Measles cases at ’18-year high’

Measles cases at ’18-year high’

Measles is extremely infectious and may spread easily

Measles cases in England and Wales have risen to two,016 in 2012, the top annual total for 18 years, says the Health Protection Agency.

The measles cases during 2012 has been related to prolonged outbreaks in Merseyside, Surrey and Sussex.

There were also several smaller outbreaks in travelling communities.

The HPA said parents should ensure their children are fully shielded from the disease with the MMR vaccine.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation on the Health Protection Agency, said coverage of the MMR vaccine is now at historically high levels.

“But measles is very infectious and may spread easily among communities which are poorly vaccinated, and may affect anyone who’s susceptible, including toddlers in whom vaccination have been delayed.”

The measles virus can spread through droplets within the air that pop out of the nose and mouth when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The initial symptoms include cold-like symptoms, red eyes which can be sensitive to light, a fever and greyish white spots within the mouth and throat.

These become a red-brown spotty rash after about a days.

Dr Ramsay said older children who weren’t vaccinated on the routine age, who were now teenagers, were at particular risk of turning into exposed while at college.

Two doses

The only technique to prevent outbreaks of measles is to make sure children are being vaccinated, Dr Ramsay said.

“Measles is normally related to being a disease of the past and in consequence people may well be unaware that it’s dangerous infection which may bring about death in severe cases.

“Parents should ensure their children are fully shielded from measles, mumps and rubella with two doses of the MMR vaccine.

“Parents of unvaccinated children, in addition to older teenagers and adults who may need missed MMR vaccination, should make an appointment with their GP to get vaccinated.

Professor Ian Jones, from the University of Reading’s School of biological sciences, said that “the present rate of infection, that is inversely concerning the extent of immunisation within the population, is unacceptably high”.

“The numbers had been swollen by very localised pockets of infection (eg. a virus in Liverpool) and for many counties rates of immunisation of over 90% are the norm, the very best in 13 years.”

He said the MMR vaccine offered lifelong protection from measles, mumps and rubella.

“If the immunisation record is uncertain, as an example for travellers, assume it truly is incomplete and feature a booster – you can’t over immunise.”

Measles continues to circulate in different European countries, well liked by holidaymakers.

The UK together with France, Italy, Spain and Romania accounted for 87% of the whole 7,392 measles cases reported through the European Union countries as much as the top of November 2012.

Bosses resign from death probe trust

Tameside Hospital: Senior bosses resign from trust

Tameside Hospital is under investigation for its high death rates

The two most senior managers at a hospital investigated for prime death rates have resigned from their jobs.

The resignations were announced at the day it emerged Tameside Hospital have been criticised for its poor patient care by two independent reviews.

Christine Green, chief executive of Tameside Hospital Trust, has left her job while Medical Director Tariq Mahmood has also stepped down.

Tameside is one in every of 14 hospitals under scrutiny for its high death rates.

A trust spokesman said Mr Mahmood had offered his resignation three months ago, for family reasons, however the trust delayed its announcement until a replacement was found.

‘Numerous concerns’

Ms Green, who was chief executive since 1988, decided to resign last week after finalising plans for a “listening exercise” to listen to what area people and groups similar to GPs considered the hospital.

One review, commissioned by Tameside Hospital, found as much as eight A&E patients at a time were waiting in a corridor, with one left seven hours.

The review said weak leadership had affected “patient outcomes”.

The hospital said the reviews were commissioned with the aid of staff concerns and it had responded with an action plan.

Tameside’s three MPs – Jonathan Reynolds, Andrew Gwynne and David Heyes – released a joint statement welcoming the resignations.

They added: “We’ve got all said on numerous occasions that Tameside Hospital needs a metamorphosis of leadership.

“Although there are various concerns about problems on the hospital we all know from both talking to our constituents and from personal experience that there’s lot of excellent care delivered by the hospital’s staff too.

“However, the issues that do exist at Tameside haven’t been sufficiently addressed and we believe that the senior management ought to answer for this.

“The hospital trust now must discover a successor who’s in a position to implementing the change that our hospital needs.

“Hopefully, this may be a turning point and patients, staff and the broader public will now have the ability to rebuild their confidence in Tameside Hospital.”

