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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Boots and Superdrug among pharmacies to start high street vaccine rollout

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Boots and Superdrug among pharmacies to start high street vaccine rollout Health Secretary Matt Hancock has praised the work of pharmacies throughout the pandemic High street pharmacies in England will be able to distribute coronavirus vaccines from Thursday, the NHS has said. Boots and Superdrug branches will be among the six stores across the country which will be able to administer the jabs. Boots in Halifax, and Superdrug in Guildford, will be in the first group to hand out the injections, alongside Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes. The stores have been picked because they are capable of delivering large volumes of the medicine and allow for social distancing, while still giving a spread across the country. By the end of the month, more than 200 community chemists will be able to give vaccines, according to NHS England. The pharmacies join the 200 hospitals, around 800 GP clinics and seven mass vaccination centres where jabs are already being handed out. Published: 14/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

320 jobs to go as Debenhams permanently shuts six more stores

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320 jobs to go as Debenhams permanently shuts six more stores It is the latest set of job cuts by Debenhams, which axed 2,500 staff in August and around 1,000 in May Department store chain Debenhams has said it will permanently close six branches, including the flagship Oxford Street shop, with the loss of 320 jobs. It said it had also told staff at stores in Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester last week that they will not reopen. The company started a liquidation process last month after failing to secure a last-minute rescue sale. Debenhams’ administrator FRP Advisory said it is continuing to talk with potential suitors over the potential sale of all or parts of the business. The insolvency firm said it still intends to reopen as many stores as possible to sell off stock, despite coronavirus restrictions keeping non-essential retailers shut. The chain is continuing to sell its stock through online platforms. Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

This years Womens Six Nations postponed due to coronavirus pandemic

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This year’s Women’s Six Nations postponed due to coronavirus pandemic The Under-20's tournament is also affected The 2021 Women’s Six Nations Championship has been postponed until later this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But tournament organisers say that plans for the men’s tournament, which is due to kick off on February 6, “remain as scheduled”. France’s government is demanding reassurances on safety from England and Ireland before allowing its national side to visit those countries during the Six Nations next month. The French authorities have concerns over the soaring number of Covid-19 cases in the UK and Ireland, and have already barred their clubs from taking part in European competition this month. The Under-20s Six Nations tournament will also be delayed. Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

England fan who waited in Sri Lanka for 10 months excited for cricket to...

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England fan who waited in Sri Lanka for 10 months excited for cricket to begin The two-test series in Galle starts on Thursday morning An England cricket fan who has waited in Sri Lanka for 10 months to see the team play was still yet to find out if he would be able to watch the game on the eve of the first Test match. Rob Lewis, a web designer from Sunbury-on-Thames, first flew out to Sri Lanka on March 13 last year – and found out while he was on the plane that England’s tour had been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic. But instead of flying back to the UK he stayed in the country and vowed to stay there until England returned to fulfil their fixtures. Now Joe Root and his team are back, but with no fans allowed in the ground in Galle because of Covid-19 restrictions, Mr Lewis is unsure if or how he would be able to watch the game less than 24 hours before the start of the action. Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Car dealers in Scotland banned from offering click and collect from Saturday

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Car dealers in Scotland banned from offering click-and-collect from Saturday Dealers will allowed to deliver directly to customers Car dealers in Scotland won’t be allowed to offer click-and-collect services from Saturday as more stringent coronavirus measures are put in place. However, dealerships will still be able to deliver vehicles to customers who purchase their car online or over the phone. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says that the rules surrounding click-and-collect are being strengthened in order to reduce the number of reasons people have to leave their homes and interact with others. From 00:01 Saturday, only retailers in Level 4 areas selling essentials will be able to offer collection services. Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Intensive care risks being overwhelmed as UK tops 100000 Covid related deaths

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Intensive care ‘risks being overwhelmed’ as UK tops 100,000 Covid-related deaths Boris Johnson made the comments in his appearance at the Commons Liaison Committee Boris Johnson has admitted that hospital intensive care units face being overwhelmed unless coronavirus rates are brought under control. The Prime Minister said there was a “very substantial” risk that ICUs would be unable to cope if numbers kept increasing. Mr Johnson’s stark warning came as the daily reported death toll reached a new high, with 1,564 fatalities recorded within 28 days of a positive test. The latest figures mean the grim milestone of more than 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus has now been passed in the UK, according to official data. Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Asda branch to host in store NHS Pfizer BioNTech vaccination centre

