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
- A joint statement by the UN, UNICEF and WHO warns that ‘Women and newborns bearing the brunt of the conflict in Gaza‘
Gaza ‘Becoming a Graveyard for Children’, Warns Secretary-General, Calling for Humanitarian Ceasefire
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) demands protection of patients, healthcare workers, medical facilities in Gaza amid escalating attacks
Israeli Ambulance Strike Apparently Unlawful and should be investigated as a possible war crime says Human Rights Watch
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical personnel are treating patients for severe burns at Nasser Hospital in the Gaza Strip, Palestine following an Israeli airstrike yesterday about one kilometer (0.6 miles) away from the hospital.
A total of 122 patients arrived at the hospital in the immediate aftermath of the airstrike. While 70 people were dead upon arrival, dozens of injured people, including many children, arrived in critical condition with severe burns.
MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) is horrified by the killing of three doctors in a strike on Al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza. The doctors names were: Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila, Dr Ahmad Al Sahar, and Dr Ziad Al-Tatari.
- Oxfam and other humanitarian organisations are not welcoming calls for corridors, pauses and so-called “safe zones” to address the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza
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.
- International law means we shouldn’t need pauses or corridors in the first place
- Corridors and pauses are fragile and often ignored
- They may even put civilians at greater risk
- History makes Palestinians in particular fear talk of safe zones and corridors
- For Humanitarians, a Ceasefire is the only solution that works
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!