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Hospitals In England Relax Covid Rules To Help Tackle Waiting Lists

Covid

Hospitals in England relax Covid rules to help tackle waiting lists

Ministers have ordered a major relaxation of coronavirus infection control measures in England’s hospitals in an effort to make it easier to tackle the backlog.

The move follows a review, led by the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, Dr Jenny Harries, into whether the NHS could start to remove some Covid rules and enable medics to see more patients.

Currently, stringent guidelines designed to protect staff, patients and visitors from coronavirus, in place since the early part of last year, also make it harder to treat the rising numbers in need of elective care.

A record 5.6 million people in England are waiting for treatment, according to the latest NHS data.

Three key recommendations for elective care were accepted by Sajid Javid, the health secretary, on Monday. Each comes into force immediately.

They involve cutting social distancing from 2 metres to 1, dropping the need for patients to isolate before operations, and adopting “standard” rather than “advanced” cleaning procedures.

They are likely to prompt concern among some health professionals and scientists, as the virus continues to infect tens of thousands in the UK each day. Trisha Greenhalgh, professor of primary healthcare at the University of Oxford, said on Twitter that the relaxation of rules could “make things worse”.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said the changes appeared “generally reasonable” and should be implemented where they can to “improve access to healthcare”. However, he warned that false negative test results could mean that “some asymptomatically infected patients will be put on wards with vulnerable patients”.

Clarke also said the new cleaning guidance “smacks of corner-cutting” and “may well lead to transmission of Covid-19 and other infections in our hospitals”.

The changes come hours after it emerged that the UK has joined a handful of countries to have fully vaccinated two-thirds of its population against Covid.

More than 44.7m second doses have been delivered in the UK, government figures show – the equivalent of just over 66.6% of the total population. Other countries to have passed this mark include Belgium, Canada, Chile, Singapore and Spain.

“As ever more people benefit from the protection of our phenomenal vaccination campaign, we can now safely begin to relieve some of the most stringent infection control measures where they are no longer necessary to benefit patients and ease the burden on hardworking NHS staff,” said Javid.

A new analysis by the Health Foundation warned on Monday that the waiting list is likely to “grow significantly”. It suggested that 7.5 million fewer people were sent for hospital care than expected during the pandemic.

While it is not clear whether all those will eventually come forward to seek help, the thinktank warned the waiting list will “continue to grow” over the next few years. Boris Johnson conceded this month that the backlog would “get worse before it gets better”.

Now fresh advice will be issued to hospitals over how they carry out elective care, Harries said, as more of the population is vaccinated and scientists understand more about how the infection is transmitted and how it can be contained.

The review says NHS staff working in areas where Covid control measures have been relaxed should be fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and not be a contact of a positive case.

“We have reviewed the existing Covid-19 evidence-based guidance and made a series of initial pragmatic recommendations on how local providers can start to safely remove some of the interventions that have been in place in elective care specifically for Covid-19,” said Harries. “This is a first step to help the NHS treat more patients more quickly, while ensuring their safety and balancing their different needs for care.”

The guidance will not apply to certain areas, such as emergency departments.

Patients preparing to undergo elective operations, such as hip or knee surgery, will no longer need to have a negative PCR test or isolate for three days before the procedure. Instead, patients in “low-risk” groups who are double vaccinated and asymptomatic will take a lateral flow test on the day.

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Health

12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Health

Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.

 

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Health

Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.

 

 

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