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264 records found from year 2006
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Page 4 of 27
Wednesday, 12 July 2006 09:06
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
SCIENTIST'S 'CURE FOR BLINDNESS'
Dr Mathieson, from Glasgow University's physics department is developing a prosthetic retina in a bid to restore types of blindness.

Using technology similar to that found in digital cameras, the tiny device would be implanted into the eye to stimulate a retina that was no longer working.

It is designed to help people with age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, conditions that affect about a million people in the UK. These conditions are caused by failure in the retina - the part of the eye which converts light into signals that are sent to the brain.

Dr Mathieson said: "By implanting a device into the eye, we hope we will be able to fool the brain into believing the retina is still in working order”.

The chip would assist about one million people in the UK with age-related macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa.

Dr Mathieson said: "Advances in microelectronics have allowed us to develop a small device to be implanted on the retina itself.

"The device would contain an imaging detector.

"If light forms an image on the detector, then the result will be electrical stimulation of the retina in the shape of this image.

"The stimulated cells then send the information via the optic nerve to the brain."

The implant prototype has 100 pixels but the team hope that number will increase significantly as their work progresses.

Dr Matheson said: "Around 500 pixels would allow people to walk down the street and recognise faces.

"Beyond where we are today it might be possible to make smart chips which have memory in them which would allow action replay and slow motion”.

John Legg, director of the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) Scotland, welcomed the work of the scientists. "It will, however, be some years before this research bears fruit," he said.

"In the meantime, RNIB Scotland will continue to campaign to ensure that existing treatments are promptly and uniformly available to all whom might benefit”.

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Tuesday, 11 July 2006 09:43
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
NEW DRUG TO FIGHT MRSA
Tygacil a new drug to combat serious infections such as the MRSA superbug has been approved for use in hospitals across Scotland.

Doctors said the antibiotic Tygacil, which works against resistant infections where traditional drugs fail, had the potential to save many lives.

Now the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended the treatment for use in patients with abdominal, skin and soft-tissue infections which do not respond to other drugs.

Professor Dilip Nathwani, a consultant physician and honorary professor of infection at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, welcomed the SMC's approval.

"In recent years the development and introduction of new antibiotics for serious multi-resistant infections has been slow, so Tygacil offers us an important opportunity to clinically and cost-effectively manage some of these more difficult infections," Prof Nathwani said.
   

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Sunday, 09 July 2006 09:35
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
MATERNITY CARE ASSISTANTS TO BE INTRODUCED IN SCOTLAND’S MATERNITY WARDS
Maternity care assistants (MCAs) are to be introduced in Scotland’s maternity wards to help ease pressure on busy midwives and assist new mums with tasks such as breastfeeding and nappy changing.

MCAs have already been deployed in the US and in England. A training programme is now being drawn up to pilot the role north of the Border amid fears of future staffing shortages in maternity services.

Midwives and campaigners say the MCAs can be useful, but warn they should not be used as an excuse to employ midwives “on the cheap”.

A document published by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) warns that there are challenges in providing “sustainable” maternity services, with potential for a serious shortage of staff in the future. It states: “The introduction of MCAs as a distinct role development within the family of health care support workers has been identified as one possible solution to this emerging workforce need.”

It acknowledges that the role is controversial: “The development of MCAs has generated considerable polarised debate from those concerned with the erosion of the role of the midwife to those advocating improved quality of services to women and their families”.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is consulting its members to gauge opinion on whether MCAs should be allowed to join the organisation. An RCM spokeswoman said midwives were divided on the issue.

“Some of the midwives really don’t like the idea of it,” she said. “If the mum asks the person [a question] they may think they are getting professional advice and only a midwife can do that.

“But some people see it a bit like the role of a classroom assistant: sometimes it is helpful for the midwife to have somebody else to hold something or to do something so you don’t have to leave the mother at a crucial moment”.

The spokeswoman said that jobs carried out by MCAs in England, where they were introduced around two years ago, varied according to the health trust in which they were employed. But she said the extent of their role had to be clearly defined.

“If you are looking for somebody who can explain whether you need an epidural or not, then it is not the MCA’s job,” she said. “But if the woman is desperate for a cup of tea or wants her back rubbed, then that is probably OK.”

She added: “There is some concern about roles and responsibilities but so long as they work as part of a team, generally speaking they fit in and it works very well”.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said the group backed the idea of MCAs “providing they were used properly”.

“You don’t want a midwife spending time answering the door to relatives. That is crazy,” she said. “But you don’t want a MCA doing things that a midwife should be doing”.

Phipps said it was likely there was a financial element behind introducing lower-paid MCAs and cautioned against the idea of midwives “on the cheap”.

“They can be useful and they are certainly proving useful in England, but their introduction has to be managed carefully,” she said. “They have got to have training, and the whole of their role should be to support midwives”.

A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said a pilot of the training programme was likely to get under way in the autumn. He claimed the MCA role was not being introduced to combat manpower shortages but to enhance the care of women.

“Maternity care assistants could work as part of the multi-professional maternity care team, working alongside midwives and doctors and freeing them up from non-clinical tasks,” he said.

