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News Archives, June 2005
Thursday, 30 June 2005 12:37
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Concern as sexual infections rise
The Health Protection Agency has revealed that diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections are still rising in the UK, with a 2 per cent increase between 2003 and last year.

Experts said the continuing rise was extremely disturbing as statistics showed an 8 per cent increase in diagnosed chlamydia cases and a 37 per cent increase in syphilis.

Jan Barlow, chief executive of the Brook sexual health charity for young people, said on the BBC Health website: "Our own research shows that there are still serious gaps in young people's knowledge of STIs.

"More than half believe that men can't get chlamydia and almost a third think you can catch an STI from a toilet seat.

"Even when young people understand the theoretical risk of STIs, they regard them as something that happens to other people."

She added that sex and relationship education along with high profile awareness campaigns would be the best way of tackling the problem.

Anne Weyman of the Family Planning Association, also called for better education and awareness but suggested that the rise in diagnoses could be in part due to better detection.

"An increase in STI rates is always a matter of concern. However, we would expect there to be an increase in people coming forward for diagnosis and treatment. It is encouraging that rates of gonorrhoea and genital herpes are showing a decline," she said.

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Thursday, 30 June 2005 12:20
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Reduction in abortion limit rejected by doctors
Doctors have rejected a motion to cut the upper limit for abortions from 24 to 20 weeks in a vote at the British Medical Association conference in Manchester.

Following the first BMA conference debate on abortion limits since 1989, 77 per cent of doctors voted against the motion "that this meeting holds that the upper limit for legal abortion should be reduced in light of new evidence of foetal developments and advances in neonatal care".

Medical advances have boosted the survival rates of premature babies but very premature newborns are still often severely disabled.

Only 1 per cent of abortions carried out annually in England and Wales take place after 22 weeks and representatives said that while late abortions were distressing, they were still necessary when severe abnormalities were discovered in the baby.

John McQueen, who put forward the motion, said that babies could now survive as young as 23 weeks and that it was important to establish a clear window between the likelihood of a foetus surviving and the upper abortion limit.

But Dr Jan Wise rejected the proposal as shameful. He said: "There is a lot of anguish in deciding to have such a termination.

"This puts an extra burden on the vulnerable and weak who have decided to take this terrible last step."

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Thursday, 30 June 2005 11:57
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Doctors unprepared for life in the NHS
The British Medical Association’s annual conference yesterday heard that doctors felt unprepared for working life in the NHS after completing medical school.

The BMA followed 543 doctors over the 10-year period since they qualified in 1995. In the final survey, 60 per cent of doctors said that life in the health service had not been what they expected when they qualified.

Respondents said that poor quality of life, greater stress, long hours, lack of independence and the pressure of government targets all contributed to their disillusionment.

Some said that they had been very idealistic at medical school and unprepared for the reality of life as a doctor.

But others said the surprise had been a pleasant one, with more flexibility and a better quality of life than they had expected.

Some said they had found satisfying careers as GPs, and called for students to get more experience of general practice at an earlier stage of their careers.

Mr Simon Eccles, chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, said:

“I’m dismayed that so many medical students are entering the profession without feeling properly prepared. Medical schools should listen to this strong message from doctors who are coming to the end of their training and act accordingly.

“I’m delighted that so many new GPs seem so happy with their careers; under the current shake-up of doctors’ training, there will be far more exposure to general practice, and that’s to be welcomed.”

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Thursday, 30 June 2005 11:44
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
BMA voices approval of Scottish smoking ban
British Medical Association yesterday commended Scotland’s politicians as they prepare to debate the final stages of the smoking ban.

In his address to the Annual Conference of the BMA in Manchester, Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland said:

"Tomorrow our Scottish Parliament will host a landmark debate. A debate that has the potential to improve the health of Scots and establish what I hope is a precedent for the rest of the UK.

"MSPs will debate a bill which at its heart provides the framework for a comprehensive ban on smoking in enclosed public places. This legislation has had support from politicians from all parties, except the Conservatives, and I hope that it will pass and Scotland can become ‘smoke free’ by spring next year.

"Scottish ministers should be congratulated for leading the way on this public health issue and for the way in which they have been guided by the evidence and by the views of the majority of the people in Scotland.

"And they should be applauded for the resolute way they resisted the lobbying from those whose sole intention is to profit from the misery and diseases of smokers. We say to Scottish politicians ‘very well done, do not lose your resolve – back this legislation tomorrow’."

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Thursday, 30 June 2005 11:18
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Doctors attack “distortion” by TV medical dramas
Television medical dramas such as ER and Casualty have been accused by doctors of representing “a terrible distortion of reality” by suggesting that patients are regularly brought back to life using CPR.

Doctors at the British Medical association conference in Manchester said that dramas that regularly show patients being revived using cardiac pulmonary resuscitation, both manually and with electronic pads, cause stress for doctors who have to constantly explain to patient’s loved ones why CPR will not work.

In reality, less than half of patients whose heart stops in hospital survive, and only 2 per cent of those whose heart stops in the street survive.

Dr Andrew Thomson, from Dundee, explained that relatives often expect patients to survive because they had seen it regularly on TV.

"ER, Casualty, Holby City, Chicago Hope, Rescue 911 - we know them all. Are they performing true CPR or are they completely protecting reality?" he said.

"The New England Journal of Medicine published a study of success rates of media CPR. It showed a 77 per cent revival rate and a 67 per cent discharge rate. This is a terrible distortion of reality."

