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Weekly News Summary – 5th October 2017

Welcome to this week’s edition of the news summary blog. The news summary blog will now be live on the The Medic Portal every Thursday and will keep you posted the latest medical news. This edition will cover the key health stories from the 25th of September to the 5th of October. This week the World Health Organisation has announced that measles has been eliminated in the UK, phone consultation screening does not save time or money and the rate of HIV in the over 50s is increasing.

The World Health Organisation has announced that measles has been eliminated in the UK for the first time. A disease is deemed eliminated when it has stopped circulating freely for three years or more. The figures do not claim there is no longer any new cases of measles but it is thought that when it does occur it is due to measles carried from overseas. Additionally, these cases do not spread amongst other children. Currently, England has met its target of 95% of children having their first measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine by their fifth birthday. Previously, the uptake of the MMR vaccine dropped considerably after the discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield falsely claimed in the late 1990s that it was linked to autism.

The NHS has previously speculated it will force patients to have phone consultations with GPs to reduce the pressure placed on GP services. Research conducted by the University of Cambridge indicates that phone consultations do not save the NHS time or money. In areas that operated the scheme for a trial period they found a 2% increase in hospital admissions as well as an increase in the amount of time GPs spent on consultations, over half the patients who had a phone consultation with the GP still needed to be seen in person.  

A European study found that the rate of newly diagnosed HIV is increasing in the over-50s age group. The research paper collected data on more than 360,000 people who had been recently diagnosed with HIV between 2004 and 2015. The infection rates of young adults hadn’t changed over the period but they still remain the highest risk group. Those in the over 50s group were more likely to be diagnosed in the later stages of the disease. The study highlights the need for reinforced sexual education amongst all age groups.  

Words: Joelle Booth

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