Fighting flu in the NHS
NHS chiefs have issued their sternest recommendations yet on ensuring, as near as possible, 100% annual vaccination against influenza for frontline healthcare staff. In a joint letter, senior NHS leaders call on the chief executives of NHS trusts and foundation trusts to aim for 100% of all frontline healthcare workers to be vaccinated against influenza in 2018/19. The 2017/18 national ‘flu-fighter’ target was 75%, which resulted in a vaccination rate of 68.7%. Meanwhile, the healthcare effectiveness agency NICE has issued a guideline on increasing influenza vaccine uptake among eligible groups, which includes healthcare staff.
Physician burnout threatens patient safety
Physician burnout can jeopardise patient care, a systematic review and meta-analysis finds. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine
concludes that healthcare employers should invest in efforts to improve physician wellness, particularly for practitioners early in their medical career. The meta-analysis included 47 studies that together involved more than 42,000 doctors.
Burned out Europe
Although there is a growing body of evidence regarding occupational burnout, research tends to be patchy and the way the condition is measured is inconsistent. These are two of the conclusions of a pan-EU review by the Dublin-based European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Burnout is currently recognised as an occupational disease in only two EU member states – Italy and Latvia – although there have been discussions in Belgium, the Netherlands and Bulgaria as to whether or not burnout should be regarded as a work-related disease.
Solvent exposure at work has impact on semen
Occupational exposure to solvents is associated with a ‘significant impairment of ejaculate volume and sperm concentration’, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
. Sperm motility, morphology and viability were unaffected, however. The authors identified seven studies that had investigated occupational exposure to solvents and the measurement of semen parameters. The paper is believed to be the first meta-analysis of its kind.
Asbestos warning for schools
The HSE has warned that some schools and colleges have been supplied with gauzes for use with Bunsen burner tripods despite the equipment containing asbestos centres. It has issued advice on what to do if a school or college is concerned that they have gauzes that may contain asbestos.
Leave for bereaved parents
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018
became law in September and will provide a right to two weeks’ leave for employees who have lost a child under the age of 18 or where a child is stillborn (from 24 weeks of pregnancy). The right to parental bereavement leave will apply from day one of a person’s employment; the leave will be paid if the employee has been employed for a sufficient qualifying period. The legislation is expected to come into force in 2020.
Stress in schools
The HSE has launched a ‘Preventing work-related stress’ toolkit for schools, which can be used as a framework to encourage conversations about work-related stress.
Health and care workers
The Department of Health and Social Care has created an ‘online space’ where people working in health and social care can voice their concerns and ideas on working in these sectors. The department says it is using the online platform to help provide better support for health and care staff. It covers five ‘challenges’: feeling empowered; bullying, violence and discrimination; training and development; inclusion; and ‘getting the basics right’.
A Right to Participate website has been launched by the charity Disability Rights UK and aims to increase awareness of the Equality Act 2010
, especially the ways it can protect disabled people from discrimination in everyday situations. There is advice on employment-related issues, including a template for employees on raising a complaint at work about a failure to make reasonable adjustments. Another template is designed for job applicants who feel there was a lack of reasonable adjustments during a recruitment process.
FOM ethics guidance
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) is expected to publish the eighth edition of its Ethics guidance for occupational health practice
by the end of November, The At Work Partnership understands. It was first published in 1980; the seventh edition was published in December 2012.
HUGE HAVS FINE
Aircraft engine maintenance and repair company Nordam Europe has been fined £400,000 after 100 of its employees developed hand–arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Cardiff Crown Court heard how the workers were exposed to vibration over a period of 22 years. At least 30 employees were at risk of significant harm, an HSE investigation revealed.