In the news this month:
In Profile – Public Health Initiatives in the first two decades of the century
– What has had the greatest positive impact on our health?
– Migraine and headache care
– Training to run a marathon may make you younger!
– A day in the life of a nursing endoscopist
– Robot arm technology
Infection Control News
– Doctors’ white coats – how clean are they?
– Great products to help you through the winter
News in profile – Public Health Initiatives in the first two decades of the century
Happy New Year from all at Newtons Medical Supplies and welcome to a brand new decade.
Most of us like to look forward to the future at this time of year but we can also learn a lot by looking back, and the Royal Society for Public Health has done just that with a review of the top 20 public health initiatives which have had the most positive impact on the health of people in the UK over the past two decades.
Top of the list is the 2007 ban on smoking in public (enclosed) spaces.
This initiative was successful because it led to a physical change in activity but also notably helped to shift in the public’s attitude to smoking in general.
The success of the ban is demonstrated by the fact that it now has 83% public support and has led to further legislation since, including the 2015 ban on smoking in cars with children and plain cigarette packaging (introduced in 2016).
Smoking is still the major cause of preventable death in the UK but from a public health perspective this was an important starting point.
The other activities in the top 5 most impactful public health initiatives are:
No. 2 The Soft Drinks Industry Levy introduced in April 2018 which increased the cost of sugary drinks with more than 8g of sugar.
No. 3 The 2010 Marmott Review which was a government commissioned report that looked at health inequalities throughout the UK and how these could be addressed.
No. 4 Creation of Surestart Children’s Centres (2000 – 2010) to provide integrated care and child related services for families and children.
No. 5 Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol in Scotland and introduced in May 2018.
We wonder which initiatives to improve our health are likely to make the most difference over the next twenty years?
Migraine and headache care
We have looked at initiatives in the NHS long term plan a number of times in our blogs.
The plan includes a series of initiatives to help the NHS take a more strategic and long-term approach to patient care, to improve patient outcomes and be more efficient where possible.
A recently launched programme is focused on headaches and migraines. The objective is to improve diagnoses and reduce the 16,500 emergency hospital admissions for headache and migraine related conditions and episodes seen by the NHS every year.
These everyday conditions require a great deal of resource to manage. Here are some of the statistics:
- Migraines are thought to affect up to 10 million people aged 15-69 in the UK
- Headaches are the number one neurological problem which causes people to seek treatment in accident and emergency departments
- Admissions to hospital for migraines or headaches have increased by 14% over the past 5 years with 108,711 emergency admissions in 2018/2019
- 5 million initial visits to GPs and other primary care appointments each year are linked to headaches and migraines and 100,000 of these are referred on to hospital for further investigation or treatment
- The NHS spends £150 million a year on migraines and £250 million on care for headaches
- It is estimated that the economy loses £4.4 billion pounds a year due to migraine related sick leave
To address this situation, the NHS has created a new ‘NHS Rightcare Toolkit’ to help staff manage these conditions. The aim is to reduce visits to A&E, emergency admissions and GP visits, and also to improve quality of life and increase attendance at work.
The strategies include:
- Headache diaries to help people better understand their conditions and what may trigger them
- Hotlines for GPs to seek advice
- Personalised care plans for those in need of long term care
- Strategies to avoid attacks
- Risks and signs of medicine overuse
We will continue to monitor the progress of the NHS Long Term Plan and highlight any interesting stories in future blogs.
Training to run a marathon may make you younger!
Come the New Year and many of us make new year’s resolutions to improve our health. Often we want to eat more healthily and get more exercise.
The more ambitious amongst us may decide to undertake a major health project like running a marathon. If you need any encouragement for your 26 mile jog, you may be interested to know that a recent report on the Mail Online has highlighted that scientists have now demonstrated that the necessary training and improvement in fitness may turn back time and make parts of our body younger!
A UK study looked at 138 otherwise healthy adults who had never run a marathon before but who then embarked on 6 months of training for the London marathon.
