Top Healthcare News Stories of the Month – Nov 2023

The Top Medical/Health News Stories of the Month

Here’s our round-up of the medical and healthcare news stories of the month – and what a month it’s been! We’ve scoured the news for the stories we think are important to be aware of. 

Use these stories to help boost your knowledge of the healthcare sector and the biggest health topics affecting us.

World's first Eye Transplant in New York

Surgeons in New York successfully performed the world’s first eye transplant as part of reconstruction that included a whole-eye implant.

Aaron James, the patient, lost his nose, mouth and left eye in a work-related accident. His vision was not restored, but the first-of-its-kind procedure may help advance transplant medicine.

“If some form of vision restoration occurred, it would be wonderful, but… the goal was for us to perform the technical operation,” said the chief surgeon, Dr Eduardo Rodriguez.

Controversy over Physician and Anaesthesia Associate roles continues

The UK has been rolling out PA roles for a number of years. As part of the NHS Workforce plan, this scheme has been viewed positively by some who say that it’s supporting better patient care by bringing in more healthcare professionals. However others have raised safety concerns. The DHSC released a factsheet this month explaining more about physician associate and anaesthesia associate role

In November 2023 it was reported that Physician associates who are not qualified doctors have been used in senior roles at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

WHO declares loneliness a ‘global public health concern’

Loneliness can be as bad for people’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day says the US surgeon general. The World Health Organization has launched an international commission on the problem.

In older adults, loneliness is associated with a 50% increased risk of developing dementia and a 30% increased risk of incident coronary artery disease or stroke.

But it also blights the lives of young people. Between 5% and 15% of adolescents are lonely, according to figures that are likely to be underestimates. In Africa, 12.7% adolescents experience loneliness compared to 5.3% in Europe.

Israel - Palestine Conflict

Many in the international community including the UK are pressing for a “humanitarian pause”, while others have called for “humanitarian corridors” and so-called “safe zones” in Gaza. 

Richard Stanforth and Magnus Corfixen explain why a ceasefire is the only credible solution. The key points are summarised below, you can read more in their article here.

  1. International law means we shouldn’t need pauses or corridors in the first place
  2. Corridors and pauses are fragile and often ignored
  3. They may even put civilians at greater risk
  4. History makes Palestinians in particular fear talk of safe zones and corridors 
  5. For Humanitarians, a Ceasefire is the only solution that works

“You come across whole city blocks that have been demolished, just a pancake of concrete layered as buildings have collapsed” On route to northern #Gaza,

@TomWhiteGaza  describes areas of total, catastrophic devastation.
This is a @UNRWA Tweet from 28th Nov 2023

UK Healthcare - NHS advising some patients to 'go private'

One in seven adults in England advised by NHS to go private. Around 14% of patients advised to pay for healthcare by an NHS professional in the past year

Louise Ansari, chief executive of Healthwatch England, said: “With access to NHS care remaining the most significant challenge people report to us nationwide, we’re seeing a two-tier system emerge where timely access to services is often available faster to those with money to pay for it.

There were 227,000 private healthcare admissions in the first three months of this year – the highest since PHIN records began.

That’s a wrap on this month’s news round-up, before you leave, pick one that you found the most interesting out of our selection.

Stay tuned for next month’s roundup. Who knows what will happen in the next thirty days?

Before you leave, take 5 mins and reflect on what you’ve learnt from this

  • What surprised you? What was expected?
  • How has this improved your knowledge of healthcare developments?

Make a quick note of these reflections (bullet-points are fine) in your reflective diary. You might find it useful when answering medical interview questions!

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