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3Oct 2019

Emerade pens – patients reminded to carry 2 pens at all times

Patients who carry Emerade auto-injector pens for the emergency treatment of severe acute allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to foods, medicines or insect stings are being reminded of existing advice to carry 2, in-date pens with them – at all times.

The advice, from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), follows reports from the manufacturer, Bausch & Lomb UK Limited, of Emerade pens that have failed to activate.

In this situation, the needle of the pen is not released from the autoinjector when used, and a dose of adrenaline cannot be delivered. The issue makes it particularly important that users carry 2 pens at all times.

When an Emerade pen is used, it should be pressed very firmly against the thigh. If this does not result in activation, the patient should immediately use their second pen. More detailed information for patients is available. This includes images showing users what an activated pen looks like, compared to a non-activated pen.

If the patient is not improving, suggesting that a further dose of adrenaline is needed, additional attempts should be made to administer a pen that has failed to activate, while awaiting the arrival of the emergency services.

The MHRA has issued a Drug Alert and has written to healthcare professionals asking them to share this advice with all patients and carers who use an Emerade pen.

Samantha Atkinson, MHRA Director of Inspection, Enforcement & Standards, comments:

It is important to always carry 2 pens. At the first signs of anaphylaxis, the patient or carer should administer an Emerade pen by pressing it firmly against the thigh. If the pen fails to activate, they should immediately use the second pen.

Emergency help should be summoned by dialling 999 and saying “Anaphylaxis” (pronounced anna-fill-axis). While waiting for the ambulance, additional attempts should be made to activate a failed pen if the patient is not improving.

Patient safety is our highest priority and our role, as regulator, is to make sure medicines and medical devices are safe and effective.

Patients experiencing any problem with Emerade failing to activate should report the incident via the MHRA’s Yellow Card system and keep the pen for further examination.

1Oct 2019

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is NOT a heart attack.

It shows no favouritism – it can strike anyone, at any age, at any time, in any place!

In the UK, 250 PEOPLE A DAY are affected & only ~8% SURVIVE.

In most cases the only chance of survival is IMMEDIATE CPR and shocks from an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). For each minute that elapses from the on-set until the first shock, the chance of survival DECREASES 10%

That is why it is so important that EVERYONE learns how to do CPR and how to use an AED so that others may have the same chance that members of Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK did!

Even if someone SURVIVES an SCA the repercussions can be far-reaching, not only for the survivor but also those involved in the rescue, partners and family members. Recovery is often a roller coaster and many can feel quite alone, hence being a member of Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK can really help.

For more info on SCA UK visit https://www.suddencardiacarrestuk.org/

24Apr 2019

Experience of Care Week (22-26 April 2019)

News from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH)

The work of staff who provide care for patients, families and carers will be celebrated this week when the trust that runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals takes part in Experience of Care Week.

Experience of Care Week is an international initiative, running from 22 April to 26 April 2019, which recognises the value of each health worker’s contribution to a patient’s experience.

Many caring roles are carried out behind the scenes and not witnessed by the patient and their family, but every member of staff contributes to the experience a patient and their loved ones have while being treated at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford (PRH).

Ruth Smith, SaTH’s Lead for Patient Experience, said:

The Trust recognises and appreciates the work done by every employee to provide the very best experience for our patients. Whether on the front line or working behind the scenes, all staff provide a vital role in caring and together we are greater than the sum of our parts.

SaTH are celebrating Experience of Care Week in a number of ways:

  • A patient experience film has been created to capture and recognise the value of SaTH’s ‘hidden heroes’ who contribute to a patient’s journey.
  • ‘Observe & Act’ is being rolled out across both hospital sites to improve patient experience. The purpose of Observe and Act is to view a patient’s service experience from their perspective and then learn from it, share good practice and where necessary act to make improvements.
  • Staff are being invited to share stories about how they made a positive difference to a patient’s experience.
  • As part of SaTH’s Patient and Carer Experience (PaCE) Panel, a carers’ sub-group has been established to focus on the support available to carers and the experience they have at SaTH.
  • New patient experience webpages have been developed and launched along with a new patient experience portal
  • The Dementia Support Team will be holding a Dementia Café at RSH and a mobile afternoon tea will be held on Ward 10 at PRH on Tuesday 23 April to support Experience of Care Week.
24Apr 2019

Hospital team develops newspaper to help cancer patients

News from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH)

A team at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has developed its own newspaper to help cancer patients understand more about their treatment.

