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Doctors and nurses 'must redouble hygiene efforts'

While steps have been taken to reduce infection rates of hospital bugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, other infection rates are still too high, the Nice said.

A spokeswoman said doctors and nurses must "redouble" hygiene efforts to bring the rates down.

It is unacceptable that infection rates are still so high within the NHS. Infections are a costly and avoidable burden. They hinder a patient's recovery, can make underlying conditions worse, and reduce quality of life.

Although there have been major improvements within the NHS in infection control, particularly in relation to Clostridium difficile and MRSA bloodstream infections in the last few years, healthcare associated infections are still a very real threat to patients, their families and carers and staff.

– Professor Gillian Leng

1 in 16 NHS patients pick up infections

One in 16 people receiving NHS care are picking up infections, health officials have warned.

The National Institute for Health Care Excellence (Nice) says he level of infections are "unacceptably high" and are a "very real threat" to patients.

Every year around 300,000 people get an infection while being cared for by the health service in England. Credit: Press Association

Every year around 300,000 people get an infection while being cared for by the health service in England.The most common type of infections include pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections.

These infections can occur in otherwise healthy people, especially if invasive procedures or devices like catheters or vascular access devices, are used, Nice said.

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Number of steroid users is 'rapidly increasing'

The number of people who are injecting themselves with steroids or other image enhancing drugs is "rapidly increasing", health experts have warned.

Nice has warned of the increasing amount of people using steroids. Credit: SportsChrome/Press Association Images

More must be done to help the rising tide of people, including teenagers, who use these drugs, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

Outreach programmes should be set up in gyms to try to reach this group of drug users, Nice said. They also warned that people who use steroids do not seem themselves as having a drug problem.

The health authority also said that needle and syringe programmes - which were set up in the 1980s and 1990s to stem the spread of HIV - should also make sure that these drug users have the sterile equipment they need to prevent the spread of blood-borne viruses.

Meanwhile, local health bodies need to increase the proportion of these drug users who are tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C and other viruses.

Drug funding changes are 'a stealth cut for cancer'

Thousands of cancer patients could be denied access to life-extending drugs under new plans for approving medicines on the NHS, campaigners have said.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is changing its criteria on how funding should be allocated.

Appraisal committees will now be asked to adopt a more "favourable approach" when considering treatments for people whose conditions represent a high burden of illness and where there is a wider impact on society.

Drug funding changes.
Drug funding changes. Credit: Jens BÃŒttner/DPA/Press Association Images

The Rarer Cancers Foundation said a move to abolish the criteria covering end-of-life drugs means there is no guarantee key treatments would be approved in the future.

Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the foundation, said:

"Plans to abolish special rules for drugs used near the end of a patient's life have been slipped out in the small print of this consultation.

"They amount to a stealth cut for cancer."

This comes just a month after NICE said it would reject government proposals to take benefits to society into account.

Last month NICE said the proposals would leave the elderly at risk.

Background: NICE rejects government's 'anti-elderly' drug proposals

Your views: NICE rejects 'anti-elderly' drug proposals

We asked you what you thought should be the primary concern on decisions over drug spending after health experts rejected government proposals that would see an assessment of the benefits a patient may have on society being taken into account when deciding whether to pay for new drugs.

  • Sammie Engleby: Quality of life without a shadow of a doubt. Since when should we judge on whether a person is a benefit to society? The NHS has a moral obligation to treat regardless of age, race, gender etc.
  • Dannie Hanlon: It goes against everything the NHS stands for! And who determines an individual's contribution to society?
  • Anita Johnson: Everyone has a right to quality of life and most elderly have paid more into the system than any of us, so they should get what they are entitled to.
  • Paula Hall: It's discrimination to choose based on an individual's contribution to society. Illness and quality of life should be primary factors.
  • Nikki Arnold: This is an idea from those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

You can join the conversation on the ITV News Facebook page.

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Department of Health 'wants best value for the NHS'

We want to make sure we get the best possible results for all NHS patients with the resources we have, which means using taxpayers' money responsibly and getting good value for money.

That's why we have asked Nice to look at the way drugs are assessed so that patients can get the treatments they need at the best value for the NHS and the price the NHS pays is more closely linked to the value a medicine brings.

We understand that it's an important and complex issue on which many people will have views and Nice will be consulting widely on the proposals.

– Department of Health spokesperson

NICE: Quality of life 'should be part of drugs equation'

This wider societal impact is such a sensitive issue. You can do it in a hard-nosed economic way, which is the department's calculation, but our sense is the wider public see wider societal impact as being more subtle than that.

And we're really concerned that we don't send out the message that we value life less when you're 70 than we do when you're 20.

– Sir Andrew Dillon, head of Nice

Nice approves drugs costing less than £20,000 to give a year of good-quality life and Sir Andrew wants a similar formula to assess how a patient's quality of life is affected by illness, and then use this to estimate the social benefit of a treatment that could return them to full health.

Drugs for elderly would have 'negative social value'

Drugs that help older people live longer would be seen as having a "negative" social value because elderly patients take more from society than they can put back, under Government proposals.

The Department of Health has reportedly instructed Nice to re-examine how it assesses the cost-effectiveness of drugs to take into account the benefits successful treatments may have on society, such as allowing people to return to work.

But an assessment of the plans by Nice found that such plans would "inevitably take age into account to some degree".

NICE: Drugs assessments 'would leave elderly at risk'

Government proposals that would see an assessment of the benefits a patient may have on society being taken into account when deciding whether to pay for new drugs have been rejected by health experts.

NICE: NHS assessments 'would leave elderly at risk'
NICE: NHS assessments 'would leave elderly at risk'. Credit: Jens BÃŒttner/DPA/Press Association Images

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) dismissed plans by ministers that would see patients who contribute to the economy being given priority, The Times (£) said.

Sir Andrew Dillon, head of Nice, told the newspaper such an approach would leave the old at risk because younger patients would be seen as having more to gain from treatment as they could give more back.

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