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Weekly News Summary – 11th September 2017

Welcome back to this week’s new edition of the news summary blog. This blog keeps you up to date with all the latest medical news. This edition will cover the key health stories from the 4th to the 11th of September. This week’s figures show that the NHS has a shortage of psychiatrists and hospitals are failing to diagnose and treat sepsis. Research has also shown a link between nicotine containing ecigarettes and a raised risk of suffering from a heart attack.

The NHS does not have enough psychiatrists in some parts of the UK for the number of patients requiring treatment. For example, in Scotland there are just 10 consultant psychiatrists for every 100,000 patients and only eight for the same number in England and Northern Ireland. The country with the least amount of psychiatrists is Wales that has just six to every 100,000 people. The government have announced that there would be an extra 570 consultant psychiatrists employed by the NHS by 2021. The Royal College of Psychiatrists have expressed their concerns as there were too few medical students specialising in psychiatry and not enough psychiatrists training to become a consultant. With mental health becoming an increasing health problem in the UK, the demand is expected to rise further.

Some NHS hospitals are missing the signs of sepsis and failing to treat patients quick enough. In some acute hospital trusts across England, doctors and nurses are failing to spot the signs of sepsis in half of patients. Patients suffering with sepsis should be administered intravenous antibiotics as soon as possible and certainly within an hour; however, this target was being missed in half of the patients suffering with sepsis. Antibiotics administered late increase the risk of complications developing and even death. Many deaths caused by sepsis are avoidable and the NHS is now working towards diagnosing sepsis sooner so that urgent treatment can be given.

E-cigarettes that contain nicotine could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, new research has indicated. The study looked at vaping devices containing nicotine and found that they could cause a stiffening of arteries, increased heart rate and blood pressure. The same effects were not seen in the participants who used nicotine-free vaping devices. Previously, the safety of e-cigarettes has been debated with the industry marketing them as almost harmless and a way to cut down on the harm caused by smoking tobacco. Whilst the study only included a small number of participants, it highlights the need for further research into the effects of e-cigarettes.

Words: Joelle Booth

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