Welcome to this week’s edition of the News Summary blog covering from the 4th to the 10th of July. In this piece, we go into the main news stories relating to health and medicine specifically relating to the development in the new junior doctor contract, an outbreak of a new superbug and a link between statins and cancer mortality.
Following the rejection of the new junior doctor contract by the British Medical Association, the new contract will be imposed on medics in England. Despite the British Medical Association (BMA) urging the medical profession to accept the contract, 58% to 42% voted against accepting the new contract.
The UK Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt has said that doctors will start moving over to the new contract over the next few coming months. The dispute over the new contracts led to six junior doctors’ strikes this year. The BMA have not commented on the announcement of the imposing of the new contracts, but the previous junior doctor leader, Dr Johann Malawana resigned when the outcome of the vote was announced on Tuesday.
Following the EU vote, the BMA has indicated that they are unlikely to prolong the dispute given the uncertain circumstances within the UK. The new contract was altered to give pay supplements to doctors who worked a certain number of weekends over the year, rather than dividing the weekend into normal and unsocial hours.
However, many members of the BMA do not feel that the new contracts properly reward them for the demands that junior doctors face, additionally there is concerns that the government’s plans for the seven-day NHS service will be properly funded.
A study published this week indicates that statins may significantly cut the risk of dying from four of the most common cancers. Researchers have found a link between the number of patients dying from breast, prostate, bowel and lung cancer and those who are taking statins for high cholesterol.
The study used statistical analysis on a million cancer patients admitted to hospitals in the UK between January 2000 and March 2013. The findings of the study supports previous research that indicates that statins may offer protection to those with cancer. It is thought that the reason for this is that blocking of the hormone oestrogen through statins could slow the growth of cancers, therefore improving their treatment outcomes.
An intensive care unit in the UK has closed after the emergence of a new deadly superbug. Almost 50 patients have been linked to a rare fungus that causes potentially fatal infections in the bloodstream. Thirteen patients have been infected with the virus, three of which died at a London hospital.
The fungus, Candida auris was first found in Japan in 2009. However, since then it has spread around the globe. International studies have found that six in ten of those with the infection die. The fungus has shown resistance to three main classes of anti-fungal treatment and the Royal Brompton Hospital had to close its intensive care unit for almost two weeks due to an outbreak of the infection.
Experts in healthcare are urging the HPV vaccine to be given to boys to protect against cancers. Currently, British men are denied the HPV vaccine which could protect them against throat cancers in later life. The issue is becoming increasingly concerning for scientists who have seen an increase in presence of HPV, a virus that is a prime cause of certain cancers.
The current vaccine programme immunises girls aged 12 to 13 against HPV prior to them becoming sexually active as HPV is known to cause cervical cancers. It is thought that it would cost £20 million a year to extend the current vaccine programme to boys.
Uploaded by Joelle on 12 July, 2016
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