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264 records found from year 2005
View Scottish stories from other years: 2006 2004 
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Saturday, 29 July 2006 09:29
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Research revealed by Britain's largest mortgage lender the Halifax shows that key public sector workers are priced out of the property market in two-thirds of Britain’s towns.

Nurses, policemen, teachers, ambulance workers and firemen can no longer afford to buy an average priced house in 65% of towns, compared with just 24% five years ago.

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, said key workers had been "hit hard" by the strength of the property market since 2001.

"Now it is difficult for key workers to buy the average house not only in the south of England but also in significant parts of the Midlands, northern England, Wales and Scotland," he said.

"It is important that the Government continues to develop schemes to help key workers onto the property ladder and to ensure that these schemes are not confined to southern England.

"The presence of sufficient key workers is critical to the smooth functioning of life in our cities and towns."

Seven out of 10 of the most affordable towns for key workers in the UK are in Scotland, the survey said.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the findings confirmed key workers faced difficulty in getting a foot on the property ladder throughout the UK.

Dr Beverly Malone, general secretary of the RCN, said: "It's really important that nurses can afford to live near their place of work if we are to keep them within the profession doing what really matters - caring for patients.

"It would be a disaster for the health service if we drive out key workers from our cities and towns because there is no suitable and affordable housing”.

She said the RCN welcomed the Government's HomeBuy scheme to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

ELPG, a group of leading property solicitors, said key workers struggling to buy properties should consider setting up a co-purchase agreement.

Spokesman Steve Spence said they could borrow as much as they could and find a parent or other relative loaning spare money to make up the difference.

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Saturday, 29 July 2006 08:36
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Hospital staffs at one of Scotland's leading hospitals could walk out in a row about overheating which has left staff fainting on wards.

Unison, the public service union, said it was considering balloting staff at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh on industrial action if the heat problems at the flagship PFI hospital are not resolved.

The union said this was the fourth summer that they had flagged up problems because of the extreme heat and staffs were at the end of their tether. But Consort Healthcare, which operates the site, said the situation was being resolved with temporary air-conditioning units.

NHS Lothian also promised that the issue was being addressed.

Tom Waterson, the Lothian health branch chairman of Unison, said they had continually raised the problem with the health board, Consort and Andy Kerr, the health minister.

"This is the fourth year in a row that hot weather has caused unacceptable conditions in this hospital and yet we are still expected to accept temporary solutions," said Mr Waterson. "Staffs are fed up having to try and work in conditions that are uncomfortable and in some cases could lead to accidents.

"So, unless we can get the people who run this hospital to accept their responsibility and introduce a proper solution, we are going to have to consider what action we can take to demonstrate how serious the situation is”.

Shona Robison, the SNP's health spokeswoman, said that the heating was another problem in a string of complaints about the PFI project.

She said: "Consort should take some responsibility for this situation and resolve it, rather than try to brush it off, because clearly staff and patients are the ones suffering”.

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Saturday, 29 July 2006 08:08
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
New figures have revealed that a record number of women died from alcohol abuse in Scotland last year.

Statistics from the Registrar General for Scotland, published yesterday, showed 492 women died of alcohol-related diseases last year, compared with 441 in 2004. The increase was highest among women aged 30 to 60.

Duncan Macniven, the Registrar General for Scotland who compiled the figures, described the increased death toll from alcohol-related diseases - such as alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver and mental disorders - as "extremely worrying".

He said that the change was due to a shift in social attitudes and the liberalisation of licensing laws in the 1960s and 70s that led to more people drinking - and to alcohol-related diseases 20 years on.

Gillian Bell, of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: "Scotland's heavy-drinking culture is hitting home. People are drinking more because alcohol is more available and cheaper than ever, but there is a real lack of awareness of the damage drinking to excess causes”.

Ms Bell said women started drinking more as it became more socially acceptable, bars became more woman-friendly and the drinks industry targeted the female market.

"Women need to realise their drinking limits are lower. Their bodies cannot handle it and their livers are more damaged if they drink too much," she said.

Alex Crawford, chief executive of counselling service the RCA Trust, said teenage girls have caught up with boys in drinking alcohol.

"The growth of the 'ladette' culture is well-documented. So it is of little surprise that more women are reporting alcohol problems," he said.

He added that women have a higher risk than men for certain serious medical consequences of alcohol use, including liver, brain and heart damage.

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Friday, 28 July 2006 09:34
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Elizabeth Russell, a two-year-old has died after contracting the E.coli O157 infection.

