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    ABSTRACT: Objectives To report findings from a systematic review, this article sought to address two related questions. First, how has the practice of UK pediatric cost-utility analyses evolved over time, in particular how are health-related outcomes assessed and valued? Second, how do the methods compare to the limited guidance available, in particular, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reference case(s)? Methods Electronic searches of MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane databases were conducted for the period May 2004 to April 2012 and the Paediatric Economic Database Evaluation database for the period May 2004 to December 2010. Identified studies were screened by three independent reviewers. Results Forty-three studies were identified, 11 of which elicit utility values through primary research. A discrepancy was identified between the methods used for outcome measurement and valuation and the methods advocated within the NICE reference case. Despite NICE recommending the use of preference-based instruments designed specifically for children, most studies that were identified had used adult measures. In fact, the measurement of quality-adjusted life-years is the aspect of economic evaluation with the greatest amount of variability and the area that most digressed from the NICE reference case. Conclusions Recommendations stemming from the review are that all studies should specify the age range of childhood and include separate statements of perspective for costs and effects as well as the reallocation of research funding away from systematic review studies toward good quality primary research measuring utilities in children.
    Value in Health 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: To undertake a cost effectiveness analysis comparing conservative management, surgery, and radiosurgery for treating small-to-medium (1-20mm) sized vestibular schwannomas. Model based economic evaluation using individual-level data from a Birmingham-based longitudinal patient database, and from published sources. Both a decision-tree and state transition (Markov) model were developed, from a NHS (National Health Service) perspective. Sensitivity analyses were also carried out. Secondary care treatment for patients with small-to-medium sized vestibular schwannomas. Three hypothetical cohorts of adult patients receiving either conservative management, radiosurgery or surgery treatment, aged 58 years as starting age within model. Cost-effectiveness based on cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Conservative management is the preferred strategy for the treatment of small-to-medium sized vestibular schwannomas. Conservative management is both cheaper (-£722 and -£2,764) and more effective (0.136 and 0.554 QALYs) than both radiosurgery and surgery respectively. A conservative strategy can therefore be considered as highly cost effective. This result is sensitive to the assumed quality of life parameters in the model. Sensitivity analysis suggests that the probability of a conservative strategy being the most cost-effective approach compared to surgery and radiosurgery at a willingness to pay of £20,000/QALY gained, is 80% and 55% respectively. A conservative approach is the preferred strategy for treatment of small-to-medium vestibular schwannomas. This result is sensitive to quality of life values used in the analysis. More research is required to assess the impact of treatment upon patients' health-related quality of life over time. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Clinical otolaryngology: official journal of ENT-UK; official journal of Netherlands Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology & Cervico-Facial Surgery 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence is emerging that rates of adverse events in patients taking warfarin may vary with ethnicity. This study investigated the rates of bleeds and thromboembolic events, the international normalised ratio (INR) status and the relationship between INR and bleeding events in Malaysia. Patients attending INR clinic at the Heart Centre, Sarawak General Hospital were enrolled on an ad hoc basis from May 2010 and followed up for 1 year. At each routine visit, INR was recorded and screening for bleeding or thromboembolism occurred. Variables relating to INR control were used as predictors of bleeds in logistic regression models. 125 patients contributed to 140 person-years of follow-up. The rates of major bleed, thromboembolic event and minor bleed per 100 person-years of follow-up were 1.4, 0.75 and 34.3. The median time at target range calculated using the Rosendaal method was 61.6 % (IQR 44.6-74.1 %). Of the out-of-range readings, 30.0 % were below range and 15.4 % were above. INR variability, (standard deviation of individuals' mean INR), was the best predictor of bleeding events, with an odds ratio of 3.21 (95 % CI 1.10-9.38). Low rates of both major bleeds and thromboembolic events were recorded, in addition to a substantial number of INR readings under the recommended target range. This may suggest that the recommended INR ranges may not represent the optimal warfarin intensity for this population and that a lower intensity of therapy, as observed in this cohort, could be beneficial in preventing adverse events.
    Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The preferences of informal carers are important to capture for healthcare decision making. This paper discusses how these preferences relate to the economic evaluation of health and care interventions. Three main issues are highlighted. First, there is a need to consider carer impact routinely in economic evaluations. Second, more debate is required around the ethical issues stemming from the inclusion of interdependent preferences in healthcare decision making. Third, there are a number of situations where carer and patient preferences may conflict and practical ways of representing and handling these conflicts would be useful.
    The patient 11/2013;
  • Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 10/2013;
  • BMJ (online) 10/2013; 347:f5932.
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the current approach to leadership development in the English National Health Service (NHS) and consider its implications for nursing. To stimulate debate about the nature of leadership development in a range of health care settings. Good leadership is central to the provision of high quality nursing care. This has focussed attention on the leadership development of nurses and other health care staff. It has been a key policy concern in the English NHS of late and fostered the growth of leadership development programmes founded on competency based approaches. This is a policy review informed by the concept of episteme. Relevant policy documents and related literature. Using Foucault's concept of episteme, leadership development policy is examined in context and a 'counter narrative' developed to demonstrate that current approaches are rooted in competency based accounts which constitute a limited, yet dominant narrative. Leadership takes many forms and varies hugely according to task and context. Acknowledging this in the form of a counter narrative offers a contribution to more constructive policy development in the English NHS and more widely. A more nuanced debate about leadership development and greater diversity in the provision of development programmes and activities is required. Leadership development has been advocated as being crucial to the advancement of nursing. Detailed analysis of its nature and function is essential if it is to meet the needs of nurse leaders.
