This week’s NHS new round-up features a developing story which could see the removal of homeopathy from hospitals. Elsewhere there have been calls for hospitals to bring in more then double the number of consultants on duty in A&E to ensure that patients are looked after safely.
We also have tips from a recent study, which gave nine examples of how people can prevent dementia.
Calls to ban homeopathy
According to guidance given from the health service, doctors should no longer prescribe homeopathic medicine to NHS patients. In the new document, homeopathy is described as a treatment with a “lack of robust evidence of clinical effectiveness.”
The NHS defines homeopathy as:
“A treatment based on the use of highly diluted substances, which practitioners claim can cause the body to heal itself. A central principle of the “treatment” is that “like cures like” – that a substance that causes certain symptoms can also help to remove those symptoms.” – NHS
It’s believed by some practitioners that the more a substance is diluted, the greater its power it to treat symptoms. The substances are diluted various times in water until there is almost none of the original substance left. Homeopathy medicines have been used to treat physical conditions such as asthma and psychological conditions such as depression.
The calls to ban the treatment coincides with attempts to cut prescription costs. According to the document released, the NHS currently spends £92,412 per year on homeopathy.
Other treatments set to be removed from the NHS include herbal treatments such as lidocaine plasters and omega-3 fatty acids. Follow the news story on The Independent for all the latest updates on this breaking story.
More A&E staff needed urgently
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), the body representing emergency medicine doctors, is urging hospitals to double the number of consultants on duty in A&E. According to the RCEM, the NHS in England needs to recruit around 2200 extra consultant in the next five years – many more than the current 1632 members of staff.
These calls come following last year’s winter crisis, which saw hospitals and ambulance services struggle with the high demand. Record number of patients had to endure waiting times of at least 12 hours on trolleys before being admitted. Many A&E doctors quit their jobs due to burnout according to the RCEM.
Dr Taj Hassan, president of the RCEM, added:
“It is vital that we get our staffing right. Each emergency medicine consultant in England is responsible for around 10,000 patients a year. Our staff are working to the very limits of their abilities to provide safe, compassionate care. This is leading to burnout and doctors leaving the profession, creating a vicious circle. The growing number of doctors choosing to work part-time, and the continuing rise in demand for A&E care, also help explain why so many more consultants are needed.” – Dr Hassan
In the article, which can be found on The Guardian, it’s said that Dr Hassan also believes the NHS should increase the number of training institutes for A&E doctors, from 325 to at least 425 a year.
Nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk
A new international report has been released by The Lancet, which outlines the nine factors which contribute to the risk of dementia. It is said that by 2050, 131 million people could be living with the condition globally – currently there are around 47 million cases.
The new study, which combines the work of 24 international experts, is being presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London this week and claims that one in three cases of dementia could be prevented if people looked after their brain’s health throughout their life.
The report gives the following factors behind the risk of dementia:
- Mid-life hearing loss – 9%
- Failing to complete secondary education – 8%
- Smoking – 5%
- Failing to seek early treatment for depression – 4%
- Physical inactivity – 3%
- Social isolation – 2%
- High blood pressure – 2%
- Obesity – 1%
- Type 2 Diabetes – 1%
These factors are described as ‘potentially modifiable’ and add up to 35%. The remaining 65% of dementia risk is deemed to be potentially non-modifiable – Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care.