Dr Katie McLaren, from North Berwick, said: "We just want to protect the public who very often think we can bring people back to life. It does happen - but not very frequently."

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Thursday, 30 June 2005 11:01
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Despair for overweight women
More than 8 in 10 overweight women suffer from “deep self loathing” because of their size, a survey has found.

The National Slimming Survey of 4,000 overweight women found that 91 per cent felt depressed and 79 per cent felt “utter despair”, while only one per cent said they were happy with their shape.

Celebrity culture and government pressure to lose weight were causing overweight people to feel victimised like never before, the survey found.

Ten per cent of respondents said they frequently felt that life was not worth living, while nearly half said they cut the size labels out of their clothes.

The survey also quizzed 1,000 men.

Some 94 per cent of those surveyed said they felt like “second class citizens” and 71 per cent said they had been “pilloried or poked fun at”.

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Thursday, 30 June 2005 10:45
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Ambulance response times to increase
Government plans to increase the minimum response time for ambulances attending potentially fatal emergencies have been attacked by health officials for endangering the lives of patients, the Daily Mail has reported.

Current guidelines state that ambulances should reach 95 per cent of potentially fatal Category A cases within 14 minutes of receiving a 999 call in cities and within 19 minutes in rural areas.

But a government inquiry has recommended that this response time be extended to 27 minutes in all areas, with a first aid expert arriving by car or motorbike within eight minutes.

Ray Carrick of the Ambulance service union said there was concern within the health service over the suitability of first-aiders as ambulance substitutes.

"27 minutes for ambulances to reach Category A patients is appalling," he said.

"At the moment, even when you are sending a lay responder you are also mobilising an ambulance. The first responder is there to cover until the ambulance arrives.

"To think that a lay responder is deciding whether or not an ambulance should even be called and delaying that call-out by eight minutes is unbelievable."

The Department of Health insisted that "the majority" of Category A calls would be answered by a fully-equipped ambulance.

A spokesman said: "In instances where the initial response is from a guy on a bike, these respondents will be fully equipped to stabilise a patient and apply first aid."

But Andrew Lansley, the shadow Health Minister, said: "Response to a life-threatening call must be by a fully-trained and fully-equipped professional - not someone on a motorbike - so they can stabilise the patient in the shortest possible time. We should be looking to maintain the response time, not dilute it."

And Michael Summers, chairman of the Parents Association, said: "The lay first-aider is not fully qualified to deal with the emergencies they may find. The fact that they are then the cause of further delay is disturbing.

"Equally disturbing is the 27-minute maximum response time. Heart attack patients need to have treatment provided to them in an ambulance with utmost speed.

"The longer it takes, the greater the chance they will not survive. Cutting corners does not work."

The changes follow a comprehensive review of the ambulance service by Peter Bradley, the national ambulance advisor.


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Thursday, 30 June 2005 10:23
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Doctors approve religious headwear plans
The British Medical Association yesterday agreed that hospitals should provide religious headwear to allow doctors to observe religious beliefs.

Doctors said that “theatre hijabs” should be available to Muslim women to enable them to cover their face during operations. Turbans and other headwear should also be available, the conference said.

Any such items would be made from sterile material to avoid aiding the spread of hospital acquired infections such as MRSA.

St Andrews University medical student, Sabrina Talukdar, said that she sometimes experienced problems when taking part in surgery wearing a hijab and that Muslim women were often asked to take them off.

"The 'theatre hijab' would simply be a square piece of sterile theatre cloth, secured with pins, which can be worn in conjunction with a surgical mask for those only wanting to expose their eyes."

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Thursday, 30 June 2005 10:08
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Potato could lower your blood pressure
Scientists at the Norwich institute were conducting a study on potatoes that was funded by the Food Standards Agency when they found that potatoes contain chemicals which can lower blood pressure.

The chemicals, called kukoamines, occurred naturally in many common types of potato.

These natural chemicals have been associated with reduced blood pressure and they selectively affect a chemotherapeutic target for trypanosomes and similar diseases such as sleeping sickness which is widespread in parts of Africa.

Food scientist Dr Fred Mellon from the Institute of Food Research (IFR) said” Potatoes have been cultivated for thousands of years, and we thought traditional crops were pretty well understood”, “But this surprise finding shows that even the most familiar of foods might conceal a hoard of health-promoting chemicals”.

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Thursday, 30 June 2005 09:45
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Singing for Snorers
Consultant otolaryngologist Malcolm Hilton from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital is to conduct a clinical trial to test if singing exercises can reduce or eradicate snoring.

More than 100 patients at the hospital are to take part in a programme of exercises that are designed to strengthen the throat which was devised by local singing teacher Alise Ojay.

The singing exercises designed to strengthen the throat could help snoring - as well as a condition known as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which causes people to stop breathing during deep sleep.

Voice tutor Alise Ojay, said: "If you can speak, you can sing. Be warned, the sounds you will make have been chosen for their therapeutic effect and not for their exceptional beauty so you will definitely need a sense of humour and either a secret place or an understanding and supportive family”.

Mr Hilton said: "Millions of people are affected by snoring and OSA.

"Snoring might not be life threatening, but it can be enormously disruptive to people's lives and snorers often seek medical help.

"OSA can be much more serious, causing people to stop breathing during deep sleep”.

Researchers are still looking for volunteers who will need to be referred by their GP.
The trial is expected to last about two years.

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