The Health News United Kingdom February 2 2018

  • The NHS will put its most vulnerable patients on digital suicide watch as part of a national mission for “zero suicides” in hospitals. The Health and Social Care Secretary has outlined new plans to improve patient monitoring, and ensure faster action when warning signs are detected, in a bid to tackle the leading cause of death in young men. Jeremy Hunt said every mental health trust will be instructed to draw up detailed plans to achieve zero suicides, starting with those inpatient settings, as part of a £25m drive. One in 4 suicides in England occurs among those in contact with mental health services.
  • A BBC File on 4 programme has discovered that criminal gangs have smuggled tens of millions of prescription-only drugs out of the UK’s protected supply chain. They tricked or bribed pharmacists and drug wholesalers to access almost 160 million tablets with a street value of up to £200m over a three-year period. The medicines regulator says that misuse of these anxiety and insomnia drugs is a serious public health concern.
  • Boots has announced that it is offering a cheaper morning-after pill across all of its UK pharmacies. The pharmacy chain was previously criticised for failing to stock a cheaper brand of contraception by Labour MPs and health campaigners. Following a promise from Boots to stock a generic brand of the morning-after pill by October that they failed to keep, it is now available to purchase across every Boots pharmacy.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd of February 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/31/jeremy-hunt-nhs-mission-zero-suicides-says-deaths-not-occupational/

The NHS will put its most vulnerable patients on digital ‘suicide watch,’ as part of a national mission for “zero suicides” in hospitals. The Health and Social Care Secretary has outlined new plans to improve patient monitoring, and ensure faster action when warning signs are detected, in a bid to tackle the leading cause of death in young men. Jeremy Hunt said every mental health trust will be instructed to draw up detailed plans to achieve zero suicides, starting with those inpatient settings, as part of a twenty five million pound drive.

One in four suicides in England occurs among those in contact with mental health services.
Hospitals will be told to strengthen suicide prevention measures by speeding up access to crisis care, improving staff training, and redesigning ward environments, to ensure the most vulnerable patients can be closely monitored.

Trusts will be told to learn from pilot schemes, such as one in Liverpool which has drawn up plans to offer tracking apps to patients at risk of suicide or self-harm. The measures being drawn up by Mersey Care NHS Foundation trust mean software will be used to monitor messages on social media, and the use of “keywords” associated with heightened risk as well as changes in behaviour, such as an increase in late night calls or web activity.

 

The trusts will be ordered to do far more to learn from suicides, publishing more transparent information in order to “leave no stone unturned” investigating cases which could have been prevented, and taking action to prevent future deaths. All organisations are being asked to learn from pilot schemes in Merseyside, the East of England and the South West by improving suicide risk assessment, staff training and access to crisis care round the clock.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42810148

A BBC File on four programme has discovered that criminal gangs have smuggled tens of millions of prescription-only drugs out of the UK’s protected supply chain.  They tricked or bribed pharmacists and drug wholesalers to access almost one hundred sixty million tablets with a street value of up to two hundred million pounds over a three-year period. The medicines regulator says that misuse of these anxiety and insomnia drugs is a serious public health concern.  The Home Office says it is working with partners to help those addicted.
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In some cases, the criminals used fake documents to pose as genuine dealers. But in others pharmacists were approached directly and offered payment to order and supply the drugs.
An investigation by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency resulted in forty one arrests including five pharmacists, who have been suspended from practice. Twelve wholesale dealer licences have also been handed in or terminated.

An intelligence report seen by the BBC describes an illicit distribution network centred in the north west of England, running through the Potteries, to the Midlands and on to London.
It says there are further investigations linked to organised crime groups in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Just three of the websites the gangs set up to sell the drugs had sales of fifty five million pounds over a twelve to fifteen-month period.

The MHRA report says: “One of the internet operations sold fifteen thousand packs of Zopiclone a day, indicating a daily net profit of five hundred five thousand nine hundred fifty pounds.” The MHRA says it recovered more than two million tablets in one raid alone. And Police Scotland found seven hundred fifty thousand pills in the back of a van.
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Last week, it was announced Public Health England would undertake an independent inquiry into the scale and harms caused by addiction to prescription medicines.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/boots-morning-after-pill-price-cheaper-uk-stores-pharmacy-contraception-a8185036.html

Boots has announced that it is offering a cheaper morning-after pill across all of its UK pharmacies. The pharmacy chain was previously criticised for failing to stock a cheaper brand of contraception by Labour Members of Parliament and health campaigners.
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Following a promise from Boots to stock a generic brand of the morning-after pill by October that they failed to keep, it is now available to purchase across every Boots pharmacy. In July last year, the branded progestogen-based drug was being offered for twenty eight pounds and twenty five p at Boots, with the non-branded alternative a mere one pound and fifty p cheaper.  Now, the Levonorgestrel option will be sold for fifteen point ninety nine. A spokesperson from Boots explained that it always planned on providing woman with a cheaper alternative to the more expensive versions of the morning-after pill.

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The spokesperson added: “We are pleased to confirmot that from this week, this service will be available in all of our two thousand four hundred Bos Pharmacies across the UK. We’d like to thank our customers for their patience.”
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Boots believes that there should be a free service in place to give care to all women.

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