Daily digest March 5 2015

Missed the news? Read our summary of the latest health stories here

Home care visits must last half an hour, guidance says

Home help carers must stay with frail pensioners for at least half an hour under new rules to end the practice of ‘drive-by’ visits, the Daily Mail has reported.

Updated guidance published yesterday insists personal care visits to help with activities such as washing and dressing must last at least 30 minutes. The advice, from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, says 15-minute drop-ins are only appropriate in certain circumstances, such as checking if someone has taken their medication.

The guidance calls on councils to ensure home care workers have time to do their job 'without being rushed or compromising the dignity of the person who uses services’. In an attempt to end the 'conveyor belt' culture in which pensioners can be seen by ten to 15 different carers in a fortnight, it says continuity of care must be a priority.

Read more on the Daily Mail website: click here

Shocking NHS op blunders revealed

One patient died after being given the wrong type of blood and another had a testicle removed unnecessarily, according to a list of shocking NHS blunders reported in the Daily Mirror.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said six mistakes like these – called ‘never events’ because they are so bad they should never occur – are happening in hospitals every week.

A probe under the Freedom of Information Act by the newspaper exposed cases including a patient who had part of their nose chopped off after mistakenly being told they had cancer. NHS England director of patient safety Mike Durkin said the organisation is working hard to identify practical ways to eradicate never events.

Read more on the Mirror website: click here

LSD 'could be used to treat depression'

Psychedelic drugs could prove to be highly effective in treating depression and alcoholism, according to a study that has obtained the first brain scans of people under the influence of LSD.

The Guardian reports that early results from the trial, involving 20 people, are said to be ‘very promising’ and add to existing evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking.

However, David Nutt, who led the study with colleagues at Imperial College London, warns that patients are missing out on the potential benefits of these treatments due to prohibitive regulations for research into recreational drugs. He says after failing to secure conventional funding to complete the analysis, the study team is attempting to raise £25,000 through the crowd-funding site, which raises money directly for specific projects by encouraging large numbers of people with common interests to pledge a donation of their choice.

Read more on the Guardian website: click here

Statins raise diabetes risk, study suggests

Statins, prescribed to guard against heart attack and stroke, could increase the risk of diabetes by almost 50 per cent, a major trial suggests.

A six-year study in Finland involving almost 9,000 men found that those prescribed the cholesterol-lowering drugs were far more likely to have poor blood sugar control and signs of diabetes, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Researchers found that after results were adjusted for age, body mass index, family history of diabetes, as well as smoking, alcohol consumption and exercise habits, those on statins were 46 per cent more likely to develop diabetes. Some experts have criticised the research because it was not a randomised controlled trial.

Read more on the Telegraph website: click here

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