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Media Monitoring: 6 May – 12 May

By May 12, 2023No Comments


WHO declares end to COVID global health emergency

  • The World Health Organisation has declared that COVID is now no longer a global health emergency.
  • The infectious disease has held this ‘highest threat’ designation since January 2020.
  • Officials urged countries to learn lessons from the pandemic to help with preparedness for future pandemics.

Blood test for sleepy drivers could pave way for prosecutions

  • A blood test which can prove if a drive who has committed an accident was affected by a lack of sleep could be available in just two years.
  • Five biomarkers have been identified in the blood of those who have been awake for 24 hours or more.
  • Driving while tired – when one has had fewer than 5 hours of sleep – has been shown to be more dangerous than driving drunk.

Patients to benefit from faster, more convenient care, under major new GP access recovery plan

  • Millions of patients will receive quicker, more convenient access to NHS care from their high street pharmacy, thanks to a major expansion of services under a radical plan to improve access to primary care.
  • Published this week by the NHS and the government, the new blueprint sets out actions to improve access to care, better support patients to manage their own health, and to modernise general practice for future generations.
  • For the IVD sector, the most exciting part of the plan could be greater investment in digital connectivity, meaning patients in greater numbers will be able to send self-testing results to GPs without attending a practice.

Smarter regulation unveiled to cut red tape and grow the economy

  • Reducing burdensome red tape and tailoring rules to suit the UK economy could save employers around £1 billion a year.
  • Innovation, growth and investment will be stimulated by two strategic policy statements to steer regulators: one on the Government’s strategic steer to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and another on energy policy.
  • Regulators’ focus will also be trained to only regulate when necessary and always in a proportionate manner – which will hopefully deliver economic growth.

Using AI to develop diagnostic technologies

  • Scientists from Oxford University have pioneered a world-first AI diagnostic test that could significantly improve the efficiency of viral testing.
  • The new novel universal testing platform which utilises AI can accurately identify known infectious agents, such as COVID-19, within minutes.
  • The universal diagnostic imaging platform processes nasal or throat swabs and can identify distinct viruses with at least 97% accuracy.

UK working to permanently eliminate monkeypox as new research study launches

  • A study designed to eliminate mpox in the UK has been unveiled, UKHSA has announced.
  • The study will invite members of the public to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to fill out a questionnaire and take part in a series of antibody tests.
  • Throughout the next year, they will then compare their antibody levels after either having the mpox vaccine or being exposed to the virus to explore how the body reacts, how many antibodies are produced and for how long.

The NHS Monthly Diagnostics data for February 2023 can be found here. 

  • The total number of patients waiting six weeks or more from referral for one of the 15 key diagnostic tests at the March 2023 was 407,200. This was 25.0% of the total number of patients waiting at the end of the month.
  • Nationally, the operational standard of less than 1% of patients waiting six weeks or more was not met this month.
  • Compared with March 2022 the total number of patients waiting six weeks or more e increased by 17,300 while the proportion of patients waiting six weeks or more increased by 0.2 percentage points.
  • In the last 12 months, the proportion of patients waiting six weeks or more at the end of a month has varied between 25.0% (March 2023) and 31.3% (December 2022.
  • The estimated average time that a patient had been waiting for a diagnostic test was 3.1 weeks at the end of March 2023.
  • There were 1,628,300 patients waiting for a key diagnostic test at the end of March 2023. This is an increase of 59,400 from March 2022.
  • A total of 2,302,400 diagnostic tests were undertaken in March 2023. This is an increase of 223,100 from March 2022.