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Use NHS 111 online service to protect busy A&Es, says health chief

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Use NHS 111 online service to protect busy A&Es, says health chief

People are being urged to go online if they need care for something urgent but not life-threatening, instead of rushing to busy A&E departments, as the health service faces a “winter like no other”.

NHS England’s national medical director, Prof Stephen Powis, said the coming months are likely to be “extremely tough” due to pressures from a combination of Covid-19 and seasonal flu.

Television advertisements, social media posts and billboards all form part of the “Help Us, Help You” campaign, promoting the NHS 111 online service, aimed at giving advice and support to patients with urgent but not life-threatening medical issues.

NHS England said the online service can direct patients to urgent treatment centres and walk-in clinics, GP surgeries, pharmacies and emergency dental services. If needed, the patient can have a call with a healthcare professional.

It comes as health leaders warned of pressures on hospitals, and ambulance services told of having “lost” 35,000 hours through queueing outside busy emergency departments.

The latest performance data for England shows that the NHS experienced its busiest September on record.

Major A&E departments treated more than 1.39 million people during September, the highest ever for the month.

Ambulances responded to a record 76,000 life threatening call-outs, while 999 took nearly 1m calls in September.

NHS 111 also saw record demand, taking a call every seven seconds and more than 1.9m calls in total across August.

Powis said: “As we approach an extremely tough winter like no other, using NHS 111 online first will ensure everyone who needs medical advice can access it quickly and conveniently, alongside other services, while allowing us to care for the most seriously ill and injured patients in our A&Es.

“So, if you need urgent care but it is not life-threatening, visit 111 online first – we will put you in touch with a healthcare professional if needed and help you get the treatment you need – and please continue to come forward for care, including through 111, your pharmacist or GP if you prefer.”

He also stressed the importance of people taking up the offer of a “life-saving” Covid jab as well as the flu vaccine if eligible.

On Saturday, one ambulance service declared a critical incident in the face of “extreme pressures” and an “overwhelming” volume of calls.

South Central ambulance service – covering Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire – pleaded with the public to be wise when considering whether to call, reminding people that ambulances should only be called in the event of life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Health

NAFDAC bans sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, (NAFDAC) has placed a ban on the sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria.

The agency explained that the ban was due to Butyphenyl Methylpropional, BMHCA, content in the product.

This was contained in a post on the Agency’s X handle on Thursday.

According to the post, the European Union, EU, banned the product due to the risk of harming the reproductive system of users, causing harm to the health of the unborn child, and cause skin sensitization.

“Although this product is not on the NAFDAC database, importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers are advised to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of the above-mentioned product”, the agency added.

 

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Health

No outbreak of Lassa fever in any local govt- Kogi Govt

Nigeria identifies three drugs for Lassa fever treatment

Kogi State Government has debunked any outbreak of Lassa fever across the 21 local government areas of the State.

Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Abdulazeez Adams Adeiza while reacting to a viral video of an alleged lassa fever outbreak, noted that a student who was admitted to the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja did not die of lassa fever.

According to the Commissioner, it was reported that the student died of hemorrhagic fever.

The Commissioner explained that the deceased student who was admitted at the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja presented complaints of fever and bleeding from the gum.

He added that the patient was being investigated and managed, while samples were taken and sent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Abuja, but before the result was released, he had lost his life.

The Commissioner said the result came out to be negative for lassa fever.

In his words, ”the suspected case has turned out to be negative for lassa fever.

“It is not only lassa fever that can make a patient to present bleeding from the gum. Other reasons could include blood dyscrasias and bleeding disorders”.

He advised members of the public to disregard the report as no case of lassa fever has been reported in the state

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Health

UCH workers directed to stop working by 4pm over continuous blackout

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) which is the umbrella body of unions at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo state, has directed all employees of the health institution to commence work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Tuesday, April 2. 

The directive came after the tertiary health institution was disconnected by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, (IBEDC) over N495 million debt accrued in over six years.

Addressing newsmen, chairman of JAC, Oludayo Olabampe stated that it is no longer safe to continue to attend to patients under the circumstances. He also said that workers would embark on strike if power is not restored.

He said;

“Workers would now work from 8 am to 4 pm only because it is dangerous and risky to attend to patients in that situation. We held a meeting with the management this morning but the issue is that there is no electricity. So, from today, Tuesday, April 2, we will work until 4 p.m. We are not attending to any patient after 4 p.m.

“This means that we won’t admit patients because the nurses that will take care of them will not be available after 4 p.m. and you don’t expect patients to be on their own from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the following day.

“If patients need blood tests, the lab will not work, if they need radiography, the radiographers will not work, and the dieticians in charge of their food too will not work after 4 p.m. We also gave management another 14-day ultimatum which started counting from March 27, and if after 14 days power is not restored, we will embark on warning strike.”

Commenting on the development, the chief medical director of UCH, Jesse Otegbayo, alleged that IBEDC was billing the hospital as an industry. He stated that the union did not formally notify management before making such a decision.

He said;

“I have not heard about that, if they are going to do that, they should write to management officially, and then the management will respond. There are rules that govern government service, you can’t just decide what hours you work and expect to be paid full-time.

“If they go ahead to do that without informing management officially, management has a way of applying the rules to pay them for the number of hours which they worked. The proper thing is for them to put it in writing because they didn’t write officially to the management before taking the decision.”

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