are calculated by watching the variety of folks that will be expected to die when bearing in mind the age and disease profile of the local population.

While not necessarily proof there’s a problem, they’re a “smoke alarm” suggesting there may be.

It was higher than expected death rates that first alerted inspectors to the issues at Stafford Hospital, where hundreds are thought to have died after receiving poor care.

Last week the general public inquiry into the scandal concluded patients were “betrayed” by a system that put corporate self interest earlier than patient safety.

Sir Bruce said: “The point of my investigation is to guarantee patients, public and Parliament that these hospitals understand why they’ve got a high mortality and feature all of the support they should improve.

“This can be an intensive and rigorous process, involving patients, clinicians, regulators and native organisations.”

‘Named clinician’ for older patients

Elderly patients to be assigned named clinician

Mr Hunt says the NHS is the envy of the world

Elderly people in England are to have a named clinician accountable for their care after they leave hospital, the health secretary has said.

The initiative is to be unveiled at an event to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the National Health Service.

Mr Hunt says it’ll to aid create a “more personal service”.

But Labour have said the NHS’ anniversary is overshadowed by a “real sense of worry about where the NHS is heading”.

At an event at Guy’s Hospital in London, Mr Hunt will announce that a named doctor or nurse will be responsible for the patients “at all times”.

He will say: “As we celebrate, we also reflect. The world today is very different to 1948. The old model was curable illnesses where you went into hospital unwell and came out better.

“Yet most people now leave hospital with long-term conditions which need to be supported and managed at home.

“So the challenge today is to provide integrated, co-ordinated, out of hospital care. Something where the NHS, with our tradition of family doctors and primary care, could lead the world.

“But to do that we need to know that there is a clinician accountable for vulnerable older people in the community, just as there is a consultant responsible for them in hospital…

“They should be named so that patients, families and carers all know where the buck stops.”

‘Wrong path’

Mr Hunt will say the eight million people with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease “need radically different models of care to what the NHS has been accustomed to” and could benefit from the plan.

The health secretary is also to launch a new organisation, Genomics England, to map the DNA of 100,000 patients with cancer and rare diseases.

Mr Hunt said: “If we really want this to be the century of personalised care, then we must radically improve our understanding of disease and how to design treatments better tailored to individual patients.

“Combine the information from genomes with the information in digital medical records – all done with proper consent – and you have the most remarkable treasure trove about the make-up of diseases with huge clues as to how to treat them.”

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the NHS anniversary was being overshadowed by “a genuine sense of worry about where the NHS is heading under David Cameron”.

“Patients and staff have precious little faith that the NHS is safe in this government’s hands,” he said.

“Cameron’s reorganisation has put the NHS on the wrong path – a fast-track to fragmentation and privatisation.”

But speaking ahead of his announcement Mr Hunt said: “The NHS has done more to improve people’s lives than any other institution in our history, and its excellence makes us the envy of the area.

“We’ve taken real steps to give protection to the NHS and to offer it a sustainable future.”

Second UK case of coronavirus

Second UK case of ‘Sars-like’ coronavirus identified

Scientists have sequenced the infection’s full genome

A second case of a brand new respiratory illness comparable to the deadly Sars virus was identified within the UK.

The patient, who’s receiving intensive care treatment in a Manchester hospital, had recently travelled to the center East and Pakistan.

Doctors insist the danger of the brand new coronavirus spreading to the final UK population is “extremely low” and the location is being closely monitored.

The total selection of confirmed cases globally now stands at 10.

The death toll is five – three patients treated in Saudi Arabia and two treated in Jordan.

Coronaviruses are a big family of viruses starting from the typical cold to the Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus, spread through droplets of body fluids produced by sneezing and coughing.

In 2002 a deadly disease of Sars killed about 800 people after the virus spread to greater than 30 countries all over the world.

The new coronavirus was first identified in September 2012 in a patient in Saudi Arabia who has since died.

Soon after, officials identified another case – this time within the UK. The 49-year-old man in question have been transferred to St Thomas’ hospital in London by air ambulance from Qatar.

Five months on, a second UK case have been found.

Prof John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department on the Health Protection Agency (HPA), said: “The HPA is providing advice to healthcare workers to make certain the patient under investigation is being treated appropriately and that healthcare staff who’re taking care of the patient are protected. Contacts of the case also are being followed as much as check on their health.”

No travel restrictions are in place.

But Prof Watson said those that developed severe respiratory symptoms, comparable to shortness of breath, within 10 days of coming back from the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding regions should seek medical advice and mention the countries they’ve got visited.

