The Health News United Kingdom November 27 2017

  • A UK trial has found that confronting an avatar on a computer screen helped patients hearing voices to cope better with hallucinations.  Patients who received this therapy became less distressed and heard voices less often compared with those who had counselling instead. Experts said the therapy could add an important new approach to treating schizophrenia hallucinations.In the avatar sessions, patients created a computer simulation to represent the voice they heard and wanted to control, including how it sounded and how it might look.
  • New figures show that the number of cancer patients successfully suing the NHS for missed diagnoses has doubled in the past five years. According to the data, the health service also paid out a record amount in negligence compensation for cancer misdiagnoses last year.The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) paid damages of £12.6 million pounds to 152 people last year. The figure has risen year-on-year since 2013, when 46 pay-outs were made.
  • London surgeons hailed the pioneering use of robots in saving a record number of men from one of the UK’s deadliest cancers. More than 500 men with advanced prostate cancer have had the diseased tissue removed this year by the £1 million pounds machines at University College London Hospitals.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27th of November 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42097781

A UK trial has found that confronting an avatar on a computer screen helped patients hearing voices to cope better with hallucinations. Patients who received this therapy became less distressed and heard voices less often compared with those who had counselling instead.
Experts said the therapy could add an important new approach to treating schizophrenia hallucinations. The trial, on  one hundred fifty people, is published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. It follows a much smaller pilot study in two thousand thirteen. Hallucinations are common in people with schizophrenia and can be threatening and insulting. One in four patients continues to experience voices despite being treated with drugs and cognitive behavioural therapy. In this study, run by King’s College London and University College London, seventy five patients who had continued to hear voices for more than a year, were given six sessions of avatar therapy while another seventy five received the same amount of counselling. In the avatar sessions, patients created a computer simulation to represent the voice they heard and wanted to control, including how it sounded and how it might look.

The therapist then voiced the avatar while also speaking as themselves in a three-way conversation to help the patient gain the upper hand. Professor Tom Craig, study author from King’s College London, said getting patients to learn to stand up to the avatar was found to be safe, easy to deliver and twice as effective as counselling at reducing how often voices were heard.

By twenty four weeks, however, the patients in both groups had shown the same levels of improvement, suggesting the avatar therapy required booster sessions in the long term. Professor Craig said the next step was to find out if the therapy worked in other locations before it could be made widely available on the NHS, but he said the findings were a “significant advance” in treating hallucinations.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/26/nhs-pays-record-compensation-cancer-patients/

New figures show that the number of cancer patients successfully suing the NHS for missed diagnoses has doubled in the past five years. According to the data, the health service also paid out a record amount in negligence compensation for cancer misdiagnoses last year.
The NHS Litigation Authority paid damages of twelve point six million pounds to one hundred fifty two people last year. The figure has risen year-on-year since two thousand thirteen, when forty six pay-outs were made. In two thousand twelve, fifty nine pay-outs were made.  There was a total of one thousand three hundred ninety nine successful claims for all misdiagnoses in two thousand sixteen, worth one hundred fifty two point five million. The data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from NHS Resolution, shows that over the last ten years payments for a missed cancer diagnosis have been made to nine hundred ninety people with a total payout of seventy five point seven million pounds. The largest single sum was in excess of one million pounds.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive at Cancer Research UK, called on the government to train and employ more diagnostic NHS staff to help catch the disease earlier.
He said: “Diagnosing cancer early must remain a priority within the health service. The earlier cancer is detected, the greater the chance that treatment will be successful.”
A delay in diagnosis can often drastically reduce the life expectancy of a cancer sufferer as the disease may have spread. Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said last week that early cancer diagnosis makes a “staggering” difference to survival rates, with patients eighteen times more likely to live when the disease is caught sooner. A study by the National Patient Safety Agency found the areas of the body most commonly associated with a delay in cancer diagnosis were gynaecological, skin, urological and breast.

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An NHS England spokesperson said: “With more people accessing testing, funding for effective new treatments and diagnostics, and continued action to reduce smoking, cancer survival is now at a record high.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/robots-save-lives-of-500-men-battling-deadly-prostate-cancer-in-london-a3700751.html

London surgeons hailed the pioneering use of robots in saving a record number of men from one of the UK’s deadliest cancers. More than five hundred men with advanced prostate cancer have had the diseased tissue removed this year by the one million pounds machines at University College London Hospitals. Surgeons say robot-assisted surgery – which is quicker, safer and carries fewer side effects – has been a “game changer”. Professor John Kelly, clinical lead for urology at UCLH at Westmoreland Street hospital, said: “Although [conventional] surgery removes the cancerous tumour, patients are left with life-changing after-effects like incontinence and impotence, which can be devastating.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second biggest killer in men after lung cancer, causing eleven thousand three hundred UK deaths a year. The number of operations carried out by UCLH is expected to exceed six hundred by the end of the year, the most ever performed by a NHS hospital in a year.  Surgeons say the centralisation of services has enabled to be offered to more men at risk of dying from the disease.

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The latest version of the robot, the Da Vinci Xi, has been in use in several London hospitals, including the Royal Marsden and Guy’s, since two thousand fifteen.  The surgeon “drives” the robot with his hands and feet, manipulating its tiny scissors and pliers inside the patient.

An internal threeD camera displays instantaneous images to the surgeon’s high-definition console. The robot’s six arms are inserted through small cuts in the patient’s abdomen.

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