NHS sick days

The Guardian Society reports on the issue of sick days in the NHS. The NHS health and wellbeing review published at the end of last year, found that 10.3m working days are lost through staff sickness every year. Following the publication of the review’s final report, a roundtable event gathered together occupational health experts, union representatives, senior NHS and independent healthcare managers and policymakers, to discuss the findings and its recommendations.  Josie Irwin, Head of Employment Relations and Amanda Callaghan, Director of Communications, attended the event. (p7)

Dementia losing out on funding

Dementia costs the UK economy twice as much as cancer but gets a fraction of the funding to find causes and cures, according to a report seen by the BBC from the Alzheimer’s Research Trust. For every one pound spent on dementia research, 12 times more goes on investigating cancer. The report states bridging this gap is urgent, given the numbers with dementia are much higher than thought.

Stroke care plan can be improved

A Government strategy to improve care for stroke patients is beginning to pay off although many problems remain, according to a report from The National Audit Office. Health workers and the public are more aware of the symptoms of stroke and ambulance staff have received extra training. But far too few patients are admitted to dedicated stroke units, which are known to increase chances of survival and reduce disability.

Under–fives health not improving

The health of under-fives has not significantly improved despite more than £10 billion of investment, according to the Audit Commission. The report, Giving Children a Health Start found that while there are fewer deaths in infancy and obesity rates are slowing overall, gaps between the health of children in disadvantaged areas and those in better-off places have grown. The RCN has called for sufficient investment in family nurse partnerships, as well as in health visiting teams.

GP services

A shake-up of out-of-hours GP services will be ordered this week after a government review revealed major flaws in the system.  The report, commissioned by the Department of Health, will recommend widespread changes, including greater checks on doctors coming from overseas and extra training for staff working the weekend and evening shifts.

Lancet retracts MMR link to autism

The medical journal which originally published the discredited research linking autism and MMR has now issued a full retraction of the paper. The Lancet said it now accepted claims made by the researchers were "false".

Cancer patients get treatment within a week

Gordon Brown yesterday pledged cancer patients would get treatment within a week of first seeing their GP. He has already guaranteed test results and an appointment with a specialist in a fortnight. But he told a committee of MPs he wanted to go further and halve the wait to be seen.

Parliamentary Update

Westminster Hall
11am – 11:30am HIV & AIDS (David Borrow)

House of Commons
12noon PMQs

House of Lords
Question for short debate: What action they are taking to eliminate age discrimination in mental health services for older people (Baroness Murphy)
Question for short debate: What consideration they have given to holding an independent inquiry to examine the evidence relating to a change in the law on assisted dying for terminally ill adults (Lord Warner)

Other Business
Junior Culture Minister & Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington since 2001 Sion Simon has announced he is to step down from Parliament at the next election to campaign to become the city's first elected mayor

The Health Protection Agency publishes statistics on mandatory surveillance of MRSA bacteraemia and clostridium difficile.

The Welsh Assembly Government publishes statistics on NHS Direct, ambulance services, GP referrals

British Heart Foundation is holding a lobby day in Westminster for people affected by heart and circulatory disease.

National Audit Office published report on Progress in improving stroke care @ 00.01 am

Alzheimer's Research Trust published Dementia 2010 report @ 00.01 am

Audit Commission published report suggesting that under-fives need a healthier start in life @ 00.01 am

European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association is holding a mass lobby calling for the statutory regulation of herbalists