Press release: New measures to support roll-out of vaccines in the UK

first_imgNew laws allowing more healthcare workers to administer flu and potential COVID-19 vaccines have been introduced, the government announced today.The measures aim to save thousands of lives by increasing access to vaccines against potentially killer diseases.They will also support the government’s plans for the roll-out of a potential COVID-19 vaccine that is proven to be safe and effective through robust clinical trials and approved for use by the regulator.Following a public consultation, changes to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 will come into force today (Friday 16 October 2020) which will: If a vaccine is developed before 2021, the changes to the Human Medicine Regulations will bolster existing powers that enable the MHRA to authorise temporary supply for any treatment or vaccine needed to respond to a public health need.This means that if a vaccine has been found to meet the safety, quality and effectiveness standards by the MHRA then vaccinations can begin without needing to wait for the European Medicines Agency who – up until the end of the transition period in 2021 – would have been the only body able to grant a licence.Dr Christian Schneider, Interim Chief Scientific Officer at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said: Patient safety is our top priority. The independent Commission on Human Medicines will advise the UK government on the safety, quality and effectiveness of any potential vaccine. No vaccine will be deployed unless stringent standards have been met through a comprehensive clinical trial programme. The preferred route to enable deployment of any new vaccine remains through the usual product licensing processes. But reinforced safeguards are now in place to strengthen the regulatory regime and our ability to protect public health, should temporary authorisations be necessary. COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at speed which, if successful, will save lives. All vaccines must undergo 3 stages of clinical trials and be assessed for safety and effectiveness by the regulator before they are given to patients. The measures outlined today aim to improve access and strengthen existing safeguards protecting patients. The NHS has vast experience in vaccinating millions of people against diseases every year. These legal changes will help us in doing everything we can to make sure we are ready to roll out a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it has passed clinical trials and undergone rigorous checks by the regulator. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:center_img We will be able to increase the number of fully trained and experienced healthcare professionals to administer COVID-19 and flu vaccines under NHS and local authority occupational health schemes, as well as enable an expanded workforce that can administer these vaccinations to the public. This will make it easier and quicker for patients and healthcare workers to access the vaccines they need, protecting them against fatal diseases.Our planning will ensure this does not affect other services in hospitals and in GP and community services, by drawing on a pool of experienced NHS professionals through the NHS Bring Back Scheme. This will ensure we can provide a safe and effective vaccination programme while continuing to offer timely access to other NHS services.Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: enable the expansion of the trained workforce who can administer COVID-19 and flu vaccines to improve access and protect the public. This will begin with those who already have experience in handling vaccinations but may currently work outside of NHS settings, such as independent nurses, allied healthcare professionals, paramedics, physiotherapists, pharmacists and student nurses and doctors. The expanded workforce will undergo a robust training programme to ensure patient safety is upheld to the highest standards implement reinforced safeguards to support the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to exceptionally grant temporary authorisation, pending the granting of a licence, for new vaccines and treatments needed to tackle public health threats – provided they meet the highest safety, quality and effectiveness standards and there’s a significant public health justification for doing so More healthcare workers will be trained to administer flu and COVID-19 vaccines safely to public Changes will help the UK-wide deployment of vaccines once they have been approved by the regulator Vaccines will only be given to patients once proven to be safe and effective From 2021, the MHRA will have a national licensing system in place and will be responsible for granting licences for potential vaccines and treatments once they meet high standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.Background informationSee the formal response to the consultation.The independent Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises the government on which groups of people to prioritise for vaccination, based on the characteristics of the vaccine when that data is available. Read the latest JCVI advice.The changes to the Human Medicines Regulations will also clarify the scope of the protection from civil liability for pharmaceutical companies and the additional workforce that could be allowed to administer vaccinations.last_img read more

Jerry Garcia Foundation To Join Dead & Company’s Charity Outreach Initiative

first_imgAnyone who has attended a Dead & Company show this summer has surely seen Participation Row, the charity outreach program spearheaded by both HeadCount and REVERB. The organizations have put together a place for charity representatives to get together and share information about their respective causes, with auctions and outreach efforts to entice participation.Today, we’ve learned that Manasha and Keelin Garcia have added their charity, the Jerry Garcia Foundation, to the list of charities at Participation Row. The Jerry Garcia Foundation supports meaningful causes through arts and music, and their booth will encourage fans to write on the #StoriesofGratitude board.“We are honored to be a part of The Participation Row charity village in the presence of music that continues to uplift and inspire,” said Manasha Garcia in a statement about their joining the cause. “The Foundation is very grateful to Dead & Company, HeadCount and Reverb for their generosity.”The Jerry Garcia Foundation’s guest charity partners, including Musicians On A Mission, 1% for the Planet, Alive Inside Foundation, Shimer College, Fender Music Foundation and Playing for Change Foundation, will share the table at Participation Row on designated event dates. It looks to be an excellent way to inspire change throughout the community.last_img read more

