Weekly Medical Legal News Round
In case you missed it, the round up from the past 7 days!
- Immune cells in foetal blood are better at destroying leukaemia cells than adult cells, tests in mice suggest. Foetal immune cells haven’t had the lifelong “training” that adult immune cells have had, yet seem to recognise and destroy abnormal cells. Ordinarily, people who suffer blood cancers like leukaemia have to undergo chemotherapy to eradicate the cancerous cells. This means that unfortunately, most, if not all of the patient’s healthy blood cells suffer as well. Stem cells from bone marrow repopulate the patient’s circulatory system with healthy blood cells to help finish off any residual cancer cells that survived the chemotherapy. However donated umbilical cord blood is being used increasingly as opposed to marrow. (Dated 5 Feb 2016)
- England’s chief medical officer says people must take personal responsibility for their drinking and consider cancer risks with each glass. It comes as official UK figures show alcohol-related deaths are rising. Dame Sally Davies said when she reaches for a glass of wine she questions whether she wants the wine or to raise her risk of breast cancer.
(dated 2 Feb 2016)
Mental Health News
- Children’s untreated mental health issues could spiral into psychiatric problems later in life unless more is done in schools, say head teachers. The National Association of Head Teachers says with a fifth of children having a mental health problem before age 11, it is a key concern. A snapshot survey of 1,455 English heads suggests two-thirds of primary schools cannot deal with such issues. The government says it has ring-fenced £1.4bn for children’s mental health. (Dated 8 February 2016)
- NICE claim that they provide ‘evidence based’ healthcare guidance, but Keith Laws, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology, believes this isn’t the case when it comes to psychological therapies like CBT and expresses concerns about a bias in the NICE guidelines.
(dated 5 Feb 2016)
- The woman who made Coleen Rooney’s placenta pills has opened up about why she decided to start making them. Danielle Kinney, 31, from Liverpool, said she’s glad the practice is being spoken about after Rooney tweeted a picture and thanked her business for the capsules. Kinney researched online and found that women who were taking placenta pills in America claimed it reduced any feelings of depression. Kinney couldn’t find anywhere near her where she could get this done, so decided to learn how to do it herself. (dated 1 Feb 2016)
- People suffering from depression may benefit from a prescription of psychedelic mushrooms! For those suffering depression, there is over activity in the anterior cingulate cortex. Psilocybin, contained in the mushrooms, possesses the power to switch off the over activity in this part of the brain. Then, rather than increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, Psilocybin binds to serotonin receptors and mimics them, causing the brain to function as if it has more serotonin without actually altering the levels themselves. (Article not dated) NB This is the subject of debate, not a recognised medical treatment.
A & E crisis continues
- More than 100,000 patients spent at least 12 hours in A&E departments in England last year, data seen by the BBC’s 5 live INvestgates shows. The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) also show the number of people waiting that long has been rising. There were 124,000 such events (1% of attendances) in the first 10 months of 2015 against 68,000 in all of 2013.
(Dated 7 February 2016)
- As many as 12 hospitals have been described as being on, “black alert” as A&E departments suffer under the strain of patients and emergency doctors consistently fail to meet a four-hour treatment target. Over the last two weeks 45 hospitals have had to close A&E temporarily, unable to cope with demand. Signalling a 50% surge on last year.
(dated: 30 January 2016)
- Charities have advised that pregnant women living in the UK without documents are having to make difficult decisions about accessing maternity services. There is a potential risk to their own lives and those of their unborn children, because of crippling fees imposed by the NHS. This includes a 150% tariff introduced to prevent “health tourism” from outside the EU
(dated 4 Feb 2016)
- A couple are suing a London fertility clinic for the trauma they suffered after doctors lost their embryo during an attempt to implant it. Corinne Jones and her husband Jason had paid thousands of pounds to undergo IVF treatment in the hope of conceiving a child. But those hopes were dashed when the one embryo that had been successfully fertilised to the right level was allegedly lost while Dr Daniel Imoedemhe tried to carry out the implantation procedure, at the Bridge Centre clinic in London.
(Dated 6 February 2016)
NHS Fraud and Misappropriation of Funds
- Mark Walewski, 68, A dentist who defrauded almost quarter of a million pounds from the NHS and spent the money on a fleet of luxury sports cars has been jailed for three years. He earned a fortune by charging private patients for work and then submitting bills for the same procedures to the NHS – a process known as ‘double claiming’..
(dated 2 Feb 2016)
- New rules were announced last month to alter the rates charged by firms that supply doctors and nurses to hospitals. Some locum providers have been found to be quietly pocketing up to half of the sums paid by the health service
(Dated 8 February 2016)
Brazilian scientists have detailed how active Zika virus has been detected in saliva and urine samples. The US has advised men to abstain from sex or use condoms after visiting affected countries, if their partner is pregnant, with the US Centres for Disease Control of the view that a recent case of Zika was spread through sex. Zika, despite being normally mild, the infection has been linked to thousands of suspected birth defects. (dated 5 Feb 2016)
Doctor’s strike action news
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has accused the British Medical Association of being “totally irresponsible” over a lengthy industrial dispute. The doctors’ union had refused to sit down and talk about improving patient care and had spread “misinformation”, he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
Mr Hunt wants to change junior doctors’ contracts, which he says are “unfair”. The BMA said its door was open to talks and blamed the strikes on Mr Hunt’s “shambolic mishandling” of the matter. (Dated 7 February 2016)
The government has launched its latest attempt to improve the use of technology in the NHS in England. The aim is to create a paperless service that would be more convenient for patients, and help doctors to provide faster diagnoses.
More than £4bn has been set aside for areas such as electronic records and online appointments, prescriptions and consultations.
(Dated 7 February 2016)
A diet high in fat and sugar has long been linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. Prevalence of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s has collapsed by more than 22pc in 20 years, possibly due to healthier lifestyles and better education
(Dated 7 Feb 2016)
The Very Good News-music to our ears!
Brain damaged violinist makes music for first time in 27 years with mind-reading technology
Rosemary Johnson had made music for the first time since suffering a devastating car crash in her 20s.
(Dated 7 Feb 2016)