Category: Health policy

Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics

By Dr Timothy Rawson, Clinical Research Fellow, Esmita Charani, Senior Lead Pharmacist and Dr Enrique Castro Sanchez, Academic Research Nurse all from the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Antibiotics are a powerful resource that allows us to safely perform surgery, treat cancer with chemotherapy, and recover from infections that over 100 years ago would have killed even the fittest among us.

We are seeing however, a dramatic increase in infections with bacteria resistant to the killing effects of antibiotics (termed drug-resistant infections). These are antibiotics that until recently used to be effective. These resistant bacteria make many infections more and more difficult to treat – in some cases causing patients to die because we no longer have antibiotics that are able to manage the infection.

Using the evidence-based approach to better antibiotic stewardship

By Chris Bird, MSc Health Policy student at Imperial College and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at NICE

This week marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the theme of which is to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development in our world today. Antibiotic resistance leads to high medical costs, prolonged hospital stays and increased mortality.

It’s a subject brought home to me as I was lucky enough to study my MSc in the very same historic buildings at St Mary’s Hospital where Alexander Fleming first discovered the miracle of penicillin.

Antibiotic resistance is a true global health issue

By guest blogger, Paul Kiet Tang, Senior Assistant Editor at The Lancet*

Since its discovery and widespread use, antibiotics have been marvelled as a panacea that has revolutionised modern day medicine. Routine surgical procedures, childbirth, and open wounds are no longer associated with high risks of mortality from infections. However, the overuse and misuse of these drugs have led to increased concerns of antibiotic resistance worldwide, with up to 700,000 people dying globally from antibiotic-resistant infections. In the final 2016 report of The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance from the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust, this incidence was projected to increase to 10 million people per year by 2050, costing the global economy up to 100 trillion US dollars and pushing about 28.3 million people into extreme poverty.

How health and voluntary sector services can work together collaboratively to improve health and wellbeing in later life

By IGHI guest blogger, Chris Bird, PG student in the Centre for Health Policy and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

In today’s fast moving world, we need to constantly adapt to keep up. But what about those people in later life who might struggle to do so?

We live in a world where society is ageing. Falling mortality rates, particularly in the over 65-year age group coupled with low fertility rates in the younger population are leading to a society which is growing older[i].It is also true that conventional care delivery is often based around admittance to institutionalised hospital care which is both costly and can be inefficient as professionals, bound by silo working, fail to achieve either best value or best care for patients[ii].

Women in Surgery Sticking Together

By Saniya Mediratta, President of the ICSM Surgical Society

It seems strange to me, that when women have shattered the proverbial glass ceiling in innumerable fields, the statistics of women in surgery are still so low. At an astonishing 11.1%, the only heartening news is that it was once as low as 3% in 1991.

Why isn’t the field of surgery evolving with the current shift in workplace demographics? Why aren’t women choosing to pursue the seemingly impossible journey that is surgical training?

Why are so few of us women, studying medicine, not drawn to a career that inspires such awe, pride and prestige in the single word, “surgeon?” Is it because of distorted perceptions that see this plum role more suited to agentic males that are perceived to be assertive, able, task-orientated and competitive, as opposed to women that are often thought of as only nurturing, sensitive and communal?

Disability perspectives locally and globally: The journey travelled, and ‎the journey still to happen

By Kalpna Mistry, Staff Networks Coordinator, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre at Imperial College London 

In the UK the law protects the rights of disabled people, for instance the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which gave way to the Equality Act 2010 describes disability as a protected characteristic. It places the responsibility on service providers and employers to provide a discrimination-free service or make reasonable adjustments in the workplace. So, where 30 years ago if a wheelchair user could not access the cinema due to steps leading to the entrance or there being no wheelchair access in the screening room, the cinema had no obligation to do anything about it.

Global Diffusion of Healthcare Innovation: Making the connections

The diffusion or spread of innovations over time through a specific population or social system is important to unlock the potential benefits of an innovation. There has been much study of how to encourage the uptake of innovations so that they become part of everyday practice and benefit many, rather than a few. In this research, we explore this from the demand side. This report, ‘Global Diffusion of Healthcare Innovation: Making the connections’, which is to be discussed this morning at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) looks at how frontline health workers (FHWs) and leaders find solutions to their everyday challenges, and which sources are the most influential.

Applying behavioral insights: simple ways to improve health outcomes

Much of the global burden of disease arises from unhealthy behaviors, which people struggle to change even if they have the awareness, intention and ability to do so.

The new report ‘Applying behavioral insights: simple ways to improve health outcomes’ will be discussed at today’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH).

The Behavioral Insights Forum will present groundbreaking, evidence-based research showing how citizens’ health can be improved through a better understanding and application of the latest research. Led by a UK government-owned social purpose company, The Behavioral Insights Team, this research studies the factors that influence human behavior thereby producing evidence that can prove vital to improving the health of populations.

No time to let our guard down: Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016

By Dr Enrique Castro Sanchez and Dr Bryony Dean Franklin, Centre for Patient Safety and Translational Research (PSTRC), Imperial College London

In the last few months we have seen increased attention and alliances around the world to develop interventions to address the challenge presented by drug-resistant infections. For example, a landmark declaration at the United Nations General Assembly on the matter of Antimicrobial Resistance was signed by 193 countries, providing a historic opportunity for experts, governments and citizens to collaborate on a global response to this worldwide threat to patient safety. Only the fourth time in history that a health topic had been at the centre of attention at the UN, the meeting supported  commitment of adequate resources to guarantee a much needed sustained and robust response.