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NAPC Bulletin 19 June 2012
News From NAPC
Last week saw the launch of NHS Clinical Commissioners, a membership body comprising NAPC, the NHSA and the NHS Confederation. It is to be chaired by Dr Charles Alessi, with Dr Johnny Marshall as Project Manager and Dr Michael Dixon as President. The organisation, with a steering group comprising clinical commissioning leads nationally, will serve as the voice of and support for Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Work continues on NAPC’s 2012 Annual Conference, which includes a dedicated nursing stream. Details will be available shortly.
Women Medical Leaders
The NHS Leadership Academy has been working to improve representation of female medical leaders on CCGs and provider Boards or equivalent.
As one of a range of development options soon to become available, together with the creation of a new National Task Force on Women in Medicine, women GP CCG leaders are being encouraged to apply for one of two bespoke learning sets in the autumn in London and Birmingham, with Top Leaders’ facilitators.
A Linked peer support network is also about to go live imminently.
Flood Of Anxiety At Doctors’ Strike
Thousands of doctors who strike on Thursday could be paid for the day, after the Department of Health said it was a matter for individual trusts.
Many GPs’ surgeries will refuse to take appointments and thousands of non-urgent hospital appointments and operations have had to be rescheduled.
The NHS Employers organisation has reported that patients were ‘understandably worried’ about the first strike of doctors for three decades.
A British Medical Association leader admitted that going on strike, in protest at Government plans to make doctors pay more for their pensions was on ‘the borderline of what is professionally acceptable’.
Leaving Surgical Tools In Patients Is Unavoidable
The Wrighton, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust has claimed it is ‘unavoidable’ that parts of surgical tools are left in patients after operations. Even new medical instruments snap off and are sewn up inside patients, the Trust admitted after a Freedom of Information request.
Over the past three years there have been 14 occasions where tools have been left inside patients. Doctors claimed that ‘more trauma would be caused by trying to get them out’ so they were often left. The Trust said that while uncommon, ‘the risk is unavoidable as it is the nature of surgery’.
Over recent years taxpayers have had to foot a £4.3 million bill for claims against the NHS for leaving foreign bodies under the skin.
How Life Saving Kidney Surgery Led To A Very Special Gift
Surgeons at a Berkshire hospital have received a £50,000, state of the art, ultrasound probe, the only of its kind in Britain from a grateful patient.
Last year, surgeons at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough saved Angela Stone’s life when, using robotic arms manipulated from a distance by computer, they removed a cancerous tumour in a particularly difficult position on the back of her left kidney. The probe they used to get an accurate image of the tumour had to be borrowed from abroad.
Mrs Stone said that buying the probe was her way of saying thank you. It was delivered last September and has since been used in 17 operations.
Drug Boss Gets Good Feeling About Gout Treatment
An experimental drug for gout that AstraZeneca is acquiring could reap sales of nearly $25 billion, according to a bullish forecast circulated by the medication’s American developer.
AstraZeneca expects completion this week of a $1.26 billion buyout of Ardea Biosciences, a San Diego company that is tackling the inflammatory disease often suffered b y older men.
In merger documents, Ardea claims that the drug, Lesurinad, which is entering the final stages of clinical trials, could enter the market in 2015, reach $1 billion in annual sales in 2018 and peak at $2.8 billion in 2027. The company forecasts a total of $24.6 billion in revenue over 15 years.
At the same time, the company has shed 400 jobs in Sweden, mainly at its Sodertalje site, as part of its plan to axe 7,300 jobs. Most of the positions are at the pharmaceutical giant’s site in Sodertalje. They include economists, human resources professionals and IT and laboratory technicians.
Developers Find Chocolate Can Boost Medicine Effectiveness
Cambridge based biotechnology company, Lycotec, has developed an experimental method to combine a modified form of chocolate with a variety of medicines to make them more appealing to patients and to boost effectiveness.
Britain Punches Above Its Weight In Obesity Threat To Environment
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine state that the human population is getting too fat for the planet and Britain is responsible for having three per cent of the excess weight, despite having only one per cent of the world’s people.
Scientists said that if the whole world slimmed down through liposuction, our excess fat would fill a lake the size of Derwent Water, and if we converted humanity’s fat into energy it could replace a nuclear power station for 20 years!
Scientists Must Make Research An Open Book
Scientific papers are to be available for free online to the public in a government backed project to open up knowledge at the expense of Britain’s academic publishers.
In an experiment aimed at making the UK a world leader in technological innovation, the Coalition plans to stop publicly funded research going behind the pay walls of journals.
In a speech to the Publishers Association last month, David Willets, the minister for Universities and Science, said the public had the right to view research it had funded. ‘They should not be kept outside with their noses pressed to the window’, he said.
Middle Class Elderly Are Denied Human Rights Protection
A commission of senior NHS managers, charities and council CEOs has warned that middle class elderly people were being denied protection of their basic human rights in care homes. The group is calling for a ‘culture shift’ and an urgent change in the law, following an inquiry into failings in preserving the dignity of elderly people in hospitals and care home.
Carers Who Sanction Child Sex
A belief that it is acceptable for adults to have sex with children who ‘consent’ to their abuse is ingrained in the child protection system, a damning report in children’s homes claimed yesterday.
The report from a joint parliamentary inquiry into children who went missing from care, identified flaws in the way that agencies recorded, shared and responded to those at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation.
How To Control The Mind By The Power Of Light
Researchers have developed a way of using pulses of light to turn the brains cells that control our actions and thoughts on or off at will. It could provide a revolutionary treatment for diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and psychiatric illnesses. However, it is likely to divide the public, scientists and the medical community, as it uses controversial techniques.
Brain cells must be genetically altered to react to light, the long-term effects of which are unknown. An implant must also be placed in the brain to deliver light to cells using optical fibres. This opens up the ability to control behaviour.
‘As a therapy, this could help tackle diseases, which are difficult or unlikely to be treated by other means’, said Dr Edward Boyden, a biological engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is at the forefront of optogenetics research.
Agency Nursing Shifts Soar
The use of agency nurses by acute and community service providers has soared by 50 per cent in a year, evidence suggests.
Concerns about higher costs and safety standards have been raised after greater reliance on agency staff was revealed in a report by NHS Professionals, which provides bank staff to NHS trusts.
The report contains data for acute and community shifts filled by agency nurses in bands 2 to 6 at 70 providers in England.
The report said that the number of shifts filled by agencies since July 2011 has increased up to 51 per cent in the final quarter of 2011/12 compared to the same period in 2010/11.
Requests for both agency and bank shifts rose by 18 per cent to 155,000 during the same period. Demand for temporary shifts rose by 24 per cent in the north of England, 12 per cent in the south and 13 per cent in London.
The increased use of agency staff was largely driven by demand from acute trusts, which have not yet achieved foundation status.
Foundation trusts bucked the trend and kept their use of agency staff down to an increase of less than one per cent, although demand for temporary shifts at foundations rose 11 per cent compared to the previous years.