A campaign to vaccinate girls against a cancer-causing sexually transmitted infection has led to a dramatic drop in reported cases. Researchers have found a 90% fall in levels of the human papilloma virus (HPV) in Scottish women since the vaccine was made available in 2008. HPV virus types are thought to account for about 90% of cervical cancers. Scientists hope the drop in HPV cases will lead to a significant drop in future cervical cancer cases. The researchers, led by senior epidemiologist Dr Kevin Pollock at Health Protection Scotland, said they hoped to see a decrease in new diagnoses within a year. He told BBC Radio Scotland: “The two HPV types we were vaccinating against – HPV 16 and HPV 18 – cause about 70% to 80% of cervical cancers within Scotland but the vaccine has exceeded our expectations because it appears to have knocked out another three high-risk HPV types which cause about 10% of cervical cancers. “So we do forecast within the next few years a 90% reduction in cervical cancer within Scotland.” Researchers compared the cervical screening and vaccination records of women born in 1995, who had been vaccinated as teenagers, with those from unvaccinated women born between 1989 and 1990. They found just 0.5% of women from the 1995 group tested positive for the virus, compared with 21.4% of women born before 1990. The study also showed evidence that the vaccine protected against three other high-risk HPV genotypes involved in the development of cervical cancer.
Fears of locum shortage amid IR35 tax row
A hospital has planned for a possible lack of doctors as a result of tax changes, the BBC understands. Margate’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (QEQM) hospital has rearranged rotas in anticipation of shortages. East Kent Hospitals fears locums will refuse work because of a drop in pay of 20% when tax and national insurance is deducted at source from Thursday. However, the NHS trust dismissed a claim it could partially close an A&E department to ease any shortage. The British Medical Association (BMA) could not comment on whether locums would turn up for work but said working conditions including unmanageable workloads were causing shortages across the health service. The Health Service Journal has described the NHS as being in a “Mexican standoff” with staff over the new tax rules, with other hospitals potentially affected.

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