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NAPC News 4 May 2012
Foreign Patients Owe NHS £40m In Unpaid Bills For Treatment
More than £40 million is owed to the NHS hospitals for treatment to foreign patients, who were not eligible for free care, according to figures obtained through freedom of information requests.
The FOI requests shoed that St George’s Healthcare Trust in south London had the largest outstanding debts, totalling £2 million from £3.55 million invoiced to foreign nationals for health treatment from April 2009.
Foreign nationals residing in the UK are entitled to free treatment on the NHS, but visitors are expected to have either health insurance or the bill is sent to their country of origin.
You Must Treat Illegal Immigrants
This week it was reported that GPs were being warned they faced legal action if they refused to accept illegal immigrants as patients.
Human rights lawyers have been threatening doctors who have removed failed asylum seekers from their surgery lists, even though they are not entitled to free NHS care.
Doctors Punished As Late Opening Proves A Flop With Patients
Doctors are being fined for failing to fill evening and weekend consultation slots, after it emerged that in some areas few patients are taking advantage of them.
Doctors say the demand does not exist for late opening in some parts of the country and they are being penalised for a poorly thought out, politically motivated policy.
A&E Children Should Be Seen Within 15 Minutes
Children attending A&E or walk-in centres should be assessed within 15 minutes, under new standards set by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, together with other groups.
China Cracks Down On Dodgy Drugs
China’s drug authority, State Food and Drug Administration, has ordered pharmaceutical companies to beef up their quality control and testing procedures.
From this week, pharmaceutical firms are required to test every batch and category of capsules they purchase before producing drugs, according to a notice issued by the state. Capsule drugs previously manufactured are now also required to be screened.
Big Patents Ending, Pfizer Sets New Path
There was a feature in the International Herald Tribune yesterday on Pfizer’s efforts to reinvent itself in light of expiring patent protection on its best-selling drugs.
Pfizer’s nutrition unit grew 15 per cent and animal health 17 per cent in 2011, while its pharmaceutical sales fell 1 per cent.
Pfizer said on Tuesday that it had repurchased $1.7 billion in stock in the first quarter and planned to buy back about $5 billion by the end of the year. The company reported earnings of $1.79 billion last quarter, or 24 cents a share, compared with $2.223 billion, or 28 cents a share, in the period a year earlier.
Flu Camp’s Supporters Catch Flotation Bug
Retroscreen, the operator of a ‘flu camp’, in which volunteers are deliberately infected with the sniffles, is going public in a £33 million flotation that will raise money to buy thousands of vials of the influenza virus.
The business is a spin-out from Queen Mary and Westfield College, which will retain a stake worth £1.4 million.
Shire Is Rocked By Rival But City Opts To Run With Bulls
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Pfizer’s Elelyso as a new competitor to Shire’s Vpriv drug to treat Gaucher disease.
Deutsche Bank’s analysts were quick to rush to Shire’s defence, claiming that Elelyso would provide ‘very little threat’ to the company first, because Pfizer’s drug was not competitively priced and, second, because doctors would not be keen to switch patients to new medication.
Allergan, the US maker of Botox and breast implants reported first quarter earnings that fell short of forecasts, sending its shares down by 4.5 per cent.
Profits rose from $158 million to $230 million.
Herbal and complementary treatments may put lives at risk when they are mixed with conventional medicines, according to a study.
Research shows that unwanted side effects and health problems can be triggered by combining natural supplements with widely used drugs.
An estimated ten million Britons regularly take herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals. But popular supplements such as ginger, St John’s Wort and even green tea can all have hazardous impacts on the effect of prescription or over the counter medicines.
The risks associated with mixing are greatest in younger and older people and those with health conditions which require them to take numerous medications. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers could also be at risk.
Aspirin Is Safest Way To Stop Strokes
Research co-ordinated by Columbia University in New York has found that aspirin and warfarin were equally effective at preventing strokes in people with heart failure. However, aspirin may be safer than the blood thinner as it has fewer side effects.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and followed a report by the General Medical Council, which found that most severed prescribing errors by GPs in England related to warfarin.
Measles Rise Is Worst In Years
An outbreak of measles in Merseyside, with 210 cases confirmed this year, is the biggest the area has seen in decades. Cases have jumped by more than 50 per cent in a single month, with children under five the worst affected.
Public health experts said the decrease in the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine uptake, wrongly linked with autism in a paper published in the Lancet in 1998, had allowed the ‘very infectious disease’ to take hold once more.
Problem Behaviour More Likely In Babies Born Late
A study conducted at the Erasmus medical centre in Rotterdam concluded that children born after more than 42 weeks of pregnancy were at much higher risk of behavioural and emotional problems in their early life.
The study concluded that post-term children had a considerably higher risk of clinically relevant problem behaviour, and were more than twice as likely as term-born children to have clinical ADHD.
Boom In Premature Births Kills 1m Babies Every Year
A report compiled by the US March of Dimes Foundation, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Save the Children and the World Health Organisation, has concluded that approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely every year, and 1 million of them will die while many others are disabled.
‘Being born too soon is a recognised killer’, said Dr Joy Lawn, co-editor of the report and director of global evidence and policy for Save the Children Fund. ‘Pre term births account for almost half of all newborn deaths worldwide and are now the second leading cause of death in children under five, after pneumonia.’
Chicken, Fish And Nuts Could Beat Alzheimer’s
A diet rich in fish, chicken, nuts and some green vegetables may delay or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have said.Omega-3 fatty acids in these foods can lower the risk of developing the disease.
Tests revealed that they dramatically slashed levels of destructive toxic protein from ravaging individuals’ brains.
Dr Simon Radley, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘While this study provides interesting clued that omega-3 fatty acids in diet may be linked to amyloid levels in blood, it doesn’t show whether this directly translates to less toxic amyloid in the brain and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.’
Is Your Mobile Killing You
Scientists have called for urgent research into links between mobile phones and cancer after it was revealed there had been a 50 per cent increase in brain tumours since 1999.
The World Health Organisation advises pragmatic way to reduce exposure to radiation such as using hands-free kits and texting instead of making calls.