What do vasectomy reversal specialists do?

At a certain point in life, some men decide to undergo vasectomy. Many of them take this option for many reasons but the major reason is to do family planning. Though it is seen as a permanent solution, there comes a time when they desire to reverse their decision or desire to sire another child. This requires them to visit a surgeon in order to carry out an operation with the aim of reversing vasectomy. Vasectomy reversal specialists can be of great help to help you decide and understand the process much easily.
During the operation, the urologist will attempt to reattach the two pieces of the vas deferens that had been tied so as to restore fertility. However, the success of this operation depends on many factors. There have been a number of such successful operations and men have been able to conceive again.
The male reproductive system has testis which are responsible for creating sperm cells. Sperms mature in the epididymis ready for ejaculation during sexual intercourse. When a male is about to ejaculate, the sperms travel from the epididymis through tubes called the Vas deferens. In these tubes, they mix with other secretions to form semen. The semen is ejected from the body through the urethra.
Basically when one undergoes a vasectomy the surgeon severs each of the vasa deferentia and ties them off. Most people see it as a permanent form of birth control but it can be reversed due to desire to have more children or after losing a child. It can also be due to marriage.
Vasectomy reversal is the most common form of vasectomy reversal. During the operation the patients are required to remain still as any movement can hamper the surgery. To prevent this, the patient usually receives general anesthesia. There are other things that are carried out to determine whether one shall undergo a normal surgery or it will warrant a more advanced surgery known as vasoepididymostomy.  Vasectomy reversal specialists can help you know more about this.
To determine which kind of operation that will be given to any person, the surgeon will take a sample fluid contained in the vas deferens on the side closest to the epididymis by making an incision on the side of the scrotum. When the sample is clear and contains sperms the operation continues normally. A vasoepididymostomy will only be done if the fluid is cloudy or does not contain any sperms. It is also an indication that the vas deferens or epididymis is blocked.
Vasoepididymostomy involves taking the closest vas deferens to the urethra and attaching it directly to the epididymis.  If the sample fluid is good, the scar tissue will be removed at both ends of the vas deferens and the urologist stitches them together. It takes about 2-4 hours to carry out this operation and most of the patients usually go home the same day.
The patients are required to abstain from sexual intercourse and any rigorous activities for about four weeks. It may fail due to a number of reasons such as the length of time from when the original vasectomy was done, failure of the doctor to create a watertight seal between the two pieces of the vas deferens among others. Vasectomy reversal specialists will also advice you not to anticipate a lot as it takes about 2-3 months before sperms appear in semen.

Drink price control ‘cuts deaths’

Study claims minimum pricing cuts alcohol-related deaths

Alcohol-related deaths fell when minimum prices rose

Research published in Canada has linked the introduction of minimum pricing with a major drop in alcohol-related deaths.

The findings, within the journal Addiction, were welcomed by health campaigners.

But they’ve been criticised as “misleading and inaccurate” by the drinks industry, which has questioned the statistical basis of the research.

The Scottish government’s plans to introduce a minimum unit price are on hold pending a court challenge.

The researchers said an increase in alcohol prices of 10% had ended in a 32% reduction in alcohol-related deaths.

The Canadian study was executed between 2002 and 2009 in British Columbia, where alcohol could only be sold on to the general public in government-owned stores.

It means that , when drink prices rose, there have been “immediate, substantial and demanding reductions” in deaths wholly brought on by alcohol abuse.

The authors suggest increasing the cost of cheaper drinks reduces the consumption of heavier drinkers preferring them.

Dr Tim Stockwell, director of the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, said: “This study adds to the scientific evidence that, despite popular opinion on the contrary, even the heaviest drinkers reduce their consumption when minimum alcohol prices increase.

“It’s hard otherwise to provide an explanation for the numerous changes in alcohol-related deaths observed in British Columbia.”

During the period under study, the law changed in Canada, permitting private liquor stores to open.

A 10% growth inside the collection of such outlets was related to a rise (2%) in all alcohol-related deaths.

This is the primary study to spotlight the results on mortality of alcohol minimum pricing, although the Scottish government has used previous research from the University of Sheffield to assert consumption of alcohol will be reduced if prices rose.