Transforming from within

first_imgSocial change was the theme of this year’s Radcliffe Day, the traditional event that follows Harvard’s Commencement ceremonies, during which present and past affiliates of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study gather to celebrate its accomplishments and ponder future goals.The highlight of the session Friday (May 27) was the awarding of the Radcliffe Institute Medal, which is given to someone whose life and work have benefited society. This year’s recipient was Ela Bhatt, who has dedicated her life to helping women in India lead more empowered, more fulfilled, and healthier lives.“Transformation comes from within,” said Bhatt, whose union work with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) of India has transformed the lives of more than a million women in her country.In 1972, Bhatt founded SEWA to help protect women from unfair, exploitative labor practices. The women she organized were part of the informal sector, working in fields such as construction, agriculture, and domestic labor. Her organization now has 1.3 million members and has grown to offer services such as micro-loans, health and life insurance, and child care, all overseen by more than 100 women-run cooperatives.“When women have an income of their own, they are able to fight their own battles in their own way. For that, economic freedom is the key,” said Bhatt.Although her workers still occupy the “margins” of society, “it’s from the margins,” said Bhatt, “that real transformation comes to the center.” Successful, supported work isn’t just the key to economic freedom, said Bhatt. It gives people roots, builds communities, gives meaning to life, and is “the foundation of peace.”“In my experience,” said Bhatt, “women are the key to building holistic communities.”Known as the gentle revolutionary, Bhatt’s philosophy mirrors that of Indian political leader Mahatma Gandhi, who guided the nation to independence from Britain through a policy of determined, nonviolent resistance.Gandhi’s message “was easily acceptable by the local common people,” said Bhatt in an interview earlier in the day. His wisdom, she said, derived “from the wisdom of soil,” and from simple traditions like “truth, the dignity of labor, looking at the cost of human values, and simplicity.”Simplicity, she said, was the value she admired most. It’s not always the case, said Bhatt, that “complexity is progress.”Past award recipients include tennis great Billie Jean King, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and opera superstar Jessye Norman.Lani Guinier ’71 (left), the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, said she looks to her students for inspiration. “Social change,” she said, comes in part from identifying and collaborating with “young, energized spirits who are moving in the right direction.”In the morning, Radcliffe fellows, friends, and former students gathered at the American Repertory Theater’s Loeb Drama Center for a panel discussion titled “Making a World of Difference.”One panelist was Abigail English ’71, RI ’11, the 2010-11 Frieda L. Miller Fellow at the institute, whose research examines the sexual exploitation and trafficking of adolescents. She said transformative social change hinges on two concepts.“It requires empowering a sense of a personal stake in the well-being of others,” she said, as well as creating “a sense of hope that action can make a difference.”Lani Guinier ’71, the first woman of color appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School, and Bennett Boskey Professor of Law, said she looks to her students for inspiration.“Social change,” she said, comes in part from identifying and collaborating with “young, energized spirits who are moving in the right direction.”During the afternoon luncheon, held under a tent in Radcliffe Yard, outgoing Dean Barbara J. Grosz received a standing ovation from the crowd and words of praise from Harvard President Drew Faust, herself a former Radcliffe dean.Faust lauded Grosz, who is also Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, for further integrating the institute with the University, and with other academic fields, particularly science.“She has made [science] an absolute core part of this institution in ways that have been imaginative and innovative and now are essential to the Radcliffe Institute’s identity,” said Faust.President Drew Faust lauded outgoing Dean Barbara J. Grosz, who is also Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, for further integrating the institute with the University, and with other academic fields, particularly science.last_img read more

