Ambulance

The Most Expensive Daily Parking Charges At A&Es Revealed As Waiting Times Hit Record Highs

 

New data analysis by car leasing company Hippo Leasing reveals the most expensive daily parking charges at A&E departments in England.

In December it was reported that every major A&E unit in England failed to hit its four-hour A&E waiting time target. This was the worst performance since targets were introduced in 2004.

At the same time, it was also announced that in 2019 hospital car parking charges brought in more than £254m of revenue for the NHS last year – a record high.

With topping up the meter likely to be the last thing on your or your loved ones’ mind in the A&E waiting room, many will opt to pay the daily charge to avoid a fine or countless trips back and forth to the meter if car parks do not have automatic number plate recognition technology.

So, with more expensive parking and longer A&E waiting times, where does this leave the public?

To find out where people are most likely to get hit financially by record waiting times, Hippo Leasing has analysed the cost of daily parking charges at over 150 A&E departments* in England:

A&Es with most expensive daily parking

NHS Trust

Location

Cost

1

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

London

£77.00

2

Whittington Health NHS Trust

London

£72.00

3

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

London

£52.80

4

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

London

£40.00

5

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

London

£29.00

6

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

London

£25.00

7

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Sussex

£20.00

8

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

South Yorkshire

£20.00

9

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Bedfordshire

£20.00

10

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Hampshire

£18.20

Of those studied, most on-site A&E car parks also charge a daily rate for any period over six hours, leaving motorists with little choice.

Unsurprisingly, given that London is the second most expensive place to park in the world, the six dearest A&E daily parking charges in England can be found in the Capital.

The most expensive A&E daily rate is at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital which, at £77, is more than triple the weekly parking price at 31 different hospitals in England.

Five more London hospitals feature in the top 10 most expensive list: Whittington Health NHS Trust (£72); Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (£52.80); Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (£40); King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (£29) and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (£25).

Outside of London, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have the most expensive daily A&E parking charges (£20), followed by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (£18.20) and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (£18.00):

A&Es outside of London with most expensive daily parking

Organisation Name

Location

Cost

1

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

West Sussex

£20.00

2

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

South Yorkshire

£20.00

3

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Bedfordshire

£20.00

4

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Hampshire

£18.20

5

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

Sussex

£18.00

6

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust

Surrey

£17.00

7

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

East Sussex

£16.60

8

Leeds General Infirmary

West Yorkshire

£16.40

9

St James’s University Hospital

West Yorkshire

£16.40

10

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk

£15.60

Expensive hospital parking isn’t just hitting people financially. A recent survey by PA Media of patients and visitors found almost 9 out of ten (86 percent) thought parking added to the stress of a hospital visit.

When it comes to free A&E parking, only a handful of hospitals offer this to patients and visitors no matter the length of their stay:

 

A&Es with free parking

Organisation Name

Location

Cost

Bunny Hill Urgent Care Centre

Tyne and Wear

Free

Clevedon Community Hospital

North Somerset

Free

Corby Urgent Care Centre

Northamptonshire

Free

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

Cumbria

Free

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust

Shropshire

Free

Wiltshire Health & Care

Wiltshire

Free

Wirral Community Health & Care NHS Trust

Merseyside

Free

However, 72 out of the 154 hospitals studied do offer free ‘drop off’ parking ranging from under 10 minutes to up to an hour, allowing people to find cheaper parking elsewhere.

Tom Preston, Managing Director of Hippo Leasing commented on the findings:

“The rising cost of hospital parking has become a big talking point recently, with politicians weighing into the debate during the election. The news that A&E departments are also failing to meet their four-hour waiting time targets has only added fuel to the fire.

“With longer waiting times, many are forced to pay for daily parking charges instead of per hour. Hippo Leasing’s study into parking at A&E centres specifically, highlights the costs patients and visitors can expect if parking on-site in different parts of the country.”

vcare

V-Care, The Biggest Women’s Health Trend In 2020

 

By Stephanie Taylor, Managing Director, Kegel8

2019 was the year when women’s health and wellness finally took center stage.

What started as a hashtag on social media in late 2017, the #MeToo movement has encouraged women the world over to reclaim their bodies, creating a new climate for open conversation about female health, pleasure and wellbeing.

As part of this seismic shift, V-Care (the empowerment-meets-wellness trend) has emerged and is set to explode in 2020.

Women’s health expert and Managing Director of Kegel8, Stephanie Taylor, looks at why our private parts are no longer quite so private…

A new beauty category

Historically, the V-Care industry has occupied a niche where the mainstream beauty and healthcare industry has failed. However, this may not be the case for much longer as large retailers start to understand the potential of this lucrative market.

For example, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique and Boots all recently created dedicated sections for female health, pleasure and wellness products on their online stores, recognising this growing consumer-led trend.

In 2020, it will become common place to see Femtech products like vibrators, pelvic floor Kegel trainers and wearable devices sitting alongside shampoos, deodorants and fake tan on both physical and virtual beauty shelves.

 

“Better” periods

2019 saw the first, large scientific review of menstrual cups which found they’re as reliable and effective as tampons and pads. Hallelujah!

As a result, we expect to see more women in 2020 feel empowered to make the switch to body and environmentally friendly menstrual cups. A move which can be argued is well overdue considering tampons have been used since Ancient Egypt.