    International journal of nursing studies 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract This paper reports on the process and outcomes of a study, designed to pilot the use of interprofessional, simulation-based training in end of life care communication. Participants comprised 50 final year medicine, nursing, physiotherapy and pharmacy students. Learning methods included observation of role play and facilitated, interactive group discussion. A Likert scale rating questionnaire was used to evaluate the impact of the learning experience. Evaluation data revealed that students were supportive of interprofessional learning and could recognise its benefits. The results indicated self-perceived improvements in knowledge, skills, confidence and competence when dealing with challenging end of life care communication situations. Comparison of pre- and post-intervention scores revealed a statistically significant positive change in the students' perceptions about their level of knowledge (Z = -5.887, p = 0.000). The reported benefits need to be balanced against design and delivery issues that proved labour and resource intensive. Economic evaluation is worthy of further consideration.
    Journal of Interprofessional Care 08/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The frequency of visits to Emergency Departments (ED) varies greatly between populations. This may reflect variation in patient behaviour, need, accessibility, and service configuration as well as the complex interactions between these factors. This study investigates the relationship between distance, socio-economic deprivation, and proximity to an alternative care setting (a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU)), with particular attention to the interaction between distance and deprivation. It is set in a population of approximately 5.4 million living in central England, which is highly heterogeneous in terms of ethnicity, socio-economics, and distance to hospital. The study data set captured 1,413,363 ED visits made by residents of the region to National Health Service (NHS) hospitals during the financial year 2007/8. Our units of analysis were small units of census geography having an average population of 1,545. Separate regression models were made for children and adults. For each additional kilometre of distance from a hospital, predicted child attendances fell by 2.2% (1.7%–2.6% p<0.001) and predicted adult attendances fell by 1.5% (1.2% –1.8%, p<0.001). Compared to the least deprived quintile, attendances in the most deprived quintile more than doubled for children (incident rate ratio (IRR) = 2.19, (1.90–2.54, p<0.001)) and adults (IRR 2.26, (2.01–2.55, p<0.001)). Proximity of an MIU was significant and both adult and child attendances were greater in populations who lived further away from them, suggesting that MIUs may reduce ED demand. The interaction between distance and deprivation was significant. Attendance in deprived neighbourhoods reduces with distance to a greater degree than in less deprived ones for both adults and children. In conclusion, ED use is related to both deprivation and distance, but the effect of distance is modified by deprivation.
    PLoS ONE 07/2013; Rudge GM, Mohammed MA, Fillingham SC, Girling A, Sidhu K, et al. (2013) The Combined Influence of Distance and Neighbourhood Deprivation on Emergency Department Attendance in a Large English Population: A Retrospective Database Study. PLoS ONE 8(7): e67943. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067943.
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate mildly abnormal liver function test (LFT) results in general practice among patients who do not have known liver disease. Prospective cohort study of people with abnormal LFT results identified in primary care. Participants were intensively investigated using a common protocol and followed up for 2 years. Substudies investigated the psychological sequelae of abnormal test results, clinicians' reasons for testing, decision options when LFT results were abnormal and early detection of liver fibrosis. Eleven primary-care practices: eight in Birmingham and three in Lambeth. Adults with abnormal LFT results who did not have pre-existing or obvious liver disease. Eight analytes were included in the panel of LFTs. Statistical tests were used to identify the interactions between clinical features, the initial pattern of abnormal LFT results and (1) specific viral, genetic and autoimmune diseases, such as viral hepatitis, haemochromatosis and primary biliary cirrhosis; (2) a range of other serious diseases, such as metastatic cancer and hypothyroidism; (3) 'fatty liver' not associated with the above; and (4) the absence of detectable disease. Fewer than 5% of people with abnormal LFT results had a specific disease of the liver, and many of these were unlikely to need treatment. The diagnostic potential of the LFT panel is largely subsumed into just two analytes: alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) offers a small increase in sensitivity at the margin at the cost of a large loss of specificity. Eighty-four per cent of abnormal LFT results remain abnormal on retesting 1 month later. In many cases, carrying out a definitive or specific test will be more efficient than repeating LFTs, with a view to specific testing only if the test remains abnormal. An ultrasound diagnosis of 'fatty liver' was present in nearly 40% of patients with abnormal LFTs and a small amount of weight loss over 2 years was associated with a reduced incidence of liver fat. There was a J-shaped relationship between alcohol intake and fatty liver in men. An abnormal LFT result causes temporary anxiety, which does not appear to promote sustained behaviour change. Liver disease is rare among people with abnormal LFT results in primary care. Only two analytes (ALT and ALP) are helpful in identifying the majority of liver disease. GGT adds little information in return for a high false-positive rate but it is sensitive to alcohol intake. LFT results seldom revert from abnormal to normal over a 1-month period, and modelling shows that repeating an abnormal LFT panel, as recommended in the current guidelines, is inefficient. LFTs are often undertaken to meet perceived patient need for a blood test, but as they are neither specific nor indicative of any particular disease they are among the least suitable tests for this purpose. Obesity and raised ALT provide strong evidence for a presumptive diagnosis of 'fatty' liver. Abnormal LFTs and 'fatty' liver provoke only short-term anxiety and neither is associated with sustained weight loss. Even a small amount of weight loss reduces liver fat. (1) the cases of 'fatty liver' and controls should be followed up in the long term to identify features that predict development of hepatosteatosis and then cirrhosis; (2) the acceptability of replacing the traditional six- to eight-analyte LFT panel with a drop down menu including the ALT/ALP combination should be evaluated. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
    Health technology assessment (Winchester, England). 07/2013; 17(28):1-307.
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