Turkey farmers are hopeful for a more promising Christmas season this year due to a decline in cases of a highly virulent strain of bird flu, which caused culling and shortages last year.
Recent data, released on Friday, shows only 16 new outbreaks of bird flu since August, compared to nearly 90 during the same period last year.
Last year, the poultry industry faced a severe crisis as bird flu outbreaks and culling led to a shortage of free-range turkeys for Christmas.
Scientists have also made significant discoveries regarding bird flu immunity in wild birds and the limited airborne transmission of the virus. Research conducted by a consortium of scientists from eight leading UK laboratories indicates that the virus can only travel short distances in the air, less than 10 meters, making it unlikely to spread between farms.
Tom Copas, a Berkshire farmer who produces up to 60,000 free-range Christmas turkeys, welcomed this positive development. He mentioned that the industry has improved its biosecurity and is better prepared than the previous year. However, he stressed the need for a vaccine to provide better protection against the highly contagious virus.
Many individuals are turning to private care due to concerns about NHS waiting times. Recent YouGov research involving over 8,000 adults revealed that one in eight Britons have used private care in the past year, with eight in 10 of them saying they would have previously used the NHS.
The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual report also noted a decline in the quality of various healthcare services, including maternity, mental health, and ambulance services. Nearly 50% of maternity services are inadequate or in need of improvement, and there are persisting disparities in health outcomes for Black and Asian women and babies. Ambulance services are facing safety issues, and a lack of community care and inpatient beds has led to some individuals in crisis seeking help in A&E.
The social care system, which provides support for individuals in their homes or in care facilities, is described as “gridlocked” for the second consecutive year. Council budgets have struggled to keep pace with rising costs and the growing demand for support, leaving some patients unable to leave the hospital due to the lack of community assistance.
The report also highlights the challenges faced by individuals who pay for their own social care, including reductions in support due to rising living costs and prices.
Overall, the CQC report underscores the pressing need to address disparities in healthcare access and quality in England, while also emphasizing the critical importance of healthcare workers in providing essential services.
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