Electronic health records don’t cut administrative costs

first_imgThe federal government thought that adopting certified electronic health record systems (EHR) would reduce administrative costs for physicians in a variety of specialties. However, a major new study conducted by researchers at Duke University and Harvard Business School and published in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that this benefit has not been achieved.The study found that costs for processing a single bill ranged from $20 for a primary care visit to $215 for an inpatient surgical procedure, or up to 25 percent of revenue. By comparison, the cost to process most payments by credit card is normally 2 percent. Based on this analysis, the study estimates that billing costs for primary care services are about $100,000 per provider per year.To conduct the study, the researchers used time-driven, activity-based costing, a state-of-the-art accounting method, to determine the administrative costs associated with billing and insurance activities in a large academic health care system with a certified EHR.Administrative costs are known to account for at least a quarter of total health care spending in the U.S., twice the amount in Canada and significantly greater than most other high-resource countries. Administrative spending has outpaced overall health care expenditures, and experts estimate that almost two-thirds of these costs are related to billing and insurance. However, these data were developed before widespread adoption of certified electronic health record systems.“We found no evidence that adoption of these expensive electronic health record systems reduced billing costs related to physician services,” said Kevin Schulman of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the Duke University School of Medicine, and Harvard Business School, one of the study’s authors.“The high billing costs we observed in this study occurred at an institution that had already captured significant scale economies by streamlining all its bill-paying functions within a single dedicated unit,” said Harvard Business School’s Robert S. Kaplan, a co-author of the study. “The high costs were not caused by wasteful, inefficient processes, duplicate or redundant tasks, or the inappropriate use of high-wage personnel to perform low-skilled tasks.”“To a large degree, the significant administrative costs measured in this study are the consequences of heterogeneous payment requirements across the multiple payers and health plans contracting with the academic health center,” said another study author, Barak Richman of the Duke University School of Law and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. “We need to understand better how complexity is driving these enormous costs within the system, costs that do not add value to patients, employers, or providers.”“We hope that this work is the first step toward informing policy solutions that could reduce these non-value-added costs largely hidden within the health care system,” Schulman added.The research team also included Phillip Tseng of the Duke University School of Medicine and Mahek Shah of Harvard Business School.last_img read more

Redefining the Way Local UK Health Authorities Consume IT

first_imgThe UK public healthcare system is currently under tremendous pressure to reduce costs as part of a wider review of public sector spending within the UK. However, this doesn’t stop the need for the constant evolution of its IT infrastructure to meet the growing needs of its patients and clinicians.For the last 18 months, VCE has helped a number of local health authorities to rationalise their existing IT estates by modernising aging critical systems through virtualisation, whilst also increasing system availability.“All these health authorities had roughly the same core requirements: they needed to do more with less, both physically to save on continuous power and cooling costs, but also from a management perspective.ShareThe obvious OPEX savings in minimising power and cooling costs by physically reducing a datacentre’s footprint was clear, but a more pressing challenge was enabling the current IT staff to focus on deploying new applications rather than supporting the aging infrastructure.For the first time, clinicians were appealing to their boards of directors to make substantial improvements in the way patient records were stored and accessed. Clinicians need information to be mobile as they move between departments or as patients move between wards on the way to recovery.  In order to enable this transformation, IT needed to free up existing staff that had the knowledge of how this data needed to flow, but who were constrained by simply keeping the lights on with the original infrastructure.VCE leveraged our partners’ existing healthcare initiatives to solve these problems and quickly transformed the IT infrastructure to better serve clinicians and patients.By deploying Vblock Systems, our partners and the health authorities were able to quickly utilise a pre-engineered, pre-validated and pre-tested solution that was specifically tailored to their exact requirements.  The Vblock Systems dramatically reduced the time it took to deploy infrastructure and transition live workloads.  This was seen as a major benefit to both the health authorities and our partners – who viewed the Vblock System implementation as just a single task rather than an elongated project.Our partners were then able to deliver a number of advanced services that they specifically developed for the health authorities within the United Kingdom. Of primary concern was the ability to deliver a secure desktop solution for clinicians to use anywhere in the hospital, accessed via a secure single sign-on technology.  Through VCE’s extensive knowledge in this area, we were able to combine both the VDI workloads and backend application workloads within the same Vblock System, whilst maintaining known performance and scalability matrixes for the projected lifespan of each solution.  Our partners then integrated the single sign-on technology for different health care applications, providing the clinicians with the portable desktop solution.On top of the clinical desktops, the handling of patient records into a central, single location was achieved through the deployment of EMC’s Documentum product.  By deploying this plus other solutions in the form of EMC DataDomain, EMC RecoverPoint and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager, VCE and our partners were able to provide the local health authorities with a complete IT infrastructure refresh program.  In addition, VCE provided a single number to call for all support requirements, which again reduced ongoing management costs and allowed IT staff to focus on improving clinicians’ IT experience and enabled the clinicians to focus on patient care.The combined experience that VCE and our partners brought to these local health authorities was identified as a tremendous value and something that de-risked an otherwise difficult set of requirements the health authorities needed to achieve within aggressive timeframes.last_img read more