‘Saving lives’

It have been welcomed by health campaigners. Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) said it was further evidence that minimum pricing could be effective.

Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive, said: “It’s important evidence which shows that minimum pricing is saving lives in Canada and can save lives in Scotland.

“Increasing the cost of the least expensive alcohol through minimum pricing has the largest effect at the heaviest drinkers who’re most susceptible to alcohol-related illness and death.”

She criticised drinks organisations who’ve challenged the Scottish government’s plans to introduce minimum pricing.

MSPs passed The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 in May 2012, setting a 50p minimum unit price as a part of an effort to tackle alcohol misuse.

However, the govt. has undertaken to not introduce the measures until after the belief of the challenge brought on the Court of Session in Edinburgh by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and several other European wine and spirits bodies.

They argue that it breaches EU trade rules.

A consultation in England and Wales for a 45p minimum unit price ended on 6 February and similar plans are being considered by the Northern Ireland government.

An SWA statement said the experience of Canada, where there’s no minimum unit pricing, was different to that during Scotland.

It added: “The claims made by the Canadian researchers aren’t supported by official data from Statistics Canada which show alcohol-related deaths in British Colombia rising by 9% within the period, not falling as claimed.

“This compares with a drop in alcohol-related deaths in Scotland of 25% since a peak in 2003. This will suggest measures already in place in Scotland to tackle alcohol misuse are working.”

The chief executive of the Wine and Spirits Association (WSA), Miles Beale, also attacked the research.

“There’s not an easy link between alcohol price and harm,” he said.

“Consumption is likely to be relating to cultural factors and that the rise in price doesn’t impact on these significantly. The industry is committed to tackling problem drinking and its consequences, but minimum unit pricing should not do this.”

Good night’s sleep ‘protects heart’

Good night’s sleep ‘protects heart’

Sleep is nice for the guts in addition to the mind, say researchers

Seven or more hours’ sleep an evening boosts the advantages to the center of a healthy lifestyle, research suggests.

According to a giant study, traditional advice on exercise, diet, drinking and smoking reduced deaths from heart disease or stroke, but much more lives were saved by also having enough sleep.

Advice on getting enough sleep can have a considerable impact on public health, say European researchers.

In theory, many heart and stroke deaths may well be prevented or postponed.

A team within the Netherlands tracked heart disease and strokes in additional than 14,000 males and females for greater than a decade.

By the top of the study, about 600 individuals had suffered heart disease or stroke, and 129 died.

The study found that deaths were less likely in those who followed all four positive lifestyle recommendations – taking exercise, eating a nutritious diet, drinking alcohol sparsely, and never smoking.

Observing all four behaviours was related to a 57% lower risk of heart problems and a 67% lower risk of dying from stroke or heart disease, they are saying.

But when sufficient sleep – seven or more hours an evening – was added to any other four lifestyle factors, the beneficial effect was amplified – leading to a 65% lower risk of heart problems and an 83% lower risk of death from heart problems.

The researchers say other studies have shown a link between poor sleep and heart problems, but it is the primary to examine whether sleep – added to any other four healthy lifestyle recommendations – can further reduce risk.

“If all participants adhered to all five healthy lifestyle factors, 36% of composite heart problems [heart disease or stroke] and 57% of fatal heart problems could theoretically be prevented or postponed,” say the researchers, from the National Institute for Public Health and the surroundings, Bilthoven, and Wageningen University.

“The general public health impact of sufficient sleep duration, as well as the standard healthy lifestyle factors, may well be substantial.”

Commenting at the work, published within the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, Prof Grethe S Tell, of the University of Bergen, Norway, said some great benefits of sleep must be considered by public health experts and fogeys alike.

“The key message of the study is that we have to consider sleep as crucial factor for health,” she told BBC News.

“From a public health standpoint we must always encourage people to get enough sleep and prefer all other healthy lifestyle factors this has to be taught at home.”

Sleepless nights

Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse on the British Heart Foundation, said people suffering sleepless nights shouldn’t be alarmed.

“This research shows that combining a superb night’s sleep with other healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of heart disease,” she said.

“But troubled sleepers shouldn’t be alarmed – this study does not imply sleepless nights cause heart disease.”

