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of primary care
NAPC News 23 April 2012
Huge Payouts For Redundant NHS Chiefs
NHS managers are being offered payouts worth up to £425,000, as the NHS faces one of its biggest redundancy programmes.
More than £1billion is expected to be spent over the next two years, as Primary Care Trusts are dismantled under health secretary’s, Andrew Lansley’s, reforms. Most settlements for health and clerical staff are small but some senior managers are being offered hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Lansley Backs Lower Pay For NHS Staff In Regions
Health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has proposed that NHS pay should be lower in less affluent parts of the country, as part of a new regional pay structure.
Unison has attacked the evidential basis for the policy, whilst Chancellor, George Osborne, has argued that public sector pay should mimic the private sector and be more reflective of local economic conditions.
£60m Promised To Cancer Patients Has Not Been Spent
The Cancer Drugs Fund is millions of pounds underspent, while patients still face red tape in trying to get treatment.
Almost £200 million was allocated to the Cancer Drugs Fund during the financial year 2011/12, yet figures suggest in some areas less than one third of the money has been spent.
Nurses who kiss and cuddle their pets may then be carrying the MRSA bug into hospitals. More than 330,000 hospital staff could be infecting their patients with bacteria transferred after playing with their animals, a YouGov survey has discovered.
The survey also revealed dogs and cats that have been treated by vets were more likely to harbour antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pass it back to their owners.
Patients With Rare Illnesses Losing Out In NHS Drug Allocation Lottery
Rare Disease UK has concluded that people with unusual medical conditions are failing to receive vital medical treatment because their illnesses are not recognised in NHS guidelines.
The charity’s chair, Alastair Kent, claimed that ‘for the rhetoric to meet the reality is a huge ask.’ The charity, an alliance of organisations that support people with uncommon illnesses, estimates that there are more than, 6,000 rare diseases that will affect 1 in 17 people in the UK.
A new commissioning board next year will oversee the allocation of medicines to end the postcode lottery that sees some patients deprived of a drug because of where they live.
AstraZeneca Seeks A Remedy For Its Pain
Research stumbles have left AstraZeneca’s stock of future medicines running low at a time when the company is hitting the patent cliff, where patents protecting a drug expire, allowing generic companies to make cheaper versions of the same medicine.
Breast cancer drug, Arimidex, has already lost patent protection and sales halved last year.
This year’s pain from the loss of Seroquel’s American patent could be severed, with the antipsychotic medicine currently amounting to almost £1bn in sales.
The company’s chief executive, David Brennan, faces a vote for re-election to the board at the AstraZeneca’s annual general meeting on Thursday in the face of growing investor pressure.
Power Cut Leaves Surgeons Operating By Torchlight
NHS Lothian at the end of last week said it was consulting its legal team after contractor, Consort, initiated an unscheduled power cut, midway through an operation at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
The power cut shut down all electrical machinery in the theatre for 11 minutes, including respiratory machines and heart monitors. The Trust claimed that this was the latest in a line of incidents going back a decade.
Alan Boyler, executive director of NHS Lothian, said disciplinary action and a small fine were no longer enough. ‘We have reached the point where we can no longer tolerate the repeated, serious and potentially life-threatening nature of these incidents at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh by our PFI provider, Consort.’
NHS Failed To Learn From Its Mistakes Says Watchdog
Dame Julie Mellor, the parliamentary and health service ombudsman for England, has said to the press that public service providers should act ‘more like John Lewis and Marks and Spencer’ in learning from complaints.
Mellor recently succeeded Ann Abraham as ombudsman for England. Her office said: ‘The top ten complaint causes included poor records management, clinical care and treatment and failure to diagnose.
Drugs Sales Leave Diet Pill On Glaxo Shelf
GlaxoSmithKline has sold a portfolio of over the counter drugs to South African pharmaceuticals group, Aspen Pharamcare, for £164 million.
The sale includes a range of brands, including the pain reliever, Solpadeine, Phillips Milk of Magnesia, Zantac, an antacid, and Cartia, a low-dose aspirin, to be sold in international markets such as Australia, Brazil and South Africa.
Glaxo has sold the brands in the United States, Canada and Europe in separate deals in recent months, bringing in nearly £1 billion.
Only the diet pill, Alli, remains to be offloaded. The company said at the weekend that a sale had been delayed because of supply problems at a Roche factory in the United States, which manufactures Orlistat, the active ingredient in Alli.
SkyePharma Soars On Asthma Drug Approval
SkyePharma shares more than doubled to 85.5p after European drug regulators recommended its asthma therapy to be approved for sale.
Flutiform, which will compete with GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair, was referred to the European Medicines Agency last year after member states were unable to reach an unanimous decision about the drug.
Peter Grant, SkyePharma’s chief executive, described the move as ‘a strong endorsement of our capabilities in developing innovative and complex respiratory products.’
Glaxo’s Hopes For A Shot In The Arm
Investors in GlaxoSmithKline will hope the company’s first quarter sales figures on Wednesday will herald a better 2012.
Charles Stanley analyst, James Dawson, expects GSK, up 16p at 1470p, to turn in three-month sales up around 4pc at £6.8bn, compared to a year ago.
Faulty Gene Makes Prostate Cancer Four Times More Likely
A gene that increases the chances of breast cancer in women has also found to raise the risk of prostate cancer in men fourfold.
Men with a strong history of either cancer in their family could be offered genetic tests to discover if they are carrying BRAC1 gene, so their health can be monitored. Men with the gene have one in 11 chance of developing prostate cancer by the age of 65, it was found.
Emma Malcolm, chief executive of the charity, Prostate Action, which co-funded the study, said: ‘At the moment there isn’t an effective way of screening for the disease. Once gene testing becomes faster and cheaper we may be able to identify men at higher risk of prostate cancer and monitor them for an early age.’
Boob Jab Is Withdrawn After Screening Worries
Macrolane, a breast filler known as the ‘boob jab’ has been withdrawn after concerns that it might interfere with breast cancer screening.
The manufacturer, Q-Med, insists it is safe but move was welcomed by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Fazel Fatah, BAAP president, said: ‘Any treatment can only be considered safe once it is known what long-term effect it has on cancer screening.’
The Government is considering tightening the rules as part of a review of the cosmetic surgery industry, sparked by the scandal over French PIP implants.
Crisp Chemical Alert
Food companies have been warned about the presence of a cancer risk chemical in everyday products, including crisps, chips, coffee and ginger biscuits.
Experts are warning families to only lightly toast their bread at home, as the chemical, called acrylamide, is more likely to form the longer and darker foods cook. Research by the Foods Standards Agency has identified 13 products containing raised levels of the chemical.
Manufacturers, including Heinz and McVitie’s have responded by changing their recipes. But others, including Nestle, makers of Nescafe, say it is impossible to do so without harming flavour and quality.
In 2002, Swedish studies showed high levels formed during frying or baking of potato of cereal products. The Food Standards Agency said: ‘This has raised worldwide concern because studies in laboratory animal suggest acrylamide has the potential to cause cancer in humans.’