As confidence grows in these new sanitary products, more women will benefit from spending less on their period, minimise the health risks associated with tampons such as vaginal dryness and TSS, and each save the environment from approximately 16,000 tampons, panty-liners and sanitary pads which can take up to 800 years to fully decompose.

 

Make or break for period-tracking apps

With the help of fem tech, women the world over are deepening their self-knowledge when it comes to their menstrual cycles and fertility windows.

However, 2019 saw headlines turn sour when an Australian study found that more than 57 percent of fertility apps incorrectly predicted ovulation dates and almost 83 percent estimated due dates. Only a week earlier, Privacy International announced period-tracking apps have been sharing personal intimate data with Facebook, such as when users last menstruated and had sex.

In 2020, we expect to see Femtech regulation mature, demanding apps must have a stronger scientific evidence-base and be informed by medical professionals. Marketing rules are also likely to become stricter to ensure women are made more aware of the risks and limitations before signing up.

As the technology behind tracking apps develops further with the help of artificial intelligence and wearable devices, more accurate predictions can be expected, helping to rebuild consumer confidence in these products.

 

Menopause goes mainstream

For too long menopause has been a taboo subject, hardly spoken about and largely misunderstood. However, there are positive signs that the tide is turning and menopause is finally getting the attention it, and millions of women, deserve.

2019 saw the Labour party pledge a menopause workplace policy, school pupils were taught about it for the first time and a host of high-profile female celebrities – including Gwyneth Paltrow, Liz Earle and Davina McCall – spoke out publicly about their experiences.

As this previously invisible demographic of women grow louder and prouder in 2020, more digital platforms will pop up where like-minded women can share, connect and shop; workplaces will follow the lead of large companies like Channel 4 and adapt to become more menopause-friendly in order to boost productivity and retain talent, and new treatment options (both medical and alternative) will emerge.

My Healthcare London

Pioneering Private Healthcare Services in London

 

MyHealthcare Clinic is, by all regards, a unique establishment on the expansive private healthcare landscape, offering best in class GP, Dentistry and Specialist services all under one roof. On the back of their success in the 2019 Private Healthcare Awards we spoke with one of MyHealthcare Clinic’s General Practitioners, Dr Stephanie Ooi, to find out more about their services and expertise.

The private healthcare sector has remained markedly unchanged over the last decade, despite substantial disruption. Indeed, where other industries have adapted and evolved, private healthcare has stood firm, resistant to change. In this, MyHealthcare Clinic represents a refreshing departure, capitalising on a very urgent need for a more modern, accessible approach to healthcare services, as Stephanie explains.

“Our mission is to provide accessible high-quality healthcare to our patients. We are extremely mindful of the patient experience and aim to provide a seamless journey. Our wish is for each patient who attends the Clinic to feel that they are a part of the MyHealthcare family, valued and well-cared for by our expert clinicians.

“We have a broad range of specialist services at our clinics, including: Dermatologists, Paediatricians, Adult and Child Psychologists, Gynaecologists, Lactation consultants, Baby Osteopaths, Dieticians and Educational Psychologists. Our on-site diagnostics include blood tests, ultrasound scans and dental x-ray and CT scanning. More importantly, everyone is welcome at our clinic. We see patients of all age groups, sex and ethnicity.”

It’s clear from the outset that MyHealthcare have positioned themselves as a more ‘modernday’ alternative to their peers. They aim to be as patientcentric as possible, flexible and – throughout every step – compassionate. “We see ourselves as a pioneer in the private healthcare world. We are unique in that there is no other clinic offering what we do. We offer both GP and Dental services under one roof with seven-day accessibility. More importantly, our Service is extremely affordable compared to most private services. We also have incorporated a dedicated children’s playroom into our newest Fulham clinic. This gives children a fun place to spend their time whilst they are with us.

It has proved to be very popular. In addition, and perhaps the most important differentiating factor, is that we are a family run business. We take extra care in ensuring that our patient journey is second to none.”

As a result of this approach, the future of MyHealthcare Clinic is one defined by substantial growth and expansion, as they double-down on their unique strengths. “We are extremely excited about what the future holds for us. Our current aim is to continue to run our clinics to a high standard and continue to build our client base. Our Specialist Consultant list is also continuing to expand meaning we will be an excellent resource for our patients. We hope to expand and open more clinics throughout London and the rest of the United Kingdom.”

GHP Announces Winners of the GHP Oral Health & Dentistry Awards 2019

Image

GHP has announced the winners of GHP Oral Health & Dentistry Awards 2019.

GHP Magazine is delighted to announce the return of the Oral Health & Dentistry Awards. We look to recognise all types of businesses involved in the industry. We have awarded the best of the best when it comes to looking after our oral health and we are proud to showcase the prowess and expertise of our deserving winners.

Awards Coordinator, Edward Faulkner is keen to showcase his pride in these deserving winners: “Every aspect of the global healthcare market is under strain in today’s market as the population grows, and this is especially true in the oral health and dentistry space. As such, it is with great pride that I offer this awards programme as an example of all of the best suppliers, service providers and innovators from across this diverse market. Congratulations to all of my winners, you truly deserve your success and I am deeply honoured to be able to offer you my best wishes for the future.”

