News round-up 12 November

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11th November 2021 about a 3 minute read

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid announced that it will be compulsory for frontline NHS workers to receive the Covid jab, although its own impact statement acknowledges that this could lead to 73,000 workers leaving the NHS. Primary care continues to struggle under the weight of demand, with a surge in 111 calls in Yorkshire linked to pressure on GP practices.

Compulsory vaccine introduced for NHS and social care staff

It will be compulsory for frontline workers (including porters and cleaners as well as clinical staff) in the NHS in England to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, the government has announced. The health and social care secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that 90% of NHS frontline staff had already received two Covid-19 jabs.

There are concerns, however, about the impact of the decision on staffing levels. The NHS is already understaffed, and the government’s own impact statement suggests that 73,000 employees could leave the NHS rather than receive the vaccine.

Demand on 111 surges linked to ‘primary care challenges

There has been a surge in 111 calls in Yorkshire at particular times of the day. The Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which provides the 111 service, says that demand between 9am and 11am during the week has doubled from pre-pandemic levels. There have also been increases, though not as high, throughout the day.

In its October board papers, the trust said the increases are “reflective of primary care challenges linked to the wider system” and that it is “unlikely that the service will ever fully return to the pre-pandemic pattern.”

NHSX offers home blood pressure tests to patients

NHSX is to provide 220,000 people with blood pressure monitors to enable them to test their blood pressure at home. The devices are being sent to people who have been diagnosed with uncontrolled high blood pressure and could benefit from regular checks. More than 65,000 of the devices have already been delivered.

The aim is to identify potentially fatal conditions earlier and save lives. The NHS estimates that the devices could prevent 2,200 heart attacks and almost 3,300 strokes over five years.

Government invests £248m in digitising diagnostics care

The government is to spend £248m on digital technology that will deliver more diagnostic tests, checks and scans. It hopes that these will help provide faster diagnosis of health conditions, leading to earlier treatment and shorter waiting lists.

Radiologists will be able to view scan images remotely, without needing to be in a hospital imaging lab, while other clinicians will be able to share test and scan results between GP practices, hospitals and laboratories.

Black women are four times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth

Black women are more than four times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than white women in the UK, the latest MBRRACE report has found. Approximately 32 Black women in 100,000 die during pregnancy, childbirth or the year following childbirth.

The report, which reviewed maternal deaths in 2017-2019, found that women from Asian backgrounds are almost twice as likely to die as white women.

The MBRRACE researchers said that “addressing “wider cultural and structural biases affecting women’s care on the basis of their pregnancy, or the potential to become pregnant, is fundamental to the prevention of maternal mortality”.

The study also found that women living in the most deprived areas twice as likely to die than those who live in the most affluent areas.

Heart disease, epilepsy and stroke are the most common causes of maternal death.