HPS Weekly Report
29 Jan 2019
Volume 53 No. 04
New HPS beta website released
Following the successful release of an alpha version of the new Health Protection Scotland (HPS) website last year, we have now released the beta version of the website.
The beta website and the current website will both run at the same time for approximately five weeks until the switch over, when the beta website becomes the main new website. The current website will still be available for a further four weeks and after this time it will be archived.
We are keen to hear from our users about their experiences using the beta site, and would be pleased if you would email any feedback.
The HPS website address remains https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/ but it may mean that any links on your organisation websites or intranets may need updated once our new website is published.
Some of the links will be automatically redirected to their new address, however if that is not possible, users will be re-directed to a webpage where guidance will be provided on how to access the content they require.
New SHPN guidance on HIV prevention in MSM
The Scottish Health Protection Network (SHPN) ‘Guidance on HIV Prevention in Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) (2019 edition)’ replaces the 2012 edition and continues to place the model of combination prevention at its core.
There have been numerous advances since the 2012 edition, including the introduction of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) throughout the NHS in Scotland, the UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 target, which has helped focus attention on treatment as prevention, and the crucial role of people living with HIV in the conversation about HIV prevention.
The three constituent elements of the model of combination prevention have been thoroughly revised and reordered with structural, behavioural and biomedical interventions presented in that order. Wellbeing in sexual health and the prevention of HIV cannot be produced and performed by any one single agent or agency, be that individual MSM, the NHS, or the third sector. A reduction in health inequalities is the foundation upon which further and individualised interventions are anchored.
This guidance is founded on the best available evidence on HIV prevention in MSM as well as expert opinion. It is intended to facilitate pathways to improve HIV prevention interventions, whether they are provided by statutory services or commissioned and subsequently delivered by either statutory or third sector organisations.
The guidance can be viewed on our website.
Recommendations on hepatitis C case-finding and access to care
The Hepatitis C Clinical Leads Group, on behalf of the Scottish Health Protection Network (SHPN), has published new recommendations on the hepatitis C virus (HCV) case-finding and access to care. The purpose of the recommendations is to support the Scottish Government’s hepatitis C elimination strategy, which will be published later this year.
The report includes a summary of the published, and best practice evidence, reviewed by the Case-Finding and Access to Care Short Life Working Group. The recommendations offer practical guidance for health boards to improve HCV testing, diagnosis, and treatment uptake in a variety of settings, including drug use services, community pharmacies, injecting equipment providers, and prisons.
The report can be viewed on our website.
Raynaud’s disease awareness month February 2019
Raynaud’s disease is a condition where the small blood vessels in the extremities such as hands and feet, fingers or toes are over-sensitive to changes in temperature, cold and sometimes stress. This causes a Raynaud’s attack, where the fingers sometimes change colour, from white, to blue, to red. Raynaud’s disease is a common condition thought to affect up to ten million people in the UK.
There are two different types of Raynaud’s, primary and secondary. Primary is less serious as the condition is mild and manageable, whilst people experiencing secondary Raynaud’s will usually have more severe symptoms.
Secondary Raynaud’s is caused by another condition, usually an autoimmune condition like scleroderma or lupus, that needs more investigation and more careful monitoring for complications like ulceration or sores.
Avian Influenza: advice for travellers over Chinese New Year
The Chinese Lunar New Year, or spring festival, begins on 5 February 2019, and marks the start of the year of the pig. The celebrations end with the lantern festival on 19 February 2019. There is likely to be more travel from the UK to China in the coming weeks.
Human cases of avian influenza have recently been reported in China, and historically there have been more cases at this time of year. Cases have originated from several provinces and municipalities across mainland China, and there have been a small numbers of cases among residents of Hong Kong and Taiwan who have travelled to mainland China.
The majority of reported human cases in China have had close contact with wild birds or poultry. Although the risk is very low, the Travel and International Health Team are reminding UK travellers to protect themselves from avian flu by minimising exposure to wild birds and poultry.
Source: PHE, 22 January 2019
UK launches action plan on antimicrobial resistance
The UK Government has launched a five year action plan contributing to the containment and control of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in health, animals, the environment and the food chain.
A major focus of the plan is to make sure current antibiotics stay effective by reducing the number of resistant infections and supporting clinicians to prescribe appropriately. Targets include cutting the number of drug-resistant infections by 10% (5,000 infections) by 2025, reducing the use of antibiotics in humans by 15% and preventing at least 15,000 patients from contracting infections as a result of their healthcare each year by 2024.
New technology will also be used to gather real-time patient data to help clinicians understand when to use and preserve antibiotics in their treatment.
The action plan can be viewed on the Department of Health (DOH) website.
Source: DOH, 24 January 2019
Microbiological survey of minced beef on sale in Scotland
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and partners, in collaboration with public analysis laboratories, will conduct a comprehensive survey of the microbiological pathogens STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli), Campylobacter, Salmonella and hygiene indicator organisms (generic E. coli and aerobic colony counts) in minced beef across Scotland. All of the pathogens detected and a subset of 100 isolates of generic E. coli will be tested for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The primary objective of the survey is to generate baseline data on the prevalence of pathogens and hygiene indicator organisms in minced beef on retail sale. A secondary objective is to see if there are any patterns in variation, such as seasonal changes, in order to identify any risk factors associated with microbiological contamination.
The survey will be carried out between January and December 2019 and the results and analysis are due to be published by summer 2020.
National Low Emissions Framework published
The Scottish Government have recently published the National Low Emissions Framework (NLEF).
The Framework provides a methodology for local authorities to undertake air quality assessment to inform decisions on transport related actions to improve local air quality, where transport is identified as the key contributor to air quality problems.
The NLEF supports and builds on the work already being done through the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) system.
The NLEF will contribute to the vision set out in ‘Cleaner Air for Scotland : the Road to a Healthier Future’ (CAFS), which aims for Scotland to have the best air quality in Europe, by assisting in the consideration of actions that will reduce the impacts of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM).
The CAFS strategy can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.
The NLEF can be found on the Air Quality Scotland website.
Scottish business urged to comment on SEPA’s nine sector plans
The nine Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) sector plans, announced on 21 December 2018, will remain open for consultation until 15 February 2019 across agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure businesses. In response to mounting scientific evidence about climate change, environmental impact and resource scarcity, the sector plans set out a range of actions to help all regulated businesses meet, and go beyond, their compliance obligations.
The sector plans set out how SEPA will ensure all businesses comply with environmental laws. They also set out a series of ‘beyond compliance’ goals to help organisations recognise the economic opportunity of sustainable business models by reducing the amount of materials, energy and water used across the sectors, promote innovation and reduce overall impact.
Getting feedback from communities, partners and stakeholders is important and feedback is critical to the success of the sector planning approach. Everyone with an interest in the environment and involved in these sectors, is encouraged to visit the SEPA dedicated sector website.
Source: SEPA, 23 January, 2019
Fighting the throwaway culture
The Scottish Government has reiterated its pledge to introduce a deposit return scheme as part of plans to further tackle plastic waste.
It is hoped that the deposit return scheme will increase the quality and quantity of recycled materials collected in Scotland, with the aim that these materials will be re-used in the Scottish food and drinks industry.