GHP prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. The awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition.

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best” in the health and pharma industries, please visit our website where you can access the winners supplement.

skincare

7 Signs That It Is Time To Switch Up Your Skincare Routine In 2020

 

Skincare products, there are so many choices and when you’ve found the routine that you believe is right for you, it’s hard to embrace change. Whilst having a reliable skin-care routine can be comforting and reliable in many ways, it doesn’t last forever. After years of experimenting it can be hard to part with tried and tested skin care products but sometimes it’s necessary if you’re overlooking the negative impacts the products are having on your skin. Now the New Year has begun, there’s even more reason to put your skin first and adapt a new routine in order to revive yourself.

The experts at Glo Skin Beauty UK have put together 7 signs that all indicate a change is required in your skincare regime.

 

Lack of results

Skincare is ultimately made to see a big improvement in your overall skin health. Everyone’s version of improvement can look different but either way your own personal goal should be achieved if you have the right products and routine. The amount of time it takes to see the results does depend on what issue you’re wishing to treat or the desired look you aim to have. Based on expert opinions they recommended committing anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to see if your new routine improves your skin and if the treatment are making a positive difference to your complexion.

 

You desire a new look

As the barefaced look is still a hot trend, you may wish to achieve the dewy and fresh glow look. If you want to ditch your usual radiance enhancing serums in favor of a matte and poreless face, then there are ways you can achieve this. If its dewy skin or glass skin you desire, there are ways you can switch things up and add a little fun to your routine, try adding in a shimmering moisturiser which give you that instant glow whilst keeping your skin supple.


Breakouts

Waking up to see pimples on your face is a nightmare, especially when they appear out of nowhere. It can become increasingly frustrating to experience breakouts especially when there hasn’t been a change in your routine – that is the problem and your pimples are the warning signs! The more you use products with hydroxy acids and retinoids the more you increase cell turnover. This creates skin purging which brings preexisting microcomedones to the surface which in turn creates whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules and cysts. If your breakouts tend to be appearing in new areas every time, then it’s time to try something new.


Too oily

If your skin doesn’t have that shiny dewy look but instead a wet shine, this indicates that there are problems with the products you use. By over using products such as exfoliators and cleansers you are causing excess oiliness to build up in your skin and create the wet interface. When you cleanse your face in the evening this is to remove dirt, oil and makeup but whilst you sleep, the oils that your skin produces are hydrating and balancing so they shouldn’t be washed away in the mornings with excessive exfoliating and cleansing. It is a common myth that those with an oily complexion should avoid moisturisers, this is untrue as your skin will overcompensate for the loss of hydration which leads to breakouts and uneven skin texture.


Increased discoloration including redness

Redness is not at the top of anyone’s goals when constructing your routine. If you’re noticing some sort of discoloration, either in large or small amounts, you might want to become more conscious about your current skincare habits. Things such as washing your face with hot water or applying acne medication to a fresh pimple can cause redness. If your redness has already made an impact on your skin, you should invest in a clinical corrector.


Too dry

Dry patches are a common sign of skin dehydration, especially in the winter months. They are commonly flakey which means they’re tough to cover with makeup and indicates that your products contain the wrong ingredients. If you do experience dryness it has been noted to avoid ingredients: retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, alcohol, salicylic acid, fragrances and preservatives.


Your makeup isn’t lasting long

If you find that your foundation is beginning to slide before midday, then it is likely that your skincare isn’t doing its job properly. If you have oily skin, then you need to find a moisturiser that is balancing and a mattifying primer to get you through the day. Mattifying Perfector Face Primer SPF 20 from Colorescience UK controls shine and blurs imperfections of acne-prone skin alongside SPF which helps to absorb oil and primes your skin in a soft universal nude shade. Dry skin sufferers should invest in a rich moisturiser to keep skin hydrated and avoid them annoying dry patches which makes your makeup slide off.

GHP Q4 2019 cover

Q4 2019

 

Welcome to the Q4 issue of Global Health & Pharma Magazine – your source for the latest news and features from across the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.

Another year done.

There’s something about breaking down the year into quarterly Editor’s letters that is quite surreal. It feels like a matter of a couple of months since I was writing about new beginnings and spring. Now, the nights draw in and the winter solstice is almost upon us. Shortly after that, we’re in a new decade. It’s all moving rather quickly.

However, for now, let’s keep our eyes firmly on the present and this issue of GHP. Our cover spotlight for this quarter is Medd, a specialised architecture and design company that focuses on the specific needs of the healthcare market. We spoke with Medd’s CEO, Miguel Moura Castro, who discussed the importance of keeping the patient in mind at all times and working to ensure that all spaces consider wellbeing and wellness: “It’s important to consider and think about those who will use the space every day and what they need the space to achieve.”

Elsewhere, we profile a leading non-surgical aesthetic treatment clinic, and a software compliance company that operates within the life science sector. Read inside to find out more.

Other than that, GHP Magazine hopes you have a fantastic rest of the year ahead, and a wonderful start to 2020.

See you all next year!

skin and drinking

The Effects That Alcohol Can Have On Your Skin

 

In terms of our skin it seems like we are always in the pursuit of finding the perfect complexion by trying various new tips and tricks but there is one simple skin fix that we need to focus on: reduce our alcohol intake. Alcohol’s effect on your skin is like the rest of your body, it steals the good (hydration) and leaves the bad (bloating and dryness).