“This would be done under the supervision of a midwife and will facilitate a seamless, woman-centred maternity service”.

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Sunday, 09 July 2006 08:59
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
SHORTAGE AS WOMEN GPS GO PART-TIME
A survey by officials at NHS Education for Scotland has revealed that the health service is facing a massive staff shortage because the growing numbers of female GPs are working fewer hours than their male counterparts.

They claim that female doctors tend to work fewer hours, preferring to do part-time work and job-sharing, meaning that although the total number of GPs working in Scotland has soared over the last 10 years, the amount of time spent with patients has changed little.

The report, written together with researchers at Edinburgh University, states:

"The rapidly increasing proportion of women in general practice may lead to an increasing shortfall of medical availability in the future if current work patterns are maintained”.

Mary Church, a GP negotiator for the British Medical Council, said the NHS needed to change its recruitment and employment policy to prevent future shortages.

She said: "Either more money must be spent training more doctors to ensure there is enough cover with less of a return, or they need to change the balance of female to male doctors working in the NHS”.

A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said: "Workforce planning is ongoing and the number of medical training places for doctors is considered on an annual basis.

"The changing shape of the workforce, including increases in part-time working, is taken into account when we do this planning”.
   

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Saturday, 08 July 2006 08:43
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
BEDS IN SCOTLAND NEEDS TO INCREASE
The Scottish National Party (SNP) have said that the number of hospital beds in Scotland needs to increase after figures, obtained by the party under the Freedom of Information legislation, showed there were 39,668 beds in Scotland's hospitals in 1996-7.

But by March this year, the figure had fallen to 28,257.

The SNP said that this meant the NHS in Scotland now had proportionately fewer acute beds than the UK as a whole.

The Scottish Executive pointed out that changes to the way people are treated, with more cared for in the community rather than in institutions, was the reality behind the figures.

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP's Holyrood leader, said: "The Labour and Lib Dem government's policy of cutting the number of beds in the NHS has gone on for far too long.

"We should now reverse this process and start to increase the number of acute staffed beds to the benefit of the patients of Scotland”.

Lewis Macdonald, the deputy health minister, said calling for more NHS beds "overlooks basic facts and simply fails to understand the modern NHS".

He said the bulk of the drop in bed numbers was related to people with conditions such as learning disabilities. These people were now treated in the community and not in hospitals, which Mr Macdonald said was "a much more dignified way to care for people".

According to the Executive, between 1998 and 2006, the number of learning disability beds dropped from 2,888 to 495, psychiatric beds fell from 9,076 to 6,282, and geriatric long-stay beds were cut from 5,565 to 2,982. Acute beds fell from 18,590 to 17,179.

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Friday, 07 July 2006 09:24
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
SNP VOWS TO FIGHT FOR HOSPITAL
The Scottish National Party (SNP) yesterday pledged to fight next year's Scottish elections with a campaign to save Monklands accident and emergency department that is set to be closed.

The party warned that if the department was allowed to shut, as planned by NHS Lanarkshire, then the very existence of the hospital would be in question.

Alex Neil, a central Scotland MSP, said the plans were a "risk to life and limb".

He said that if the SNP won control at next year's elections, it would immediately reverse the decision.

The closure plans still have to be approved by the Scottish Executive.

Mr Neil said he was meeting Lewis MacDonald, the deputy health minister in the near future to try to avert the closure. But he said if this were not possible, the final hope for Monklands A&E would be for a new SNP-led Scottish Parliament to overturn the decision.

"At the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections all the SNP candidates standing in North Lanarkshire will do so on a dual mandate, as prospective SNP MSPs and as 'Save the Monklands A&E' candidates.

"The SNP believes that NHS Lanarkshire's proposals to shut the A&E unit at Monklands hospital are deeply flawed, illogical and are a risk to life and limb for the people of Lanarkshire," Mr Neil said.

The hospital is also in the Airdrie and Shotts constituency of John Reid, the Home Secretary, who earlier this year joined protesters forming a human chain around Monklands.

Yesterday, Mr Neil said: "If John Reid really wants to save Monklands then he had better vote SNP next year”.

A spokeswoman for NHS Lanarkshire said: "There is a need for three hospitals in Lanarkshire - two emergency hospitals and a planned care hospital. Monklands will remain an important hospital, providing specialist care and to achieve this we will be investing up to £100 million to upgrade the hospital”.

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "These proposals have been given to ministers, they will be considered carefully and a decision made in due course”.
   

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Thursday, 06 July 2006 10:58
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
NHS FUNDING 'REWARDS THE UNHEALTHY'
NHS Grampian has launched a scathing attack on the formula for funding in Scotland, accusing the Executive of rewarding authorities with patients who make unhealthy lifestyle choices.

In its submission to the Government, NHS Grampian claims the system is unfairly weighted in favour of allocating funds to boards, such as Greater Glasgow, where patients suffer a higher rate of fatal diseases, such as lung cancer and heart disease.

"Boards and their residents are financially rewarded for unhealthy lifestyles," it said. "In effect, much of the Grampian deficit is because Glaswegians smoke more".

