MidMeds Social – March 2017



MidMeds Social | March




Links to articles featured throughout the MidMeds social media network in March 2017


Wednesday 22nd March

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol could be a risky combination, leading to a greater risk of accidents and injuries, research from Canada suggests.

The caffeine contained in energy drinks can make people feel wide awake and encourage them to drink more than normal.

Medics say this could also cause problems sleeping and a raised heart rate, although more research is needed.

Charity Drinkaware does not recommend mixing alcohol and energy drinks.

Mixing spirits and liqueurs with energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster, has become increasingly popular - in pubs and clubs, and at home.

But recent research suggests that drinking alcohol mixed with high-caffeine energy drinks could be more risky than drinking alcohol on its own, or with a more traditional mixer.

This is because it can make people "wide awake drunk" - a result of the stimulating effects of caffeine and the brain-slowing effects of alcohol.

Read more: here (External link)


Thursday 16th March

A new £20m-a-year cap on the cost of new drugs will be introduced in the NHS in England in an attempt to save money, health chiefs have announced.

The new measure could lead to delays of up to three years before new drugs are made available to give NHS bosses the chance to try to renegotiate the price with drug firms.

The plan was agreed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence amid mounting pressure on NHS funds.

It will be introduced from next month.

Cost versus benefit

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said the move was needed given the "significant financial challenge facing the NHS".

Patient groups and the drug industry have already objected to the plan - a consultation has been run over the past three months.

Currently, drugs that are assessed as being cost-effective by NICE are automatically recommend for use in the NHS.

Once that happens, the health service has 90 days to start offering the drugs.

But crucially that process just assesses the cost versus benefit of the drug on the basis of the impact to an individual.

It does not take into account how many people may take the drug and therefore the total cost to the NHS.

Read more: here (External link)


Friday 10th March

Parents should use pram covers to protect babies and young children from harmful air pollution during the school run, researchers suggest.

Traffic lights and bus stops were pollution hotspots and there were higher levels of pollution in the morning compared with the afternoon, the University of Surrey study said.

Young children are more at risk because their bodies are small and developing.

And they could be breathing in damaging substances, the study said.

A recent World Health Organization report said that 570,000 children under the age of five died every year from illnesses that could be linked to pollution.

The Surrey research, published in Environmental Pollution, was based on measurements from air monitoring equipment inside toddlers' prams being pushed to and from schools during drop-off and pick-up times.

Scientists looked at pollution levels in prams during 64 trips, covering about 50 miles (80km), in Guildford.

Bus stops and traffic lights were the worst places for being exposed to the tiny particles from exhaust fumes and tyres that can get into the bloodstream.

And there were more of these harmful particles in the air during morning drop-off times, when traffic was at its busiest.

Read more: here (External link)


Wednesday 8th March

Chocolate bars including famous brands such as Kit Kat, Yorkie and Aero will contain 10% less sugar by next year, manufacturer Nestle has announced.

The sugar will be replaced with higher quantities of existing ingredients or other, non-artificial ingredients, and the amount of calories will be limited.

It means about 7,500 tonnes less sugar will be used to make the confectioner's products by 2018.

Nestle said it could help to have a significant impact on public health.

'Better choices'

Fiona Kendrick, chairman and CEO of Nestle UK and Ireland, said: "Our confectionery brands have been enjoyed in the UK for more than a century and we know that if we can improve these products nutritionally, provide more choice and information for the consumer... we can have a significant impact on public health.

"Nestle is at the forefront of efforts to research and develop new technology that makes food products better for our consumers.

"These innovations will help us to reduce sugar in confectionery when they are combined with other, more common methods like reformulating recipes and swapping sugar for other, non-artificial ingredients.

"Making these improvements to our products is key to us delivering better choices for our consumers while retaining the same great taste that they know and love."

Last year, Nestle said its researchers had made a scientific breakthrough by discovering a way to structure sugar differently so 40% less is used.

Read more: here (External link)


Thursday 2nd March

Safety at four in five hospital trusts in England is not good enough, a leading hospital inspector has warned.

Professor Sir Mike Richards says that the NHS stands on a "burning platform" and that the need for change is clear.

His warning follows a review which said staffing and overcrowding were major concerns and that unprecedented pressures on hospitals were putting patients at risk.

Ministers said the findings should be used to root out poor practices.

The Care Quality Commission review also highlighted delays getting tests and treatments, and poor care of life-threatening conditions such as sepsis.

But inspectors warned some of the problems were beyond the control of hospitals because of rising demands being placed on them.

The review of all 136 hospital trusts in the country found 11% were rated as inadequate on safety and 70% required improvement.

Among the problems highlighted were:

  • Bed occupancy rates routinely above recommended levels
  • Poor care given to patients with life-threatening conditions such as sepsis and kidney injuries
  • Too many long waits for operations, such as knee and hip replacements
  • Too few nurses in medical and elderly care wards, midwives in maternity units and doctors in A&Es
  • Temporary escalation wards - set up during busy periods - predominantly staffed by agency workers who were not familiar with the hospital practices
  • Poor control of infections because of insufficient hand hygiene and patients with infections not being isolated properly
  • Problems with medicines management, including out-of-date drugs, and maintenance of equipment
  • Tests being delayed because of poor information-sharing and record-keeping

Hospital chief inspector Professor Sir Mike said: "The NHS now stands on a burning platform - the need for change is clear, but finding the resources and energy to deliver that change while simultaneously providing safe patient care can seem almost impossible."

But he said "transformational change" was possible, even in "the most challenging of circumstances".

He went on to say that safety remained a "real concern" with many trusts failing to learn when things go wrong.

Read more: here (External link)