Austerity kills is the message of a study published by the ‘British Medical Journal’
Austerity measures could mean the dismantling of a large part of the Spanish health system and significantly damage the health of the population, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal on Thursday.
The authors of the report warn that if the trend does not change, there is a risk that Spain will experience a spiral of health problems that could mean an increase in infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV.
One part of the research consisted of interviewing 34 doctors and nurses in Catalonia. The majority said they felt “shocked, numbed and disillusioned” about the cuts, and some expressed fears that the austerity measures would “kill people,” the researchers said.
The report highlighted that healthcare and social services cuts of almost 14 percent at the national level and of 10 percent at the regional level in 2012 had coincided with an increase in demand for care, especially on the part of senior citizens, the disabled and the mentally ill.
Researchers also identified an increase in cases of depression, alcoholism-related diseases and suicides in Spain since the crisis began.
“If no corrective measures are implemented, this could worsen with the risk of increases in HIV and tuberculosis, as we have seen in Greece, where healthcare services have had severe cuts, as well as the risk of a rise in drug resistance and spread of disease,” said Helena Legido-Quigley, a lecturer in global health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who worked on the study.
AN IRISH MEDICAL device company, MitaMed, has developed a groundbreaking treatment for gastrointestinal and lung cancers.
It said that treatment of patients with colorectal cancer has just commenced in an Irish Medicines Board-approved clinical trial in Cork and Dublin hospitals, under the supervision of Dr Deirdre McNamara, Tallaght Hospital (AMNCH).
MitaMed has also established strategic partnerships with five specialist Cancer Centre of Excellence hospitals in Europe, including Trinity Health (Tallaght/ St James), Mercy Hospital, Cork, and hospitals in the UK and Sweden.
Chief Executive Officer of Mitamed, Michael Loftus, has also announced the commencement of an investment process to raise €3 million to support the development, regulatory approval and commercial sales of their therapy.
With projected sales of €14 million in five years, MitaMed is on track to successfully deliver a new standard of care for cancer patients, with better outcomes and reduced financial burden.
MitaMed’s cancer treatment involves delivering brief electric pulses directly to the tumour tissue. It says this causes the cancer cells within the electric field to become temporarily permeable and enables subsequent drug absorption.
This phenomenon is known as electroporation and allows for the targeted absorption of a smaller dose of chemotherapy drugs into cancer cells without compromising surrounding healthy tissue structures.
The company noted:
As the electroporation procedure can be performed in a matter of minutes, the treatment can be conducted rapidly on an outpatient basis. A patient may require between 1 to 3 treatments over a period of a few months.
UCC leveraged over €2 million of Irish state research funding between 2006 and 2011 to support the development of the technology at the Cork Cancer Research Centre, under the leadership of Dr Declan Soden. UCC Technology Transfer Office was also involved in the project.