News round-up 5 May

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5th May 2022 about a 4 minute read

A new report says the government should tackle the workforce shortage in social care by increasing the minimum wage and taking a more joined-up approach to health and care recruitment. Good news for health researchers: the UK public is supports the use of patient data for clinical research. And even more good news for women: the most advanced 3D model representing the female anatomy has been launched, offering hope for better diagnosis and treatment.

Government should fund £10.50 minimum wage for social care workers, report says

The UK government must fully fund the introduction of a £10.50-an-hour minimum wage for adult social care workers in England, a new report recommends.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) said the significant recruitment and retention difficulties faced by the social care sector was caused by a lack of public funding.

The report, which was commissioned by the government to look at the impact of the ending of freedom of movement on the adult social care sector, also found that well-funded NHS recruitment campaigns are taking staff away from social care. It urged the government to take a “joined-up approach” to recruiting staff to both health and social care.

Royal Papworth leads AI study into heart valve disease

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is leading a study into the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose heart valve disease.

The hospital is working with the University of Cambridge to develop an AI screening tool that will help diagnose the disease before symptoms are first displayed.

Thousands of patients will have four heart recordings collected via a Bluetooth stethoscope, as well as receiving the conventional echocardiogram. The recordings will be uploaded to a machine-learning programme, so that the University of Cambridge can build an audio database of the noises associated with heart valve diseases.

This will enable researchers to create an artificially intelligent stethoscope that can analyse heart murmurs to provide a diagnosis or determine if further investigation is needed.

UK public supports controlled sharing of NHS data, survey shows

A national survey has found that the public supports sharing of health data for the purposes of clinical care and research.

The anonymised online survey, which ran from February to September 2020, asked people about their views on data sharing, making a distinction between mental health and physical health data. Nearly 30,000 people took part. It found that 76% of respondents supported data sharing for their own health care without being asked first, while 20 percent of respondents opposed this. The vast majority (89%) supported a central NHS mechanism to choose how information is shared, while 64% wanted a single NHS system to sign up to, in order to take part in research studies

The research was undertaken jointly by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and the University of Cambridge.

New 3D model of the female body is launched

A new 3D model of the female body has been developed. Currently being used to teach first year medical students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, it will provide a better understanding of the female anatomy and help to prevent women getting incorrectly diagnosed.

The model was created by Elsevier’s 3D4Medical  team, and has been released through Elsevier’s Complete Anatomy app. Traditionally anatomy textbooks use representations of the male anatomy, often only using pictures of women when they need to show their reproductive organs. Yet female anatomy differs considerably from male anatomy, and relying on a male model to understand women’s bodies can lead to women’s conditions being wrongly diagnosed or inappropriately treated.

Government will review future of NHS England, CQC and other health bodies

The government is to carry out a review into all government arm’s length bodies (ALBs), including NHS England, the Care Quality Commission, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Health Education England and the UK Health Security Agency.

The review, led by the Cabinet Office, will examine the bodies’ efficiency and performance. It will consider whether ALBs “should be abolished or retained”, whether they should continue to deliver all their functions and whether they have an “effective relationship” with their relevant departments.

The ALBs will be reviewed by their parent department, starting with an initial self-assessment. A full-scale review will then be carried out by an external team if it is considered necessary.