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News Archives, December 2005
Monday, 26 December 2005 10:53
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Nightclub bosses were criticised yesterday for organising a 31-hour non-stop drinking "marathon".

The event, at the Cube nightclub in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, was condemned last night for encouraging binge drinking.

Local councillor Sam Coull said: "This is ridiculous. I can't believe it's been allowed to happen.

"It sounds like some kind of grand binge from the days of ancient Rome, where the last man standing is awarded for his efforts. There will be a lot of misery among the people who feel ill as a result of their binge. They won't be having a happy New Year”.

Jack Law, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: "This is bound to result in drunkenness, with police and accident and emergency departments left to deal with the consequences of illness, disorder, accidents and crime.

"This is not an example of the responsible practice we want to see in the licensed trade”.

The Cube's manager Chris Brown defended the event last night. He said: "It's a one-off because this is the only time of year we can get such a special licence.

"All we want to do is give people a brilliant New Year party and help them to enjoy themselves as much as possible”.

Deaths Statistics show nearly 40 people drink themselves to death in Scotland every week - a 250 per cent rise in booze-related deaths in the last 25 years.

The SNP's health spokeswoman, Shona Robison, said: "This is extremely irresponsible.

"It shows the folly of extended drinking hours, which the Scottish Executive has supported.

"A club should not be promoting itself in this way. Everybody wants to have a good time over the festive season but this is going too far.

"It plays to our binge drinking culture and is not the kind of thing we want to see”.

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Monday, 26 December 2005 10:42
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Best treatment for a hangover is toast and honey
According to the Royal Society of Chemistry the best treatment for a hangover is a breakfast of honey or golden syrup spread on toast, it is supposed to be the most effective remedy for pounding heads and heaving stomachs.

Dr John Emsley, a member of the society and author of the Consumer's Good Chemical Guide, said: "The happiness comes from alcohol; the hangover comes from acetaldehyde.

"That is the toxic chemical into which alcohol is converted by the body and it causes a throbbing headache, nausea and maybe even vomiting. The hangover disappears as acetaldehyde is slowly converted to less toxic chemicals”.

Dr Emsley also suggested a recipe to avoid suffering a hangover in the first place.

It involves first drinking a glass of milk, which slows the absorption of alcohol, and then sticking to gin or vodka.

This is because they are relatively clean drinks, twice purified by distillation, but dark drinks should be avoided since they contain natural chemicals that can have an adverse effect.

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Monday, 26 December 2005 10:26
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Under new government plans relatives of poor patients who choose to be treated in hospitals far from home will receive no financial help to visit loved ones.

Under the plans in December 2005 patients will have the choice of being treated at different hospitals around the country. Those on low incomes will be able to claim for travel costs from government funds.

But in a glaring loophole their visitors, even if they are close relatives, will not be able to claim for travel costs.

Critics say it is likely that those who live in deprived areas are less likely to choose a hospital in another part of the country.

Health Minister Rosie Winterton said in a Commons written answer the Government had no details of how much it would cost to reimburse relatives of poor patients.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb said: "This policy is blatantly unfair. Wealthy patients will be at a huge advantage”.

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Monday, 26 December 2005 10:14
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Big rise in elderly revolving door patients
Scotland's health service watchdog has found that the number of elderly "revolving door patients", those repeatedly admitted to hospital, has increased by more than a quarter in a decade.

The watchdog have raised fears that many pensioners are being ejected from hospital beds before proper measures have been put in place to look after them in the community.

Liz Duncan, of Help the Aged in Scotland, said: "There does seem to be, for all categories of patients, as fast as possible turnaround from hospital treatment to going home. Sometimes for older people in particular it is a difficult situation, because if the home support is not absolutely in place and if they are not completely well, they could have a relapse at home.

"You can have this kind of revolving door of admissions if all the conditions, including home support, are not correctly in place”.

The report, compiled by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, revealed the number of pensioners discharged from hospital only to be readmitted within a year has increased by 26% since 1994-5.