During the Christmas season there’s an endless list of work dos and family parties to attend which all involve drinking: Christmas morning breakfast champagne, mulled wine and Baileys, which is why it’s important to be aware of the damage the intake is doing to your skin.

Heavy drinking is defined as consuming; the new advice says both men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week which is the equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine. Amanda Von Hagen, skin expert at Glo Skin Beauty UK reveals the top 5 effects that alcohol have can have on the skin and what you can do to reverse the damage.


Breakouts

As alcoholic drinks tend to be relatively high in sugar, especially wine and cocktails, it causes reactions in your skin which lead to spots. The sugar in alcohol can crystallise each one of your skin cells (glycation) which leads to less plump, supple cells and a duller complexion if you’re overindulging in this too often.

 


Puffiness

Alcohol has an inflammatory effect on our bodies which over time is very bad. When we drink alcohol, it causes our insides to become inflamed which will present itself on the skin in the form of redness and puffiness.


Dehydration

It’s no surprise that alcohol is incredibly dehydrating, not only is it a diuretic forcing the water out of our bodies, it also makes it far more difficult to rehydrate. This results in dry and flaky skin on top of fine lines and wrinkles which are more visible due to the lack of fluid in your skin.


Microbiome Disturbance

Alcohol can deplete the healthy levels of the important bacteria that lives in our guts (microbiome). The microbiome helps to regulate the immune system which is very important in managing inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.


Hormone disruption

The sugar in alcohol can initiate an insulin response, elevated insulin can have a negative effect on thyroid and sex hormones which then causes hormonal imbalance and can have an adverse effect on your skin leading to problems.


How quickly does alcohol affect the skin and how long does it take to reverse the effects of alcohol?

“Unfortunately, the short-term effects are almost immediately visible, 24 hours after one night of excessive drinking (3 drinks or more) your skin will appear dull, slack, lined and sufferers of acne and rosacea will see flare ups.

“After 3 days of abstaining from alcohol you might see a difference in your skin health. This is due to the liver having time to excrete alcohol, sugars and other ingredients which means you don’t have to abstain from the alcohol completely if you take frequent breaks and refrain from over consuming. It is also a good idea to drink water in intervals between drinking alcohol, this will help to keep the skin hydrated and leave you feeling less grey in the morning.”

Blood Pressure

Successful Blood Pressure Diagnosis App Launched By Man Who Used Method To Cure His Own Condition

 

A patient whose doctor was unable to identify the cause of his high blood pressure has launched a 5-star rated app that could transform the treatment of hypertension, after his data analysis method allowed him to cure his own condition.

The BP Owl app was developed by data analyst Cameron Elliot from Shorecross, Manchester, UK, who was advised by his GP to cut his salt intake after being diagnosed with high blood pressure at 180/95mmHg in 2016, putting him at high risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Knowing he already ate a low salt diet, Cameron instead began recording his blood pressure readings daily and mapping these against his levels of stress, sleep quality, salt intake, weight, physical activity and other factors to see what else could be behind his health problem. A month later he put his results into a graph and the cause “jumped out of the screen”. It was clear that stress and poor sleep were causing his condition, so he took action and within a month his blood pressure was in the healthy range. 

Using what he has learnt, Cameron has now launched BP Owl, a revolutionary five-star rated app that uses his data analysis method to provide people with a super simple way to identify what aspects of their lifestyle are causing their blood pressure to spike, so they can focus their efforts on addressing those factors. 

High blood pressure is the world’s biggest killer, causing an estimated 10.4m deaths per year¹, yet with so many potential lifestyle causes it can be increasingly difficult for time-stretched health professionals² to get to the bottom of the root cause for individual patients.

The condition – which affects one in four people in the UK³ – is responsible for at least half of all heart attacks and strokes, and is a major risk factor for chronic kidney disease, heart failure and dementia. Treating hypertension costs the NHS a staggering £2.1 billion per year³ and the number of people searching Google for help and advice has more than doubled in the UK over the last 10 years⁴.

For every 10 people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is estimated that a further seven are unaware that they have it³.

Since launching in March, BP Owl has already had more than 23,000 downloads of its BP Owl and BP Healthy apps via word-of-mouth. The BP Owl app is a diagnostic app that uses data analysis to uncover what is causing an individual’s high blood pressure, while BP Healthy helps users lower their numbers through small changes to diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation and other lifestyle factors.

BP Owl has also been working with respected cardiovascular specialist, Dr Lutz Kraushaar, from Bielefeld University in Germany, who will be partnering with the organisation on various research projects and experiments to uncover the simple changes people can make to impact their blood pressure the most.

BP Owl founder, Cameron, who now maintains an average blood pressure of just under 120/80mmHg, commented: “High blood pressure is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ because there are no symptoms, which can make a diagnosis both scary and quite hard to accept. 

“In my case, the doctor advised me to reduce my salt intake, perhaps because that advice had worked on other patients in the past. However, everyone’s condition is different and I knew that this wouldn’t make any difference to me as I already ate a low salt diet – which made me feel even more powerless against my condition.

