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Medical News, November 23rd, 2015

Welcome back to the weekly Medical News summary blog. This week’s post will cover the latest news in the medical field from the 15th to the 22nd of November.  

This week, the results were released for the junior doctor’s ballot on whether to take industrial action against the new contracts proposed by the UK Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt

 Of those who voted, 98% of people were in favour of a full strike. The first walk-out will start on the 1st of December, with two further walk-outs taking place later on in December. The British Medical Association (BMA) said that the industrial action was “inevitable” as the new proposed contract is deemed as being unsafe. The strikes are likely to lead to the cancelling and rescheduling of thousands of appointments, tests and operations. However, it has been reported in many medical news reports that the NHS will prioritise emergency cases. The BMA balloted over 37,700 members, and over two thirds took part in the ballot. It is proposed that on the first day of industrial action, junior doctors will still treat emergency patients. On the further two dates junior doctors will walk out and their work will be covered by other medical professionals such as consultants, staff doctors and locums.

NHS trusts in England have announced the largest deficit in history of the NHS

In other medical news this week, there have been warnings that hospitals could run out of money to pay staff within a year. NHS regulators have unveiled a deficit of £1.6 billion. This is predicted to increase to £2.2 billion by the end of the financial year. It is thought that the deficit is due to the fact that the vast majority of NHS providers are unable to maintain standards of care whilst balancing their budgets. The deficit is thought to indicate that financial problems are occurring across all parts of the country, and in all varieties of NHS organisations.  

The final piece of medical news for this week: it is thought that tougher “fit for work” tests could have a serious impact on mental health outcomes in England

A recent study published has linked the new tests to almost 600 extra suicides, and hundreds of thousands of additional antidepressant prescriptions. The article, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, examined the impact of work capability assessments on mental health. They calculated that the work capability assessments were linked to an additional 590 suicides, 279,000 additional cases of self-reported mental health problems and the extra prescription of 725,000 antidepressants between 2010 and 2013. The research is only able to show a correlation between mental health issues and the work capability assessment (WCA). Therefore, it is not possible to determine whether the WCA caused the increase in mental health problems. Tom Pollard, the policy and campaigns manager at Mind, a mental health charity, has stated that the research shows that the WCA is potentially seriously harmful, yet it is something that thousands of unwell individuals have to endure.

Uploaded by Alessandra on November 23rd, 2015  

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