The Cast of If/Then Shows Off Their BACA Trophies!

first_img Related Shows Idina Menzel Show Closed This production ended its run on March 22, 2015 If the fans love you, Then you’ll nab six Audience Choice Awards! That’s right, Idina Menzel and the cast of the new musical If/Then swept the 2014 BACAs, taking home awards for Favorite New Musical, Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical (Menzel), Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical (Anthony Rapp), Favorite Featured Actress in a Musical (LaChanze), Favorite Onstage Pair (Menzel and James Snyder) and Favorite Song (“Here I Go”). Check out these sweet shots of the cast thanking their fans for their brand new trophies! View Commentscenter_img If/Then Star Files James Snyderlast_img read more

Statkraft plans 1GW virtual power plant in U.K.

first_imgStatkraft plans 1GW virtual power plant in U.K. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Global hydropower and European renewable energy giant Statkraft announced Tuesday plans to build what it is calling the United Kingdom’s first virtual power plant to integrate wind, solar, battery storage, and gas which will have over 1 GW of power.Statkraft explained on Tuesday that the new virtual power plant will monitor the operations of over 1GW worth of wind power, solar power, battery storage, and flexible gas engines and will compare it with the constantly updating Day Ahead, On-the-Day, and cashout price forecasts. This will allow for real-time optimisation of power trading in the British energy market.Statkraft is further planning to double the capacity of the virtual power plant by the middle of the year. The increased flexibility provided by the virtual power plant will help facilitate the integration of intermittent power generation – such as that from wind and solar power – into the British electricity system, and subsequently help expand the UK’s renewable energy capacity.“Our business model in the UK to producers of renewable power involves marketing renewable assets with maximum efficiency – for our partners, but also towards the power market,” explained Duncan Dale, Vice President Sales & New Products of Statkraft in the UK. “The idea is to match renewable power production with market demand within seconds. The increasing share of renewable energy in the UK will require a maximum of flexibility in the British power grid. By integrating batteries and engines into the virtual power plant and optimising their operations we can provide this flexibility reliably.”Statkraft is already involved in Europe’s largest virtual power plant, interconnecting more than 1,400 wind and solar installations with an installed capacity of approximately 12 GW.More: Statkraft plans 1GW solar, wind, storage “virtual power plant” in U.K.last_img read more

Fly Fish the Little River

first_imgWednesday marked the official first day of spring for 2013, which can mean many things to the outdoor enthusiast. It could mean spring cleaning – not the carpets and bathrooms, mind you, but the gear shed and the tents. It could mean breaking out the mountain bike and making sure the brakes still work – recommended before your first ride. Or it could mean the beginning of another fly fishing season if you don’t have the stomach for winter fishing – it’s ok, few do. The weather has been up and down in March and the fishing has been spotty with high flows and blown out streams. Just when you thought it was safe to get on the water, another winter storm blew in and ruined everything. Late March and early April is the prime window for early season trout hunting, so the time for excuses is over. The time to fish is now.If you have spent the past couple of weeks opening rod tubes and taking fly inventory, head down to your local river this weekend and wet a line. Even if the water conditions are not ideal, you’ll still have the chance to whip the rod around and make sure you still have what it takes when the hatch comes. Who knows, you may even see some dry fly action once you settle in.We recommend you hit the Little River outside Townsend, TN and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Roadside river access and an abundance of species – including big browns, rainbows and smallmouth on the lower sections – means it’s a near can’t-miss fishing opportunity. Obviously, that’s an overstatement, but you’ll have fun either way.View Larger Maplast_img read more

