News round-up (23 October)

man looking at online news headlines
23rd October 2020 about a 3 minute read

Here are some of the headlines that caught our eye this week…

CQC slams care of people with learning disabilities and autism

Too many people with learning disabilities and autism are having their human rights infringed according to a damning new report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The report, entitled ‘Out of sight – who cares?’ recommends improved staff training and the appointment of a named national specialist commissioner for complex care.

Latest figures on the effect of coronavirus on the economy and society

The weekly report from the Office for National Statistics on the social and economic impact of coronavirus notes a 5% reduction in the number of people travelling to work since last week. 

The proportion of people working exclusively from home is currently 25% compared to 33% in May

The proportion of adults who had used a face covering in the previous week when leaving home fell by 2%

Meanwhile high street footfall has fallen to below 70% of the level the same time last year.

How AI can affect our decisions

Artificial intelligence and virtual assistants may soon be making appointments for us, offering medical advice, or trying to sell us a bottle of wine. 

An article in The Conversation argues that it’s important to understand how AI influences our decisions, so we can regulate the technology to protect ourselves from possible harm.

Pharma industry warns no-deal Brexit could lead to medicines shortage

The Association for the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has warned that a no-deal Brixit is “not in the interests of patients.” 

Although the industry has stockpiled some drugs in case of shortages, supply problems in the new year are a big risk. 

ABPI chief executive Richard Torbett said Brexit negotiators must ensure medicines supplies are uninterrupted. 

And he called for urgent talks on how to protect patients in Northern Ireland. 

Coronavirus: Government warned over ‘reckless’ plan to set up COVID units in care homes 

Care home providers have voiced opposition to a plan to set up COVID-19 units in care homes saying it’s hard to contain the virus unless patients are in a separate building 

New tool pulls elusive COVID-19 marker from human blood

Researchers have created a surface that repels every element of human blood except a cytokine whose concentrations can offer vital information about COVID-19 infection.

Two healthcare apps now available on prescription in Germany

Eleven months after the German government passed the Digital Health Act doctors can now prescribe two new apps. The Kalmeda app is for people with tinnitus while Velibra is a therapy programme for anxiety disorders.  

New risk model estimates likelihood of death or hospitalisation from COVID-19

A model that can calculate an individual’s chance of becoming infected and then falling seriously ill from COVID-19 has been shown to accurately estimate risk.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Health Research, could help doctors and the public with more nuanced information about risk. 

Childhood Cancer Diagnosis Study aims to reduce delays in treatment 

A UK wide study by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group is recruiting families with recent experience of cancer services. 

The team will use information provided to oncology staff to track patterns in symptoms and the routes and lengths to diagnosis.