The proportion of over-65s admitted to hospital twice or more in a year has risen from 354 per 10,000 in 1994-5 to 447 per 10,000 in 2003-4. Among the over-85s, the increase is even more marked, with the rate of men experiencing multiple admissions growing from 853 per 10,000 in 1994-5 to 1058 per 10,000 in 2003-4.

Joe Campbell, chairman of Scottish Care, which represents independent care home owners, said: “The problem came down to money if older patients are being put out of hospitals quicker than they should because of the backlog of routine operations which need performing, they have got to have care . . . But the big problem is if they require care they need to get it either from the council or independent care-at-home suppliers. Where is the money for that? There is no money”.

Dr David Stewart, consultant in geriatric medicine in Glasgow and deputy secretary of the British Geriatrics Society in Scotland, said: "Really the question is what percentage of these people came back for completely unpreventable reasons. The answer is, we do not know. There is a percentage where we could perhaps have done a bit better”.

The Scottish Executive has set a target to reduce multiple admissions among the elderly by more than 20% by April 2009.


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Monday, 26 December 2005 09:56
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Reprieve for medics in Libyan HIV case
The Libyan Supreme Court has overturned the death sentences against five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor yesterday.

The six were condemned to face death by firing squad after they were found guilty of knowingly infecting children with the HIV virus. About 50 of the children have since died.

The medics, who have spent almost seven years in prison, say they were made scapegoats for poor hospital hygiene.

The Supreme Court ordered the retrial after hearing an appeal by the health workers, who said their confessions were extracted under torture.

The medics also presented the testimony of Western medical experts, who said the outbreak started before they arrived and was probably caused by unhygienic practices.

US State Department spokesman Justin Higgins described the decision as "a positive development since it removes the risk of the death penalty being carried out".

"As we have made clear before, we believe a way should be found to allow the medics to return to their home," he said.

The Council of Europe welcomed the decision and said it hoped the new trial will "comply with the internationally recognised standards of fairness and due process".

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Saturday, 24 December 2005 11:18
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Certain fruit and vegetables 'ward off cancer'
Researchers from the University of California, America, believe that by eating at least five portions a day of certain fruit and vegetables could cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 50%.

According to the study onions, garlic, beans, carrots, corn, dark leafy vegetables and citrus fruits were among the most protective foods.

The report, published in the Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention journal, said eating five portions daily of the most protective vegetables cuts the risk in half.

Or it said eating any nine fruit or vegetables could have the same effect.

Raw vegetables were found to be more protective than cooked ones, the study said after conducting interviews with 532 people with the cancer, and 1,700 people who did not have the disease.

But researchers acknowledged the results may have been influenced by food which may often be eaten with the vegetables.

Report co-author Elizabeth Holly said: "Pancreatic cancer is not nearly as common as breast or lung cancer, but its diagnosis and treatment are particularly difficult.

"Finding strong confirmation that simple life choices can provide significant protection from pancreatic cancer may be one of the most practical ways to reduce the incidence of this dreadful disease”.

Dr Julie Sharp, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "Previous research has implied that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may help to prevent pancreatic cancer.

"This research adds to these findings, but large-scale studies are vital to confirm whether fruit and vegetables really have an effect on pancreatic cancer risk”.

And she added other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, also played a key role.

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Saturday, 24 December 2005 11:07
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A new clue to how malaria infects cells
Research that was carried out by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in India and a unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in France have analysed in close detail the structure of a key protein that helps the malaria parasite infect human cells.

They found the protein has a unique atomic structure which, in theory, new drugs could target directly.

The latest research focuses on one particular protein on the surface of Plasmodium which plays a particularly key role.

The researchers obtained crystals of a part of this protein - called the Duffy-Binding Like (DBL) domain - which directly interacts with a protein on red blood cells.

Using a technique called X-ray crystallography they were able to create an atom-by-atom map of the protein, which are too small to be seen by microscopes.

Researcher Dr Amit Sharma said: "Until now we have not had a close-up view of the precise surface where the two proteins interact.

"That surface is absolutely crucial in permitting the parasite to enter the cell.

