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Weekly News Summary – 18th January 2018

NHS Nurses Quit

Welcome back to this week’s edition of the news summary blog. This blog outlines the highlights in health news from 11th to 17th January. This week figures released indicate that one in 10 nurses quit NHS England every year; there have been several new cases of measles in the UK and a survey has shown that energy drinks are causing side effects in over half of children and young adults.

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Data published this week shows that 33,000 nurses left the NHS in 2016-17 which equates to one in 10 quitting the NHS each year. The official figures raised new concerns relating to staffing shortages in NHS hospitals. The statistics indicate that 20% more nurses are quitting than in 2012-2013. As more nurses have left the NHS than have joined over the past three years the deficit in nurses reached a new high last year. The figures show the importance of retaining nurses in the NHS especially post-Brexit. Low staffing levels have a knock-on effect on patient care – and the number of patients being treated within four hours at hospital A&E units fell to its lowest-ever level (77.3%).

There has been an outbreak of measles in five regions across England. The five regions affected are West Yorkshire, Cheshire and Liverpool, West Midlands, Surrey and Greater Manchester. There are also outbreaks across Europe, however the overall risk to those in the UK remains low. Measles is an infectious illness that can be serious and, in rare cases, fatal. The MMR vaccination protects against measles. Experts are encouraging those who have not been immunised to get the vaccine and those who are unsure whether they have been vaccinated or not to check with their GP.

A survey has reported that popular energy drinks cause side effects in over half of 12-24 year olds. Some of the side effects reported include heart problems, sleep disturbances and even seizures. The figures released are from an online survey of more than 2,000 young people aged 12 to 24 years old living in Canada. Energy drinks are high in caffeine and sugar which contributes to obesity. Currently in the UK there are no official UK recommendations on caffeine consumption levels in children. The survey highlights the need for guidelines to be given to parents regarding caffeine consumption in children.

Words: Joelle Booth

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