“I was confident that if I got enough data I’d have a good chance of discovering what was behind it though and within a month of daily recording I was able to pull a graph that showed clearly how my blood pressure spiked on days where I’d reported having a poor sleep and feeling particularly stressed. I was then able to isolate those factors and take steps to address them, which brought my blood pressure under control. At this point I knew I had to let others know about my method.”

Cameron initially tried to pass on his knowledge by launching a supportive Facebook community and website, but while people liked the sound of his idea, the feedback was always the same – that it’s too complicated to follow in practice. That’s where the idea for an app came from.

“The whole focus of the app is on simplicity and ease-of-use,” says Cameron. “All you have to do is record what you have done and how you feel, and the app will do the rest. Within 30 days you’ll have a definitive answer for what is causing your high blood pressure and can take steps to address it. Our goal is to help people take their health into their own hands – we want to give people the tools they need to beat high blood pressure naturally.”

Dr Kraushaar, who has a doctorate in Health Science and has been working with BP Owl, commented: “BP Owl is a big step towards personalized preventive medicine, something which doctors don’t currently have the capacity to provide.

“Currently, the medical profession relies on clinical trials as the foundation of its advice to patients. However, trials typically test a single intervention and generalise their conclusions based on averages, even though, in reality, it’s likely that the intervention worked really well for some people, less well for others and not at all – or even negatively – for a small number.

“BP Owl turns this method on its head in favour of the user, so that rather than being limited by a one-size-fits-all intervention, the individual can trial-and-error multiple options until they find what’s most effective for them. 

“Clinical trials are so important in helping us to narrow down the basket of potentially helpful interventions, but it has long been clear that the last mile between medical trials and the individual patient needs a bridge. It’s fantastic to see a new breed of personalised tech solutions coming through to help us bridge that gap and BP Owl is a wonderful example of this in the ecosystem of blood pressure and hypertension.”

Giovanna Fritz from Lemington, Warwickshire, commented: “I love the BP Owl app. My doctor said I needed to lose some weight, exercise more, reduce my salt, consume less fat in my diet – in other words do everything! It left me really confused. I used the BP owl app and after 20 days it showed me how much higher my numbers are on my poor sleep days compared to days with good sleep. I now go to bed at 10.30pm each night, don’t have my phone in my bedroom and listen to a relaxing CD. I sleep so much better now and my BP has dropped from 140 / 82 mmHg to 122 / 82 mmHg.”

You can download the BP Owl app for the iPhone from the App Store here and an Android app is currently in development. The BP Healthy app is available here for people wanting to drill down on their eating and activity habits.

You can find out more about BP Owl via the website here.

Quit smoking

Research Reveals Large Geographical Differences in Quit Smoking Success in England

 

Greater scientific evidence, tighter regulation and changing social beliefs have meant more people are quitting smoking than ever before.

In fact, the latest annual statistics from NHS England show that in the year leading up to March 2019, the number of successful quitters increased from 121,742 to 123,800 (up 1.7%).

But where in England has seen the biggest behaviour changes when it comes to smoking?

To find out, Lifestyle Packaging has analysed key data* including NHS spend per head, official quite smoking rates over the past 10 years, Google search interest in vaping products and demand for e-cigarette shops.

Focusing on quit smoking rates as recorded by NHS England, Stoke-on-Trent is the clear winner, with an increase in success rate of 91% since 2009, closely followed by five London Boroughs: Croydon (76%), Hackney (75%), Lambeth (71%), Hammersmith and Fulham (66%) and Ealing (66%):

Location

% increase in quit smoking rate (2009-2018)

Stoke-on Trent

91%

Croydon

76%

Hackney

75%

Lambeth

71%

Hammersmith and Fulham

66%

Ealing

66%

At the other end of the table, Barrow-in-Furness and Carlisle have seen the greatest decline in successful quit smoking attempts since 2009, down 64% in 2018. Blackpool, Bromsgrove, Redditch and Worcester closely follow:

Location

% decrease in quit smoking rate (2009-2018)

Barrow-in-Furness

-64%

Carlisle

-64%

Blackpool

-54%

Bromsgrove

-49%

Redditch

-49%

Worcester

-49%

Considering the pressure on NHS spending budgets in recent years, it’s also important to look at where the NHS is investing the most to help people kick the habit.

Based on local authority spending, residents in North Lincolnshire receive the most NHS financial support to quit smoking (£3,516 per head), followed by the City of London (£1,427), Stockport (£1,371), Southwark (£1,291) and Buckinghamshire (£1,280):

Location

NHS Spend per Quitter

North Lincolnshire

£3,516

City of London

£1,427

Stockport

£1,371

Southwark

£1,291

Buckinghamshire

£1,280

The local authorities which spend the least on quit smoking support per person are Derby (£61), Thurrock (£87), Wiltshire (£89), Isles of Scilly (£117) and Croydon (£137):

Location

NHS Spend per Quitter

Derby

£61

Thurrock

£87

Wiltshire

£89

Isles of Scilly

£117

Croydon

£137

As a strategy to help smokers quit combustible cigarettes, the UK government is in support of e-cigarettes or vaping. The first scientific study of its kind on the smoking population in England recently found vaping products helped more than 50,000 people quit smoking in 2017 alone.

