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Scarlet fever cases increasing

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PHE has reported an increased level of scarlet fever notifications across England. There has been a total of 3548 new cases since the season began in September 2013, compared with an average of 1420 cases reported for the same period in the previous 10 years.

PHE is alerting health practitioners to be mindful of the symptoms when assessing patients. PHE will continue to monitor these increases and are working with healthcare professionals to try and halt the increasing numbers infected.

Young patients should have checks

Annual health checks for young people with learning disabilities are vital, says the RCGP.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has advised GPs and practice nurses to offer annual health checks for adolescents with learning disabilities, aged between 14 and 17, from April this year.

Professor Michael Brown, the chair of the learning disability committee at the RCN, said: 'Extending the health checks to young people is a positive thing. It can pick up the unmet health needs of the patients and then these can be followed up by nurses in the community.'

The announcement comes as a result of the recommendations made by last year's inquiry into the premature deaths of people with learning disabilities. The programme, known as the Directly Enhanced Service, is already provided to adults, with the extension aimed at easing the transition between children's care to adults.

London's NHS at a crossroads

Community services in London have had to make the largest share of efficiency savings since 2012, according to a report by Unite.

London's NHS at the crossroads report was conducted by the People's Inquiry into London's NHS chaired by Roy Lilley, an independent health policy analyst, writer and broadcaster.

The inquiry found that since London's NHS has been split and become commissioned by a number of CCGs, there is little detail on how services are structured or delivered.

Naledi Kline, a registered nurse, midwife and health visitor and member of the inquiry team, said: 'The report was important to focus minds on bringing the NHS back to meeting patient needs rather than targets.'

Mr Lilley said that the report was not robust enough to cover nurses in primary care. 'However, there are not enough specialised nurses and there needs to be growth in the nursing workforce to meet these demands.'

The six-member panel was put together by Unite. The union looked into London's NHS through a series of public hearings held around London with evidence from around 100 people. These people included Dr Clare Gerada, the former chair of the RCGP and Cathy Warwick, the General Secretary of the Royal College of midwives.

The inquiry will now move to promote the recommendations outlined in the report and urges all MPs to take them forward.

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