Surgeon death data ‘not robust’

Death data ‘not adequate to identify poor surgeons’

Heart surgery is one area where individual data is powerful, the study says

Publishing death rates for individual surgeons cannot spot poor performers in certain fields because too few operations happen, a study finds,

In June, the NHS in England published the 1st data, including death rates, for vascular surgeons, with nine more specialist areas to follow.

But the paper says it’d be better if some data was shown per hospital.

NHS England said the cause of the initiative was transparency – to not try and spot poorly performing doctors.

‘Statistically reliable?’

The team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine used hospital data from England to observe death rates in four specialist areas,

These were adult heart surgery, bowel cancer resection (removing element of the colon or rectum), oesophagectomy (removing the oesophagus) and gastrectomy (getting rid of all or portion of the tummy), and hip fracture surgery.

They then assessed what number procedures can be necessary for reliable detection of poor performance, and the way many surgeons in English NHS hospitals actually try this selection of operations.

The researchers concluded enough heart and hip operations were performed to make death rate data statistically reliable.

But they suggest the identical isn’t true for the opposite categories they studied.

For example, the median selection of bowel cancer resections performed by a personal surgeon was nine – meaning the number was too small and too easily plagued by more than a few other factors, inclusive of one surgeon doing more complex operations than their peers on sicker patients.

In addition, death rates after hip surgery are extremely low and so does not give an excellent reflection of the procedure’s success.

The researchers suggest post-operative quality of life may be a greater measure for this specialty.

Other factors

They conclude that during many areas, individual performance data does not be robust – and can give a false sense of complacency because “a lack of evidence may be falsely interpreted as evidence of acceptable performance”.

Dr Jenny Neuburger, who led the research, said: “The reporting of results for individual surgeons needs to be in line with outcomes which are fairly frequent, and by chance, from the viewpoint of patients, mortality isn’t certainly one of them.

“For specialties wherein most surgeons don’t perform sufficient numbers of operations to reliably assess their outcomes, reporting must be on the level of the surgical team or hospital, and never the surgeon.”

Prof Jan van der Meulen, who also worked at the paper, said there must be as much transparency as possible.

But he said: “It isn’t just the surgeon who has an impact – it is the whole care package, the entire team, the pre and post-operative care.”

Prof Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “The motive force behind the publication of surgeon-level outcomes data is to enhance surgical performance and make allowance patients to determine more in regards to the quality of care provided by hospitals and individual surgeons.”

He said it was “an incredibly challenging project” and especially complex for cancer operations where there have been “low volumes of surgery”.

But Prof Williams said: “Here is the start of a brand new solution to transparency in healthcare.

“Auditing some areas of surgery is undeniably easier than others.

“Here is under no circumstances a reason to not measure outcome so long as the complexities are understood and interpreted correctly – and the profession is committed to doing so, despite how difficult it could be.”

And Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director at NHS England, said: “The authors have misunderstood the aim of public disclosure of info.

“It’s not a statistical exercise to spot poor performers. Rather it’s miles an exercise to offer information on activity and outcomes, to focus minds on improving results and to guarantee the general public that the NHS offers quality surgery.

“However does raise the question as to if it’s better to have your complex operation performed by a surgeon doing numerous that operation or just a couple of.”

‘Fully-funded’ policy on social care

Social care: Jeremy Hunt hails ‘fully-funded solution’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says people must feel confident their homes aren’t at risk

The government says it’ll announce a “fully-funded solution” on Monday to the difficulty of elderly people in England who cannot afford social care.

It is anticipated to incorporate a £75,000 cap at the costs people pay for care and an increase within the threshold for means-tested support from £23,250 to £123,000.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the “scandal” of plenty of people selling homes to pay care bills should be tackled.

Labour said the rustic needed “a much bigger and bolder response”.

At present, as much as 40.000 people each year are forced into selling their homes because they face unlimited care bills, says Mr Hunt – who will set out the plan in a press release to the Commons.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show the purpose was “to be among the many first countries on the planet which creates a system where people do not have to sell their very own house”.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, writing within the Sunday Telegraph, meanwhile, said: “We’re going to make certain no-one is forced to sell their home to pay for care of their lifetime, and no-one sees their life savings disappear simply because they developed the incorrect type of illness.”

The cost of accommodation in residential care homes averages about £7,000-£10,000 a year.

While the cap is a sizeable sum the hope is that, by establishing the main that the state will cover the really high costs, people will start planning for his or her future care needs.

There are quite a few ways that the elderly with the means to take action can unlock £75,000, but one hope is that the insurance industry will start engaging with the problem and developing products that might cover old-age care.

