Tag Archives: NHS

New devices revolutionising stroke care

New devices called stent retrievers have revolutionised the treatment of some stroke patients, according to experts.
Eighty-seven percent of strokes are ischaemic, meaning they are caused by clots that block blood flow to a portion of the brain. In some patients stent retrievers can be used to remove such clots.

Eighty-seven percent of strokes are ischaemic.

A stent retriever is a self-expanding mesh tube attached to a wire, which is guided through a thin tube called a catheter. The surgeon inserts the catheter in an artery in the groin and guides it through various blood vessels all the way up to the brain.

Once the stent retriever reaches the blockage, the surgeon ‘deploys’ it. The device pushes the gelatinous blood clot against the wall of the blood vessel, immediately restoring blood flow. The stent retriever then is used to grab the clot, which is pulled out when the surgeon removes the catheter. Clever…

A clot-busting drug called tPA can restore blood flow and limit stroke damage if it is given within 4.5 hours of the onset of the stroke and the clot is small enough. But in many patients, tPA either would not be safe to take, or would not be sufficient by itself to restore blood flow.

The cost of diabetes….

You might be shocked to know that around 22,000 people with diabetes die early every year. Type 2 diabetes is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke, and there are currently some 5 million people in England at high risk of developing the disease.

Around 22,000 people with diabetes die early every year.

As well as the human cost, Type 2 diabetes treatment currently accounts for just under 9% of the annual NHS budget – that’s a whopping £8.8 billion a year!

Since the disease is largely preventable through lifestyle changes – having a healthy diet, maintaining a proper weight and getting enough exercise – the NHS Diabetes Prevention programme is primed to target these issues as it is rolled out.

If you live in one of the areas below you could be among the first to benefit from a referral that will give you tailored help to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes:

Newham West London Oldham East Midlands
Camden Sefton Leeds Worcestershire
Cheshire/Wirral Cumbria Dudley St Helens
Lincolnshire East and North Herts Bury Berkshire
Norfolk and Norwich Rochdale Southwark Essex
The South East Birmingham Derbyshire Herefordshire
Cambridge Peterborough Co Durham Sheffield

It’s a big programme – serious stuff!

NHS care – know what your choices are

The government is committed to giving you greater choice over how you receive your NHS health care. A new NHS guide sets out some of the options available to you. It explains:

• when you have choices about your health care

• where to get more information to help you choose

• how to complain if you are not offered a choice.

A new NHS guide sets out some of the options available to you.

In some situations you have legal rights to choice: in other circumstances you do not have a legal right, but you should be offered choices about your care, depending on what is available locally.

To find out what the options are, follow the links:

• My NHS care: what choices are available to me?

• Choosing your GP and GP practice

• Choosing where to go for your first appointment as an outpatient

• Asking to change hospital if you have to wait longer than the maximum waiting time

• Choosing who carries out a specialist test

• Choosing maternity services

• Choosing services provided in the community

• Choosing to have a personal health budget

All right down there?

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening programme offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60-74 (or 50-74 in Scotland) who are registered with a GP. If you are eligible you will automatically receive a test kit in the post with instructions.

A bowel cancer cell

The screening is for healthy people with no apparent signs of the disease. The test actually looks for traces of blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of cancer. So a positive doesn’t mean you definitely have cancer.

If bowel cancer is diagnosed at an early stage there is a good chance it can be successfully treated. The statistics show that 9 out of ten people survive their cancer for five years or more if it is diagnosed early.

Collecting a sample of your poo might not be your idea of good fun, and it is your choice whether to take part in the programme, but might just nip something rather unpleasant in the bud.

You can find out more about bowel screening on the Cancer Research website at cruk.org/bowelscreening


General practice in England nearing ‘saturation point’…

You, the people of England are visiting your GP more often and are having longer consultations than you were in 2007, according to a study in The Lancet.

We now spend more time with our GP

The study warns the increases are unsustainable, and that general practice in England could be reaching saturation point. So making your local pharmacy your first point of call could be even more practical and sensible than ever!

The pressures have not been eased by the fact that recruitment of new GPs and nurses remains low while the population steadily increases.

The study was based on an analysis of more than 100 million GP and nurse consultations at 398 general practices in England between 2007 and 2014 – equivalent to 4.5 per cent of all GP practices in England.