Scientists scanned the participants to look at the stiffness of the aorta – one of the body’s major blood vessels. It is already known that increased stiffness in this vessel occurs as we age and this is linked to a number of health issues such as blood pressure problems and heart disease.
Training for the marathon was found to produce a measurable reduction in stiffness which could be measured as a 4 year decrease in ‘biological age’.
The results were more pronounced for those runners who were older and already had a stiffer aorta, and also those who had slower marathon running times.
It can’t be absolutely proven that this result turns back the clock to better health but the study has contributed to the body of evidence that increasing physical activity is good for us.
Not quite ready to run a marathon?
Of course – not everyone wants to undertake anything quite so ambitious as running a marathon!
The NHS has some fantastic resources available online so that all of us can commit to undertaking some sort of activity.
Here are the guidelines on what we should all be attempting:
The NHS Fitness Studio has a selection of exercise programmes which are suitable for different people and requirements – so we can all experience a fitter start to the year!
A day in the life of a nursing endoscopist
Whilst researching this month’s blog we came across a very interesting ‘Day in the Life of’ article from the Big Issue by Kim Denton who is a specialist nursing endoscopist working in Yorkshire.
As we are interested in all aspects of endoscopy and also work directly with NHS trusts, we found this insight really fascinating so we urge you to have a read.
Robot arm technology
As our regular readers will know, many of the medical stories that we feature in our Newtons Medical News updates are related to technological developments. This is because the use of cutting edge technology in medical treatment is increasing at a rapid rate.
Robotic technology for use in operations has two important benefits. It offers extreme precision and it is also minimally invasive which usually means less medical complications and faster recovery times.
A recent article from the BBC looks at robotic surgery being carried out at the Golden Jubilee hospital in Clydebank and in this particular case, the removal of a thymus gland from a patient’s chest.
Because of the precision of the robotic arms – they can conduct the surgery on a keyhole basis without the whole chest having to be opened. The £2million Da Vinci Robot does the actual manipulation but is controlled at all times by the surgeon. This has an added benefit for surgical staff as it is considered to be less stressful and physically demanding than standing over the patient. The specialist articulation of the robot also means it has a wider scope of movement than a human.
The Da Vinci Robot was developed in America and has been in use since 2001 with more than 4500 machines worldwide. The technology continues to develop and expand with the recent launch of the British developed Versius robot which is even more versatile and coming on to the market now.
It is likely that the use of robotic technology in medical procedures will continue to grow in the future.
Infection control news
Doctors’ white coats
One of our areas of interest at Newtons Medical Supplies is any news about infection control and medical decontamination and we have looked before at the types of germs which can be found on the scrubs worn in hospital operating theatres.
But how clean and germ-free is the clothing worn by physicians and particularly the white coats favoured by doctors?
A doctor at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, USA personally thought that they weren’t washed enough so he carried out an experiment to find out how often his colleagues washed their white coats.
The small study was published in the American Journal of Infection Control and surveyed 62 respondents who worked in his hospital.
He asked doctors about their white coat habits with the following interesting results:
- 36% wore their white coats for 7-14 days before washing
- 21% wore them for more than 14 days before washing
- 14.8% washed their white coats after 3 days or less
- 27.9% averaged wear of 3-7 days
More than 50% of the respondents only owned one white coat and 29% had just two.
According to experts there isn’t a great deal of evidence of cross contamination from white coats, but in supposedly sterile environments – it might be hoped that they would be changed more often?
Useful medical products to help you get through the winter
At Newtons Medical Supplies we are highly responsive to the needs of our customers, so we have selected some specialist medical products to help in the coldest months of the year.
The Abena Warming Blanket
The Abena Warming Blanket can be used for medical purposes, and is also great to have on-hand for emergency use in the cold winter months.
Excellent value at just £2.15. BUY ONLINE.
Beat the Norovirus with Clinell products
Our range of Clinell products helps to keep hands and surfaces germ-free which is particularly important at this time of year.
All of our high quality medical supplies are available to purchase in our online shop.
For more information about Newtons Medical Supplies or our products, please get in touch.