News round-up (5 March)

man looking at online news headlines
5th March 2021 about a 3 minute read
The Budget has been the big story this week with wall-to-wall coverage. So we’ve been seeking out some of the news that you might have missed…

First ever global guide for assistive technology to improve the life of millions

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that out of the one billion people needing at least one assistive product, nine in ten go without. Children with injuries living in low- and middle-income or fragile countries mostly depend on donated wheelchairs, which are often of poor quality and inappropriate for the user or their environment.

The result for many people in low- and middle-income countries is either no access or only access to low-quality, inappropriate products.

To address some of the barriers, WHO has created the Assistive Products Specifications (APS) a guidebook with specs for 26 prioritised assistive products that describes the minimum quality requirements for manufacturing. 

Daresbury Laboratory launches facility aimed at developing new cancer treatments

Warrington Worldwide reports on a new unit to help clinicians improve cancer treatment.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Daresbury Laboratory has opened a new centre to test radiotherapy technologies.

Varian Medical Systems will use the facility to scale up the testing of its advanced linear accelerator technology. This allows clinicians to deliver accurate, targeted doses of radiation to treat a range of cancers. These include cancers of the lung, prostate, breast, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and bones.

How can policymakers plan better for the long term?

An article on the Health Foundation website says the pandemic has highlighted strengths and weaknesses in the ability of governments to respond to sudden crises. 

Despite the UK’s pandemic preparedness looking strong on paper, shortcomings have been identified. These include the assumptions held about the nature of the threat (planning for influenza), the political structures and processes to manage the policy response and communicate decisions to the public, and the lack of capacity in the NHS, public health, social care and other services to respond effectively. These issues and more are likely to be subjects of any future public inquiry.

Demonstrating the impact of the NHS COVID-19 app

Researchers supporting the development of the NHS COVID-19 app shared their latest research, which demonstrates that the app is having a positive effect on reducing the impact of the virus. 

The team’s analysis estimates that for every 1% increase in app users, the number of infections can be reduced by 0.8% (from modelling) or 2.3% (from statistical analysis).

They argue that this evidence supports the need for the continued promotion, adherence, and greater adoption of the NHS COVID-19 app (and other similar contact tracing apps around the world). And their message is a simple one: use the app, it works!

Face masks: how nurses can overcome the communication barrier and reassure patients

Compulsory face coverings pose particular challenges when patients are deaf or have dementia

This Nursing Standard comment piece discusses the need to find new ways of communicating in health and social care. 

It highlights the need to be mindful of recognising communication difficulties, and innovative in overcoming them for patients and carers.