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Boost for research into antibiotic resistance

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor, has announced that £500,000 of Government-funding has been made available for new research into antibiotic resistant bacteria. ESBLs (extended spectrum Beta lactamases)

are enzymes produced by bacteria making them resistant to some of the most widely used antibiotics in hospitals. As these bacteria are becoming more common, the Department of Health commissioned a report to review the current state of knowledge on ESBL-producing bacteria as they are a potential threat to the

treatment of serious infections. The report, published by members of ARHAI

(the Department of Health’s Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection) and DARC (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinating Committee) shows the current level of knowledge in this area and is available on the Department of Health’s website: The Department is now calling for new research proposals on ESBLs to expand knowledge in this area.

Sharps directive awareness improving

The majority of NHS Trusts are set to increase their use of safety-engineered medical devices, and a third (32%) have already improved healthcare worker safety by moving to a partial or total ‘safety device only’ policy in light of forthcoming legislation on sharps injury prevention, according to a new report from MindMetre Research. Over half (58%) of the Risk, Occupational

Health, and Health and Safety UKNHS workers surveyed believe that their organisation will radically increase its use of safety devices before the EU Directive 2010/32/EU is brought into force in May 2013. This shows that most healthcare organisations are becoming more aware of the requirements of the soon to be mandatory legislation. However, a third of NHS Trusts appear not

to be so concerned with the safety of their workers, as they do not have any plans in place to convert to safety devices. Almost half (49%) of hospitals surveyed

that do not currently have any form of ‘safety devices only’ policy (so a third overall) intend

to move to one, mostly within the next three years. The report reveals that, following the announcement of the EU Directive, attitudes towards healthcare worker safety and the use of safety devices have advanced. However, Cliff Williams, co-chair of the

European Biosafety Network, warned: “Action must be taken now to protect vulnerable workers. People are suffering from injuries and emotional stress that can easily be prevented. It is no longer acceptable to let these injuries continue to occur.” There is wide consensus (73%) that the fear

of sharps injury and associated health risks causes significant stress among healthcare workers. Eighty-seven per cent of those surveyed believe that the use of safety devices should be mandatory to ensure healthcare worker safety and 73% think that the only way to dramatically reduce sharps injury is to introduce comprehensive use of safety devices. This shows that attitudes towards and take up of safety devices are changing as awareness is raised.

General Electric invests in development of imaging capsule

General Electric (GE) has invested in Check- Cap, a developer of an ingestible imaging capsule that may help detect colorectal cancer. The investment is being made through the GE healthymagination Fund, an equity fund that makes investments in highly promising healthcare technology companies. Check-Cap’s ingestible and disposable

imaging capsule is planned to have the capability to image the colon in 3D. The capsule will require no bowel cleansing before ingestion and no hospital visit, allowing patients to go about their daily routines without having to alter their activities.

12 THE CLINICAL SERVICES JOURNAL “Check-Cap’s technology is not only

innovative but it presents great promise to change the standard of patient care and to help them avoid the discomfort of traditional colonoscopies,” said GE vice president and GE Healthcare chief technology officer, Mike Harsh. The investment is aligned with GE

Healthcare’s expanding focus on colon cancer management solutions that can improve healthcare globally, as well as GE’s broader healthymagination initiative, which focuses on reducing cost, increasing patient access and improving quality in healthcare.

NEWS IN BRIEF Expansion prompts move

The SIGH Group, incorporating Caterham Surgical Supplies, is moving to larger premises in the Croydon area, following significant growth of the company and increased demand for its products and services. SIGH incorporates manufacturing (Bipolar, Diathermy Forceps and Osborn & Simmons Ophthalmic Instruments), repairing of instruments and scopes, as well as distribution of brands such as MicroFrance and Lawton & Bowa.

Cancer drug improves symptoms of Alzheimer’s

A study published in the journal Science says that an existing cancer drug appears to improve many of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. Researchers in Ohio found the drug

bexarotene to be effective in increasing levels of the protein ApoE, which in turn sped up the clearance of amyloid-beta, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. They also discovered that the drug quickly improved memory deficits and behaviour. This supports previous research which has shown that ApoE helps clear amyloid plaques in the brain.

NAASP to become part of AfPP

The National Association of Assistants in Surgical Practice (NAASP) and the Association of Perioperative Practice (AfPP) have announced that the NAASP will, from 30 June, cease to exist, instead becoming part of a special interest arm of AfPP, with a view to providing a stronger voice within this sector of healthcare. NAASP was founded in October 2001 to

support an emerging group of non-medical practitioners who offer skilled assistance to consultant led surgical teams and their patients in the UK. As an association it has developed education, delivered academic courses and resources which allowed surgical care and advanced scrub practitioners to become accepted specialist roles within the perioperative team. NAASP Advanced Surgical Practitioner

(ASP) members will join the existing AfPP ASP Specialist Interest Group, and a new AfPP Surgical Care Practitioners (SCP) Specialist Interest Group will be formed to accommodate NAASP SCP members. AfPP will continue to support the work

already undertaken by NAASP in the production and delivery of the ASP and SCP courses and these courses will become part of AfPP’s training portfolio.

MARCH 2012

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