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NAPC Bulletin 22 May 2012
News From NAPC
Today sees a Department of Health conference on AQP, in which Dr Charles Alessi, NAPC’s Chairman, has been heavily involved. He will also be presenting at this event.
Over the past 7 days, NAPC has commented on a draft survey report on Commissioning Support Services, which is due to be published on 28 May. A press release will be issued in the next few days on the results.
Work on a CCG Commissioning Guide is coming to completion and will be available next month in time for the Commissioning Show being held at Olympia.
Now GPs Can Do A Quick Dementia Test
A ten minute memory test that picks up Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in their earliest stages is available for use in GPs’ surgeries from today.
Barbara Sahakiean, the Cambridge University professor, who helped to develop the CANT AB mobile test, said that to identify people before the brain became too badly damaged, the computer programme should be used to screen everyone over 65.
Using a touch screen computer or iPad, patients complete six tasks in which they memorise the location of an object and the recall the position a few seconds later. A patient’s score, which takes into account their age, sex and education, determines whether they are referred on to a specialist memory clinic for further diagnosis and treatment. Research shows that despite its brevity, the tests is highly accurate at spotting cases and produces very few false alarms.
Trust Bailouts Nearly Double In 2012
Thirty one trusts received bail-out payments in 2011/12, information released to the press under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.
The Department of Health data showed a mixture of hospital, foundation, mental health and learning disability trusts were bailed out, receiving a total of £414m in the last financial year. This was nearly double the total for 2010/11.
The figures cover a mixture of loans agreed by the Department, as well as local financial support from primary care trusts.
A Department of Health source said some of the total was money agreed by the Department for trusts unable to cope with the private finance initiative commitments, with another part of it covering trusts, which needed loans to improve their cash positions for foundation trust applications.
The source said University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trusts, authorised in October last year, and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, which received, according to the figures, £4m in 2011/12 fell into that category.
The Foundation Trust Network said it did not consider the payments ‘a lowering of the bar’ for attaining foundation status.
Bionic Eye Blind Cure
Scientists are developing a bionic eye that could restore sight to people suffering from age related blindness.
The wireless prosthetic retina, developed at Strathclyde University in Scotland and in California, works by stimulating unscathed neurons.
Strathclyde’s Dr Keith Mathieson, said: ‘It is like a cochlear implant for deafness, but with a camera instead of a microphone.
Curb On Fat Food In Obesity Street
Health officials in Haringey, north London, plan to curb the number of fried chicken, burger and pizza outlets in poor parts of the borough where men die, on average, nine years younger than those from its leafier areas.
It proposes uses planning powers to limit fast-food restaurants after finding there were up to six times more such outlets in poorer districts.
Children in Haringey are fatter than average for England. In the east of the borough, between 27% and 33% of four to five year olds in some wards are overweight or obese compared with 85 to 14% in some wards in the west.
Gene Secret To Longer And Healthier Lifespan
Scientists hope a laboratory breakthrough will one day lead to the creation of a pill that could extend life by decades and prevent or reverse diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease.
Researchers based at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre investigated a natural enzyme called telomerase. The enzyme is found in human foetuses and it is believed it has the ability to keep the body young and rejuvenate cells. It is no longer active or ‘expressed’ in adults. By forcing it to become active again by genetic manipulation, the scientists slowed down the ageing process in mice by 24 per cent.
Growing Number Of Hospital Patients Are Malnourished When They Die
The number of people dying in hospital while malnourished has risen by half in ten years, affecting more than 2.500 in a decade, according to figures disclosed in a parliamentary answer.
Stephen Penneck, the director general of the Office for National Statistics, provided the answers on behalf of the cabinet office.
1,000 Doctors To Be Left In Limbo
Up to 1,000 graduate junior doctors face unemployment next year, as there are too few foundation posts to allow them to complete their final training, according to projections from Medical Education England.
A Commons health select committee report on education and training to be published next week is expected to criticise ’boom and bust’ approaches to training, with budgets raided to pay off deficits.
Clinical Trial Promise For Glaxo Cancer Drug
Dabrafenib, GlaxoSmithKline’s experimental cancer drug for patients suffering from advanced melanoma, has shown promise in clinical trials.
The drug appeared to add months to lives of terminally ill patients, according to result s of Phase 1 clinical trial, published in the Lancet.
All Babies Could be Vaccinated Against Stomach Bug
All babies may be vaccinated against the rotavirus stomach bug that is a leading cause of hospital admissions for the under-fives, after ministers asked for a cost-effectiveness analysis.
There are about 130,000 cases of rotavirus annually in England and Wales, almost 13,000 admitted to hospital. Each year about a dozen children under the age of five die after contracting the infection.
It has been estimate that the vaccine, which is administered orally as drops, could cut cases by almost three quarters. An evaluation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in 2009 concluded that vaccines provided ‘good protection’ against infection, but ‘introduction of rotavirus vaccines would only become cost-effective if the vaccine prices are much less than those at which they are currently being offered.’
Councils Are Owed £465 In Residential Care Fees
Councils across England are owed almost half a billion pounds by elderly and disabled people who have so far failed to pay charges levied for social care services.
Charities say that the numbers highlight a growing crisis in social care, with many people struggling to meet rising costs. Stephen Lowe, of Age UK, said the data showed that even people using the services who were quite poor were being charged. ‘It is very likely to be a sign of people struggling to pay their bills. It is a very stressed system and it has been pared right back to the basics. We need reform’, he said.
Ros Altmann, Director General of Saga, said that there were serious issues with local authority accounting.
Dementia Patient Was Seen By Conveyor Belt Of 106 Carers
Campaigners have called for a sharp improvement in the treatment of Scotland’s dementia patients after a woman told how her late husband was sent 106 different carers in a single year.
Alzheimer Scotland said: ‘Unjustfiably, frequent changes of support and care staff are simply not acceptable in any circumstances, particularly where dementia is concerned.’ It called for very quick improvement.
Lansley Hints At Place For Schools On Boards
The health secretary has hinted that he would welcome the inclusion of schools among those represented on health and wellbeing boards.
Andrew Lansley was speaking recently at a meeting in the Commons on public heath intervention at an early age. He highlighted integrated strategies and joint commissioning for children and older people, when asked how boards could focus on early interventions.
‘One of the issues they are working through is what does this mean in terms of bringing schools together in health and well being boards’, he said.