- Statins should be given to thousands of children by the age of 10 under radical new NHS guidance. GPs are being urged to identify those who have an inherited risk of high cholesterol, amid warnings that the vast majority of cases are going undetected.
Estimates suggest up to 260,000 people – including 50,000 children – are suffering from genetic defects which affect the body’s ability to break down cholesterol.
- New figures show that the decline in European Union nurses and midwives wanting to work in the UK since the referendum is continuing. In September the register showed just over 36,200 EU nurses and midwives – over 2,700 less than a year before.
- Drug firms will be offered a fast-track route to get “breakthrough” medicines to NHS patients up to four years early under a new Government system to be overseen by former GSK boss Sir Andrew Witty. The Accelerated Access Pathway initiative is in part the Government’s answer to a long-held industry complaint that British patients get a raw deal when it comes to accessing the latest medicines.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 4th of November 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.
Statins should be given to thousands of children by the age of ten under radical new NHS guidance. General practitioners are being urged to identify those who have an inherited risk of high cholesterol, amid warnings that the vast majority of cases are going undetected.
Estimates suggest up to two hundred sixty thousand people – including fifty thousand children – are suffering from genetic defects which affect the body’s ability to break down cholesterol.
New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or NICE says statins should be offered to such cases, to reduce their risk of heart or stroke in midlife.
Just fifteen percent of those with the condition are being treated for it, Nice said, including just six hundred of fifty six thousand children with the genetic problem. Family doctors are being asked to trawl records to identify those with very high cholesterol levels.
The condition gives men a fifty percent chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke before the age of fifty, while women have a one in three chance by the age of sixty. Siblings and children of those with the defects have a fifty per cent risk of having the condition.
Around eight million people in the UK are on statins, and Nice guidance already suggests around forty per cent of all adults should take the drugs, to cut their risk of heart disease.
But the new advice is aimed at those whose genetic risk is far higher than that of the wider population. Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said the guidance could save lives. The Nice guideline recommends that doctors should aim for at least a fifty per cent reduction in LDL-C or “bad” cholesterol concentration. Charity Heath UK said the plans did not go far enough, calling for a “national screening programme” to identify those at risk.
New figures show that the decline in European Union nurses and midwives wanting to work in the United Kingdom since the referendum is continuing. The trend was first noticed earlier this year, and now a new batch of figures released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council have reinforced the idea that Brexit is having an impact. In September the register showed just over thirty six thousand two hundred EU nurses and midwives – over two thousand seven hundred less than a year before.
But ministers said a rise in training places would compensate for the drop. That will take some time to start having an impact though, and union leaders believe the government in England may struggle to fill these places as they have removed bursaries for nursing degrees and introduced fees. The data released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council or NMC cover the number of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK, not the numbers actually working.
Rises in the numbers of nurses and midwives leaving the register was seen among all types of staff – those trained in the UK, in the EU and in the rest of the world.
There was a sixty seven percent rise in the number of EU nurses and midwives leaving the register in the twelve months up to September compared to the same period the year before.
By comparison the number of UK-trained staff leaving the register rose by less than ten percent.That rise in leavers was offset by just over one thousand new joiners from the EU, but that in itself was an eighty nine percent drop in the numbers who signed up the year before.
The NMC said the rising numbers leaving the profession across the board was “worrying” and needed to be responded to. An ageing workforce, which is seeing growing numbers reach retirement age, and the pressures of working in the health service have been cited as factors for UK-trained nurses leaving the register. RCN general secretary Janet Davies said it was “no surprise” EU nurses were also turning their backs on the UK given what was happening with Brexit.
Drug firms will be offered a fast-track route to get “breakthrough” medicines to NHS patients up to four years early under a new Government system to be overseen by former GSK boss Sir Andrew Witty. The scheme, launching from April next year, will see approvals for cutting-edge treatments for conditions like cancer, dementia and diabetes dramatically sped up.
Promising drugs will receive “breakthrough” designation, unlocking a package of public sector support from clinical development help through to faster commercial deals with the NHS.
The Accelerated Access Pathway initiative is in part the Government’s answer to a long-held industry complaint that British patients get a raw deal when it comes to accessing the latest medicines. Pharmaceutical leaders welcomed the move, including the appointment of Sir Andrew Witty – who led Britain’s biggest drugmaker GSK for nine years until April this year – as chairman of the Accelerated Access Collaborative body that will steer the system.
Doctor Richard Torbett, executive director of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said the commitment was “very much welcome”. The Government also announced eighty six million pounds of funding to be directed towards helping SMEs adopt digital platforms and encourage the uptake of medical technologies. The launch comes after a government consultation on improving access to medicines earlier this year. This also led to the introduction of the NHS’s controversial “budget impact test” enabling it to ration access to costly medicines, a measure the industry tried and failed to overturn in court.
The industry has long argued that UK patients get poor access to the latest medicines. The Government’s own competitiveness indicators show that for every one hundred patients in France, Spain and Germany that get access to a medicine in the first year after approval, just eighteen get it in the UK.