- Health trusts in Northern Ireland have unveiled £70m of cost-saving proposals that the public will have the opportunity to respond to in the coming weeks.
- Inspections have been carried out on all 11 care homes in Northern Ireland run by the owners of an Enniskillen facility that was shut down with immediate effect. Ashbrooke Care Home, a 64-bed home for the elderly, was ordered to shut its doors last Friday by health authorities.
- According to Danish researchers, people with higher levels of lithium in their drinking water appear to have a lower risk of developing dementia.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 28th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health New
Health trusts have unveiled seventy million pounds of cost-saving proposals that the public will have the opportunity to respond to in the coming weeks. The public consultation of saving plans is an unprecedented move for trusts. The five trusts have been asked to deliver the savings by the Department of Health. Each trust can act independently and have published their own set of proposals. Out of the almost seventy million pounds overall, the trusts have individually been asked to save: twenty six point three for Belfast Health Trust; thirteen million pounds for Northern Health Trust; twelve point five pounds for Western Health Trust; ten point eighty five for South Eastern Health Trust; six point four million pounds for Southern Health Trust. While each trust have made their plans independently, some common themes have emerged such as the cutting of agency or locum staff and a reduction of non-urgent elective surgery.
The Belfast Trust proposals could mean the closure of around one hundred bed places while the Northern Trust has also suggested closing two wards in Whiteabbey Hospital.The proposals could be reversed should the Stormont government return and a health minister be appointed.
Asking the public to decide where the axe should fall in Health and Social care is as bizarre as it is cruel. It is also unprecedented.The local service has been struggling, but this latest measure is further indication of the somewhat precarious position that the system is currently in.
And the plans unveiled by the Belfast Health Trust represent a dire catalogue of proposals.
The public will now have the opportunity to comment on the draft savings during a six-week consultation.
Inspections have been carried out on all eleven care homes in Northern Ireland run by the owners of an Enniskillen facility that was shut down with immediate effect. Ashbrooke Care Home, a sixty four-bed home for the elderly, was ordered to shut its doors last Friday by health authorities.Inspectors close care home after finding bad smells, faulty equipment and lack of management. It was operated by Runwood Homes, which claimed it did not get prior notification of the closure and said that an inspection in May found safe delivery of care. It’s the first time Northern Ireland’s healthcare watchdog the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority has taken such immediate action.
It considered that there was a “serious risk to the life, health and wellbeing of all those living at Ashbrooke, and that assurances from the provider were not sufficient to address the risks identified”.
It noted bad smells along with defective equipment, fire risks and concerns about staffing and a lack of clarity about management of the home. RQIA carried out further unannounced visits at all of Runwood Homes facilities here at the weekend. A spokesman said: “As a result of the concerns we identified at Ashbrooke Care Home, Enniskillen, on Saturday nineteen and Sunday twenty August, RQIA conducted unannounced care inspections at each Runwood Homes Ltd service in Northern Ireland.
Researchers in Denmark say people with higher levels of lithium in their drinking water appear to have a lower risk of developing dementia. Lithium is naturally found in tap water, although the amount varies.The findings, based on a study of eight hundred thousand people, are not clear-cut. The highest levels cut risk, but moderate levels were worse than low ones.
Experts said it was an intriguing and encouraging study that hinted at a way of preventing the disease. The study, at the University of Copenhagen, looked at the medical records of seventy three thousand seven hundred thirty one Danish people with dementia and seven hundred thirty three thousand six hundred fifty three without the disease. Tap water was then tested in one hundred fifty one areas of the country.
The results, published in JAMA Psychiatry, showed moderate lithium levels or between five point one and ten micrograms per litre increased the risk of dementia by twenty two percent compared with low levels or below five micrograms per litre. However, those drinking water with the highest lithium levels or above fifteen micrograms per litre had a seventeen percent reduction in risk. Lithium is known to have an effect on the brain and is used as a treatment in bipolar disorder. However, the lithium in tap water is at much lower levels than is used medicinally.
Professor Simon Lovestone, from the department of psychiatry at the University of Oxford said that this is a really intriguing study and Doctor David Reynolds, from the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It is potentially exciting that low doses of a drug already available in the clinic could help limit the number of people who develop dementia. Our analysis suggests that a treatment that could delay dementia by just five years would mean that six hundred sixty six thousand fewer people develop dementia by two thousand fifty in the UK.”