Tuesday, October 19, 2021

NHS workers are losing health security skills

By Patrick Haggerty

BBC News

If we are to succeed in tackling this new approach to health and wellbeing, we need to do more to protect health workers themselves. These are the messages from a new survey – based on interviews with nearly 3,000 NHS professionals – aimed at helping the government to tackle the challenge of dealing with the re-emergence of diseases that were previously thought to be eliminated or within a workable cure range. Millions could have serious impact – in children, the elderly and patients in the community

‘Sloppy’ vaccinations could be the answer The survey, commissioned by the country’s leading voluntary health organisation, Campaign for Health, found many health professionals find the skills they need are no longer relevant. If we are to succeed in tackling this new approach to health and wellbeing, we need to do more to protect health workers themselves. These are the messages from a new survey – based on interviews with nearly 3,000 NHS professionals – aimed at helping the government to tackle the challenge of dealing with the re-emergence of diseases that were previously thought to be eliminated or within a workable cure range. Bacteriotherapy This approach, often dubbed “bug tourism”, aims to try to minimise the impact of the diseases people think they have put behind them, such as the deadly Ebola. Modern medicine has made a lot of progress in the treatment of infectious diseases. Many such as swine flu are at a reasonably new “control” point, the infection is in remission and no long infecting people. However, some bugs can infect people at a later stage. For example, it is likely that the bacteriophage or vaccinia pandemic virus could become a more prominent concern if it emerges at a similar time to Zika virus – which has already been causing problems for women in Latin America. We are seeing a return of things which were on the back burner or which some experts thought were superseded within years

Dr Gary Willett In the latest survey, 76 percent of health professionals said they did not feel they have the necessary skills and knowledge to deal with the re-emergence of a bug that was once considered a death sentence. Just 19 percent claimed they had the skills they needed to manage the re-emergence of a disease. The results also show the slowing pace of some of the skills and knowledge which people will find no longer relevant. The survey found that health professionals may now be developing skills to deal with fast-paced thinking – or just that they have experienced a “short cut” during previous outbreaks – rather than long term, preventative thinking. In some places, we are seeing a return of things which were on the back burner or which some experts thought were superseded within years. Off-hours patterns or human resource practices could also have a major impact on whether health professionals have the skills and knowledge they need to deal with the emerging threats. This is why it is important that NHS England campaigns now stress the need for skills that apply to today. It is also important to help health professionals get the right skills at the right time. In the current climate, we may already be starting to see cases of “sloppy” vaccinations being given to children, who are about to fall ill. This could be the tip of the iceberg and could ultimately have a serious impact on the outbreak of new infectious diseases if not controlled.

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