The Radiotherapy Team based at the Lingen Davies Centre has produced Radiotherapy News, a monthly newsletter which provides information about what’s happening in the department, developments in Radiotherapy both at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and nationwide and more about a patient’s treatment.

Bernadette Mortiboy, Technical Superintendent with the Radiotherapy Department, said:

The team in Radiotherapy are aware that at the beginning of a patient’s journey through the department they are bombarded with lots of information. There is a lot to take in at a time when they are very vulnerable and can feel overwhelmed.

When their course of treatment starts, they can face a long time in our waiting room before they can be treated.

That’s why we came up with the idea of writing a regular newspaper with information about treatment, the team, and radiotherapy news from around the world.

The first issue was launched at the end of March and was made available in the patient’s waiting room.

William Fearson, a patient who is being seen by the Radiotherapy team, said he was impressed by the initiative.

He said:

I think it’s absolutely excellent – easy to read, informative and well-illustrated. It also reflects the kindness and professionalism of the staff. As a patient it’s all really appreciated.

19Apr 2019

Life-saving frontline technology given £5 million boost

The development of the TXA Autoinjector will allow life-saving blood clotting treatment to be given at the push of a button.

Technology being developed by a team of military doctors and scientists to stop rapid blood loss on the battlefield is a step closer to saving lives.

The TXA Autoinjector project, which allows life-saving blood clotting treatment to be administered at the push of a button, has been given a £5 million funding boost by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to accelerate the technology.

During a visit to The Royal London Hospital and London’s Air Ambulance at Barts Health NHS Trust today, the Defence Secretary said the technology would be backed by the department’s new Transformation Fund.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

Saving lives is at the heart of what our Armed Forces do, and this funding shows our commitment to ensuring those serving on the frontline get the best treatment as rapidly as possible.

Our work to save lives does not stop at our serving men and women but must also be about helping to improve the livelihoods of people across the world. This technology will allow us to just that, whether it is rolling it out to emergency services in the UK, or equipping medics in developing countries across the globe.

If successful, the cutting-edge medical technology could also be adapted from use in the battlefield to any major trauma incidents, from stab wounds to road traffic accidents.

It could also be used to help women in developing countries who suffer major blood loss during birth and are unable to access medical treatment.

Around 4.8 million people across the globe die due to major trauma incidents every year, while 14 million women face traumatic blood loss during labour.

Colonel Nigel Tai, trauma surgeon at The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust added:

Large international clinical trials show that TXA saves lives in bleeding patients. But we also know that for patients to be given the best chance, TXA should be given as soon as possible after injury.

The prospect is, that by packaging the drug in to a pre-filled AutoInjector, injured soldiers can self-treat as part of their first-aid drills, and won’t have to wait for evacuation or specialist medical help to arrive

The auto-injector uses Tranexamic Acid, which is a cost-effective and reliable drug that stabilizes and strengthens blood clotting within damaged tissues and can be administered by an untrained user.

Currently, administration of TXA requires an intravenous drip but the development of the auto-injector will allow it to be administered safely into a muscle.

The treatment is expected to benefit up to a third of seriously injured soldiers who would otherwise die from their wounds.

Once developed, the Autoinjector could be rolled out to police, NGOs, ambulance services, and Code Red first aid kits situated in public places.

15Apr 2019

NICE encourages use of greener asthma inhalers

People with asthma will be helped to choose the inhaler that is best for them, and best for the environment, by a new patient decision aid from NICE.

new patient decision aid, released today, highlights that some inhalers have a much higher carbon footprint than others.

The aid will help people with asthma, alongside health professionals, to identify which inhalers could meet their needs and control their symptoms.

Where several inhalers could be viable options, patients can opt for the more environmentally friendly option, which may help to cut the health service’s carbon footprint.[i]

The new aid, partially funded by the Sustainable Development Unit, also says that all used inhalers should be returned to local pharmacies for environmentally safe disposal or recycling.

Inhaler options

The aid describes the different types of inhaler which may be used by the estimated 5.4m people in the UK who have asthma, and how to use them effectively.

Some, called metered dose inhalers, contain propellants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are powerful greenhouse gases. While HFCs help to propel the dose into the patient’s respiratory system, many people will be able to achieve the same benefit from dry powder inhalers (DPIs).

Metered dose inhalers have estimated carbon footprints of 500g CO2eq per dose, compared to 20g in DPIs.

More than 26m prescriptions for metered dose inhalers were written in primary care in England in 2016/17. They made up 70% of UK inhaler sales in 2011, compared with fewer than half in other European countries and just 10% in Sweden.[ii]

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said:

This aid will help people make shared decisions on which inhaler is right for them, and help them use that inhaler effectively. This can help them to control their asthma, rather than have their asthma control them.

People who need to use metered dose inhalers should absolutely continue to do so – but if you have the choice of a green option, do think about the environment. Cutting carbon emissions is good news for everyone, especially those with respiratory conditions.

Technique tips

The aid includes links to a new series of short videos created by Asthma UK, which give simple demonstrations of correct inhaler technique, potentially improving their effectiveness and preventing future exacerbations and attacks.

They support NICE’s guideline on asthma, which notes that poor technique can worsen an individual’s control over their asthma.

19Dec 2018

Where to get health advice over Christmas and New Year

The NHS is reminding residents in Shropshire where they can access expert medical treatment to help them stay well over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is advising local people to consider the options for healthcare and ensure they are aware of GP practices and pharmacy opening times.

If people need urgent medical help but not emergency care this winter NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Simply call 111 for free from your landline or mobile to access advice.

GP surgeries in Shropshire will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. However, GP extended access will mean during the Christmas and New Year period Shropshire registered patients will have access to a limited number of routine GP appointments on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. To book one of these appointments please speak to your GP practice during their normal opening hours.

Many pharmacies have limited opening hours between Christmas and New Year so it is important to order and collect any repeat prescription in plenty of time.

Shropshire pharmacy opening times over the Christmas and New Year 2018/19 period can be found here.

Dr Julian Povey, Chair of NHS Shropshire CCG, said:

It is important to be prepared for the Christmas and New Year holiday. If you have a prescription check your medication to make sure you have enough for the extended festive break. If you need a repeat prescription organise it now and make sure you pick it up before the busy Christmas period.

We can all help ourselves stay well by having a flu jab (available on the NHS if you are in one of the high risk groups), keeping warm, taking cold and flu remedies if we need them, and by keeping an eye out for elderly family members and neighbours.

If you are not sure which NHS service to turn to for support, call 111 for fast, free medical advice day or night, seven days a week.

Please be aware that the Walk In Centre (Urgent Care Centre) at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will be open every day from 8am to 8pm including the bank holidays (Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day) for anyone who needs urgent medical attention if they cannot get an appointment with their own doctor or are not registered with a GP practice. No appointment is necessary.

The Walk In Centre can help with a whole range of symptoms including children with high temperatures, anyone with breathing problems, severe headaches, abdominal pain and painful infections through to mild injuries and burns.

Please do not forget that Accident and Emergency at your local hospital should not be used unless it is for critical or life threatening illness or injury.

For more information on what you can do to stay well this winter, please visit nhs.uk/staywell.

Click here to download pharmacy opening hours over the Christmas holidays.*

* Times and dates correct at time of writing.

10Apr 2018

Man ends up in A&E after eating world’s hottest chilli

A man who ate the world’s hottest chilli pepper in a chilli-eating contest ended up in A&E after experiencing “thunderclap” headaches.

The 34-year-old man had eaten one Carolina Reaper chilli in the contest in New York State.

The “crushingly painful” headaches came on in the next few days.

His experience has been published in the BMJ Case Reports as it is the first case to be associated with eating chilli peppers.

The doctor who reviewed his case has warned anyone eating hot chilli peppers to seek medical attention immediately if they experience sudden onset headaches.

“Thunderclap” headaches are caused by the sudden tightening of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, a condition known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCSV).

Immediately after eating at the contest, the man experienced dry heaves.

Severe neck pain developed over the next few days along with debilitating severe headaches, lasting just a few seconds at a time.

The pain was so bad he went to the emergency room and was tested for various neurological conditions, but the results were negative.

A CT scan showed that several arteries in his brain had constricted, leading doctors to diagnose him with RCVS.

Read full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43699484

4Apr 2018

Brain back-up firm Nectome loses link to MIT

A company attempting to map people’s brains so their memories can be stored in computers has lost its link to one of the United States’ top universities.

US start-up Nectome revealed its brain back-up plan last month, warning at the time that the process involved would be “100% fatal”.

A number of neuroscientists subsequently poured scorn on the plan.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has now announced that it is severing ties with the project.

One of the university’s professors had previously benefitted from a federal grant given to Nectome and was attempting to combine its work with his own research into mouse brains.

Neuroscience has not sufficiently advanced to the point where we know whether any brain preservation method is powerful enough to preserve all the different kinds of biomolecules related to memory and the mind,” said the MIT in a blog explaining its decision.

Nectome has responded saying:

We appreciate the help MIT has given us, understand their choice, and wish them the best.

Read full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43642786