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Asda branch to host in-store NHS Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination centre Supermarket chain Asda is transforming the clothing section of one of its stores to host a Covid-19 vaccination centre. The centre, believed to be the first to open inside a supermarket in England, will operate at an Asda branch in Birmingham from the week starting on January 25. The Leeds-based retailer has been selected by NHS England to operate the centre from its in-store pharmacy, with qualified staff administering the vaccine to priority groups identified by the NHS. The centre will operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, and have the capacity to administer 250 jabs per day. Asda bosses said the site is the first Asda pharmacy to be approved to support the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine programme, and the chain is continuing to work with Public Health England and NHS England to assess other sites within its estate. The firm said in a statement: “Individuals in priority groups will receive their appointment from the NHS and have the option to select the Asda store as a convenient location to receive their vaccination. They should not contact the store directly. “Asda has also offered NHS England the full use of its 238 in-store pharmacies and qualified pharmacists to support the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme which has just begun. “As this variant of the vaccine is easier to transport and store, it could be administered from Asda’s full network of in-store pharmacies throughout the country.” Roger Burnley, Asda CEO and president, said: “We are incredibly proud to provide this service and are keen to do all we can to help the NHS and Government accelerate the rollout of the vaccination programme. “We have an extensive nationwide logistics network that could support the storage and distribution of the vaccine and our highly-trained pharmacy colleagues are experienced in delivering large vaccination programmes, having recently provided nearly 200,000 flu jabs to members of the public. “We are on hand to provide the NHS with any practical support required so that more people can quickly receive the vaccine.” Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Pressure on ministers to introduce statutory bereavement leave

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Pressure on ministers to introduce statutory bereavement leave Ministers are facing calls to introduce a minimum of two weeks’ paid bereavement leave following the death of a close relative or partner. A coalition of MPs, business chiefs and charities called for the measure in the face of the mounting Covid-19 death toll. The Government has so far been reluctant to introduce statutory bereavement leave, although it has done so for parents who lose a child. But Carl Ennis, the UK boss of engineering giant Siemens, said the coronavirus pandemic showed “we need to take a more empathetic and holistic approach to bereavement”. Ministers have argued that extending entitlements to paid bereavement leave would come at a significant cost to the public purse and place extra burdens on employers at a time when many are struggling. However, economic research conducted by bereavement charity Sue Ryder suggested that the grief experienced by employees who have lost a loved one costs the UK economy £23 billion a year and hit the Treasury by nearly £8 billion a year through reduced tax revenues and increased use of NHS and social care resources. The charity’s chief executive Heidi Travis said it was not appropriate for people to rely on annual leave or unpaid time off to cope in the aftermath of a death. She said: “Bereavement is not a holiday. Moreover, it is often the lower paid and those in less secure employment who are unable to take time off to start processing their pain – they may not have the option of flexible working, cannot call in sick and unpaid leave is not a viable alternative. “Coronavirus has already led to an increase in bereavement across the UK, devastating thousands of families. “At this time of national crisis, introducing a more compassionate approach to bereavement leave is paramount.” The coalition, which includes senior MPs and representatives from Hospice UK, Cruse Bereavement Care and the Royal College of Physicians, has written to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng calling for a change in policy. Siemens boss Mr Ennis, part of the coalition, said: “As the Government looks to ‘build back better’, we believe that introducing statutory bereavement leave for an immediate family member or partner is a clear example of a bold, compassionate and caring commitment to UK workers, particularly after the devastating year we had in 2020.” Debbie Abrahams, a Labour member of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, said the pandemic had “cast a spotlight on the urgent need to better support people who are dealing with grief”. A Government spokeswoman said: “Family bereavement is an extremely personal and difficult issue which people deal with in different ways. “We are the first country in the world to have introduced a right to time off specifically for the loss of a child and we urge employers to also display compassion and flexibility towards employees facing the ordeal of losing a partner or close family member.” Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

