The Coffee Break No 85

News updates this fortnight includes technology, mental health, innovation and health and social care. The coffee break is split into sections so you can easily scroll through each area of interest.


Health and Social Care

Firstly this fortnight we have a long read by the Kings Fund entitled “Key facts and figures about adult social care”, the article explains what social care is, how much does social care cost individuals and who delivers it. This data driven analysis of social care answers questions such as how much people are expected to contribute towards the cost of services from their income; how many people receive social care in England and how many people who request social care actually receive it.



This BBC news article reports on a new digital alert system that notifies doctors and nurses of patients with sepsis. The alerts were triggered when a patient’s temperature, heart rate, glucose level or breathing became unsafe and appeared as a pop-up warning on patient’s electronic health records. The system was tested in two London hospital over a 2-year period with more than 21,00 alerts being analysed as part of the study. When the alert was used 44.7% of patients who triggered it had antibiotics through a drip within an hour compared with 36.9% without the alert. The study found a fall in patient deaths in hospital and a lower chance of patients staying in hospital for more than one week.

Moving on, a news item by NHS England reports on a new online training tool called ActNow, launched by NHS England and Health Education England, it is aimed at reducing hospital delays for patients. Nearly 350,000 patients spend over 3 weeks in acute hospitals every year, many of whom are elderly or frail. Research shows that a prolonged stay in hospital for those patients over 70 can lead to muscle ageing whilst those over 90 could be left permanently less mobile than before. The new resource will cover the use of new technology, effective early discharge planning and caring for people at home.


Mental Health

A news item by last month, announces the launch of “Every Mind Matters” by Public Health England in partnership with the NHS. A PHE survey reveals that 8 in 10 people have experienced early signs of poor mental health in the last 12 months. While many of these signs can be a natural response to challenges, they can become more serious. The new platform, endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RGCP), show people the simple steps they can take to be better prepared for life’s ups and downs. It will allow people to create a personalized action plan to deal with stress, boost mood, improve sleep and feel in control.



Finally this week, an article by Medical News Today reports on a new study that claims that a single injection of an antibody called ekokimab may halt peanut allergy for at least 2 weeks. This proof of concept study was based on 15 participants with severe peanut allergies, 11 of whom were able to eat a nut’s worth of peanut protein 15 days after the injection with no allergic reaction. The researchers, based at Stanford University, say that this offers evidence that the single antibody injection is safe and effective and ready for further testing in more extensive trials.