The burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in the WHO African region in 2019: a cross-country systematic analysis (The Lancet)
This study reveals a high level of AMR burden for several bacterial pathogens and pathogen–drug combinations in the WHO African region. The high mortality rates associated with these pathogens demonstrate an urgent need to address the burden of AMR in Africa.
These estimates also show that quality and access to health care and safe water and sanitation are correlated with AMR mortality, with a higher fatal burden found in lower resource settings. This research shows the urgent need to act on AMR globally, now.
Pharmacy First programme to be monitored for antimicrobial resistance impact (Pulse)
NHS England will monitor the Pharmacy First service after its launch for any potential impact on antimicrobial resistance. The scheme, which will launch on 31 January subject to the ‘appropriate digital systems being in place’, will allow pharmacies to consult and prescribe in relation to seven common conditions, in a bid to free up GPs’ time.
Community Pharmacy England (CPE), which negotiated seven different Patient Group Directions (PGDs) to allow medicines to be supplied to patients who meet certain criteria, said these allow community pharmacists to supply antimicrobials ‘only where clinically appropriate’ without ‘increasing the risks of antimicrobial resistance’.
61% rise in number of “ghost patients” registered with GP practices
The number of patients who might not exist but are registered with GPs has risen by almost two-thirds over the last five years, figures analysed by the PA news agency suggest. GPs are paid for patients on their list, meaning practices could be receiving millions of extra pounds for people who may not be real.
NHS Digital figures show 62.9 million patients were registered at a GP practice in England on November 1 last year. This compares with Office for National Statistics estimates of 57.1 million people in England in 2022, meaning around 5.8 million ghost patients were registered with surgeries – 61% higher than five years ago.
Cambridgeshire Coroner Caroline Jones has issued a prevention of further deaths notice to the Dept for Health and Social Care, NHS England, and the Peterborough ICS. This follows the death of Gregor Lynn, who developed a lesion on his neck which did not meet the criteria for NHS treatment. Despite the lesion being removed at Mr Lynn’s cost, no histopathological examination took place and Mr Lynn died in 2022 after the lesion proved to be cancerous.
Ms Jones said in her report:
“It is of concern that the barrier to undergoing a complete procedure, including histological analysis, appears to be one of cost.
It therefore seems to me that there is a risk of future deaths if patients not meeting the NHS referral criteria, who have to pay for procedures to be carried out privately, opt on cost grounds not to have the histological analysis which would otherwise be provided on the NHS at no charge.”
UK aims to restore standing in Horizon programme
- The UK returned to the EU Horizon programme on 1 January as an “associate country” in a move that has been welcomed by research and business groups who feared that Britain’s absence was harming its worldwide scientific standing.
- 17 January will be the first test of Britain’s prospects after three years away from the scheme, followed by a second deadline on 21 February, – as leading scientific organisations have been called on for proposals.
- It comes as the Government tries to surpass pre-Brexit milestones of British researchers leading a quarter of Horizon projects.
Government publishes UK NSC digital pathology consultation response
- On Thursday 28 December, the Government published its response to the consultation on whether providers can safely use digital pathology as an alternative to light microscopy to examine NHS cancer screening samples.
- Comments received from this consultation were presented to the UK NSC at its meeting on 10 November 2023 for a recommendation.
- In light of the consultation responses and expert input from the UK National Screening Committee Adult Reference Group, the committee was satisfied that digital pathology represented a safe option for commissioners and providers of diagnostic pathways in the breast, bowel and cervical screening programmes.
- Minutes of the November 2023 UK NSC meeting can be found here.