Mr Hunt, who said 10% of folks ended up paying greater than £100,000 in care costs, said that “just as people make provisions for his or her pensions of their 20s and 30s, so we also should be a rustic that prepares for social care to boot”.

He added: “By setting an upper limit to how much people need to pay, then it permits insurance firms to provide policies, for folk to have options on their pensions, in order that anything you might want to pay under the cap is roofed.”

As well as introducing a cap, the govt is predicted to extend the means-tested threshold – there to make certain the fewer well-off get state help towards their care costs.

Currently anyone with assets of greater than £23,250 has to pay for his or her care. Under the plans, it’s likely the edge will rise to £123,000 for those that should go right into a care home.

That reflects the indisputable fact that rising property prices over time have effectively meant any home-owner falls outside the state system.

Mr Hunt can be expected to disclose that the plans can be part-funded by freezing the inheritance tax threshold – at £325,000 for people and £650,000 for couples – for 3 years from 2015.

That is despite Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement pledge, in December, to boost the brink by 1% – to £329,000 for people and £658,000 for couples – in 2015/2016.

Other funding will come from previously-announced changes to National Insurance and pensions and cuts in government departments.

Labour said that, while the government’s plan would help “some those that need residential care in five or more years’ time”, it should not be fair “for folk with modest homes”.

“And these proposals won’t do anything for the masses of thousands of elderly and disabled those people who are facing a desperate daily struggle to get the care and support they want today,” shadow minister for care and older people Liz Kendall said.

“We want a miles bigger and bolder response to satisfy the purposes of our ageing population: a genuinely integrated NHS and social care system which helps older people stay healthy and living independently of their own homes for so long as possible.”

The National Pensioners Convention said the proposals “simply tinker on the edges” and that a £75,000 cap “can assist just 10% of these needing care, whilst most people could be left to struggle on with a 3rd-rate service”.

“The present system is dogged by means-testing, a postcode lottery of charges, a rationing of services and poor standards and nothing within the plan seems like it might address any of those concerns,” general secretary Dot Gibson said.

Older people’s charity Age UK said it was disappointed on the “high cap” of £75,000 but added “a high cap is best than no cap in any respect”.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) welcomed the plans but said it was “vital that folks clearly understand the cap and what costs are covered, and a countrywide awareness campaign should be had to make this happen”.

And Economist Ros Altmann said the proposals would create a fairer system that will allow people to “plan and get ready for care”.

New virus ‘not yet global threat’

Coronavirus: New virus ‘not yet global threat’

The new virus emerged in 2012

The deadly coronavirus that emerged last year doesn’t currently seem to be infectious enough to pose an international threat, researchers say.

Their analysis of 55 cases of Middle East respiratory-syndrome coronavirus, published within the Lancet, indicated the virus struggled to spread in people.

But the virus could be mutating, meaning it may well become a miles greater threat.

It is analogous to viruses that cause Sars and the typical cold.

So far there were 77 confirmed cases and 41 deaths. Most infections come from an unidentified animal source, but there were cases by which the virus has spread between people.

Going global?

The team on the Pasteur Institute in Paris tried to calculate the common variety of people each infected person passed the virus directly to – what’s also known as a “basic reproduction value”.

A high value means the selection of cases can increase rapidly and potentially spread around the globe, but quite a number lower than one would mean the virus was destined to vanish away.

The study indicated each patient would, on average, infect 0.69 others. So three infected patients would pass the virus directly to just two people.

Prof Arnaud Fontanet told the BBC: “The virus because it currently stands will not be capable of start an outbreak.

“My concern is that folk read this and never worry about it, however the opposite is correct. Here is the best time to spot the animal host and forestall it.”

In the early stages of Sars in late 2002 it had a basic reproduction value of 0.8, but eventually the virus mutated and will spread more easily.

“Sars’ adaption to humans took just several months, whereas Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus has already been circulating greater than a year in human populations without mutating right into a pandemic form,” Prof Arnaud Fontanet added.

There has been cases in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Additional cases in France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the united kingdom were associated with travel to the center East.

On Thursday, the death of a patient within the UK was announced. He were treated for kidney failure and severe breathing difficulties since being flown in from Qatar in September.

Dr Benjamin Neuman, from the University of Reading, said: “The authors have done their best to foretell how Middle East respiratory syndrome will spread in response to the few cases that we all know about, and located that the virus seems to be slowly dying out.

“But other work has shown that the virus is changing, and that fluctuate makes it difficult to foretell the way forward for Middle East respiratory syndrome.

“What most concerns me is that folk are still becoming infected from an unknown source.”