The claims are made by Dr Karen Foster, the board's consultant in public health, and Professor Jamie Weir, of the area medical committee, in a joint report on behalf of NHS Grampian as part of the consultation on the future of the controversial Arbuthnott funding scheme.

The NHS Grampian report states: "It is the view of clinicians and management in Grampian that we as an NHS board have been under-funded over many years ... for the clinical services that we provide for patients.

"It is too simplistic to assume that just because deprivation exists, the budget of a health board should be increased to cope with the presumed increase in health costs when the opposite - deprivation associated with decreased health costs - may be true. This is a morally and ethically unacceptable principle, in our view."

The report claims there is a "marked element of unfairness" in Arbuthnott and that NHS Grampian largely loses out as a result of the additional weighting for factors such as mortality rates for patients under 65.

The board's submission continues: "Premature mortality is dominated by a small number of diseases - heart disease, stroke and lung cancer make up 41 per cent of 0-64 year deaths in the Greater Glasgow Health Board area”.

An Executive spokesman said: "No board has lost out in recent years and every one has had above-inflation funding increases. NHS Grampian's funding is 35 per cent higher at £177 million than five years ago." He added: "It is entirely right that health resources go where they are needed most”.
   

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Tuesday, 04 July 2006 09:56
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
NEW SYSTEM TO RATE CARE SERVICES
Care homes and childminders across Scotland will be given ratings under a new, easy-to-follow grading system to help customers compare services.

The Care Commission, the official watchdog, who regulates care services by registering, inspecting, and investigating complaints, is adopting the same point scale used by school inspectors to assess education standards.

Homes will be marked one to six according to the quality of life available to residents, the living environment, staffing and management.

The move is expected to make it easier for people to choose homes that meet their requirements and give owners an incentive to drive up standards.

A pilot is planned before the end of the year and it is hoped the scheme will be rolled out across Scotland by the end of 2008.

During the pilot, homes will first assess themselves using the new criteria, which are based on the national care standards set by Scottish ministers.

When the commission in-spects the premises it will verify the scores and take the final decision on the grades earned.

Several factors will be taken into account under the four headings. The staffing score will cover staffing levels, competence and turnover.

People will ultimately be able to find the home's registration and results on the Care Commission's website.

David Wiseman, director of strategic development with the Care Commission said: "This is an exciting step forward for the Care Commission … We will be able to better assess the success and reaction when the pilot period concludes in March 2007”.

Joe Campbell, chairman of Scottish Care which represents independent care home owners, said: "We are happy to be involved in trying to devise a system which is fair and understandable. Everyone should know exactly what they can expect from a care home”.

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Tuesday, 04 July 2006 09:21
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
ADDICTS ARE GIVEN 3.5M FREE NEEDLES
Figures revealed in a report for the Scottish Executive, show that drug addicts in Scotland were handed 3.5million free needles last year.

They were given by syringe exchange schemes to cut the risk of addicts contracting killer diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C by sharing dirty needles.

The report said nearly 32,000 addicts had used Scotland's 188 needle exchange schemes last year.

But that figure was well below the estimated 50,000 heroin addicts in Scotland -suggesting that thousands were using dirty needles.

SNP drugs spokesman Stewart Stevenson said: "This confirms once again the scale of the heroin addiction problem in Scotland. The important question is whether the people who come into contact with the system are getting the support they need to get clean.

"More than half of addicts want to come off drugs and we should be doing more to support them”.

An Executive spokeswoman said: "We will consider carefully the recommendations, along with existing work to develop a Hepatitis C action plan”.
   

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Monday, 03 July 2006 10:47
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
BABIES OBESE IN WOMB DUE TO MOTHERS' DIET
Researchers, from Kings College London and University College London, claim that Scottish babies are "programmed" to become fat while still in the womb due to women's poor diets.

The researchers found that at birth Scots babies weighed an average of 7.7lb. This compared to 7.6lb in Northern Ireland and England and 7.5lb in Wales.

By the age of nine months, Scottish infants still weighed more - 20lb compared to 19.8lb in Wales, 19.7lb in England and 19.6lb in Northern Ireland.

Professor Steve Bloom, an obesity expert at Imperial College London, said it was likely genes play some part in obesity but it was not the only factor.

He said: "The other factors that play an increasingly important role are simply lack of exercise and eating too much.

"Genes only play a small part. Tackling weight problems is still in your own hands."

Dr David Haslam, the clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, agreed that other factors also had responsibility for the current obesity epidemic.

"There is now research to suggest that at every stage in life there are factors which influence obesity," he said.

"At the moment every stage of the cycle is wrong and needs looking at. Until that happens it is like a vicious circle where a mother is imprinting her baby with a faulty metabolism which is passed on in the genes and just keeps on being passed on”.

Dr Haslam said it was "crucial" that women were educated about the effects their diet could have on their unborn child.

He said governments also had a role to play in improving opportunities to take exercise, such as creating more cycle lanes, and improving nutrition in schools.

An Executive spokeswoman said: "Across the board we are committed to Scotland shaking off its sick man of Europe tag. To do that we have to make sure youngsters across Scotland are adopting healthy habits and lifestyles from a young age”.

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