The Health News United Kingdom September 4 2017

Overview

  • The EU has agreed to allow British citizens to retain access to the EHIC health insurance card after Brexit. Brexit secretary David Davis said access to the card would remain for UK citizens living in or visiting EU countries.
  • Official figures show that one in three “sick notes” handed out by GPs are now for mental health problems, amid soaring levels of anxiety across Britain. The report follows the introduction of a new “fit note” system by the Department of Work and Pensions.
  • According to Public Health England, last winter’s vaccine reduced the risk of flu by 66% in children, that’s up 8% on last year. However, did not work in those aged over 65. This was because it did not protect the elderly against the H3 flu strain, which circulated last winter.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 4th of  September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://uk.businessinsider.com/eu-agrees-to-allow-british-people-to-keep-ehic-cards-after-brexit-2017-8

The European Union has agreed to allow British citizens to retain access to the EHIC health insurance card after Brexit. Brexit secretary David Davis said access to the card would remain for UK citizens living in or visiting EU countries. He also states that both sides have agreed to at least protect existing health care rights and arrangements for EU27 citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the European Union .

This is good news for British pensioners in the European Union : it means that they will continue to have their health care arrangements protected both where they live and – when they travel to another Member State – to be able to use an EHIC card.” Under the EHIC scheme, British tourists and residents in the European Union are able to access free healthcare, as are European Union  citizens visiting the UK. The card is currently accepted by thirty one members of the European Economic Area, Switzerland and Australia.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/31/one-three-sick-notes-mental-health-problems-alarming-report/

Official figures show that one in three “sick notes” handed out by GPs are now for mental health problems, amid soaring levels of anxiety across Britain. The new data – from the first such investigation across the NHS – reveals that in total, more than five million people are being signed off work every year. Mental health and behavioural conditions were the most common reason by far, making up thirty one percent of cases, with a fourteen percent rise in notes relating to anxiety and stress in one year.The Royal College of Psychiatrists said the figures were “alarming,” urging employers to do more to help support staff struggling with common mental health problems such as depression.The head of the NHS said mental health was now “front and centre” of the health service agenda.
….
The report follows the introduction of a new “fit note” system by the Department of Work and Pensions. It was intended to end a “sicknote culture” and get employees back to work quicker, by improving access to treatment and finding ways to ensure pressures were manageable.
The notes have to be issued by GPs if an employee seeks more than seven days off work.
But the new statistics show that one in five of those signed off for mental health problems was off for at least three months. The new system, introduced in two thousand ten, was supposed to encourage GPs and employers to find ways to get employees back into work, by finding adjustments to hours or duties, to ease pressures. But the figures show that in the vast majority of cases employees were simply signed off, with just one in twenty fit notes suggesting accommodations that could be made.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41111834

According to Public Health England, last winter’s vaccine reduced the risk of flu by sixty six percent in children, that’s up eight percent on last year. It’s the best result since two thousand thirteen, when children first received flu vaccinations. In adults aged eighteen to sixty four  years, the vaccine reduced the risk of flu by about forty percent. The UK plans to offer the flu vaccine to all children aged two to eleven years. The vaccine, however, did not work in those aged over sixty five.

This was because it did not protect the elderly against the H three  flu strain, which circulated last winter. A PHE official told the BBC: “As people age, their immune systems are often weaker and therefore their bodies may not respond as well to a vaccine as younger people’s bodies.’’
But it was still very important the elderly continued to be vaccinated. “Vaccines are the best defence we have against flu and not only protect people who have received the vaccine but also those around them,” said Jenny Harries, deputy medical director for PHE.

Children are known to be “super-spreaders” of flu, so protecting them can have beneficial flow-on effects. “We know children can spread flu more than others, and if we can keep them well, it means that the infection is less likely to pass to those who are at high risk,” said Doctor Harries. Every year, the World Health Organization picks the three strains of flu most likely to be circulating. A flu vaccine normally works in fifty out of every one hundred cases.

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