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Secondary Care

£10,000 grant will help burns patients

Ian Snug

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A study which is working to improve the use of antibiotics for burns patients has been given a lift thanks to a £10,000 grant.

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The project led by Simon Booth, Burns Researcher at Queen Victoria Hospital, was awarded the highest grant given by the Hospital Saturday Fund.

The research, a collaboration between Queen Victoria Hospital and the University of Brighton, is focusing on identifying the right dose of antibiotic for each individual patient to make sure it reaches the infected wound. The study, approved by the National Research Ethics Service, involves taking blood and wound fluid samples to see whether there are sufficient concentrations of antibiotics in the wound and if the bacteria in the wound have resistance to the antibiotics.

Over 140,000 people in England and Wales suffer burn injuries every year, with about 50,000 requiring treatment at specialised burn centres, approximately 13,000 of whom are admitted to hospital. A major problem in the care of these patients is infection, which is a particular risk to patients with burn injuries. An estimated 18 per cent of burn patients acquire infection-related complications – a major cause of morbidity, mortality and increased cost of care.

Simon Booth, Burns Researcher at the Queen Victoria Hospital, explains the project: “Burn wound infections are very common and yet people who are given antibiotics do not always improve, even when we know the bacteria should be killed by the antibiotics. This is particularly concerning with the rise of antimicrobial resistant infections. I am very grateful to the Hospital Saturday Fund for seeing the value of this research. It will give clinicians vital information about antibiotic prescribing and help in the fight to reduce antimicrobial resistance.”

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Primary Care

NHS trusts pressuring staff to help meet vaccination targets

Sarah J

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Front-line staff are reporting that NHS trusts are pressuring staff into receiving the influenza vaccine in order to achieve governmental targets.

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Front-line NHS staff claim they are getting ever-increasing pressure to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine as cash-strapped NHS trusts strive to hit the ‘Flu Fighter’ CQUIN, which provides significant financial incentives for trusts who vaccinate a proportion of their staff.

This news follows last weeks announcement that NHS England will write to all healthcare workers reminding them of their “professional duty” to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine.

One member of staff, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims she was forced to sign a ‘Declination of Influenza Vaccine‘ document by their NHS Trust which states refusal of the vaccine may have ‘life-threatening’ consequences and asks for the reason for refusal.

A spokesperson for NursingNotes said;

“While receiving the vaccine is an important part of infection control, like any patient, staff must provide informed consent and have a right to refuse the vaccination”.

A spokesperson for the RCN said:

“We encourage all nursing staff to have the vaccine. It plays an important part in infection control and preventing sickness absence”.

The NHS Employers ‘Flu Fighter’ campaign is part of an initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of NHS employees.

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Snacks sold in hospital shops should be under 250 calories

James M

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Image: Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS England says snacks sold in hospitals canteens or shops should all be under 250 calories.

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NHS Hospitals will be given cash incentives to comply with a new ‘healthy eating’ campaign which will see a significant reduction in the number of sugary snacks, drinks and confectionary inside hospital shops and canteens.

The proposals will also extend to sandwiches, which must be under 400 calories, and all other pre-packed savoury meals, which should contain no more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g. Cans and bottles of sugary soft drinks are also covered by the ban, as well as sugary drinks made in cafes and canteens such as coffees with sugar syrup.

Hospital chiefs will need to ensure that 80% of items sold do not exceed the 250-calorie limit in order to receive the cash bonus.

It is unknown if this ban will extend to third-party organisations such as Costa Coffee and Starbucks.

Research has suggested that almost 700,000 of 1.3 million NHS employees are overweight or obese.

Last year, controversial expert hypnotist Steve Miller said healthcare professionals should lead the fight against the fat and wants overweight NHS staff to carry ‘I’m fat, but I’m losing it’ badges to inspire patients and colleagues.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said:

“The NHS is now stepping up action to combat the super-size snack culture which is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer. “In place of calorie-laden, sugary snacks we want to make healthier food an easy option for hospital staff, patients and visitors.”

NHS England has pledged to boost the sale of healthy foods and end promotions of sugary and fatty or salty foods at checkouts.

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