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Policy and Public Affairs Update: 17th - 21st July

BSI weekly Policy and Public Affairs update

July 17th – July 21st


Announcement made on extending HPV vaccination to adolescent boys

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have announced their decision regarding extending the HPV vaccine programme, currently only routinely given to adolescent girls, to boys of the same age.
Following analysis of the best available scientific evidence, the JVCI have concluded that, while there are small additional benefits to be gained from introducing routine HPV vaccination for boys, this would not be a cost-effective use of health service resources in the UK. They therefore decided not to recommend routinely providing boys with the HPV vaccine.  

Professor Peter Openshaw, President of the BSI, issued a statement in response to Wednesday’s announcement. 


New Liberal Democrat leader elected

Sir Vince Cable MP has been elected (unopposed) the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The current Twickenham MP was the= Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the coalition government and has been the Lib Dem deputy leader in the past. 

Asthma UK calls for action to end preventable asthma deaths

On Wednesday, new data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the number of asthma related deaths is at its highest since 2004 and is higher than the 15 year average.
In 2014, The Royal College of Physicians (RCP), published ‘The National Review of Asthma Deaths’, which made 19 recommendations to the government to help decrease asthma mortality and morbidity. The recommendations included hospitals and GP practices shaving a named asthma clinical lead,  monitoring of inhaler technique, monitoring patient self-management and providing education about the exposure to allergens amongst others. Another recommendation called for more research into whether late onset asthma is a risk factor for asthma death.  
Asthma UK is now calling for action to take forward the recommendations to decrease the number of asthma-related deaths.

Universities and Science minister outlines plans for changes to HE sector

 On Thursday in a speech to the think thank Reform, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson MP, outlined his plans for the Higher Education sector.

These include an ambition to make universities “publicly justify” any pay above that of the prime minister and also to extend the teaching excellence framework deeper than the institution by piloting a subject-level version of the exercise. The minister also said that he wanted to include graduate earnings data in the next round of the TEF.


NHS and  Public Health England publish annual reports

This week, both NHS England and Public Health England published their 2016/2017 Annual reports.
NHS England’s main role is to set the priorities for the NHS in England and is the commissioner for health services, while PHE provides leadership and services to specifically support public health. Therefore, many of the objectives set out in NHS England’s Five Year Forward view include priorities for PHE. 
Both annual reports comment on increasing immunisation uptake through community engagement and support to local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Both reports highlight the importance of working closely with each other going forward on the issue of immunisations. 
In reference to research, the NHS England report acknowledged investment in science and innovation as a key contributor to UK economic prosperity and better patient outcomes. Over the next year, NHS England will produce a research plan, which will identify research priorities.

WHO urges action to tackle HIV drug resistance

The WHO has recent published a new report on HIV drug resistance, providing an update on the levels of HIV drug resistance from 14 countries over a 2 year period (2014-2016).

As with other forms of drug resistance, resistance to HIV treatment could lead to increased infection and deaths.

The WHO is issuing new guidelines for countries to address increasing resistance, including recommending that countries monitor treatment programmes and take action as soon as treatment fails. The guidelines will be presented at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science next week. One of the 7 guidelines is the need for a prioritized research agenda for children and adolescents to address low treatment scale-up.