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England's antibiotic use is down, but antibiotic-resistant infections still spreading, report warns

A new report has revealed that GPs in England are writing fewer prescriptions for antibiotics, but this has done little to halt the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections.

According to the English surveillance programme for antimicrobial utilisation and resistance (ESPAUR) report, published by Public Health England (PHE), antibiotic prescriptions have fallen by 17% over the past five years, but infections caused by overuse of these drugs continued to increase by 9% to almost 61,000 cases between 2017 and 2018.

Ireland will not suffer immediate medicine shortages in event of no-deal Brexit, says health authority

Though MPs are moving forward with their plan to block UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s supposed no-deal Brexit from the EU and the economic and medical harm that would cause, it has become known that Ireland will not succumb to the same medicine access issues that threaten too affect England.

Responding to Michael Gove, the Government’s Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who has taken charge of planning for a no-deal exit, health officials said that two years of planning now mean that such an exit would not have an immediate impact on supply levels.

Rare Group A strep outbreak kills 12 and infects 20 in Essex

An outbreak of the rare contagious bacteria Group A streptococcal (iGAS) infection in Essex, UK, has resulted in 32 cases of infection and 12 deaths, it has been reported by Public Health England.

The outbreak has spread among elderly patients who are receiving care for chronic wounds in homes and care centres across the districts of Braintree, Chelmsford and Maldon. The cases were first identified in February.

Mental health spending varies dramatically among regions in England, analysis shows

Spending on mental health varies dramatically between regions in England, according to analysis from mental health charity Mind.

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw spend nearly twice as much (£220) per person on mental health than Surrey Heartlands (£124), the analysis said. Nevertheless, spending continues to rise.

The three biggest spenders were found to be: South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw (£220.63); Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (£207.97); and North Central London (£205.11).

England’s antidepressant prescriptions double to 70m in a decade

Figures released by NHS Digital have revealed that prescriptions for antidepressants in the UK have risen to 70.9 million, almost doubling within a decade from the 36 million prescribed in 2008.

These figures cover all such drugs dispensed in England by the NHS, but do not include those dispensed in hospitals or through private prescriptions.

Prescription rates of antidepressants, which are used to treat conditions including depression and anxiety, have been steadily increasingly over the past few years, with 64.7 million prescriptions in 2016 and 67.5 million in 2017.

Public satisfaction with NHS falls to lowest point since 2007

Image Credit: Andrew Tatlow

Public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to lowest levels since 2007, according to analysis of the 2018 British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey published today by The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust.

In polling nearly 3,000 people in England, Scotland and Wales, the survey found just 53% of respondents were satisfied with NHS services last year.

33% of antibiotics prescribed by NHS are given without associated diagnosis, England's Chief Medical Officer warns

A third of the antibiotics prescribed by the NHS are given out despite there being no medical evidence that they are necessary, England’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has said.

The fight against antimicrobial resistance is being hindered by Doctors who hand out antibiotics in order to ‘validate’ that a patient is unwell, Davies claimed.

Top Ten most popular articles on this week!

Scandal dominated this week’s news after Sunrise Lee, a stripper turned Insys sales rep was alleged to have given a disreputable doctor a lap dance in an effort to persuade him to prescribe the potent opioid fentanyl to his patients. Meanwhile Vertex terminated COO Ian Smith over ‘personal behaviour’ while an Israeli biotech made the dubious claim that it had created a complete cure for cancer.

Health Secretary pledges to end transmission of HIV in England by 2030

Through better prevention, detection and treatment, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged to end transmission of HIV in England by 2030.

Reaching the goal of “no new infections” by 2030 would make England one of the first regions to reach the UN’s zero infections target.

The work, which will be focused on prevention, will be supported in funding by £600,000 from Public Health England’s HIV Prevention Innovation Fund.

The funding will go towards 13 innovative schemes aimed at reducing the risk of people getting HIV and reducing stigma.

People in England will be able to pay the NHS to sequence their genetic data, if they share it with scientists

Image Credit: Christoph Bock

The NHS will provide paid-for health reports, informing patients as to the likelihood that they will develop diseases such as Alzheimer’s or cancer, as long as those people share their data.

People in England will be able to pay the NHS to sequence their genes, on the condition that they share their genetic information with scientists and researchers. Those with serious conditions will receive this service for free.

The project, which will be led by Genomics England (a company set up by the NHS), will see genetic data shared with scientists anonymously.

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