The Lancet has an editorial highlighting an article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health which identified economic and health disparities between the north and south of England. The article reported that in past 20 years overall mortality is 20% higher in the north of England than in the south. The Lancet editorial concludes that UK government policy reports have not been an incentive for hard action.
Public Health England (PHE) have announced the next stage of their plan to tackle childhood obesity. This will involve setting the ambition of a calorie reduction programme to remove excess calories from the food children consume the most. This is likely to include ready meals, pizzas, burgers etc… In addition, the Department of Health have announced the funding of an Obesity Research Policy Unit at the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.
The Neonatal Maternity and Perinatal Audit have produced a report of NHS maternity and neonatal services delivered by the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales. The survey, which was completed by every NHS board or trust providing on-site birth care, covers staffing, services and facilities. The findings of the audit suggest that ‘typical maternity units do not appear to exist’.
The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) aims to aims to bring about higher-quality care in hospitals, at lower cost, by reducing unwanted variations in services and practices. The programme is being rolled out across the English NHS and this report from the King’s Fund offers a summary and assessment of the programme.
Timmons, N. (2017) Tackling variations in clinical care: assessing the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme, London: King’s Fund.
The Mesh Oversight Group Report for NHS England has been published. The report follows on from the Mesh Working Group Interim Report of December 2015. Both reports are about vaginal mesh implants used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in women, and this report set out the actions that have been taken to meet the recommendations in the Interim Report. The report also summarises resent research on mesh implants and the implications of the research. This includes the Glazener study that HERU staff were involved in.
In Scotland, a review is underway on the safety of mesh implants following publication of the Scottish Independent Review of the use, safety and efficacy of transvaginal mesh implants in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women.
The Foundation for Liver Research have produced a report on the ‘Financial case for action on liver disease: escalating costs of alcohol misuse, obesity and viral hepatitis‘. The report sets out the financial and societal costs of the three main contributory factors to liver disease (it is acknowledged that these are not the only contributory factors) and presents a series of recommendations. Minimum unit pricing for alcohol is amongst the recommendations.
NHS England are carrying out a public consultation on a proposal to limit GPs prescribing over-the-counter drugs, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, antifungal creams and eczema treatments. It also proposes limiting prescribing of medical treatments which are ‘relatively ineffective’. This includes homeopathy.