"If we can determine its features in atomic detail, we may be able to find weak points that could make good targets for drugs”.

Dr Hassan Belrhali, who also worked on the study, said the analysis had shown that DBL has a unique architecture.

"This means that there should be a way to inhibit its activity without affecting healthy blood cells”.

The researchers stressed their work was carried out on form of Plasmodium that does not normally infect humans.

But they said DBL is similar in different forms of the organism.

The researchers are also investigating molecules important at an earlier phase of malaria infections, when parasites invade the liver.

Dr Pascal Ringwald, a drugs resistance specialist with the World Health Organization, told the BBC News website the study was an important piece of work.

But he said: "We probably cannot tell at this stage whether it will give us a new target for drugs and vaccines”.

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Saturday, 24 December 2005 10:53
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Breast cancer was cured by mistletoe
Breast cancer sufferer Nicola Wicksteed has been cured after injecting herself with mistletoe.

Nicola, 50, had been told she would need to have a mastectomy and chemotherapy after a 7cm-wide tumour was discovered. But instead, she turned to Park Attwood Clinic, at Bewdley, Worcs where she had herbal and dietary remedies.

Three months after taking extract of the Christmas "kissing plant" combined with herbs, her 7cm-wide tumour has vanished.

She said: "I put it down to natural drugs supporting my immune system." Amazed doctors said her recovery was "remarkable". Property developer and mum Nicola, 50, learned, she had a tumour two years ago. Snubbing surgery and chemotherapy she injected herself with mistletoe, took Carctol - a remedy of eight Ayurvedic herbs - and had hormone therapy.

A month after starting the treatment, the tumour had halved. Two months later, her cells were back to normal. Nicola, of Windermere, Cumbria, said: "I discovered cancer patients in Germany have mistletoe treatment and wanted to give it a chance.

"I know chemotherapy can destroy cancer cells but it also attacks the immune system”.

Dr Maurice Orange who works at the clinic said: "Mistletoe and hormone therapy worked better than anyone hoped. The result was extraordinary.

"There is nothing there at all now. It does not mean the cancer has completely gone, but Nicola is in full remission”.

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Saturday, 24 December 2005 10:42
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Families hit out at NHS
Angry relatives lashed out at health bosses at Calderdale Royal in Halifax after loved ones died of the superbug Clostridium difficile.

A government report this week said hospitals are failing to stop the bug, which kills 1,000 people a year.

Liz Greenwood, whose father Leslie Slater, 79, died after bladder stone surgery, claimed conditions at Calderdale Royal in Halifax were "disgusting" and that staff ignored signs that he had the bug.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust said: "The concerns have been thoroughly investigated and a letter explaining the conclusions sent to the family”.

Relatives of Patrick Martin, 72, who died in March after a cancer operation, wants a public inquiry.

Daughter Jacqueline Johnson said: "The NHS cannot confirm or deny he had the deadly strain because they never tested him”.

Elaine Maxwell, nursing director at Oldchurch Hospital in Romford, Essex, said two cases of the same strain were found later "but at the time we were unaware any such strain existed".

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Saturday, 24 December 2005 10:30
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Nurses have been left skint
Nurses have been left underpaid over the festive period after they were paid less than half of what they expected.

The nurses who work in the bank at Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow received an internal memo promising temporary bank nurses three weeks' wages ahead of Christmas.

But when the nurses went to cash points they had found that they had been just been paid £300 to survive on for the next three weeks.

About 100 nurses were left dumfounded when they realised their pay had been slashed.

They insist the memo sent to staff in early December stated they were due more. One 24 year-old nurse said: "We were told that if we have shifts confirmed until mid-January we would get three weeks' pay.

"I was expecting to get at least £700, so paid my rent thinking I'll have another £450 left over.

"They'd paid me £300. Now I've got nothing left for Christmas or New Year”.

Another nurse, who has been with Gartnavel for two years, added: "The next pay date isn't until January 13. What are we meant to do before that?"

Last night, a spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow said bank nurses were routinely paid in arrears, but admitted there was discretion for arranged shifts not yet worked to be paid in advance.

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