Between 2007 and 2014, the average number of annual consultations (face-to-face, telephone and home visits) per patient rose by 13.67% for doctors and 2.76% for nurses. Average consultation times also increased by 5% from 8.45 minutes in 2007 to 8.86 minutes in 2014.

NHS 100,000 Genomes project takes another step…

It may be hard to imagine our beleaguered NHS as a ‘world leader’ in anything, but it is… The revolutionary 100,000 Genomes Project, launched in 2012, could transform diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer and rare diseases and drive forward improvements in the emerging field of genomic medicine.

DNA: the future of medicine

There are now 13 NHS Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs) across the country. Around 70,000 people will be involved in the Project, which includes some patients with cancer and rare diseases. They will enable scientists to learn more about specific conditions, identifying potential genetic causes and transforming the way diagnosis and treatment can take place in the future.

After patient DNA samples are collected, they are sent securely to be sequenced. Genomics England then analyses the data. Results will be sent back to the NHS for clinical action. The number of whole genomes sequenced to date is published each month on the Genomics England website.

This is the way medicine is heading in the 21st century!

1 million more people with life threatening conditions within a decade

An ‘explosion’ of one million more people will be living with more than one serious long-term, life-threatening condition by 2025, according to analysis by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

The RCGP says this will push the cost of general practice in the NHS up to £1.2bn a year. GP leader Dr Maureen Baker says this highlights a paradoxical situation where treating patients with chronic conditions is most cost-effective in general practice – yet the bulk of NHS money continues to go into hospital care.

Is healthy living the answer?

The share of the NHS budget that general practice receives stands at 8.33% (England – 8.45%), and GPs are pushing for their share to rise to 11 per cent.

All of which makes your community pharmacy look like pretty good value for money. Remember your pharmacist can prepare and dispense prescription and non-prescription medicines. We are also able to give you advice about how to use your medicines and highlight any possible side effects.

We offer advice on common problems such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as healthy eating and stopping smoking. We can also help you decide whether you need to see a doctor.

Busting the myths about primary care

Increasing GP numbers alone will not solve problems in primary care. So says the NHS Confederation, which says that healthcare in the community should be universally accessible and supplied by a multi-professional team.

Primary care includes your community pharmacy, high street opticians and dental practices as well as GPs.

Are more GPs the answer?

It is a myth that A&E is the first port of call for most patients. Around 90 per cent of care takes place in the community. While demand for GP services rose by 13 per cent between 2008 and 2013/14, consultations with nurses rose by 8 per cent and with other primary care professionals, including pharmacists, by 18 per cent.

It is also a myth that primary care is only used by patients with minor ailments. A significant percentage of GP workload relates to managing long-term conditions, such as diabetes, or cardiac disease in the over 65s. Some 60 per cent of this last group will have more than 12 GP visits per year and have over 24 items dispensed in their local pharmacy.

Flu vaccinations from your pharmacy

The NHS seasonal flu vaccination campaign kicked off in September and for the first time community pharmacies across England can offer the jab on the NHS to eligible patients.

You are eligible for flu vaccination if you are:

• aged 65 years and over ( or reach 65 by 31 March 2016);
• a pregnant woman
• a carer
• aged 18-65 with a long term medical condition (eg asthma, COPD, heart failure, a weakened immune system)

So if you are eligible, check us out. Rakesh Patel from Ackers Chemists talks about how to access your jab below:


Know how much your medicines cost?

Most people collect their prescription from the pharmacy without having any idea how much it actually costs. It is either free, or £8.20 per item if you pay prescription charges, isn’t it?

Well, not quite… In a move to encourage more responsible use of NHS resources the Health Minister Jeremy Hunt has announced that soon the price of your medicines will be printed on the pack if it costs more than £20, along with note that the cost is ‘Funded by the UK taxpayer’.

Money down the plug hole?

The average prescription item in England cost £9.39 in May, but most pharmacies dispense dozens of items every month costing well over £100.

Everyone knows the NHS is strapped for cash, yet missed GP appointments cost the NHS £162 million each year and missed hospital appointments as much as £750 million – and £300 million a year is spent on wasted medicines.

The Government hopes that putting the cost of the medicine on the pack will not just reduce waste by reminding people of the cost, but also improve patient care by encouraging people to take their medicines as prescribed.