News round-up 3 December

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2nd December 2021 about a 3 minute read

The publication of a white paper reveals exactly how the government plans to spend the £1.7bn on adult social care that it promised back in September. Some of the money will go on much-needed digitisation – and, coincidentally, a new report shows how much the sector could benefit from digital technology. Elsewhere, Covid continues to dominate the news, with the new Omicron variant spreading rapidly.

Publication of white paper into adult social care

The government has published a white paper setting out its 10-year vision for adult social care. The paper, People at the Heart of Care, outlines its plans for spending £1.7bn on the sector in the next three years. The funding includes £500m on workforce training and support, £300m on integrating housing into local health and care strategies, £150 million on technology adoption and £30m to help local areas innovate in the way they provide support and care.

New report finds digital technology is underused in adult social care

Digital technology has the potential to improve social care, but current implementation is patchy, a new report from NHSX has found. The report, based on reviews into how digital technology is currently used, and the digital skills possessed by the workforce, found that the “use of some, often basic, digital technology for care and support was widespread but mixed, suggesting its full potential is not currently being realised.”

It recommends developing digital leadership skills in the sector, raising awareness of the role digital technology could play and providing support to mitigate the impacts of a fragmented customer base for care technology

UK approves another antibody treatment for Covid

The UK has approved an antibody treatment called sotrovimab for people with Covid.

The treatment cuts the risk of severe illness and early evidence suggests it could work well even against the new Omicron variant. Sotrovimab is given in a drip into a vein and then binds to the virus to stop it entering our cells. In a clinical trial, a single dose reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death by 79% in high-risk adults.

It is the second monoclonal antibody treatment that UK regulators have approved. The first was ronapreve. Both are most effective when taken during the early stages of infection.

Leicester NHS Trust modernises infrastructure

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust is to adopt device as a service (DaaS) technology, which will shorten the time it takes staff to log in to systems as well as provide single sign-on and virtual desktop solutions.

The technology is being provided by NTT Data UK, and will be delivered in phases. The first phase will provide the underpinning infrastructure and introduce 6,000 new devices.

Covid cases in South Africa double in 24 hours

The number of daily new cases in South Africa has nearly doubled from 4,300 to 8,500, thanks to the speed with which the new Omicron variant has taken hold. This contrasts with an average of 200-300 daily new infections in November.

The World Health Organisation says that Omicron has now been detected in at least 24 countries around the world, but scientists don’t yet know whether it will be more or less harmful than existing variants.