She added that further research was had to fully understand the link between sleeping habits and the guts.

“In case you find it difficult to float off, avoiding caffeine and heavy meals too with reference to the tip of the day may also help.

“But when loss of sleep is becoming an issue, be sure to have a talk on your doctor.”

Babies boom by a fifth in a decade

Babies boom by a fifth in a decade – ONS

More babies are being born

The choice of babies born in England and Wales has increased by greater than a fifth previously decade, figures show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there have been 723,913 live births in 2011, up from 594,634 in 2001 – a 22% increase.

Twins, triplets and other multiple births also increased over the last decade, partly as a result of fertility treatments.

The figures also showed a drop inside the selection of babies born at home lately.

There were 352,939 girls and 370,974 boys born in England and Wales in 2011.

There has been year on year increases in births since 2001 with the exception of a small dip in 2009.

The sheer collection of births has raised concerns from midwives concerning the health service’s ability to manage.

The Royal College of Midwives warned last month that maternity units were “under intense strain” and were at a “crucial tipping point”.

However, the federal government says the collection of midwives is now increasing faster than the birth rate.

The boom is likewise putting pressure on school places with some projections estimating that 450,000 new primary places will be needed in England alone by 2015.

One factor behind the upward push is assumed to be immigration. Figures show 24% of births in 2011 were to foreign-born women.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of parent charity NCT, said: “Whilst these rates continue to rise, it’s more important than ever that there’s an adequate variety of midwifes and they’re organised to be there when women need them.

“The newest data from a Care Quality Commission survey means that 22% of ladies were left alone and worried at a while during labour.”


In 2011, 11,330 women gave birth to twins, 172 to triplets and three had quads or more.

This has become more common since 2001 with greater than 16 in every 1,000 deliveries now involving multiple births.

Fertility treatment is much prone to cause multiple births than natural conception.

The ONS report said: “With approximately 11,000 IVF babies being born once a year this contributes significantly to the multiple birth rate.”

The fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, aims to scale back the multiple birth rate.

Its latest figures showed 35% of IVF cycles now involved the transfer of only one embryo.

CQC chiefs admit cover-up error

CQC chiefs admit cover-up naming error

Investigations have serious about maternal and infant deaths at Furness General Hospital in Barrow

Bosses at England’s health regulator have admitted they “got it wrong” after they blocked the discharge of the names of officials accused of a canopy-up.

The admission by Care Quality Commission chief executive David Behan and chairman David Prior was made as they appeared before a set of MPs.

The names of these considering the alleged cover-up over baby deaths were only released after a public outcry.

The House of Commons’ Health Committee heard that this have been a mistake.

The CQC originally cited data protection rules for not releasing the names when it published a review last month by consultants Grant Thornton into how the organisation had investigated Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.

But they came under immediate pressure from ministers and the info commissioner, who accused them of hiding behind the information Protection Act.

Within an afternoon the identities of the 3 – former chief executive Cynthia Bower, her deputy Jill Finney and media manager Anna Jefferson – have been revealed.

Mr Prior said he “regretted” the mistake, adding: “I got that decision completely wrong. I accept that criticism.”


Meanwhile, Mr Behan said: “I made the choice. I clearly got that inaccurate.”

Mr Behan, who has only been in post a year, went directly to say that he was attempting to reshape the organisation to make it more transparent and effective.

He stated that the best way hospitals were now being inspected have been beefed up so inspections were longer and involved more experts in health care.

The controversy over the CQC’s handling of Furness General Hospital emerged following the review by Grant Thornton, ordered by Mr Behan after he took over the regulator.

Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, was given a clean bill of health in 2010 despite problems emerging concerning the maternity unit – greater than 30 families have now taken legal action against the hospital on the subject of baby and maternal deaths and injuries from 2008.

In 2011 – with more concerns arising – the CQC ordered an internal review into how the issues were missed.

But in 2012 when the report was finished, the writer had allegedly been told to “delete” it, the Grant Thornton report said.

Ms Bower and Ms Jefferson are purported to have “verbally agreed” to the canopy-up under the instruction of Ms Finney since it was “potentially damaging to the CQC’s reputation”.

All three deny the allegations.