Care homes are using “do not resuscitate” orders without the consent of the patients or their families, an investigation by the Care Quality Commission has found.
The regulator found that, at the height of the Covid pandemic, “unlawful” blanket orders were placed on residents, sometimes at the request of GPs, and it is possible that “in some cases inappropriate [orders] remain in place”.
Some homes delayed calling an ambulance or a doctor because of the instructions, and in other cases residents “felt pressured to agree to an advance Covid-19 care plan that stated that they would stay at home without treatment” if they caught the virus, the CQC said.
The watchdog has concluded that the “blanket and inappropriate use” of the orders, in the context of limiting access to hospital for older and disabled people, “could have had an impact including potentially avoidable death”.
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How the UK will get Pfizer’s Covid vaccine from factory to patient
The first doses of a Covid-19 vaccine approved for public use could already be in the UK and on its way to distribution hubs.
Pfizer-BioNTech’s jab was being packed for shipment on Wednesday and could arrive as early as Thursday – making the UK the first country in the world to receive the vaccine ready for administering.
The jab is being made by the pharmaceutical company in Puurs, a small Belgian town south of Antwerp, and it will be transported to Britain on planes and lorries.
Reports warns about digital health passports
Digital health passports should not be introduced on a mass basis until coronavirus tests and vaccines are readily available, a report has warned.
Researchers said the failure to address issues with the availability and affordability of tests and vaccines risks excluding already vulnerable people from protection against Covid-19.
Digital health passports, also known as immunity passports, are digital credentials which when combined with identity verification allow people to prove their health status.
Report author Dr Ana Beduschi, from the University of Exeter, said policymakers needed to strike a balance between protecting the rights and freedoms of all individuals and safeguarding public interests while managing the effects of the pandemic.
She warned digital health passports may interfere with several fundamental rights, including the right to privacy, the freedoms of movement and peaceful assembly.
It also warns that the use of digital health passports may have an impact on equality and non-discrimination.
If some people cannot access or afford Covid-19 tests and vaccines they will not be able to prove their health status, thus having their freedoms de facto restricted.
Europe will pay a high price for vaccine bureaucracy
Britain’s lightning-fast vaccination slashes the tail-risk of a Covid third wave and averts a calamitous slide into even deeper economic crisis. Europe is not so lucky, writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.
The EU lacks anything like the UK’s Regulation 174 enabling fast-track action to fight pandemics, or chemical and nuclear attacks. Bureaucracy and legalistic inertia will give the virus one last chance to cause maximum devastation on the Continent, and this slippage of several weeks will have serious consequences for a clutch of eurozone economies already in trouble.
The pandemic is not an international beauty contest. But it is indisputable that the UK has stolen a march by freeing itself from the EU’s policy orbit and going its own way under the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the teeth-arm of the EU system in its day.
There was much outrage in anti-Brexit circles when Boris Johnson shunned the EU’s vaccine alliance. He was accused of reckless nationalistic infantilism. It was said that the UK would not have the great power ‘clout’ to obtain global vaccines at scale. Events have not played out remotely as they expected.
Who will get the vaccine first?
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved by regulators for use in Britain, paving the way for mass vaccinations to begin.
In a press conference onTuesday, Boris Johnson announced that we have been waiting for a “searchlight of science” to “pick out our invisible enemy” but “now the scientists have done it”.
But who will receive the vaccine first? Here’s our handy guide:
CDC warns of worst public health crisis in US history
The head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Wednesday that the Covid-19 pandemic, still raging across America, will pose the country’s gravest health crisis yet over the next few months.
CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield urged stricter adherence to safety precautions such as wearing face coverings and social distancing to slow the spread of the virus that is now claiming well over 2,000 US lives a day.
Besides the monumental loss of life, Dr Redfield said, the country faces the prospect of a healthcare system strained to the point of collapse. The contagion has now reached every corner of the country – with 90 per cent of all hospitals in areas designated as coronavirus “hot zones” – and continues to spread on a much steeper trajectory than any previous wave of the pandemic.
“The reality is that December, January and February are going to be rough times,” Dr Redfield told the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult times in the public health history of this nation.”
The US death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 2,700 in one day on Wednesday, the highest since April, Johns Hopkins University said.
Australia will keep borders shut
Australia’s borders will likely stay closed for “some time”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, despite progress in rolling out Covid-19 vaccines.
The UK on Wednesday approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine, stoking hopes of rapid inoculations across the world.
But Mr Morrison said Australia would keep its borders closed to non-Australian citizens and non-permanent residents.
“On international borders we’re still some time away from that,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
Source: The Telegraph Travels