The Health News United Kingdom – July 6 2017


  • Vulnerable people are playing “Russian roulette” when they need care in England, campaigners warn, as a quarter of services are failing on safety.
  • The number of people living with dementia in England and Wales will rise to 1.2 million by 2040 as life expectancy increases.
  • “Tangles” in the brain of a person with dementia were pictured by scientists, a very important discovery to design drugs to stop brain cells dying..

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 6th of July 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

Vulnerable people are playing “Russian roulette” when they need care in England, campaigners warn, as a quarter of services are failing on safety.

Drug errors, lack of staff and falls were major problems after inspecting  twenty four thousand services, according to The Care Quality Commission.

Nursing homes had the worst problems, with a third falling short on safety.

The CQC said the failings across services for the elderly and disabled were “completely unacceptable”.

The findings mark the completion of the first round of inspections under the “tougher” system launched in two thousand and fourteen amid concerns problems were going undetected.

One million vulnerable people use care services – either getting their fees paid by councils or funding it themselves.

More than two hundred thousand of them live in nursing homes, which had the most serious problems.

Some thirty seven percent of homes failed on safety, with inspectors noting they had a particular problems recruiting and retaining nurses.

The CQC highlighted poor care inspectors had found, including:

the death of a 62-year-old man who had broken his neck in a fall from a shower chair at a West Yorkshire care home.

Here are some tips how to pick a good care home

Age UK advises families to check:

* the latest CQC report on the home

* whether the staff are friendly and welcoming

* if senior staff are on duty at all times and whether they know residents and families personally

* whether residents can choose their daily routines

* the ratio of staff to residents and the turnover of staff

Chief inspector Andrea Sutcliffe said funding remained an issue for the sector and a “long-term solution” needed to be found but lack of money was “no excuse”. She also states that there is still too much poor care, some providers are failing to improve, and there is even some deterioration. This is completely and utterly unacceptable.

The number of people living with dementia in England and Wales will rise to one point two million by two thousand and forty as life expectancy increases, new research suggests.

Around  seven hundred sixty-seven thousand people with dementia mostly affects those over sixty five , currently live in the two countries, estimated scientists from University College London and the University of Liverpool.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), noted that fewer people appear to be newly diagnosed with the disease each year.


But as people live longer lives and survival rates for other life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease improve, scientists predict many more patients overall will require care for dementia – now the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

Dementia costs the economy an estimated twenty three billion pounds a year and campaigners are calling for the Government to pay “urgent attention” to Britain’s social care system to avert a crisis.

The Alzheimer’s Society, which uses figures for the whole of the UK, has predicted that dementia cases will soar from around eight hundred fifty thousand to two million by two thousand and fifty one. Doctor James Pickett, the organisation’s head of research said these latest estimates are yet another wake-up call that the current social care system which is already on its knees from decades of underfunding and needs urgent attention from the Government if it’s to cope with the inevitable massive increase in demand.

In two thousand and fifteen, dementia claimed more than sixty-one thousand lives and accounted for eleven point six per cent of recorded deaths, narrowly overtaking heart disease, which was behind eleven point five per cent of deaths. The new study used data from eighteen thousand men and women from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, tracking the health of those aged fifty and over.

Britain’s ageing population – the number of older people aged 85 and over has increased by a third over the last decade – combined with a lack of forward planning and funding cuts to local authorities means the social care system is currently far from perfect ……

The team at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology says its findings “open up a whole new era” in neurodegenerative disease. Their work should make it easier to design drugs to stop brain cells dying. The researchers used brain tissue from a seventy four year old woman who died after having Alzheimer’s disease. The form of dementia leads to tangles of a protein called tau spreading throughout the brain. The more tau tangles there are, the worse the symptoms tend to be. Doctors have known this has happened for decades but what has been missing is a detailed understanding of what the tangles look like.The team took advantage of the “resolution revolution” in microscopy to take thousands of highly detailed images of the tau inside the woman’s brain tissues.

Attempts to develop a drug to slow the pace of dementia have been met by repeated failure. But it is hard to come up with a drug when you do not know the precise chemical structure of what you are targeting.

Doctor Sjors Scheres, one of the researchers, told the BBC News website: “It’s like shooting in the dark – you can still hit something but you are much more likely to hit if you know what the structure is. We are excited – it opens up a whole new era in this field, it really does.”

Doctor Tara Spires-Jones, from the centre for cognitive and neural systems at the University of Edinburgh, said the findings “substantially advance what we know”. She also said that these results will be useful for developing molecules to detect tau tangles in patients and potentially for developing treatments.

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