The Institut Pasteur estimated that 3.7 million people — 5.7% of the population — will have been infected with COVID-19 by May 11 but that 70% is needed for herd immunity.
A recent BMJ study showed that government cuts in England have caused extra deaths compared with trends before 2010. But how reliable are studies that link austerity with increased deaths?
There is strong evidence that budget cuts affect health. In Greece, the recent economic crisis led to large cuts in government spending. Spending on health was capped at six per cent of rapidly falling gross domestic product (GDP). A single example of the effect of this policy is on drug users and needles. In 2009, cuts were made in the number of syringes and condoms distributed by the government. In just three years, the number of new HIV infections increased from 15 to 484 a year.
In Eastern Europe, the collapse of communism led to mass privatisations of key industries. This was strongly linked to increased deaths in men of working age. This was partly due to an increase in alcohol consumption, some of which was not produced for human use.
We see that there is good evidence linking cuts to deaths, but these studies have limitations. The first is that we don’t see the alternative scenario. What would have happened if the cuts had not been made; we see increases in deaths, but could they have been avoided? A partial solution is to look at countries that avoided austerity.
Year-long campaign will focus on disability and health inequalities, challenging providers to improve services
Should being in good health look different for someone who is deaf? How do you know if a person with autism is unwell if they cannot tell you? These are among the questions all social care professionals – from care managers to nurses – should be asking to tackle the significant health inequalities experienced by people with disabilities.
For the 13.3 million people in the UK who live with a disability, being as healthy as possible should be a given, but too often their medical needs are neglected or ignored. Barriers to accessing services, a lack of knowledge and skills among staff, and a failure to prevent problems are among the causes highlighted by the World Health Organisation.
Health inequalities are a significant reason why people with disabilities are four times more likely to die of preventable causes than the general population. Deaf people are twice as likely to have undiagnosed high blood pressure as hearing people, according to charity SignHealth. They are also more likely to have undiagnosed diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.
People with disabilities also often live shorter lives, and early deaths among people with autism and Down’s syndrome are a key concern; on average, their life expectancy is nearly 20 years less than the general population, their risk of dying from heart-related diseases is three times higher, and the odds are even greater with respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.
Nurses and care workers can also reach the wrong assumptions, especially if the person they are supporting is not able to say they are ill. A person with a learning disability may be denied pain management because they cannot tell a doctor they are in discomfort. They may not access services in the first place because the struggle to make themselves understood is too great. What’s more, these services may not be designed with their needs in mind.
To help tackle these issues, Turning Point has designed a simple online guide, with the hope that support workers use it to advocate more on behalf of the people they are supporting at GP appointments.
The NHS has stated that reducing mortality rates is a priority and has commissioned a review. Managed by researchers at the University of Bristol, the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme aims to understand the circumstances behind these premature deaths and improve services for people with learning disabilities. Healthcare professionals are being encouraged to notify the programme of the deaths of any of their patients, and to be involved with a review of why they died.
As well as failing to receive medical support, people with learning disabilities can be over-medicated, too. The inappropriate use of drugs to manage mood or behaviour can create long-term side-effects including weight gain, organ failure and even premature death.
On an average day, up to 35,000 people in England with a learning disability or autism (or both) take these medications without appropriate clinical justification. This has led to a call to action by user groups, professional bodies, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) and NHS England to stop this practice.
Called Stomp, the campaign’s pledge has been signed by 127 organisations and seeks to improve the quality of life and health of people with learning disabilities by ensuring they receive the right amount of medication – and for the right reasons.
Progress on this issue requires simple steps, such as encouraging people with disabilities to have regular medication reviews with GPs and supporting health professionals to involve them in decisions.
With more than 80 members, including Turning Point, VODG represents organisations supporting more than one million disabled people. Its goal is to challenge providers to take action and improve services.
To achieve this, it has set up a working group to investigate what members are doing to tackle unjust differences in people’s health, to learn from each other and to promote good practice across its membership. We highlighted the issue at a conference in Birmingham this month, discussing action plans that resulted in those who attended signing pledges. The pledges will be posted on the VODG website and members will be emailed in six months to measure progress.
We do not want to reinvent what is already out there but to learn and promote what works. For example, monitoring forms are being developed by Sense to check on the health of people with congenital rubella syndrome.
Independence, choice and control are as important for people with disabilities as anyone else, but they will not have these unless we create services that are progressive, high quality and sustainable.
- Fiona Ritchie is managing director for mental health and learning disability services at Turning Point and a trustee at the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group.
Source : People with disabilities have the right to good health too : The Guardian
GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The ) should overturn its decision to appoint Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador, global health leaders said on Saturday, describing the move as unjustifiable and wrong.
