Bed found for suicidal girl after judge's criticism

Sir James Munby Image caption Sir James Munby, a senior judge, said there would be "blood on our hands" if the 17-year-old did not receive adequate supervision

A bed has been found for a suicidal girl, a day after a judge criticised a lack of care provision available when she is freed from youth custody.

Sir James Munby, said there would be "blood on our hands" if the 17-year-old did not receive adequate supervision.

The girl, known as X, is due to be released in 10 days and was without a place at a secure unit.

Mike Prentice, NHS North's medical director, said the bed would available ahead of her release date.

"Following extensive assessments, the NHS has identified a bed for this young woman in a safe and appropriate care setting which will best meet her needs," he said.

The girl has tried to kill herself several times.

'Shame and embarrassment'

On Thursday, Sir James, the president of Family Division of the High Court, said society should be "ashamed" for not protecting a suicidal girl in secure custody and he called the situation "utterly shaming".

The judgement[1] in the case of X - who is in the formal care of Cumbria County Council - revealed she was convicted at a youth court and has been detained in custody for almost six months.

An earlier ruling heard how unit staff had witnessed "a profoundly disturbing and distressing scene when X self-harmed by repeatedly banging her head and face against the wall".

Staff have said she has to be checked every 50 seconds when she is in the shower.

Sir James said:"I feel shame and embarrassment;shame, as a human being, as a citizen and as an agent of the State, embarrassment as President of the Family Division, and, as such, Head of Family Justice, that I can do no more for X".

Her case also provoked criticism about a lack of adequate mental health provision.

Earlier this week, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that thousands more mental health workers were to be recruited[2] by the NHS in England.

The government said an extra £1bn already promised for mental health services in England would fund the scheme - part of a pot of £1.3bn committed in 2016 to transform provision....

References

  1. ^ judgement (www.judiciary.gov.uk)
  2. ^ thousands more mental health workers were to be recruited (www.bbc.co.uk)

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South East Coast Ambulance Service report shows bullying culture

AmbulanceImage copyright Getty Images Image caption A "boys club culture" where managers stick together was a key issue

A damning report into an ambulance trust has revealed a culture of bullying and harassment with concerns over "toxic" atmospheres, sexual grooming and a fear of speaking out.

When bullying claims at South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) emerged in February the trust commissioned an independent review.

About half the workforce surveyed experienced bullying in the past year.

The trust said the report revealed "unacceptable" behaviour.

In his report, Prof Duncan Lewis from the University of Plymouth said:"Common decency is a right, not a privilege, and harassment or bullying, including sexual harassment must end now."

He pinpointed Coxheath in Kent and Tangmere in West Sussex as areas "plagued by poor practices/behaviours".

In parts of Kent there are "serious questions of sexual harassment and sexual grooming", with newly qualified women often targeted.

  • 50% said they had been treated in 'disrespectful or rude way'

  • 30% reported feeling 'threatened and intimidated'

  • 2,000 employees responded to survey

The survey revealed good "peer support" between colleagues, with the reasons for bullying firmly located in manager behaviours and often "militaristic" leadership.

Prof Lewis added:"Whilst it is possible sexual harassment might not have been known to the executive because employees are fearful of speaking out against a macho, boys club culture in Kent and in other parts of Secamb, ignorance is no defence."


Key issues raised in focus groups:

  • Groups of male managers, whose careers had progressed together, upheld a culture that was stubbornly resistant to change
  • An absence of female role models amongst the senior officers
  • Employees, some of 30 years experience, had never encountered members of the executive in their day-to-day workplaces
  • "Toxicity" leading to a "complaining and reporting" culture instead of colleagues speaking to each other
  • A detached culture as staff still assign their loyalty to their county a decade on from Secamb unifying Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  • Staff being "punished" for sickness

Employees also frequently spoke of a fear of reporting bullying.

Those who voiced concerns had "suffered" for it, with more monitoring, work, and pressure because "managers default to supporting each other".

The frequently changing leadership at Secamb was also said to be contributing factor.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The trust says it will work to improve

Chief executive Daren Mochrie, who has been in the post since April 2016, said:"I am truly disappointed and upset that so many of our staff have experienced bullying and disrespectful behaviour in the workplace.

"Secamb is full of extremely dedicated and professional people who are concerned about caring for their patients as well as each other.

"However, I was also aware that the trust is facing a number of challenges and areas where vital improvements need to be made.

"The behaviours it describes are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated, in any sense and at any level, moving forward."


Report recommendations:...

  • More prominent roles for governors and non-executive directors in tackling bullying
  • Enhanced training, support and development for managers to tackle harassment and make them more accountable
  • Creation of a group drawn from across the workforce to drive change at board level

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All Hampshire schools to offer Men ACWY meningitis vaccine

vaccinationImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Uptake of the Men ACWY vaccine through GP surgeries is "worryingly low"

The meningitis ACWY vaccine is to be offered in all Hampshire secondary schools from January 2018.