Elizabeth from Ballantrae, in South Ayrshire, died at the weekend after being taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

A health board spokeswoman said two children in the Dumfries and Galloway area, who had been in contact with the Elizabeth, had also tested positive.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "We are aware of these cases and are being kept informed by the relevant NHS boards.

"Both of these incidents are being managed by the local NHS public health team and Health Protection Scotland who are liaising with us”.

Dr Carol Davidson, director of public health at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said: "Investigations into the source of the infection are ongoing, but at the moment we have no reason to believe that others outside the families affected and their contacts are at any increased risk."

A statement from NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: "A 20-month-old child from Wigtownshire whose family were in contact with the family of the child in Ayrshire was admitted to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary at the weekend with an E.coli O157 infection.

"The child was discharged from hospital on Wednesday evening.

"A second child aged three years who was also in contact with the family in Ayrshire was admitted at the weekend but was discharged from hospital on Monday”.

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Thursday, 27 July 2006 09:29
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Bone cancer victims in England will not be given Velcade a life-prolonging drug - although it is available to patients in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The drug which can put the cancer into remission and dramatically improve life expectancy is also available in every other developed country in the world.

But yesterday the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) refused to approve Velcade for use in England on the NHS, saying it is not 'cost-effective'.

Eric Low, of the International Myeloma Foundation, said: “This is a shocking and devastating decision.

“It is unjust, unfair and ill-informed. We have missed a golden opportunity here.

“It is hard not to feel that we are being discriminated against as a less well-known, rarer cancer, because of the recent positive rulings on a number of big cancer drugs, such as Herceptin, which will undoubtedly put enormous pressure on NHS budgets.

“This will leave myeloma in the desert of cancer care treatment”.

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Thursday, 27 July 2006 08:33
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Researchers at Aberdeen University, Scotland, have found how the body harnesses the power of electricity to heal cuts and grazes - an effect they manipulated to speed up wound healing dramatically.

And they have also identified a range of chemicals that can stimulate the flow of current at wound sites, in a major discovery that could eventually pave the way for improved treatment for wounds, as well as for non-healing ulcers and major burn injuries.

Professor Colin McCaig, the head of the School of Medical Sciences, said yesterday: "This is a potentially very exciting development. We are at the point of reinventing the clinical practice of electrical stimulation.

"As well as speeding up the healing of wounds, our research could have implications for non-healing ulcers, people with major burn injuries and diabetics, who often have very poor wound healing."

He explained that the role of the body's natural electricity in helping to heal wounds had been identified more than 200 years ago, but had become a forgotten area of medical science.

Prof McCaig said: "We have rediscovered something that has been known about for quite a long time - that within our bodies there are electrical signals. We know about signals that drive our heartbeats, for example. And these are what you would call intra-cellular electrical events.

"But what we are dealing with are electrical signals in the spaces between the cells. If you take a needle and stick it through your skin you would record a voltage difference. If you then create a hole in your skin, all that voltage shoves current out of the hole and short-circuits it.

"Current flows out the edge of the wound the instant you make the wound and is continually flowing out until it heals.

"What we have now discovered is what controls these electrical signals and ways of increasing them. And that's what gives you faster healing."

The team, headed by Professor Min Zhao, have identified the proteins and genes in human cells that play a key role in steering the cells to heal wounds in response to naturally occurring electrical signals at wound sites.

Prof Zhao said: "When a wound occurs it is remarkable how the cells in our body know where to go to heal it. Our studies show that electricity in the body is far more important than was previously thought and that it has significant potential in wound healing and possibly also regeneration.

"Our findings offer a novel perspective in understanding how cells move to heal and what genes and molecules the cells use to detect the electric fields”.

The team's findings have been based on the study of skin wounds and cornea wounds in the laboratory. And Prof Zhao explained: "We hope our next step is a clinical trial to see if we can translate our findings into patient care.

"We want to find out if the drugs we have tried in our lab tests could actually be used to develop eye-drops to help eye wounds, or dressings for the treatment of other wounds”.

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Wednesday, 26 July 2006 08:45
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
According to a survey by nursing union the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland one in five nurses in Scotland has been bullied at work in the past year.

The Breaking Point survey found that 18 per cent of nurses reported being bullied in the past year, 19 per cent suffered harassment and 11 per cent reported discrimination.

Jane McCready, the RCN Scotland board chair, condemned the findings.