From scraping Google Maps data, Lifestyle Packaging has found Newcastle-under-Lyme has the greatest demand for vaping products and the highest-rated vape shops, scoring 8.83 out of 10. In all, the town has 49 vape shops for a population of 129,490:

Location

Demand for vaping products out of 10

Newcastle-under-Lyme

8.83

Blackburn

7.18

Ely

7.07

Barking and Dagenham

7.04

Nottingham

7.01

Wolverhampton

6.96

Blackburn scores 7.18/10 with 38 vape shops for its 148,942 residents, followed by Ely (7.07/10), Barking and Dagenham (7.04/10), Nottingham (7.01/10) and Wolverhampton (6.96/10). 

Rich Quelch, Head of Global Marketing for Lifestyle Packaging commented on the findings:

“These results highlight the important role geography can play in the quality and success of quit smoking initiatives and lifestyle choices made around smoking and vaping. 

Public Health England demonstrated back in 2015 that vaping can be up to 95% less harmful than smoking regular tobacco products. While the best advice would be not to smoke anything, e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to combustible cigarettes and can support smokers in their quitting journey.”

blood tests

The Future of Diagnosis – Are Blood Tests Soon to be a Thing of The Past?

 

By Wesley Baker, CEO of ANCON Medical

The history of medicine is haunted by stories of the archaic practices from days gone by – whether that be the use of leeches, at the relatively harmless end, or the brutality of trepanning to treat headaches. There are undoubtedly procedures used today that in 50 years will inspire the same incredulity that we feel looking back today.

Chemotherapy is often the best option for patients diagnosed with cancer, and yet it is fairly widely accepted that it is often a case of hoping it kills the cancer before the patient – it is by no means a selective treatment. Things are getting better, with cancer treatments becoming more specialised and less damaging to healthy tissue but there is a long way to go.

One of the most ubiquitous procedures in medicine is the blood test, used for diagnosis, tracking diabetes and a myriad of other applications. The blood is almost always taken with a needle through a venous draw – something that is not at the best of times particularly easy or pleasant. Other blood extraction methods such as finger pricks can’t provide the quantity necessary and besides often lead to misleading results as red blood cells break down during the relative trauma of squeezing a drop from the end of your finger.

At times when blood tests are especially vital, when patients are undergoing intense treatment, is when needles become least effective. There is a myriad of stories of people having to go through almost constant and often traumatic blood tests drawn from veins during treatment and diagnosis. Chemotherapy can cause the collapse of veins in cancer patients as doctors try to keep track of liver and kidney function that are often damaged by the treatment.

The vast majority of current diagnosis methods rely on the use of these kinds of blood tests and invasive biopsies to accurately diagnose serious illnesses. These illnesses rely on early diagnosis for survivability, with survival rates varying from 90% to 10%. So clearly there is significant value in regularly having these tests, but with them being so unpleasant this rarely happens.

It is estimated that around 5% of people have a phobia of blood, and that 15% have a phobia of needles. These figures are also likely to be higher than reported as people with the phobias are much more likely to avoid visiting the doctor altogether. It hardly surprising given the unnatural nature of having to have sharp objects put into your arm by someone you rarely know, especially given the horror stories of being repeatedly jabbed while a doctor or nurse tries to find a vein.

This reluctance to get diagnosed is likely having a marked impact on survival rates. Research that we conducted at ANCON Medical showed that around 50% of the UK has not visited a doctor in up to five years with 4.3million avoiding the doctor despite currently suffering from serious symptoms. While a fair portion of this can be put down to a lack of time or the doctor’s opening hours conflicting with the work day, the invasive and painful tests don’t help matters.

If these tests could be performed non-invasively and without the use of blood or needles it seems more than likely that more people will visit the doctor and take screening and diagnostic tests. This has been the ‘holy grail’ in diagnosis for a number of years especially if the tests can be made less expensive and time consuming than current methods.

The amount of time it takes to carry out these tests and for results to come back from the clinic creates acute anxiety for patients in what can already be an incredibly stressful time. Recent figures showed that NHS is currently struggling to meet the targets it sets itself in terms of how long it takes for cancer patients to start their treatment. Currently 76.9% of cancer patients are starting treatment within 62 days of their urgent GP referral.

One of the obvious solutions to these wait times would be to make use of innovation that is coming through to speed up and centralise data analysis. Key to this will be the use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technology, allowing doctors and medical professionals to spend their time with patients rather than poring over reems of test results.

Here at ANCON Medical we are currently developing an innovative technology based on Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging that can diagnose lung cancer through a patient’s breath in as little as 10 minutes. We hope to extend the technology later to include over 400 over diseases and to be able to track organ function other markers that are currently tested through taking blood.

The vast data sets that will be produced by these tests when analysing the biomarker profiles present will then be processed by AI to give the result in the doctor’s surgery or point of care, a vast improvement compared to current methods of sending for results from a laboratory.

boost

How To Boost Your Body Confidence

 

Although being confident doesn’t come overnight, body confidence is something you work on and create your own with. Having body image issues is not something to take lightly as its effects can damage your mental and physical wellbeing. In our digital age, more and more people are finding it hard to detach themselves from this notion of “the perfect body” and be happy with how they naturally look. To help with this Charlie Howes, founder of Nude Life, has whittled it down to 5 steps to boost body confidence.

