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NAPC News 25 May 2012
Ratings Test For Hospitals
The government plans to allow patients to rate their treatment in hospitals as part of the reforms recommended by the Nursing and Care Quality Commission.
The ‘friends and family test’ will ask patients if they would recommend a hospital to relatives. The results will then be published and hospitals that fail the test will be held to account.
One In Eight Women Who Give Birth Are Smokers
According to NHS data published yesterday, one in eight women in England are smokers when they give birth.
The disclosure that 87,700 women who had a baby in 2011/12, thirteen per cent of the total, identified themselves as smokers, prompting warnings that their babies were potentially suffering serious harm in utero as a result.
Found – Gene That Is Key To Male Pill
Scientists have said that a contraceptive pill for men, which works by preventing sperm development, could result from the discovery of a new gene.
The gene, which is active in the testes, controls the final stages of sperm development. Blocking it would result in temporary infertility, without permanently damaging a man’s sperm-making machinery, researchers say.
Switch In NHS Funding
Senior health service managers are considering controversial plans to change the way the NHS spends it £100bn annual budget across different parts of the NHS in England.
Under a new plan, supported by the Health Secretary, NHS managers are considering changing the formula so that the age of the local population rather than deprivation would be the main factor in determining funding.
Twin Babies Given Fatal Overdose At Hospital
A coroner has criticised Stafford Hospital, where premature twins died after staff injected them with up to 17 times the prescribed amount of morphine.
Cost Cuts Forcing Delays To Cataract Surgery
People who cataracts are so bad they cannot drive are being denied operations by six out of ten health trusts, under spending cuts, according to a study by the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
Glaxo Warns It Will Drop $2.6bn Bid Unless Poison Pill Removed
GlaxoSmithKline announced this week that it would not proceed with its offer for Human Genome Sciences unless the US biotechnology company dropper ‘a poison pill’ shareholder rights plan imposed to block the deal.
Human Genome Sciences is unlikely to attract a higher takeover bid to trump GSK’s hostile offer, according to analysts at BMO Capital Partners, who downgraded recommendations.
Separately, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are setting aside their rivalry to work together on combating stubbornly resistant ‘superbugs’ in hospitals, prisons and nurseries.
Calcium Pills Can Double Risk Of Heart Attacks
A new study has found that over the counter calcium supplements taken by millions of people as a way of fighting osteoporosis can double the risk of heart attack.#
The study, which followed 24,00 middle-aged and elderly Germans for 11 years, concluded that taking calcium pills roughly doubled the risk of having a heart attack.
The authors of the study, which is published in the journal, Heart, concluded that the pills, ‘should be taken with caution’ because they raised the annual risk of a heart attack from about one in 700 to one in 350.
Doctors To Get Morphine Guidance
Doctors are unsure when to prescribe strong painkillers to patients with long-term illnesses, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has said, which issued new guidance this week to ensure ‘safe and consistent’ prescription of opioids such as morphine.
More Use Of Clot-Busting Drug Could Save Victims Of Stroke
Many more stroke victims could be saved from disability because clot-breaking drugs can be used for longer than previously thought, scientists say.
Researchers at Edinburgh University found that the most widely used clot-busting drug, rt-PA, was effective up to six hours after a stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain.
Rabies Confirmed In London
A case of rabies has been confirmed in London, the Health Protection Agency said this week.
The potentially fatal disease was confirmed in a patient from London, who was bitten by a dog in south Asia.
A hospital has launched an inquiry into how a woman, now diagnosed and seriously ill at another specialist hospital, was treated by its accident and emergency department and reportedly sent home on two occasions.
The South London Healthcare Trust, responsible for Queen Elizabeth hospital, said: ‘ A patient attended the emergency department at Queen Elizabeth hospital, Woolwich, last Friday, with possible rabies.
Brain Drugs Kill Cancer
Scientists have found anti-psychotic medication, thioridazine, could be used as a weapon against cancer stem cells.
Research leader, Mick Bhatia of McMaster University in Canada, said: ‘We’re excited about bringing this drug to patients.
Fever In Pregnancy Doubles Autism Risk
New research has found that pregnant women, who are struck down by a fever are more than twice as likely to have an autistic child.
The study looked at 538 children with autism, 163 with developmental delay but not autism and 421 typically developing children.
Baby Saved After Doctors Used Smallest Man-Made Heart
It has been reported that last minute co-operation between doctors and medical authorities in Italy and the US enabled surgeons in Rome to transplant the world’s smallest artificial heart and save the life of a 16 month old baby.
A tiny titanium device, weighing just 11 grammes, was given to the infant in a pioneering eight hour operation in March, surgeons at the Bambino Gesu paediatric hospital announced this week.
Caesarean Babies More Likely To Become Obese
Babies born by Caesarean section are twice as likely as those born naturally to become obese, according to new research.
A US study of 1,255 mothers and their babies, reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood medical journal, found that 15.7% of those born by Caesarean section had become obese by the time they were three years old, compared to 7.5% of the babies who were delivered vaginally.
When IVF Could Raise Cancer Risk
Women who have IVF in their twenties are up to 50 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer, according to a study at the University of Western Australia.
The study compared women having IVF with those having infertility treatment but not IVF, with the general population. The 21,025 women were followed for an average of 16 years. Of those, 7,381 had IVF and 384 developed breast cancer.
Women starting their infertility treatment at aged 24 were 1.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women of the same age not having treatment, the study published in the journal, Fertility and Sterility, indicated.
Smear Test Failure For 1,200 Women
More than 1,200 women will need to have smear tests retaken after a doctor carried them out incorrectly.
The error was discovered last year, and since then, the surgery has been working with East Riding of Yorkshire Primary Care Trust and the NHS Cancer Screening Programme to identify the women.
Scotland Set To Approve Minimum Pricing For Alcohol
MPs in Scotland are expected to pass new legislation to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland.
The government wants to set a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol sold north of the border in an effort to tackle the nation’s drinking problem.
Experts say setting the minimum prices at this level would lead to 60 fewer deaths in its first year, along with 1,600 fewer hospital admission and 3,500 fewer crimes. Over time, these figures would rise to 300 fewer death and 6,500 fewer hospital admissions per year.
The proposed minimum price was announced last week by Scottish health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, who said it was time to tackle the toll that Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol was taking on its society.
She noted that the move would increase the cost of cheap brand products and super strength lagers, but the majority of alcoholic beverages would be unaffected.
Westminster is considering similar legislation, but with the lower price of 40p per unit of alcohol for England and Wales.