She said: "Nurses are trained to deal with stressful situations. However, it is unacceptable that many are placed under further pressure because of intimidation from managers or colleagues. No-one should have to work under such conditions”.

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Wednesday, 26 July 2006 08:35
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
It emerged yesterday that babies at one of Scotland's leading neonatal units have been found to be carrying the MRSA superbug.

NHS Lothian said four babies were discovered to be carrying the bug on their skin at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary unit during April and May.

It followed two previous "clusters" in the past year which did not emerge until yesterday.

Dr Alison McCallum, director of public health at NHS Lothian, said these clusters were dealt with by the unit, which admits around 700 babies a year, and the problem appeared to be over. But the third cluster prompted a detailed plan to address infection control issues.

Dr McCallum, speaking at the board's annual review meeting with Andy Kerr, the health minister, said this had resulted in a "deep clean" of the unit. She said babies were now also screened for MRSA on admission to the unit and weekly. "We are now content that all the steps that should have been taken have been taken," Dr McCallum said.

"None of these babies was unwell as a result of the presence of MRSA and none has required additional treatment."

The health board was questioned over the MRSA clusters by Mr Kerr as he reviewed the progress over the past year, and he said the issue was "such a significant matter of patient confidence" that it needed to be taken seriously.

But the minister said that while the unit had faced some "big challenges", he had been reassured by the measures taken.

"The changes they have made are about best practice, on matters such as the way the unit was used, the proximity of cots to each other and so on," he said.

"I don't think there are grounds to be worried about the unit. They probably have the best healthcare-associated infections-handling system in Scotland now, because of the measures that have been taken”.

Christine Perry, of the Infection Control Nurses Association, said infants in neonatal intensive care were at particular risk from infections.

"The nature of intensive care means using drips and drains, which puts babies at greater risk of any infection. MRSA in neonatal units is something that hospitals take very seriously," she added.

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Tuesday, 25 July 2006 09:11
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Researchers at the University of Dundee in Scotland have discovered a fat-controlling protein which could lead to breakthrough treatment for cystic fibrosis.

The researchers found that the protein which regulates fat levels is defective in people affected by the life-threatening lung condition, who are characteristically very thin.

They also discovered links between the defective protein and people suffering from cancer and diabetes – diseases which cystic fibrosis sufferers often develop.

It is now hoped treatments can be developed which could help cystic fibrosis patients put on weight, and increase their life expectancy and quality of life.

The international research team which made the discovery is headed by Dr Anil Mehta, head of the Cystic Fibrosis Database at Dundee University. "It has long been known that cystic fibrosis patients suffer significant variations in weight - they tend to be very thin and can suffer very fast weight loss when they fall ill - but we did not know why this was the case," he said.

"Similarly it has been known that cystic fibrosis patients suffer a higher rate of cancer than normal and again we did not know why. In equal measure, almost half of these patients develop an unusual form of diabetes.

"What our research has uncovered are the genetic links, through this cellular fat controller, which we believe lead to these differences in fat metabolism and cancer. There are also significant links here to diabetes”.

Dr Mehta said the findings could have a "major impact" on research into cystic fibrosis and the other conditions as well as the treatment of patients. "The implications of this are that we have opened up a whole new area of research which links all of these conditions," he added.

"From here on in researchers looking at cancer, diabetes, obesity or cystic fibrosis should all be working with each other and looking at what the other is doing, because it is all linked together. We believe that these results could have a significant impact in terms of the treatment of patients with the three diseases - cystic fibrosis, some forms of childhood cancer and adult onset diabetes - and hence, their potential life expectancy”.

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Monday, 24 July 2006 10:27
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Ministers in Scotland are proposing to abolish the distinct roles of district nurses and health visitors, leading to fears that thousands of patients will not receive the specialist care they need.

The plans, outlined in a draft report, follow a major review of the community health sector for the health minister, Andy Kerr, under the plans, the extensive range of titles currently used by more than 8000 NHS nurses who work outwith hospitals would merge into one new "community health" job.

But nurses' representatives fear the plans would lead to a dilution of professional skills. Gavin Fergie, professional officer of the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, said it would be like asking a chemistry teacher to teach French.

He said: "We doubt the ability of these proposed community nurses to cover the full clinical range found in community nursing. Thousands of Scottish families won't necessarily get the nursing specialist they need for a particular problem".

Anne Thomson, acting deputy director of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, said: "We would clearly have concerns about such a radical change. We will be consulting widely with our members and working closely with the Scottish Executive to implement the outcomes”.

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