 

Try something new

Body image issues can stem from a desire to be something better and look different. However, often people idealise certain body aspirations as a way of compensating for a dull and uninspiring routine. Trying something new can provide feelings of efficiency and self-worth, boosting your overall confidence and satisfaction with your life. Indulge in activities you have always wanted to try- perhaps it is a new exercise class, travelling to a new country or learning a new skill. Whatever it is, shift your focus from a negative inner dialogue to achieving longer lasting goals that can improve your overall happiness.

 

Switch off from social media

The problem with social media, emails and news feeds is that they are so easily accessible, and with the touch of a button we are immediately submerged into this digital world. This can feel suffocating with its sheer amount of content and unfortunately, certain apps like Instagram can promote unrealistic body standards for individuals struggling with body positivity. Sometimes a digital detox is needed to relieve symptoms of depression and self-loathing. Instead of obsessing over how other people look and comparing your body to theirs, leave your gadgets at home and make real life plans instead. Even a short detox will carry the benefits of feeling more relaxed and good about your body, so give it a go!

 

Use positive affirmations

In essence, this is a ‘fake it till you make it’ approach to increasing body confidence. Choosing to do simple steps such as smiling, standing up straight and using positive affirmations in the mirror such as “I look great today” can program your inner dialogue to be more positive over time. Practicing and projecting positivity can also attract other positive, social people into your circle and help build a higher self-esteem. Ultimately, if you start to focus your mental energy on the positives in your life, you can only gain feelings of self-assurance.

 

Surround yourself with the right people

Toxic people can cause a lot of damage to your body confidence, as they tend to make you feel bad and ashamed about yourself. It can be hard to remove these people from your life, but it is important to surround yourself with the right people who boost your self-esteem rather than trample on it. Toxic traits to look out for include criticizing your appearance, unkind judgements about your body and comparisons to shame you. If you are unable to remove them from your life, maintain strong boundaries and spend your time with positive-affirming friends who benefit your wellbeing.  

 

Seek professional help

If your problems with body image are interfering with your day-to day life or causing more serious mental health issues such as depression, eating disorder or obesity, then it might be time to seek some professional help. Talking to someone confidentially can help you sort through your problems over time and look at them through a new perspective. Therapy can help you practice self-acceptance, stop comparing yourself to other people and gain body confidence in way you couldn’t imagine doing alone. Speak to your GP to see how you can be referred to your local services.

Venomous snake

The Reality of Snakebites – Time is Tissue

 

With at least 600,000 people worldwide killed or permanently disabled each year, snakebites are the biggest public health crisis that no one has heard of. For projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Oil & Gas industry needs to consider the risks of workers being bitten and its corporate social responsibility to support local communities with this silent killer. Remote Medical International, working alongside the Asclepius Snakebite Foundation, have developed proven management and response strategies specific to the threat of snakebites.

Dealing with snakebites effectively cannot just be about limiting the impact on working hours but must also be about saving lives. The safety threat presented by snakes is very real as is the impact on workforce morale and efficiency.

Alongside a robust safety system and education that helps workers avoid snakebites, a strategy to efficiently and effectively deal with a snakebite is also needed. Even in offshore environments, sea snakes are a threat. Whatever the location, if dangerous snakes are present, a definitive treatment program will help save lives, prevent permanent disability and give workers peace of mind to get on with their jobs in an efficient manner.

Ultimately, as with a heart attack or a stroke, “time is tissue” with a snakebite and earlier antivenom administration is strongly associated with reduced mortality, morbidity, and lost time. The first minutes and hours after envenomation are critical to saving the life and limb of the patient. Whether neurotoxic, cytotoxic, or hemotoxic, fast response is critical. In all cases, the solution is the right dose of the right antivenom.

When patients are treated quickly with the appropriate antivenoms and supportive care, the progression of an envenomation can often be arrested before serious injury has occurred. The problem in remote locations is that, even if the right antivenom is available, medical personnel often lack the training to administer it.

Oil companies, should be asking if the risk of snakebites at the project stage is a concern and, if so, what should be done? Although Medevacs may appear to be a good option, there are many downsides to this approach. First, a Medevac is costly and places stress on the evacuating patient. Second, and more critically, time really is of the essence when it comes to treating a snakebite. Delaying treatment means increased damage to surrounding tissue, resulting in greater risk of permanent disability or even a fatal outcome. The progression of necrosis can be prevented or stopped by antivenom administration, but once the damage has been done it cannot be reversed. Another question when considering the Medevac option is that, once evacuated, does the medical centre the patient is transferred to have the correct antivenom and expertise to deal with the envenomation? There is still the need for a complete care strategy.

snake bite

Although Medevac may still ultimately be required, the ability to assess and treat the wound locally offers numerous benefits. First, the bite can be treated more quickly without a delay in the time to transfer the patient. This is proven to produce much better patient outcomes. The knowledge that this service is at hand also presents the workforce with greater peace of mind and can improve morale. In addition, the oil company is also opening an opportunity to provide supplementary support to remote, local communities where, previously, the chances of a good outcome following envenomation were low. This enhances corporate social responsibility (CSR) and generates good will in the local community.

In Kenya, snakebite envenoming claims thousands of lives every year and, like diseases such as malaria, is a part of everyday life. For the oil industry, the threat of snakebites in this area is probably one of the top three risks to workers.

