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NAPC News 20 June 2012
Figures Show Regional Variation In Diabetes Care Checks
Patients with diabetes are much more likely to have all their essential care checks if they live in certain parts of the country, new figures show.
Overall, 54 per cent of patients in England received all of the nine recommended GP checks between January 2010 and March 2011, up three percentage points on the previous year.
Researchers working on the National Diabetes Audit found that just 16 per cent of patients in one primary care trust in England received all nine checks, compared with 71 per cent in another trust.
The percentage varied between 51 per cent and 65 per cent in Wales, with an average of 60 per cent receiving all nine checks. Auditors also discovered that patients under the age of 55 are less likely to have all the checks than older people with diabetes.
Bob Young, clinical lead for the audit, described the small overall improvement as ‘welcome but quite insufficient’. He observed: ‘The high performing localities show that this core essential care can and should be delivered much more reliably’.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said the improvement was ‘much too slow’. She argued that these basic checks, which included blood pressure, feet and blood sugar, were ‘vital’ for highlighting potential complications.
Nine In Ten Health Authorities Rationing Operations
The most comprehensive survey of its kind has found that almost two thirds of Primary Care Trusts (59 per cent) were rationing joint replacement operations, with a similar proportion restricting access to cataract surgery (66 per cent) after being referred.
The study, conducted by GP magazine, (http://www.gponline.com/News/article/1136671), also found that 59 per cent were limiting access to weight loss surgery and 89 per cent were doing so for tonsillectomies.
The proportion limiting access for at least one type of operation was 91 per cent, according to 1010 primary care trusts, which responded to Freedom of Information requests.
Doctors claimed that the trusts were introducing waiting lists by the back door, and warned the moves would only lead to increased health costs, as patients would still need treating and would deteriorate in the meantime.
Britons Put Health At Risk By Overusing Smartphones
Britons’ use of smartphones and other devices to continue working outside of office hours could be putting their health at risk, experts have claimed.
A survey conducted on behalf of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy found that 64 per cent of office workers continued using these devices after leaving the office. On average, these workers spend two hours and 18 minutes doing extra work, in addition to the six hours and 22 minutes screen time they put in during office hours.
Perhaps, unsurprisingly, 66 per cent of respondent complained of suffering job-related ill-health, such as headaches and back pain.
CSP chair, Dr Helena Johnson, said: ‘The results of this survey are a huge concern to physiotherapists, who see the consequence of poor posture and bad working practices each day. As these survey results show, there is still a lot more that can be done to improve the health of the nation’s workforce.
High Salt Diet May Damage Blood Vessels
People who eat a high-salt diet for several years may be causing damage to their blood vessels, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the US studied more than 5,500 men and women in the Netherlands, whose sodium intake was tracked via multiple urine samples over an average of 6.4 years. During that time, 878 participants were diagnose with high urine levels of uric acid and albumin, both of which are markers of blood vessel damage. People who consumed the most sodium were 21 per cent more likely to develop high blood pressure than those with the lowest intake. And those with a high intake of sodium and high uric acid levels were 32 per cent more likely to develop high blood pressure, while those with a high intake and high albumin levels faced an 86 per cent increase in their risk.
Locked In Tony Nicklinson To Ask High Court For Right To Die
Tony Nicklinson, 58, brought a landmark application to the High Court yesterday, which could open the way for a doctor to end his life.
The father of two from Wiltshire is almost completely paralysed after suffering a stroke on holiday in Greece seven years ago. He communicates through a specially adapted computer which records blinks and tiny head movements.
The former businessman is asking a judge to grant a doctor a form of immunity from prosecution for murder by giving him a fatal dose of painkillers. He also wants the court to rule that the current law breaches his human rights by forcing him to stay alive against his wish – a ruling which would force Parliament to reconsider the law.
Mr Nicklinson has signed a living will refusing any life-saving treatment, should his condition deteriorate, and he has signalled that he would consider starving himself to death by refusing all food if he loses his case.
Cannabis Ingredient Does Not Affect MS Progression
The main active constituent of cannabis does not affect the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), UK scientists claim.
Researchers at Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at Plymouth University have been investigating whether the ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol is effective at slowing the course of the disease. Their preliminary findings suggest that this is not the case, although there may be some benefits for people with mild disability.
The research involved almost 500 people MS over an eight year period and is due to be presented at the annual meeting of the Association of British Neurologists by lead researcher, Professor John Zajicek.
‘Overall, our research has not supported laboratory-based findings and shown that, although there is a suggestion of benefit to those at the lower end of the disability scale when they joined [the study], there is little evidence to suggest that THC has a long-term impact on the slowing of progressive MS.’
Tackling Obesity Crucial For Environmental Sustainability
The planet’s limited resources are being put under pressure by people’s weight, experts have claimed.
Scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that population weight, not just the number of people, should be considered when planning how to deal with these problems. According to the research team, human energy requirements depend on the average mass of the species, not just the number of people.
They have calculated that the total mass of the human population is approximately 287 million tonnes, 3.5 million of which is due to obesity and 15 million to overweight. The figures, which are based on data from the United Nations and the World Health Organisations, also show that North America has 34 per cent of the world’s biomass mass due to obesity, despite being home to just six per cent of the world’s population. On average, people in North America weigh 80.7kg, compared with a global average of 62kg.
Meanwhile, Asia houses 61 per cent of the world’s population but accounts for just 13 per cent of biomass due to obesity.
Lead researcher, Professor Ian Roberts, whose findings are published in the journal BMC Public Health, said: ‘Everyone accepts that population growth threatens global environmental sustainability; our study shows that population fatness is also a major threat. Unless we tackle both population and fatness our chances are slim.’
NHS figures suggest that 26 per cent of men and women in England were obese in 2010, with a further 42 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women classified as overweight.
Doctors Get A Nasty Taste Of Gordon Brown’s Pension Medicine
The latest international survey published by the OECD showed that British pension schemes were now in a worse state than those of most other industrialised countries. Gordon Browns’ raid on what was once the world’s best private pension system to help finance a massive expansion of the State, destroyed them. They were left vulnerable to the subsequent decline in the stock market and predations of unscrupulous fund managers.
This great pension scandal partly explains why the reaction to this Thursday’s strike by doctors has been so hostile. Professionals who just a generation ago were considered pillars of the community are now universally pilloried as greedy and lazy because they are trying to cling to generous pensions no longer available to the rest of the population. While doctors may have cause to feel aggrieved that their agreed arrangements have been changes, it is odd that so many clever people apparently find it hard to understand why the rest of the country find their decision to strike breath taking.
[From Daily Telegraph 18 June]