Currently the jab is offered through GP surgeries in the south of the county and school nurses in the north.

NHS England said there was "strong evidence that providing immunisation in schools increases uptake".

Hampshire is among 19 out of 152 English local authority areas where not all children are vaccinated through schools.

Six areas offer the vaccine through GP practices, while 13 have a mixed school and GP delivery model, according to the latest data for 2015/16.[1]

Image copyright Amy Davis Image caption Late symptoms of meningitis can include a rash

The Men ACWY vaccine was introduced in August 2015, replacing the Men C jab.

It followed "a rapid rise in a new and particularly deadly strain of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia (Men W)", the Meningitis Research Foundation said.

Head of research Linda Glennie said:"It's good news that the NHS in Wessex will now offer adolescent vaccines through schools.

"Uptake of Men ACWY vaccine via the school route has been as high as 84% in some areas.Unfortunately, uptake among older teenagers who were offered it free from their GP has been worryingly low - only 33% of school leavers in 2016 had taken up the vaccine."


Meningitis

  • Meningitis is an infection of the meninges - the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord
  • Meningococcal bacteria are common and carried harmlessly in the nose or throat by about one in 10 people
  • They are passed on through close contact
  • Symptoms can include a fever, tiredness, and general aches at first.These can get rapidly worse, with agitation, confusion, vomiting and headaches
  • People should seek help as soon as possible and should not wait for a rash to appear before getting advice

In a statement, NHS England Wessex said it had decided to change its delivery programme to improve take-up rates.

The government said the number of children vaccinated in Hampshire was unknown "due to technical difficulties in extracting data".

Meningitis W infection is fatal in one in 10 cases and can lead to long-term health problems including deafness, epilepsy and amputations.

Public Health England has urged young people[2] going to college or university to be vaccinated, because their risk of contracting the disease is higher....

References

  1. ^ latest data for 2015/16. (www.gov.uk)
  2. ^ urged young people (www.bbc.co.uk)

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First hints Parkinson's can be stopped

Brain scansImage copyright Getty Images

It may be possible to stop the progression of Parkinson's disease with a drug normally used in type 2 diabetes, a clinical trial suggests.

Current drugs help manage the symptoms, but do not prevent brain cells dying.

The trial on 62 patients, published in the Lancet, hints the medicine halted the progression of the disease.

The University College London (UCL) team is "excited", but it urges caution as any long-term benefit is uncertain and the drug needs more testing.

"There's absolutely no doubt the most important unmet need in Parkinson's is a drug to slow down disease progression, it's unarguable," Prof Tom Foltynie, one of the researchers, told the BBC.

In Parkinson's, the brain is progressively damaged and the cells that produce the hormone dopamine are lost.

It leads to a tremor, difficulty moving and eventually memory problems.

Therapies help manage symptoms by boosting dopamine levels, but the death of the brain continues and the disease gets worse.

No drug stops that happening.

'First'

In the trial, half of patients were given the diabetes drug exenatide and the rest were given a placebo (dummy treatment).All the patients stayed on their usual medication.

As expected, those on just their usual medication declined over 48 weeks of treatment.But those given exenatide were stable.

And three months after the experimental treatment stopped, those who had been taking exenatide were still better off.

Prof Foltynie told the BBC News website:"This is the first clinical trial in actual patients with Parkinson's where there has been anything like this size of effect.

"It gives us confidence exenatide is not just masking symptoms, it's doing something to the underlying disease.

"We have to be excited and encouraged, but also cautious as we need to replicate these findings."

Early days

They also need to trial the drug for much longer periods of time.

An effective drug would need to hold back the disease for years in order to make a significant difference to patients.

Parkinson's progresses slowly and the difference in this 60-week trial was definitely there, but was "trivial" in terms of the impact on day-to-day life, say the researchers.

The drug helps control blood sugar levels in diabetes by acting on a hormone sensor called GLP-1.

Those sensors are found in brain cells too.It is thought the drug makes those cells work more efficiently or helps them to survive.

It is why the drug is being tested in other neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's.

David Dexter, the deputy director of research at Parkinson's UK, said:"The findings offer hope that drugs like exenatide can slow the course of Parkinson's -  something no current treatment can do.

"Because Parkinson's can progress quite gradually, this study was probably too small and short to tell us whether exenatide can halt the progression of the condition, but it's certainly encouraging and warrants further investigation."

Dr Brian Fiske, from the The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, said:"The results from the exenatide studies justify continued testing, but clinicians and patients are urged not to add exenatide to their regimens until more is known about their safety and impact on Parkinson's."...

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