Sexual health at risk of becoming ‘Cinderella’ service, say GPs

Sexual and reproductive health is at risk of becoming a ‘Cinderella’ service thanks to red tape, and financial and training hurdles facing GPs and their practice teams, the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has warned.

These issues risk undoing years of improvement in the quality of sexual and reproductive healthcare being delivered to patients – including a halving of teenage pregnancy rates over the past decade and steadily increasing uptake of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), it says.

The findings of a College consultation, published in a report, Time to Act, show that GPs fear rates of teenage pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases will rise – reversing current trends – as vulnerable patients are being excluded from accessing the most appropriate forms of contraception, and widening  health inequalities as a result.

Full report: Sexual and Reproductive Health: Time to Act

Story via OnMedica

Rising popularity of e-cigarettes linked to higher quit rate

Findings from US observational study suggest E-cigarettes appear to have helped to increase smoking cessation at the population level.| OnMedica |BMJ

Researchers have looked at whether the increase in the use of e-cigarettes in the US was associated with a change in overall smoking cessation rate.

They drew on responses to five population surveys from 2001 to 2015. E-cigarette users were identified from the most recent survey (2014-15) and smoking cessation rates were obtained from those who said they had smoked cigarettes in the preceding 12 months. Rates from this most recent survey were then compared to those of four earlier surveys.

Of 161,054 respondents to the 2014-15 survey, 22,548 were current smokers and 2,136 recent quitters. More than a third (38%) of current smokers and nearly half (49%) of recent quitters said they had tried e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette users were more likely than non-users to make a quit attempt (65% vs 40%) and more likely to succeed in quitting for at least three months (8.2% vs 4.8%).

The overall population quit rate for 2014-15 was significantly higher (5.6%) than that for 2010-11 (4.5%), and higher than those for all other survey years.

The 1.1 percentage point difference might appear small, but it represents approximately 350,000 additional US smokers who quit in 2014-15, emphasise the researchers.

Full story at OnMedica

Full reference: Shu-Hong Zhu et al.  E-cigarette use and associated changes in population smoking cessation: evidence from US current population surveys  BMJ 2017; 358 (Published 26 July 2017)

Related BMJ editorial: Rise in e-cigarette use linked to increase in smoking cessation rates

People with co-occurring conditions: commission and provide services

Better care for people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions: A guide for commissioners and service providers | Public Health England

This Public Health England (PHE) guide, developed with the support of NHS England,  should be used by the commissioners and providers of mental health and alcohol and drug treatment services, to inform the commissioning and provision of effective care for people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions. It also has relevance for all other services that have contact with people with co-occurring conditions, including people experiencing mental health crisis.

The guidance has been co-produced with members of the expert reference group for co-existing substance misuse with mental health issues, and in consultation with experts through experience, service providers, practitioners, commissioners and policy leads.

It aims to support local areas to commission timely and effective responses for people
with co-occurring conditions. It encourages commissioners and service providers to
work together to improve access to services which can reduce harm, improve health
and enhance recovery, enabling services to respond effectively and flexibly to
presenting needs and prevent exclusion.

Full document available via Public Health England

Buying time promotes happiness

Research suggest that using money to buy time can protect people from the  detrimental effects of time pressure on life satisfaction. | story via OnMedica

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Using money to free-up time rather than spending it on material goods is linked to increased happiness, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In an experiment, psychologists at the University of British Columbia in Canada said that individuals reported greater happiness if they used £30  to save time – such as by paying for household chores to be done – rather than spending the money on books, clothes or wine.

More than 6,000 adults in the US, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands were asked questions about how much money they spent on buying time. The researchers found that fewer than a third of individuals spent money to buy themselves time each month. Those who did reported greater life satisfaction than the others.

Psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower wellbeing and contributes to anxiety and insomnia.

Full story at OnMedica

Full reference: Whillans, A. V. et al. Buying time promotes happiness| Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences | 2017 published ahead of print July 24, 2017

Arts in health and wellbeing

Creative health: the arts for health and well-being | All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing

This report presents the findings of research, evidence-gathering and discussions with a view to making recommendations to improve policy and practice around the benefits that the arts can bring to health and wellbeing.

Related: Royal Society for Public Health press release

Liver disease financial costs

The financial case for action on Liver disease. Escalating costs of alcohol misuse, obesity and viral hepatitis | The Foundation for Liver Research

This report makes the financial case for concerted preventative action through public health measures to tackle the three main causes of liver disease: alcohol misuse, obesity and viral hepatitis. It summarises the escalating financial costs to the health and care system as well as the wider societal costs related to the three lifestyle-related factors.

Full report: The financial case for action on liver disease

Male eating disorders rise

There has been an increase across the UK of men and boys suffering from eating disorders, according to research by BBC Panorama | BBC News

There has also been a rise in the number of under-18s seeking help. But less is spent on services to treat people of both genders with eating disorders in Wales than in England, a BBC Wales investigation found.

The UK’s largest eating disorder charity, Beat, said people with eating disorders “deserved better”. Panorama investigated the scale of the problem across the UK by asking every mental health trust and board how many men were referred to eating disorder services for a first assessment. From those that responded, it showed in 2016 there were 871 referrals, an increase from 2014 of 43%.

It also found a 42% rise in under-18s of both genders receiving help in 2016 compared to 2014, as well as a postcode lottery when it came to waiting times with lengths varying from less than a week to almost a year.

Read the full news story here