LONDON — A no-deal Brexit will severely impact hospital services and could even prompt ward closures and interruptions to childrens services, according to planning documents seen by POLITICO.
Detailed preparations from 35 hospitals in England describe serious disruptions to the provision of health care services for patients in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU. One hospital said that a loss of EU staff could lead to the suspension of services, while another warned it may be unable to process diagnostic tests for Parkinsons disease because of missing medical supplies.
The internal documents, released under Freedom of Information rules in response to a request from pro-Remain organization Best for Britain, include risk assessments and contingency plans formulated by hospitals since the Brexit referendum, as well as correspondence with NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Exiting the European Union.
Opposition Labour MP Paul Williams described the results as a “damning indictment of the government and its project to leave the EU.”
“We shouldnt be in a situation where hospitals across the country are scared about staffing levels and potentially having to cut back services in order to stay afloat,” he said. “These documents show that Brexit presents a real threat to patient care across the country.”
Most trusts continue to report grave concerns around the supply of medicines.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “As a responsible government, we must plan for every eventuality, including no deal, and we have been working closely with partners — including hospital trusts — across the health and social care system and industry to ensure we are as prepared as possible.”
Best for Britain requested 150 hospitals no-deal Brexit planning. Of the 78 replies, 35 responded with information; the remaining 43 refused, with many citing government guidance instructing them not to reveal Brexit planning so as not to escalate panic.
At least four of the hospital trusts that responded placed Brexit as a strategic risk to their ability to deliver their goals, with the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust giving a no-deal Brexit a risk rating of “catastrophic.”
“Its no wonder the government didnt want local hospitals releasing these Brexit planning documents. Theyre terrifying and highlight the scale of damage to our local communities that would be caused by a no-deal Brexit,” said interim CEO of Best for Britain, Naomi Smith.
The campaign group “Our Future, Our Choice” carries out a photocall attempting to highlight the risk a no-deal Brexit poses to the NHS in London on August 22, 2018 | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Derbyshire Community Health Services said it is looking into the possibility of “suspending noncritical activities to prop-up the priority ones” if there are staffing shortages as a result of Brexit. This would include “wards, community, MIU (minor injuries unit), some childrens and general practice,” the East Midlands-based health service said.
Hospitals and professional lobbies say Brexit could significantly dent staffing in the National Health Service, with the government planning to limit the granting of skilled visas to those earning above £30,000 annually, and future arrangements for EU nationals seeking professional registration in the U.K. yet to be determined.
On top of visa and registration issues, “the biggest risk is likely to be the run on the pound which would make employment in the U.K. far less attractive,” according to the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.
Most trusts continue to report grave concerns around the supply of medicines. One hospital group said a no-deal Brexit may even force hospital pharmacies to resort to holding a “civil contingencies medicines stockpile” for emergencies, while several hospital groups said medicines shortages are already straining services.
Under a no-deal Brexit, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust warned that drug supply disruption could “result in in-patient Read More – Source
One-in-five suffers mental health condition in conflict zones: new UN report
More than one-in-five people living in conflict-affected areas suffers from a mental illness, accord..
More than one-in-five people living in conflict-affected areas suffers from a mental illness, according to a new UN-backed report, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for increased, sustained investment in mental health services in those zones.
Around 22 per cent of those affected, suffer depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, according to an analysis of 129 studies published in The Lancet – a United Kingdom-based peer-reviewed medical journal.
“The new estimates, together with already available practical tools for helping people with mental health conditions in emergencies, add yet more weight to the argument for immediate and sustained investment, so that mental and psychosocial support is made available to all people in need living through conflict and its aftermath,” said study author Mark van Ommeren, who works in WHOs Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
The study also shows that about nine per cent of conflict-affected populations have a moderate to severe mental health condition; substantially higher than the global estimate for these mental health conditions in the general population.
“Depression and anxiety appeared to increase with age in conflict settings, and depression was more common among women than men”, according to the study.
The revised estimates use data from 39 countries published between 1980 and August 2017, categorized cases as mild, moderate or severe. Natural disasters and public health emergencies, such as recent Ebola virus outbreaks in Africa, were not included.
The findings suggested that past studies underestimated the burden of mental health conditions in conflict-affected areas,
showing increased rates of severe, moderate and mild mental health issues, with the latter being the most prevalent.
“I am confident that our study provides the most accurate estimates available today of the prevalence of mental health conditions in areas of conflict”, said lead author of the study Fiona Charlson of the University of Queensland, Australia and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in the United States.
In 2016, there were 53 ongoing conflicts in 37 countries, meaning that 12 per cent of the worlds population was living in an active conflict zone – an all-time high. Moreover, the fact that nearly 69 million people globally have been forcibly displaced by violence and conflict, makes it the highest global number since the Second World War. (more…)
GM fungus rapidly kills 99% of malaria mosquitoes, study suggests
A fungus – genetically enhanced to produce spider toxin – can rapidly kill huge numbers of the mosqu..
A fungus – genetically enhanced to produce spider toxin – can rapidly kill huge numbers of the mosquitoes that spread malaria, a study suggests.
Trials, which took place in Burkina Faso, showed mosquito populations collapsed by 99% within 45 days.
The researchers say their aim is not to make the insects extinct but to help stop the spread of malaria.
The disease, which is spread when female mosquitoes drink blood, kills more than 400,000 people per year.
Worldwide, there are about 219 million cases of malaria each year.
Conducting the study, researchers at the University of Maryland in the US – and the IRSS research institute in Burkina Faso – first identified a fungus called Metarhizium pingshaense, which naturally infects the Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria.
The next stage was to enhance the fungus. "They're very malleable, you can genetically engineer them very easily," Prof Raymond St Leger, from the University of Maryland, told BBC News.
They turned to a toxin found in the venom of a species of funnel-web spider in Australia.
The genetic instructions for making the toxin were added to the fungus's own genetic code so it would start making the toxin once it was inside a mosquito.
"A spider uses its fangs to pierce the skin of insects and inject toxins, we replaced the fangs of spider with Metarhizium," Prof St Leger explained. (more…)
Journalist ‘no-platformed’ by GPs over Enoch Powell tweet
The Royal College of GPs has rescinded Julia Hartley-Brewer's invitation to speak at its 2019 c..
The Royal College of GPs has rescinded Julia Hartley-Brewer's invitation to speak at its 2019 conference after doctors complained about a tweet defending Enoch Powell.
Hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the cancellation over her "highly controversial views".
Ms Hartley-Brewer said "Twitter offence archaeologists" were punishing her.
The RCGP said it "promotes inclusivity" and her views were "too much at odds" with its "core values".
Ms Hartley-Brewer had been expected to join a panel of guests in October for the conference being held in Liverpool.
But more than 700 people signed a petition calling for members of the RCGP to "boycott" her presence, noting her "controversial" views.
In a deleted tweet from 2016, Ms Hartley-Brewer said "Powell wasn't a racist" and referred to Tony Blair calling him "one of the great figures of 20th century British politics".
She also said: "I'm not defending Powell, I just don't see anything in the Rivers speech that he got wrong."
Enoch Powell was an MP most famous for his 1968 Rivers of Blood speech, where he said by permitting mass immigration the country was "heaping up its own funeral pyre".
Responding to the RCGP's decision for the Spectator, Ms Hartley-Brewer said she was "commenting on the accuracy of his predictions" about integration, rather than making a moral judgment which endorsed his views. (more…)
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