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More in brief

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• Some black and minority ethnic groups are three or more times more likely than average to be admitted as mental health and learning disability inpatients, according to the Healthcare Commission. Earlier this year a census collected data on 31,187 inpatients in mental health wards at 257 healthcare facilities in England and Wales

• A severe shortage of nurses poses a serious danger to units for sick and premature babies in Wales, claims premature baby charity, BLISS. Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed no neonatal unit in Wales had the recommended level of nurses. Similar findings for England and Scotland were published recently.

• Services at sterilisation and disinfection units of four Surrey hospitals have been suspended after it was revealed that equipment at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust had not been sterilised properly. An investigation was launched last week. The hospitals admitted to using the instruments on eight patients.

• Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust is facing debts of up to £110m – thought to be the largest in England. Unless it saves £14m, it will end the financial year with a debt of £23m. A historical debt of £87m brings the total potential deficit to £110m, according to documents obtained by pressure group London Health Emergency.

• The North East Strategic Health Authority has approved a £110m plan to increase and improve its community services. Mental health and disability services will benefit from £75m in Teesside and a primary care centre will open in Gateshead.

• The Welsh Assembly has under-written £1.2m from its budget to help with a shortfall in funds for the second phase of work at a new £50m children’s hospital in Cardiff. The specialist hospital will eventually have the capacity for 30 surgical beds, an intensive care unit, four theatres and dedicated teaching facilities.

• Health minister for Northern Ireland Michael McGimpsey is meeting nurses to discuss concerns over the draft health budget. Mr McGimpsey has admitted the 1.1% increase is not enough and will use information gained from staff to push for extra money from the assembly.

• The RCN has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the needs of people living with HIV. Enrique Castro-Sanchez, the RCN’s adviser on sexual health and HIV, said: ‘We are now more likely than ever to care for someone with HIV. The treatments we have available mean that HIV can be managed like many other chronic diseases.’ www.rcn.org.uk/thinkpositive

• At the end of September the number of patients waiting for inpatient treatment in Northern Ireland was 35,918, a decrease of 677 compared with June. Outpatients waiting figures are also down, with 7,769 fewer patients waiting for their first appointment at the end of September than in June.

• Nurses are being asked to complete a survey for the Scottish Nutrition and Diet Resources Initiative, which produces diet leaflets for patients. The Initiative, funded by the Scottish Government, wants to discover gaps where extra information could be provided. www.sndrisurvey.co.uk

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