- 13 April 2018
- Posted in: Health & Social Care, Management & Leadership, Science & Technology
New low for NHS waiting times
The latest data from NHS England has shown that the difficult 2017/18 winter means that the NHS has now recorded its worst-ever annual performance - at 88.4% - since records began in 2004.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said it showed the NHS was facing an "eternal winter" and Phillippa Hentsch, of NHS Providers, said the figures "underlined the urgency of the problems facing the NHS". Commenting on the latest figures she said there were simply not enough "beds and staff".
Meanwhile it is reported in the Guardian Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, obtained figures from hospitals trusts across England that 82 wards are being mothballed. Some 1,429 empty beds, the equivalent of two entire hospitals, are closed a sharp increase on the 32 wards and 502 beds that were unused four years earlier. Despite the ongoing beds crisis closures are often a result of hospitals not having enough staff or the money to keep wards open. It comes at a time when the health service is under unprecedented pressure, something Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Council, called “illogical”. “it is vital to look at why these aren’t being used when the NHS is under such pressure.”
Facebook facing the music
Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of US senators this week to answer questions about Facebook's role in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Over two days and ten hours at Capitol Hill the CEO of one the world’s leading companies had to fend off questions about hacking, election rigging and privacy concerns engulfing the social network. “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he said in his opening statement. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
Commenting after the hearings the UK government has warned Facebook that ministers are prepared to bring in new tough regulations unless it reforms in the wake of the scandal. Culture secretary Matt Hancock made clear in talks with senior Facebook executives in London that its current data practices were "nowhere near" where they should be and that wholesale change was needed.
Rise in mental health problems and student suicide rates
A study from the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention has found that, for the first time, the suicide rate among UK students is higher than among the general population of their age group. Researcher Edward Pinkney says it shows a "real problem in higher education".
Based on the most recent figures published by the Office for National Statistics the findings show that between 2007 and 2016, student suicide rates increased by 56% - from 6.6 to 10.3 per 100,000 of the population.
There have been other recent warnings about rising mental health problem among university students. A report from the Institute of Public Policy Research showed the numbers of students disclosing mental health problems had increased fivefold in a decade.