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Expert Witness : Medico Legal

Plastic surgeons call for better informed press reporting

Despite a rise of almost 8,000% in reporting of cosmetic surgery in the mainstream media over the past 20 years, many products and techniques promoted directly to the press and public actually have very few, if any, published scientific articles behind them, according to research presented to the Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) in September.

The study looked into some of the most popular treatments and found not only that clinical papers on them are scarce, but also that those studies that did take place followed very low numbers of cases (one trial just tracked two patients), usually for a very short amount of time. Moreover, well over a third of the authors involved admitted to conflicts of interest. The BAAPS called for the media and public to use a measuring system similar to those used in surgical journals which 'grades' the levels of evidence behind new procedures and claims.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 February 2015 10:13

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Francis Review seeks the views of those on the front line

Sir Robert Francis QC has been seeking the views of health workers and associated agencies who have had experiences - both good and bad - of raising concerns in the NHS.

The consultation, which ran until 10 September, formed part of the review Freedom and Responsibility to Speak Up: An Independent Review into Creating an Open & Honest Reporting Culture in the NHS.

The review was set up as part of a package of measures announced in June to consider what further action is necessary to protect NHS workers who speak out in the public interest and help to create the kind of open culture that is needed to ensure safe care for patients.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 February 2015 17:10

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Health experts encouraged by initial primary school flu pilot results

Initial results of the uptake and impact of the child flu vaccine pilot programme launched last year by Public Health England (PHE) are encouraging, according to an article published in Eurosurveillance.

In 2012 the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised extending the national flu immunisation programme to all children from the age of two to less than 17 years. In addition to protecting healthy children from flu, the extension aimed to reduce the spread of flu and protect younger siblings, grandparents and those who are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.

As a first step in the extension of the programme, last year all children aged two and three years were offered flu vaccination, while children aged between four and 11 years were vaccinated in seven pilot areas in England in 2013/14. A total of 104,792 primary age children received at least one dose of a nasal spray flu vaccine or a needle vaccine for the small number of children unable to receive the nasal spray vaccine. That represented an overall uptake of 52.5% in the target group.

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 June 2014 20:00

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Health experts act to contain drug-resistant infections

Experts at Public Health England (PHE) have launched a toolkit for hospitals to detect, manage and control antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections caused by carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae (CPE).

The use of many different types of antibiotics in hospitals creates evolutionary pressures that encourage the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This process is a natural consequence of the use of antibiotics and cannot be stopped, only managed.

Enterobacteriaceae are a group of bacteria carried in the gut of all humans and animals, which is perfectly normal. While they are usually harmless they may sometimes spread to other parts of the body such as the urinary tract or into the bloodstream (bacteraemia) where they can cause serious infections.

This can occur after an injury or via the use of medical devices such as urinary catheters or intravenous drips where the skin is punctured allowing the bacteria to get into the body.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 19:59

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National GP data extraction project delayed following doctors’ concerns

Picture of a keyboard for Your Expert Witness storyNHS England has announced it is postponing the extraction of data from the medical records of general practice patients until the autumn.

The decision follows talks between the BMA and NHS England over GPs’ concerns that their patients were unaware of the implications of the care.data scheme, which was due to be implemented in April.

The BMA has welcomed the postponement. It has said it supports the use of anonymised data to improve healthcare services, but fears had been growing about the public awareness levels. Doctors’ leaders said the decision to delay implementation would benefit patients and GPs by allowing NHS England more time to demonstrate the benefits of the scheme, including safeguards to protect anonymity and the right to opt out entirely.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 March 2014 09:08

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