TikTok tightens privacy rules for under 16s

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TikTok tightens privacy rules for under-16s The accounts of TikTok users under the age of 16 will now be private by default, the company has announced, meaning only people approved by the user can view their videos. The video sharing app said the change was part of efforts to make the platform safer for its younger users. The platform is also tightening controls on who can comment on videos posted by users aged between 13 and 15 and will now only offer two options – either friends or no – for comments. In further updates, TikTok said it was changing collaborative creative tools such as Duet and Stitch so that the wider TikTok community will no longer be able to see those features used by people under 16, while the ability to download videos created by users under 16 is also being removed. The video app has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among younger mobile users, but TikTok has come under pressure to improve its security settings and processes around young people. TikTok’s updates also come ahead of the anticipated introduction of Online Harms legislation, which is expected to be brought before Parliament this year, and will place greater emphasis on social media firms to comply with a duty of care to their users. Elaine Fox, head of privacy in Europe for TikTok, said: “The privacy rights and online safety of our community is a top priority for TikTok, and we place a particular emphasis on the privacy and safety of our younger users, which is why we’re making these significant changes. “We want to encourage our younger users to actively engage in their online privacy journey, and by doing so early we hope to inspire them to take an active role and make informed decisions about their online privacy.” Alexandra Evans, TikTok’s head of child safety in Europe, said the changes were “groundbreaking”. “They build on previous changes we’ve made to promote minor safety, including restricting direct messaging and hosting live streams to accounts 16 and over and enabling parents and caregivers to set guardrails for their teen’s TikTok account through our Family Pairing feature,” she said. “We know there is no finish line when it comes to minor safety, and that is why we are continuously evolving our policies and investing in our technology and human moderation teams so that TikTok remains a safe place for all our users to express their creativity.” Online safety groups have praised the social media site for its actions. Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC, said: “This is a bold package of measures by TikTok and a hugely welcome step that will reduce opportunities for groomers to contact children. “It comes as abusers are taking advantage of the pandemic to target children spending more time online and we urge other platforms to be similarly proactive rather than wait for regulation to come into effect. “The full benefits of these changes will be felt when age assurance measures are put in place in September when the Age Appropriate Design Code comes into force.” Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Almost half of ICU staff have mental health issues due to Covid 19

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Almost half of ICU staff ‘have mental health issues’ due to Covid-19 Almost half of intensive care staff working during the coronavirus crisis are likely to be suffering from problem drinking, severe anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), new research suggests. The study, from King’s College London and published in the journal Occupational Medicine, found poor mental health was common among intensive care unit (ICU) staff, and was more pronounced in nurses than in doctors or health workers on the ward. For the study, 709 healthcare workers from nine ICUs in England completed anonymous web-based surveys in June and July 2020. Some 291 of the staff (41%) were doctors, 344 (49%) were nurses, and 74 (10%) were other healthcare staff. Over half (59%) reported their wellbeing as being good but 45% met the threshold for probable clinical significance for at least one of the following conditions: severe depression (6%), PTSD (40%), severe anxiety (11%) or problem drinking (7%). One in eight (13%) staff reported having frequent thoughts of being better off dead, or of hurting themselves in the previous two weeks. Lead author, Professor Neil Greenberg, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s, said: “Our results show a substantial burden of mental health symptoms being reported by ICU staff towards the end of the first wave in July and July 2020. “The severity of symptoms we identified are highly likely to impair some ICU staffs ability to provide high quality care as well as negatively impacting on their quality of life. “The high rate of mortality amongst Covid-19 patients admitted to ICU – coupled with difficulty in communication and providing adequate end-of-life support to patients and their next of kin because of visiting restrictions – are very likely to have been highly challenging stressors for all staff working in ICUs.” PTSD is caused by stressful, frightening or distressing events and symptoms include repeated nightmares and flashbacks. Data from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey of 2004, the most recent data available, found 4% of people in the general population screened positive for PTSD, rising to 13% of young women aged 16 to 24. Some 6% of people suffered anxiety disorder while 4% had depression. Prof Greenberg said that while the results of his new study were not surprising, “they should serve as a stark reminder to NHS managers of the pressing need to protect the mental health of ICU workers now in order to ensure they can deliver vital care to those in need”. He added: “If we protect the mental health of healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, staff will be better able to sustainably deliver high quality care to the large numbers of patients seriously unwell with Covid-19.” The researchers on the paper, including experts from University College London and the University of Oxford, said further work was now needed. They said self-report questionnaires can sometimes overestimate the rate of clinically relevant mental health symptoms. Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: “The unprecedented demand on nursing staff during the pandemic is having a huge impact on their own wellbeing. “The nurses I speak to every day tell me that they have no fuel left in the tank and their resilience is being seriously tested. “It is vital the support is available where and when it is needed and that managers encourage and support staff to seek help. “Nursing staff need help now to deal with unimaginable levels of anxiety and stress, but there must also be a long-term plan to tackle problems, like PTSD, which may reoccur over many years.” An NHS spokeswoman said: “This is an incredibly tough time for NHS staff working on the front line which is why we have invested £15 million in support, including 38 local mental health and wellbeing hubs and a service for staff with complex mental health needs, such as trauma and addiction. “The public can also help to support doctors and nurses by following the ‘hands, space, face’ guidance to reduce pressure on hospitals and save lives.” It was also revealed that the number of doctors seeking psychiatric help through the British Medical Association (BMA) has increased since the pandemic began. Rates of anxiety, depression and burnout have soared among frontline staff, with a total of 371 doctors accessing the BMA’s helpline during November- up 251 from last January, an increase of almost 50%. Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub