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218 records found from year 2006
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Thursday, 22 June 2006 10:32
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Hospitals have been warned that the practice of sending medical records abroad for typing puts patients’ lives at risk.

Private companies are promising savings for cash strapped NHS trusts if they “outsource” work to countries such as India, South Africa and the Philippines.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public service union Unison, said contract typists had already made potentially life-threatening errors by getting medical dosages wrong and confusing hypertension – high blood pressure – with hypotension – low blood pressure.

He said the “very dangerous” practice started in London but was spreading across the country, with some 30 hospitals either using outsourcing or considering it.

Some typists employed abroad are doctors and medical students, but it is thought that others with no medical qualifications are also used. Most are paid by the line, so it is in their interests to work quickly, Mr Prentis said.

"This is not Unison trying to save jobs. This is Unison saying that patients' health and wellbeing is being put at risk," he said. "This is a step too far. It is ridiculous, it doesn't make sense and it causes real problems for patients. If they are going to privatise this, where are they going to stop."

He said patients' records should be up-to-date and accurate. "The consequences of typing errors are too frightening to contemplate. The difference between hypertension and hypotension can be a matter of life or death."

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Thursday, 22 June 2006 09:30
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Medics at the hospital, Guys’ in London, left Diane Nichols in agony after a needle was found in her body after an operation.

Pharmacy assistant Diane, 42, first went into hospital on February 9 to have suspected kidney stones removed.

None were found and her condition deteriorated rapidly afterwards. She developed blood and urine infections causing a month-long hospital stay.

She was still in great pain, so medics arranged for an x-ray.

A week later a doctor called her to say a needle had shown up on the x-ray, deep inside her above the kidneys.

In an op lasting almost five hours, docs failed to remove the needle.

Diane said: “After the op, my consultant said, ‘how did the needle get there — would you be prepared to see a psychiatrist?’

Then another consultant came to see me and said, ‘I’ve been thinking about it and the only way it could have got inside is if you had swallowed it’. I was furious.”

The needle was finally removed in a third op.

Diane added: “I am now taking legal action. The way I was treated was terrible.”

A spokesperson for Guys’ said: “We are not able to discuss the details. We take all complaints very seriously and we are committed to investigating”.

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Thursday, 22 June 2006 09:20
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A new drug has been found to help people lose weight - without dieting.

A study in Scotland found the drug Zotrim made people feel fuller for longer, inturn making them eat less.

Patients lost an average of almost 5lb in just six weeks without changing their eating habits.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, who led the study, said: "Many people are skeptical about drugs that claim to help people lose weight but my study shows that this does actually work”.

She said the drug, Zotrim, contains three herbs from South America to keep food in the stomach longer.

Dr Ruxton said: "Tests show the drugs keep food in the body by at least 20 minutes longer, meaning people feel fuller longer. This takes away their need to eat big puddings or have unhealthy snacks to make them feel full.

"And despite making no dietary changes to their diet, the average weight lost over the study period was 4.8lb”.

Dr Anthony Leeds, senior lecturer in nutrition at King's College London: "These results are encouraging, especially with the evidence for delayed gastric emptying”.

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Wednesday, 21 June 2006 10:46
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Around 40 per cent of British fertility clinics believe they have been deceived into treating patients with false identities, it has emerged.

The clinics believe they have been defrauded by patients lying about their age or the true identity of the potential father, researchers found.

Some women claim they are younger because of age restrictions for treatment, while some men use sperm from a younger man.

Experts yesterday warned that fraud could lead to a child being misled about his or her genetic make up and expose clinics to litigation. It could also allow patients to claim state-funded treatment to which they are not entitled.

Lead researcher Dr Luca Sabatini, from St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague that he launched an investigation into the scale of the problem after discovering that one of his patients had changed partners since her application for treatment.

He contacted 70 Health Service and private clinics in the UK. Forty-five responded to his survey.

However, Stephanie Sullivan, of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, said: "This flawed and contradictory study does not reflect the day-to-day reality of UK fertility treatment.

"We provide clear guidance to all clinics that they should provide proper checks on identity and continue to do this throughout the course of treatment.

"Over the last three years UK clinics have provided more than 100,000 IVF treatments and there have been no more than ten cases where identity has been an issue."

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Monday, 19 June 2006 12:01
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A senior doctor has sparked controversy after claiming that teenage pregnancy is ‘part of nature’s law’ and should not be condemned out of hand.

Dr Laurence Shaw, deputy medical director of the Bridge Centre fertility clinic in London, said females had been programmed by two million years of evolution to have babies in their late teens and earl twenties when fertility is at its peak.

He told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (Eshre) that nature intended women to become mothers when young, and for their fertility to decline with age.

Speaking to delegates in Prague, Dr Shaw said: "Before we condemn our teenagers for having sex behind the bike sheds and becoming pregnant, we should remember that this is a natural response by these girls to their rising fertility levels.

"Society may 'tut tut' about them, but their actions are part of an evolutionary process that goes back nearly two million years; while their behaviour may not fit with western society's expectations, it is perhaps useful to consider it in a wider context."

But family groups and politicians have condemned the remarks.

Shona Robison, the SNP's health spokeswoman, whose constituency in Dundee has rates of teenage pregnancy far exceeding the national average, called the remarks "flippant".

"Maybe he should reflect on the effects of teenage pregnancy," she said. "In representing Dundee, I am well aware of the problems teenage pregnancy can cause girls. For many it leads to a life of poverty and a loss of opportunity. I doubt these are the things he would want for his own daughters."

Teresa Smith, chair of the Scottish Christian People's Alliance, said the comments were "completely outrageous".

"Many things are an occurrence within nature but it does not mean they are the right thing to do," she said. "Girls of that age are not mature enough to bring up a baby. If they choose to have an abortion, there are long-term effects.

"Teenagers having sexual activity risk catching chlamydia and causing fertility problems. We should be promoting abstinence, not telling young people this is natural."

Tim Street, the chief executive, of the Family Planning Association Scotland, said the comments highlighted the need to educate teenagers about the dangers of sex.

"We have to actually explain to young people that we want them to wait until they are older before they start having sex and eventually kids.

"If, as he says, this is a natural, biological reaction to being who you are, we also have to explain that good policies on this are about delaying sexual intercourse until later on."

In his talk Dr Shaw also said it was wrong to be prejudiced against older women who sought fertility treatment.

"Before we criticise 62-year-old women who want to have babies, we should remember that it was not so long ago that women would only have had about 20 or 30 years to care for their offspring and help with the next generation," he said.

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Monday, 19 June 2006 08:50
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Fertility expert Dr Laurence Shaw, of the Bridge Centre, London suggests that more should be done to help women in their 30s and 40s become mothers.

Dr Shaw will tell a European fertility conference in Prague increased lifespan mean more childbearing time.

Dr Shaw says: "Homo sapiens have existed for 150,000 years and for all of that time until about 100 to 150 years ago, women had their babies when they were in their late teens and early twenties when their fertility was at its peak.

"Before we criticise 62-year-old women who want to have babies, we should remember that it was not so long ago that women would only have had about 20 or 30 years to care for their offspring and help with the next generation.

"Nowadays 60-year old women in many industrialised countries, have a life expectancy of 80 or 90, so there is no difference in terms of the length of their survival after the birth of a baby than there would have been for most of human existence."

He stopped short of calling for IVF treatment for women in their 60s, but said society should do more to help those women wanting to start families later in life.

"We should use technology to help further with finding better and safer hormone replacement therapies, and with fertility treatments for those seeking pregnancy in their 30s and 40s.

"We need to look at things not just in terms of the 21st century, but in the overall context of evolutionary progress."

Dr Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield and Honorary Secretary of the British Fertility Society, said: "Long post-menopausal lifespan are almost entirely a human trait and there are many theories to explain why women go through the menopause in contrast to most other animal species.

"One is that they can enhance their own daughters' fertility by becoming helpful grandparents and this is better than having further children themselves."

He added: "In today's modern society the evolutionary pressures that led to this are clearly not the same as they were when we were hunter-gatherers.

"But I am not sure this makes giving IVF to older post-menopausal women any more acceptable."

He said the availability of donor eggs and the right medical management meant post-menopausal women could get pregnant, there were clear risks involved in maintaining that pregnancy.

Dr Pacey added: "Most professionals agree that treatment using donor eggs should generally be confined to women under the age of 50”.

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Monday, 19 June 2006 08:38
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Erin Higgins, a three-year-old girl is recovering after a dramatic five-hour dash for a life-saving operation.

Erin had to travel 500 miles by road and air from her home in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, to London for her second liver transplant.

Erin was months old when she underwent her first liver transplant. But her condition deteriorated and she desperately needed a second op.

The organ swap, which took five and a half hours, was completed in the early hours of Friday morning by surgeons at King's College Hospital.

A hospital spokeswoman said: "Erin is doing well and is out of the intensive care unit”.

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Sunday, 18 June 2006 11:38
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
British doctors are preparing to conduct the world’s first full face transplant after identifying four potential candidates.

Peter Butler, a consultant plastic surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital in North London, is awaiting the final go-ahead from his hospital’s ethics committee.

In 2003, the surgeon had to cancel a face transplant on a 14-year-old Irish girl after the Royal College of Surgeons of England warned it was too early to try the procedure.

Some critics believed the risk was too great, while others were concerned over the questions of identity involved in transferring a face from one person to another.

But last year's successful partial face transplant on Isabelle Dinoire, a Frenchwoman, has underlined the potential benefits of the operation. Dinoire, 38, had her nose, lips and chin replaced after her face was mauled by a dog.

"People have seen a woman with severe facial deformity changed to what looks like a perfectly normal face," said Butler. "It's now not a case of how in this country but when.

"Selecting the right patient is very important. They have to be someone who can handle the psychological impact."

If he receives final approval from the ethics committee at the Royal Free Hospital, Butler's team will begin to make the final selection. His team has raised around £40,000 to fund operations on two patients.

Dr Michael Pegg, the chairman of the ethics committee, said: "We are considering an application to do a face transplant and want to make sure that the procedures are followed perfectly.

"We will look at the application very carefully before making a decision."

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Sunday, 18 June 2006 10:50
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A report out tomorrow will call for a substantial increase in the amount of psychotherapy available on the NHS, The Observer reports.

The report by a group of leading academics will warn that only a quarter of the people suffering from depression or chronic anxiety are receiving any treatment at all.

A course of cognitive behavioural therapy, which enables people to tackle their depression and think more positively, costs £750 and would pay for itself in money saved on incapacity benefits and lost tax receipts, according to the London School of Economics team.

Its chair, Professor Richard Layard, has called on politicians of all parties to recognise the growing economic burden created by depression.

“We know that one in six people suffers from depression or chronic anxiety, and that this affects one in three of all families,” said Professor Layard.

“And yet in most parts of Britain, you will have to wait at least nine months for a course of CBT, despite the fact that it has proved to be just as effective as medication.”

The report has the support of the Royal College of General Practitioners, as well as leading mental health charities - Mind, Rethink, the Mental Health Foundation and the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “This is an important proposal, which, if implemented, could transform the care of thousands of patients with anxiety and depression.”

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Saturday, 17 June 2006 11:35
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A study of the brain has revealed that people become more “mellow” in response to negative emotions as they age.

A total of 242 healthy men and women aged between 12 and 79 were assessed for the study using emotional well-being questionnaires.

Neurotic traits were found to decrease with advancing age, with the 12 to 19 age group the most neurotic and the 50 to 79 age group the least neurotic.

Researchers then used MRI scans and measurements of electrical activity to monitor brain responses to facial expressions of emotions. Younger groups were significantly better at recognising fear but less accurate at recognising happiness.

The scans also showed that older people’s brains were more active when processing negative emotions than positive ones, indicating that older people have better control over brain responses to negative emotions than younger people.

Writing in the journal, Dr Leanne Williams and colleagues at the Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Millennium Institute in Sydney, Australia concluded: "These findings provide new evidence that emotional wellbeing improves over seven decades of the human lifespan.

"We propose that life experience and changing motivational goals may drive plasticity in the medial prefrontal brain to increase selective control over the balance of negative and positive emotion."

Professor Helen Fisher, an expert in human emotion at Rutgers University in New Jersey said: "Hopefully, these findings will begin to usher in a new and more positive understanding of the aging process."

Dr Simon Surguladze, deputy head of the department of neuroscience and emotion at King's College London said the control over negative emotions in older people was likely to be an evolutionary trait.

"In my opinion people have acquired this over hundreds of years of evolution - so that in growing old, the brain selects positive reinforcement more easily to balance losses in life and mental health.

"The brains are adjusted so people are not going into depression - there is a balance in the control of emotion."

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