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The NHS is in another crisis of its own making over Streptococcus A

The NHS is in another crisis of its own making over Streptococcus A


Another week on, the NHS is in the midst of another crisis. As has been widely reported, Group A streptococci (Strep A) This time of year is circulating at a higher level than usual. Streptococcus A is the bacterium that causes scarlet fever, a specific throat infection, and in rare cases can cause serious invasive disease. Antibiotics are recommended to reduce the chance of serious illness and reduce the spread of infection.

news outlets regularly report child deaths this winter, and many parents are understandably concerned. However, the proportion of invasive Strep A is now no higher than in March 2018 (the last significant season for this infection) and whether the total number of deaths for the entire season differs significantly from his 2017/18. I don’t know. .

Nevertheless, the UK Health Security Agency advises parents to seek urgent medical attention if their child has symptoms of scarlet fever. The school sent out breaking news through its official channelsBut there are non-specific symptoms like sore throats, rashes, and fevers — symptoms seen in thousands, millions of mildly unwell children this winter — so seek early medical attention. General practitioners are reporting a significant increase in the number of children undergoing surgery, and pediatric emergency departments are witnessing unprecedented levels of demand. I’m here.

Nationwide, parents report difficulty accessing antibiotics and often need to visit multiple pharmacies to procure prescriptions. We’re getting calls from perfectly healthy patients requesting that they have antibiotics on standby in case they don’t have access. Perhaps all this panic is a reaction to years of round-the-clock coverage. is. About Covid Incidence and MortalityAlternatively, it may be related to increased levels of isolation due to parents having less support from peers and family.

Whatever the cause, parental anxiety levels are worryingly high.

Amazingly, no one knew that advising millions of parents that a sore throat or fever could be a harbinger of a deadly disease could cause a certain amount of panic. Such conditions, coupled with medical services stretched to their limits in terms of capacity, are prone to creating a complete storm. Paradoxically, the need for urgent medical care convincing a sufficient number of people could result in a situation in which a small minority of people in critical condition do not receive medical care. This is especially true for health services such as the NHS, which have deliberately ‘run lean’ for years. But the unintended consequences of health policy interventions appear to be a depressingly common theme in the UK.

Like running on gasoline and toilet paperwhich is a classic example of high demand meeting a limited supply (perceived or actual), causing panic. may worsen and the patient may suffer avoidable harm directly attributable to irrational behavior. You will be much safer if you are encouraged to act.

As health services become overwhelmed with mildly ill children, it inevitably makes it difficult to see other patients. It’s hard to imagine how this would be safe in the current situation, as the NHS can’t afford to provoke peaks in demand without anticipating severe consequences. I wonder if health leaders fully realize how difficult it is already for the public to access health care.

Of course, this small increase in Strep A levels does not disrupt the NHS. However, the GP surgery and hospital department is already facing staffing and capacity crises, and there are no plans to fix its sluggish medical services. This is our place.

Will these scenes of panicked parents struggling to get their children treated to usher in a new era of patient behavior? will act more desperate than ever? This episode should serve as a reminder to healthcare leaders (if in doubt). NHS ships are sinking and there are not enough lifeboats.




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