RCN Health News Alert

Friday 12 June

Department of Health meets target on reducing hospital superbugs

A report from the National Audit Office has found that the Department of Health has met its target to cut the infection rates of superbugs MRSA and C.Difficile. Cases of MRSA have decreased by 57% with cases of C.Difficile down by 41%. However cases of other infections are increasing, with cases of MSSA up by 9% in the period from 2004 to 2008. Health experts called on the Government to monitor and reduce cases of other hospital acquired infections. Dr. Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: "More needs to be done." The Daily Telegraph reports that cases of MRSA are still increasing in 10% of hospital trusts, with C.Difficile cases increasing in 20% of hospital trusts.

Health Secretary speaks on NHS spending

Speaking at the NHS Confederation's annual conference, Health Secretary Andy Burnham has said that the NHS is a priority for a Labour Government but that he can't confirm that current spending levels will continue after 2011. The Times features column on the prospect of public spending being reduced, with a focus on the NHS budget.

Swine flu now a pandemic

The World Health Organisation has declared that there is a swine flu pandemic. The Government's Chief Medical Officer said that he was concerned that 'several million Britons' would contract the virus, warning that the may be an increase of infections when children return to school in September. There are currently 822 confirmed cases in Britain.

'Stillbirth risk with homebirths' says study

A major report on births in Scotland has found that women who give birth at home with an independent midwife are around three times more likely to have a stillbirth, when compared to women giving birth in hospital. The article has a commentary from Professor Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, who in the wake of the findings calls for more research to be done in this area.

  • The Times
  • The Times, p15 (additional article)

Delays putting glaucoma patients' sight at risk

Figures from the National Patient Safety Agency show that 135 glaucoma patients have had delays or cancellations to their follow-up NHS appointments. 44 of these cases are said to have lost partial sight, with 13 patients becoming completely blind in one or both eyes.

  • Daily Telegraph, p2

Binge drinking figures

A report from the Office of National Statistics has found that levels of binge-drinking among young adults are decreasing. Figures show that 44% of young men in 2007 said that they binge drink, a decrease from 52% in 1998. Over the same period, the number of young women who said they binge drink decreased from 42% to 40%.  

Parliamentary Update:

House of Commons:

Oral Statement
SWINE FLU UPDATE: Health Minister tbc
House of Lords:
Not sitting

Other Business:
•  National Audit Office published report on Reducing healthcare associated infections in hospitals in England

•  Prime Minister Gordon Brown & First Secretary Lord Mandelson brief Cabinet Ministers at special three-hour session on Building Britain's Future document, setting out plans to overcome the slump & for economic recovery, with a plan to fight for an historic fourth term

•  Children, Schools & Families Secretary Ed Balls speech to third day of annual leadership conference for National College of School Leadership in Birmingham

•  Queen's Birthday Honours published