Trail Mix – Hot Buttered Rum

first_imgWay back in 2006, I profiled Hot Buttered Rum here in Blue Ridge Outdoors upon the release of their record Well Oiled Machine.The band had taken up in a big bus run on used veggie oil – hence the title of the record – and, in the vein of bands like Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth, were redefining the parameters of bluegrass based acoustic music.Fast forward nearly a decade and Hot Buttered Rum has returned to my radar.Last month, the band released The Kite & The Key: Part 1, produced by Railroad Earth fiddle player and long time friend Tim Carbone, the first installment of a planned three EP project. Each EP will feature six songs, a distinct sonic flavor, and a different producer. Noted bluegrass producer Sally Van Meter and Kyle Hollingsworth, of String Cheese Incident, have already signed on for the second and third EPs.I recently caught up with Hot Buttered Rum’s guitarist and singer, Nat Keefe, to chat about their old well-oiled machine and this ambitious EP project.BRO – It’s been too long since I featured you guys here. Are you still cruising around on veggie oil?NK – We retired the Well-Oiled Machine a few years ago. Those were some greasy fun years! Alas, the world of alley way used veggie oil has changed a lot since we started doing it. We used to be able to go from coast to coast and fill up on free, quality used oil from restaurant grease dumpsters. Now the oil is recognized as an asset and places keep the dumpsters closed. That’s a good thing, I suppose, but the point is that we were using an underused resource. And now you can buy biodiesel and ethanol in so many gas stations. Energy production is a long and politically wrought topic, but I think things have changed for the positive a little bit since the 2000s.BRO – Three EPs and three producers. Why this approach instead of just recording a long player?NK – We’re seeking a challenge and entertainment for ourselves. Each six song EP is focused on a different part of our game: dark and earthy tuneful songs, traditional bluegrass, and late night party raging. Each producer brought a different perspective and skill set to the table. I was entertained! And it’s fun to give our people a lot to listen to. I think this is a cool way to present music, in smaller, more focused chunks, compared to a full length album. There are so few ten or twelve song albums that really come across as a whole piece. We figured we’d try to make a six song collection a cohesive piece . . . and make a few of them!BRO – How did you go about choosing the producers for each EP?NK – We’ve known Tim and Kyle for years and have shared some big moments on stage with each of them. Tim has produced so many records, even before his Railroad Earth days. He has a no nonsense way about him that lent itself to this first collection of dark, earthy songs. Kyle plays for one of the best jam bands in the world, so he had something to offer for our late night music. And Sally has helped so many bluegrass bands find their voice. She helped us refine our “brothers” two and three part harmony singing and helped us remember how to play as a string band.BRO – We are featuring “Weary Ways” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?NK – Erik and I wrote that one together. The opening lines are, “I came up in the company of flatterers and fools/I suffered in their ranks and I’ve suffered by their rules/I found myself saying things with which I don’t agree/If you’ve got a light to shine, let it shine down on me.” We actually worried for a second that it might be too harsh a song for Hot Buttered Rum. But I think it’s truthful and real and has a place on this album. This song comes from looking back at our years of playing music. It’s easy for your intentions to become consumed by the people around you – fans, managers, etc. We’re very community minded and involved with the people who like our music. But your solitary pursuit of the music has to be the primary focus. Other things can come from that, but if you forget the magic of playing three chords in your bedroom, you can lose something special.BRO -Do you already have an idea of what tunes will end up on the second and third installments? Can you give us a tease?NK – Fans of the early days of Hot Buttered Rum will be pleased to know that we did the second EP as a string band – no drums, just mandolin. We dug through hundreds of Ralph Stanley recordings and picked a handful that we love. We read books about the Stanley Brothers, we did a workshop with Laurie Lewis, and we did our best to honor this music. We’re a wacko, left coast band that plays for dancing hippies and hipsters, but so much of what we do is influenced by what these guys from Virginia did in the 1950s. We learned a lot that’s influencing how we play now, and I hope this EP brings Ralph Stanley’s music to some new ears. The late night EP is the most like our live show these days. Out of the gates, high energy, big thick tones, moments of elation, despair, mystery, and gratitude. Kyle plays keys on a couple tracks. We’re not done with this one yet, so I look forward to seeing how it comes together.Hot Buttered Rum will be celebrating the end of 2015 with shows in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, tonight and a big New Year’s Eve bash with Head For The Hills in Salt Lake City, Utah, tomorrow night.You can stayed tuned to the band’s website for more information on how the EP project is progressing. The first installment, The Kite & The Key: Part 1, is out now. The second and third installments are soon upcoming.last_img read more

Best practices for credit card programs (and why they work)

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The U.S. credit card industry is expansive and growing, topping $4 trillion in volume in 2014, according to The website also notes that credit card applications reached record highs in June 2016, as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.And research suggests that credit unions are gaining ground in this lucrative market. In fact, credit unions have increased their credit card market share nearly 50 percent since the 2008-2009 recession, according to what are the most innovative credit unions doing today to keep members reaching for their cards? CO-OP Financial Services has identified several best practices, proven strategies that can help you increase your own success.Proactively manage your portfolio. Your program manager should be comparing year-over-year benchmarks within the portfolio on a monthly basis, looking at transaction and sales volumes, as well as the number of accounts and account activations. Other important data points to review include outstanding balances (looking for increases), payments volumes/trends (to understand member behavior changes in carrying balances), income trends for finance charges and fees, and past-due account aging. continue reading »last_img read more