Week Commencing 22/05/2023 – In The News

RCN concerned after mental health hub closures

nurse holding stethoscopeThe RCN has learned that out of 41 mental health hubs established to support health and social care staff in England, a third have already closed, leaving an estimated one million people unsupported.

A further seven of the specialist hubs, which were launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, have less than a year’s funding available, potentially leaving thousands more staff without vital mental health services.

The closures come despite a deepening mental health crisis among nursing staff. The most recent data on staff sickness from NHS England shows more than 1.5 million nurse and health visitor days were lost in 2022 due to anxiety, stress, depression and other psychiatric illness – on average, one in every five sickness days were lost to mental health issues.

In 2022, 366 nurses died by suicide, a 62% increase from 2020. At RCN Congress in Brighton this week, members voted for the RCN to lobby for the implementation of an integrated suicide prevention programme for the nursing workforce across the UK.

Visit the HSM website to read more.

Vaping: High lead and nickel found in illegal vapes

Vapes confiscated from school pupils contain high levels of lead, nickel and chromium, BBC News has found.

Used vapes gathered at Baxter College in Kidderminster were tested in a laboratory. The results showed children using them could be inhaling more than twice the daily safe amount of lead, and nine times the safe amount of nickel. Some vapes also contained harmful chemicals like those in cigarette smoke.

High levels of lead exposure in children can affect the central nervous system and brain development, according to the World Health Organization.

It is thought vapes are being used widely by secondary school children and Baxter College is not alone in trying to stop them vaping during school hours.

The Inter Scientific laboratory, in Liverpool, which works with vape manufacturers to ensure regulatory standards are met, analysed 18 vapes. Most were illegal and had not gone through any kind of testing before being sold in the UK.

For more on the analysis, visit the BBC website.

Increase in live electric cables being left in dangerous state

There has been an increase in live electric cables being left in a dangerous state on UK building sites – including hanging from a fence, tacked onto a piece of wood and even dumped in a wheelie bin.

The warning from UK Power Networks comes after their engineers saw the number of incidents of interference with the electricity network triple last year.

Between April 2022 and March this year there have been over 1,000 instances of interference across London, the East and South East of England.

Power workers are now finding unsafe sites on a regular basis and bosses at UK Power Networks are reminding builders, demolition workers and homeowners to call experts to cut through or move live electricity cables.

Electricity Surveyor Chris Slattery attends properties where customers have requested alterations to their electricity service, a new connection or an upgrade.

Learn more on the SHP website.

Registration of buildings with Building Safety Regulator now underway

Hundreds of high-rise buildings are being registered with the new building safety regulator as the stricter regime to protect residents begins.

Around 750 applications have been opened with the new Building Safety Regulator (BSR) since its registration process for high-rise buildings opened last month.

All high-rise residential buildings must be registered with BSR by law. Those responsible for the safety of buildings have until the end of September to register or face prosecution.

BSR is pleased with the early response from the building industry but is urging all owners and managers to act now. Up to 12,500 buildings in England are covered by the new regulator, set up in response to the Grenfell Fire tragedy and officially launched earlier this year.

BSR is an independent body set-up by the Building Safety Act 2022 and part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its launch is the biggest change in building safety for a generation.

Read more about the new regime on the HSE website.

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