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Weston General Hospital’s A&E department to close overnight amid safety concerns

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The Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at Weston General Hospital will temporarily close overnight from July 4.

The Weston General Hospital, part of Weston Area Health NHS Trust, has this morning announced its accident and emergency department will close between 10pm and 8am from the 4th of July, after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the service is not safe for patients.

The CQC told the hospital it requires improvement and must make urgent changes to the emergency care pathway.

Dr Peter Collins, Director of Medicine at WGH, said “This is a very difficult decision but the right one. The risk of not filling a shift with specialist doctors, vital to safe patient care, is unacceptably high“.

According to the report several key failings were highlighted at the trust;

  • We found that ambulances had to wait too long to discharge their patients.
  • An ‘critical over-reliance’ on temporary agency staff to cover senior positions.
  • The corridor area in the emergency department was often used when there were no cubicles available, even though it was not a safe environment for emergency care and treatment.

Sir Mike Richards, CQC Chief inspector of Hospitals, said: “There were not always enough senior doctors on duty to ensure safe care in the emergency departments and medical wards”.

The CQC have ordered Trust to make significant changes without further delay.

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Midwifery

Royal College of Midwives to end campaign to promote ‘normal births’

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The Royal College of Midwives ends their campaign for “normal births” to avoid making mothers who opt for medical interventions feel like failures.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has been running a continuous campaign since 2005 to encourage expectant mothers to give birth without medical interventions such as; epidurals, inductions and caesareans.

Currently, around 40% of mothers give birth without medical interventions. 20% less than 30 years ago. But experts say a significant number of these are due to the increase in more risky pregnancies.

Prof Cathy Warwick, the Chief Executive of the RCM, said;

“There was a danger that if you just talk about normal births – and particularly if you call it a campaign – it kind of sounds as if you’re only interested in women who have a vaginal birth without intervention”.

“What we don’t want to do is in any way contribute to any sense that a woman has failed because she hasn’t had a normal birth. Unfortunately, that seems to be how some women feel.”

“What we don’t want to do is in any way contribute to any sense that a woman has failed because she hasn’t had a normal birth. Unfortunately that seems to be how some women feel.”

Midwives, will instead, start to use the term “physiological births” to describe those without interventions.

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Pancreatic cancer patients to have routine access to life extending drug after new deal

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NICE has recommended nab-paclitaxel for routine NHS use after the company agreed a confidential price discount and provided more evidence on its effectiveness.

Nab-paclitaxel, also known as Abraxane, made by Celgene will be routinely available as an option for patients with pancreatic cancer that has progressed.

When Abraxane is added to a standard chemotherapy, called gemcibatine the evidence has found it extends life by an average of 2.4 months.

If other combination chemotherapy treatments are unsuitable for a patient, NICE recommends offering Abraxane instead of this standard chemotherapy on its own.

It works by blocking the action of the proteins within cancer cells that cause them to grow and divide.

NICE has reviewed its guidance from 2015 which did not recommend Abraxane for routine NHS use for not being cost-effective.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, said: The life expectancy of pancreatic cancer is poor, with patients usually living for only up to 6 months. It’s incredibly important that patients and families affected by this disease are able to have routine access to this life extending treatment.”

There are almost 10,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, and less than 1% survive for 10 or more years.

This is a final appraisal determination for Abraxane. The company, healthcare professionals and patient/carer organisations now have until Friday 1 September to appeal the decision.

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