To support its local strategy in dealing with snakebites, International Oil Company Tullow Oil has worked alongside Remote Medical International with the support of the Asclepius Snakebite Foundation to put a robust response strategy in place for its sites in Kenya. This includes donations of medicines, and training of staff in local hospitals to systematically assess, diagnose, and treat patients with snake envenomation. The definitive treatment capability that has been developed produces better patient outcomes for anyone who is bitten in the area, and reports are already indicating a reduction in snakebite deaths and disabilities and an increase in patients seeking treatment in the area since the program began.

The response strategy from Remote Medical International includes evaluation of the local threat, identification of species of concern, assessment of the relative risk to workers, and a clear risk reduction strategy. The clinical implementation comprises assessment of which antivenom is most effective against the local venomous snakes of medical significance and the creation of advanced field treatment protocols, along with continual advisement and 24/7 consultation with medical and subject matter experts (SME) in the event of envenomation.

Andy Kimmell, Operations Director, Global Coordination & Security at Remote Medical International said: “A medical response team for an envenomation needs to be trained specifically for such an event but the overall management of snakes in the area requires cooperation through a multidisciplinary team. We work with experts in snakebites and antivenom and a senior SME is always available to oversee incidents. It is through a well thought out, robust and cohesive strategy, put together by experts in this area, that we are able to save lives and limbs.”

Prevention of snakebites is the first goal. The team works proactively with snake handlers, safety and security teams to try to remove the threat of snakebites from camps and work areas. Inevitably, however, this cannot be 100% assured and snakebites do occur. When this happens the circumstances are reviewed, and safeguarding procedures updated if appropriate.

 

Safe and sound asleep?

“At a remote oil and gas camp in Kenya, a man sleeping in an eight-man dormitory awoke with breathing difficulties and a pain in his hand. The on-site medics quickly identified it as a cobra envenomation and acted” recalled Kimmell.

He added, “Of course, a top priority was to administer the correct antivenom and treat the patient. The neurotoxic bite was attacking the respiratory system and quick action was needed to save the man’s life. The other priority was to get the other seven men out of the tent and to safety until the snake had been found. Snake handlers and security teams worked quickly to find the snake, humanely capture it and release it in accordance with procedures outside of the camp.

The other underlying issue for this attack, however, was that the snake entered a place that workers considered a place of rest and safety. The onsite snakebite team, including handlers, security and medical staff, worked to restore confidence among the workers and carry out due diligence to ensure there was not a bigger, unseen issue on site such as nest of cobra eggs nearby that had gone unnoticed.”

Jordan Benjamin, Founder & Executive Director of The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation said: “This example shows the complexity of dealing with snakebites in an austere environment. Every snakebite is a unique toxicological emergency that must be dealt with quickly and precisely in order to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient. Every minute wasted after a bite occurs allows more time for the various venom components to attack their targets in the victim’s body, and there is a marked increase in mortality for every hour that passes until the right dose of the right antivenom is administered.

Companies that rely on Medevacs as their primary response to a snakebite fail to realize that they are making the situation worse. It is far more effective, both in cost and in outcomes, to invest in a robust snakebite management plan with onsite antivenom treatment capabilities. Snakebite is an occupational hazard, and the psychological effect on others in the work area can also be significant. Robust systems need to be in place to both react to the immediate threat to life from the envenomation and deal with how and why the bite occurred, taking any actions necessary to reduce risk in the future.”

 

A little about antivenoms…

Developments in antivenoms have helped to reduce mortality rates from snakebites in remote areas. Treatments were previously based on using antibodies from horse serum and required constant refrigeration. This posed several problems: Antibodies from horse serum are known to produce high rates of anaphylaxis and can provoke life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to the antivenom. Its administration required at least two advanced medics on site to deal with any reaction. Since 95% of bites occur in rural areas of the developing world, the need for refrigeration also severely limited where the antivenom could be stored, often leading to a delay in getting the antivenom to the patient.

Modern antivenoms are much more stable and use highly purified antibody fragments that have undergone additional processing to remove the immunogenic component of the molecule responsible for severe allergic reactions. This means they can be transported without cold chain refrigeration, stored on a shelf at ambient tropical temperatures for years, and administered safely by direct intravenous push, helping reduce the time to treatment in remote locations.

“The advances made in antivenoms have helped enormously with the threat to life of snakebites in remote areas. Freeze dried serums that do not require refrigeration and have longer shelf life make treatment more accessible and more affordable, as well as providing improved safety with lower risks of an allergic reaction. With these antivenoms available, more work now needs to be done in terms of outreach and education to help remote communities deal with this threat.” added Benjamin.

Snakebites claim hundreds of thousands of lives and limbs every year worldwide. A robust strategy to deal with an envenomation is needed to reduce mortality rates and the chances of permanent disability in the oil industry. By working with subject matter experts and producing a complete plan to reduce the risk of snake encounters and procedures to swiftly and effectively treat snakebites at the point of injury when they occur, Remote Medical International has helped the oil industry better handle this threat. Medevacs, although sometimes necessary, should not be the primary approach to care of snakebites. Through education and outreach, the industry can also deliver vital support to local communities and workers to help make lives safer and better in regions where they are operating.