The Health News United Kingdom April 3 2018

  • A universal flu vaccine that protects people from all strains of flu for up to a decade could be available on the NHS in as little as two years.  The injection, called FLU-v, created by the British company Imutex, has been found to be more effective than other treatments in development in recent UK trials.  In a study involving 123 participants aged 18 to 60 who were exposed to the H1N1 swine flu virus, 80% were prevented from contracting the virus after having the injection.
  • Health chiefs are investigating 30 doctors in the UK over prescribing drugs via the internet. The General Medical Council is currently dealing with the cases – which include 19 GPs– on suspicion of unsafe prescribing. GP magazine Pulse reported that several deaths have been linked to patients obtaining strong medications this way, prompting coroners to write to health authorities at least 2 cases.
  • NHS England has announced a crackdown on the treatment of “minor” ailments such as dandruff and diarrhoea. Thirty-five treatments responsible for £570m of spending have been targeted. All are available over-the-counter in pharmacies. And the restriction will apply only where the ailment is judged to be a minor, short-term problem. NHS bosses says the move could cut spending by a fifth. But experts warned the poorest risked losing out on treatment. The treatments targeted include those for constipation, athlete’s foot, mild acne, dandruff, diarrhoea, head lice, cold sores and earwax.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 3rd of April 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/universal-flu-vaccine-cold-be-available-in-two-years_uk_5ab8c2ade4b054d118e49600?utm_hp_ref=uk-health-news

A universal flu vaccine that protects people from all strains of flu for up to a decade could be available on the NHS in as little as two years. The injection, called FLU-v, created by the British company Imutex, has been found to be more effective than other treatments in development in recent UK trials. In a study involving one hundred twenty three participants aged eighteen to sixty who were exposed to the H-one-N-one swine flu virus, eighty percent were prevented from contracting the virus after having the injection.

The news comes after two thousand eighteen was called the ‘most significant flu season’ since two thousand eleven, with one hundred twenty people dying from the virus in the UK by January. Seasonal flu usually circulates for several weeks each year. The intensity of circulation depends upon the underlying population immunity, the circulating viruses and external factors such as the weather. It is an unpredictable virus and it is not possible to anticipate how flu levels will progress each year.

The latest vaccine is expected to cost between twenty pounds to fifty pounds per person, but will protect against all strains of flu and will only need to be given every five to ten years. It works by stimulating an immune response in the body, in contrast to seasonal flu vaccines currently available, which prevent infection through antibody protection.
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Imutex is a joint venture between two existing pharmaceutical companies, hVIVO and PepTcell Limited. Kym Denny, CEO of hVIVO, commented: “In the real world, ultimately, it is symptom reduction that is a clinically meaningful outcome if it can reduce the more severe flu disease, which is the concern and significant burden of healthcare systems across the world.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5560899/Health-chiefs-investigate-30-doctors-UK-unsafe-prescribing-drugs-internet.html

Health chiefs are investigating thirty doctors in the UK over prescribing drugs via the internet.
The General Medical Council is currently dealing with the cases – which include nineteen general practitioners– on suspicion of unsafe prescribing. GP magazine Pulse reported that several deaths have been linked to patients obtaining strong medications this way, prompting coroners to write to health authorities at least two cases.

It comes just days after the care regulator found that almost half of online GP firms are unsafe.
A report by the Care Quality Commission warned many online doctors are handing out addictive painkillers and antibiotics without carrying out appropriate checks. Others failed to pass on prescription details to patients’ regular GPs while some did no checks to ensure patients were over eighteen before prescribing potentially harmful medications.  People are increasingly turning to online doctors because they face weeks of waiting for face-to-face appointments with their GPs.

Watchdogs have voiced concerns over the rise of online prescribing, which increasing numbers of patients are turning to rather than waiting weeks to get an appointment with their own GP surgery. Patients can choose to have consultations over the internet using a webcam, or Skype, while others simply allow patients to fill in a form that is checked by doctors before they are given a prescription.
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Experts are concerned it is fuelling growing addictions to strong painkillers. Hospital admissions in England for opioid abuse have nearly doubled in the last decade. A report by the Care Quality Commission warned many online doctors are handing out addictive painkillers and antibiotics without carrying out appropriate checks. Figures showed the number of cases involving overdoses from strong painkillers such as codeine, morphine and oxycodone have soared eighty five percent to twenty thousand one hundred thirty last year.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43576044

NHS England has announced a crackdown on the treatment of “minor” ailments such as dandruff and diarrhoea. Thirty-five treatments responsible for five hundred seventy million pounds of spending have been targeted. All are available over-the-counter in pharmacies. And the restriction will apply only where the ailment is judged to be a minor, short-term problem.
NHS bosses says the move could cut spending by a fifth. But experts warned the poorest risked losing out on treatment.

While the new rules, which apply from April, allow doctors to issue prescriptions where for a long-term ailment or one related to a more serious condition, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said those on low incomes could still end up being denied drugs “because of their inability to pay.”
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The treatments targeted include those for constipation, athlete’s foot, mild acne, dandruff,
diarrhoea, head lice, cold sores and earwax. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “Every pound we save from cutting waste is another pound we can then invest in better [accident and emergency] care, new cancer treatments and much better mental health services.”

And Doctor Graham Jackson, of NHS Clinical Commissioners, which represents local health managers, said unfortunately “difficult decisions” had to be made. The move follows a similar measure last year, which saw the NHS stop paying for things such as gluten-free food and suncream.

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