Figures suggest problem is getting worse, with younger adults more likely than older people to say they have experienced illness Two-thirds of British adults say they have experienced mental ill-health at some point in their lives, according to a survey. The World Health Organisation says one in four people globally are affected by problems such as depression or panic attacks at some point. Research published by the Mental Health Foundation on Monday suggests that the prevalence is far wider in the UK. The survey of more than 2,000 people suggests that the problem is getting worse, with those between the ages of 18 and 54 more likely to say they have experienced a mental health problem (70% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 68% of 35- to 54-year-olds) than older people (58%). Jenny Edwards, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said:“Our report lays out the sheer scale of the problem. This isn’t an issue that just affects a minority. At some point in our life most of us are likely
- Assistive technology is becoming increasingly more advanced in the modern day world. This umbrella term is one that is constantly evolving over time to incorporate more technological devices designed to aid those living with a disability. Advances in medical treatments have meant a better prognosis for many conditions associated with certain disabilities. Life expectancy has also risen, meaning there are now more people than ever living with a disability. In fact, estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) state that there are approximately ‘one billion people living with a disability.’ That equates to around ‘one in five people in Europe and America.’ With so many people now looking to adapt their lifestyles to suit their specific needs; the market for assistive technology is becoming increasingly popular as demand for certain products increases. People are keen to maintain their independence and their standard of living where possible, so depending on the nature of the
I am astounded, just who do WHO think they are, will China agree to this, where I believe they state the sex and number of children the Chinese population are allowed to have.
Are WHO advocating a World dating agency, which I assume each countries health authorities would have to set up or are they advocating a form of brothel were the outcome would be having children, so they could accomodate both male and female prostitutes for customers to attend to have their children.
I thought the EU bureaucrats were bad enough, but those in WHO are worse.
In a rare reversal, an influential panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization concluded that regularly drinking coffee could help protect against some types of cancer.
‘………………..By Professor Louis Appleby
*On a recent visit to an A&E department, Professor Louis Appleby, Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, was shown where people are seen after overdose or self-injury. It was bright and private, with space for a patient’s family, separated from the corridor by a door, not a curtain. The mental health team, explained the staff, come over promptly to carry out assessments. To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, Professor Appleby asks if the tide could finally be turning on how we respond to self-harm.
Just three months ago a report from the Care Quality Commission highlighted the poor experience of many people in mental health crisis: only a third said they were treated with warmth and compassion in A&E, and most felt judged for what they had done. Patients who self-harm are often viewed as wasting the time of busy staff, who – under pressure themselves – may see the self-harm but not the distress that lies behind it. Only 60 percent are fully assessed – no higher than a decade ago.
The World Health Organisation says there are 800,000 suicides each year worldwide and for every death, there are at least 20 suicide attempts – a total of 16 million annually. In England hospitals see over 200,000 self-harm episodes per year, making it one of the commonest reasons to seek urgent health care. Most patients are teenagers or young adults. Within a year, 1 in 50 will have died – they have high death rates from suicide, accident and natural causes.
Improving the care of those who self-harm will take training for front-line staff and therapy services to refer people to. It will also take a change in attitudes across the NHS – here are three examples:
- Don’t see people who self-harm as having caused their own problems – they are often victims of abuse, depressed or in family crisis.
- Don’t dismiss them as time-wasters, even when they keep coming back – suicide risk goes up, not down, with repeated self-harm.
- And remember that self-harm starts to drop off in the mid-20s – support people into early adulthood and many will put their traumas behind them.
Further information and links
Talking openly about suicide is first step to helping says Alistair Burt, Minister for Social Care and Communities. …………’
‘……..The unknown disease has so far killed 17 people in a southeastern Nigerian town and officials have ruled out Ebola.
Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola or any other virus (FILE- EPA)
A “mysterious” disease that kills patients within 24 hours has claimed at least 17 lives in a southeastern Nigerian town, the government said.
“Seventeen people have died of the mysterious disease since it broke out early this week in Ode-Irele town,” the government spokesman for Ondo state, Kayode Akinmade, told AFP news agency on Saturday.
The disease, whose symptoms include headache, weight loss, blurred vision and loss of consciousness, killed the victims within 24 hours of their falling ill, he said.
Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola or any other virus, Akinmade added.
The World Health Organisation said it had information on 14 cases with at least 12 dead.
“Common symptoms were sudden blurred vision, headache, loss of consciousness followed by death, occurring within 24 hours,” spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP.
Akinmade said health officials and experts from the government and aid agencies, as well as WHO epidemiologists, have arrived in Ode-Irele.
“Outside a total of 17 deaths recorded, in the past 72 hours we have not recorded new cases. There is no patient of the disease in any hospital and the disease has not spread beyond the town,” he said.
Jasarevic said blood and urine samples had been taken from two victims and cerebrospinal fluid from another.
“All samples have been sent to Lagos University Teaching Hospital this morning, and results are still pending. Investigations are still ongoing,” he said.