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The primary care news roundup

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Guidance on multiple pregnancies not followed

The Twins and Multiple Births Association has released data showing that almost one in three women expecting multiple babies do not see a specially trained clinician, to coincide with the release of the NICE Standards on Multiple Pregnancy: CG129.

The survey questioned 1509 women before and after the NICE guidelines were issued in 2011, to compare and measure the improvement in the quality of care.

Over 70 per cent did not see a specialist midwife and 50 per cent did not see a specialist sonographer despite the guidelines recommending that women in England and Wales should see specially trained clinicians.The guidelines also said that possible complications should be discussed at 24 weeks.


New lung cancer test for patients in Scotland

Patients in Scotland have been the first in the UK to trial a simple blood test, the EarlyCDT®-Lung test, that could identify lung cancer at an earlier stage.

Around 60 patients have already taken part in the study and new patients are being sought to take part. If successful it could be introduced across Scotland.

Patients at the highest risk of lung cancer, such as smokers, are being offered the test, which detects levels of autoantibodies in the blood that are produced when cancer develops. Where increased levels of autoantibodies are detected, patients will be referred for a chest x-ray and CT scan. This could lead to cancer being detected months or even years earlier.


Free e-learning access to students and tutors

Health Education England (HEE) will be giving free e-learning access to over 13,000 midwifery and health visiting students, and their tutors, as part of its e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) service. HEE said the access will ensure that every student can use training packages to prepare them for their roles.

Patrick Mitchell, the director for national programmes at HEE, said: 'These courses map directly to their curriculum, mainly foetal monitoring for midwifery and the healthy child programme for health visiting.'

The courses can be accessed at


Acceleration towards HIV/AIDS target levels

A report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) suggests there has been an acceleration towards reaching the UN's 2015 global targets on HIV.

In 2011 UN Member states agreed to a target of reaching 15 million people with HIV treatment by 2015.

The report says that as countries scaled up their treatment coverage and evidence showed prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapy, WHO set new treatment guidelines. These expanded the total number of people estimated to be in need of treatment by more than 10 million.

New HIV infections were estimated at 2.3 million in 2012, a 33 per cent reduction since 2001. AIDS-related deaths have dropped by 30 per cent since the peak in 2005.


Student health information app in Leeds

NHS Leeds West CCG has launched a free mobile phone app for new students moving to the city.

The 'Leeds Student Health' app has been designed to provide healthcare information to help students at universities, further education centres and sixth form colleges.

Dr Simon Stockill, medical director at NHS Leeds West CCG said that the app would provide students and other young people with information about where to go for specific illnesses or injuries to help them use the right services, as well as how to register with a local GP or dentist.

The app is free to download for Android and Apple devices from the respective app stores.

Mental health

Regular mental health checks for children

School children should have regular mental health tests to assess their emotional and psychological health, a clinical fellow in public health from the University of Cambridge has written in the BMJ.

Simon Williams suggested councillors or specially trained staff could administer the checks to identify children with depression and anxiety,

He said early intervention might be an effective strategy to reduce mental health problems.

The article can be read at


MMR jabs in Wales just missing targets

The number of MMR jabs administered to pre-school children in Wales is just falling short of targets, despite being at an all-time high.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales revealed 92.2 per cent of children have received the double dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations by the time they are five years old.

However, the target set by health officials was 95 per cent.

The overall rate for under-16s who have had both injections is 87 per cent.


Cigarette packaging does have an impact

Interesting cigarette packaging does attract children to smoking concluded a survey by Cancer Research UK with researchers from the University of Stirling.

The researchers examined the reactions of 1025 UK children aged 11 to 16 who had never tried smoking. They were given three designs of cigarette packs, regular, novelty and standardised. Novelty packs had an unusual colour, shape or opening and the standardised ones were brown in a uniform shape.

Children preferred the novelty packages over the other two. The researchers concluded that standard packaging reduced the appeal of smoking.

Vital Statistics
Cigarette packaging
570 under 16's start smoking in the UK every day

8/10cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking

100,000 tobacco-related deaths every year
Cancer Research UK has been campaigning to put tobacco products in plain standradised packing to reduce the level of attraction for young people.
Source: Cancer Research UK


Delaying GP visits can result in stronger meds

Delaying booking general practice appointments can result in one in five UK residents needing stronger medical treatments, according to a survey by The Information Standard.

One in six respondents said that they had a 'lucky escape' after delaying their visit.

Reasons given for resisting booking appointments were thinking symptoms would clear up on their own and not wanting to waste clinicians' time. Nearly one in four researched their symptoms online and more than a quarter tried to clear up problems with over the counter medicines.

The Information Standard is a certification organisation backed by NHS England.

NHS Services

Friends and Family test extended to community

The Friends and Family test has been extended to maternity and community services the minister for cabinet officer, Francis Maude, announced.

The test, which involves asking the simple question of whether you would recommend certain healthcare services to friends and family, will be rolled out to include community nursing and mental health services by March 2015.

The announcement comes as the test has been introduced to maternity services in England this week, meaning new mothers will be asked whether they would recommend their maternity care to friends and family.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, said: 'Patients will be given opportunities to hold health services to account and choose their care as the test is rolled out across the NHS.'


Mental health care integration in the future

Mental health services should be integrated with primary care, states a new report by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).

The report entitled 'Starting Today', sets out key messages that it is hoped will ensure that healthcare facilities address the needs of the UK population in 20 to 30 years time.

The MHF believes this should involve psychiatry, mental health specialists and nurses establishing themselves within a primary care team for better service integration. The report also recommends that primary care staff be specifically trained in mental health awareness and identification.

Nurse Shortage

Reduced numbers of district nurses

The number of district nurses has continued to fall as the number being trained is exceeded by the number leaving the profession the latest Policy+ report by King's College London has said.

A larger proportion of the district nursing workforce is over 50 so the service is likely to lose more experienced workers sooner.

In 2005, district nurses accounted for 20 per cent of all NHS staff in the community. However in 2012, only 12 per cent of community nursing staff were qualified as district nurses.

Forthcoming Events
Date: 23-24 October 2013 Event: Obesity 2013 Location: London Contact:
Date: 25 October 2013 Event: Mental Health Forum Location: London Contact:
Date: 26-27 October 2013 Event: Early Signs and Treatment of Autism Location: London Contact:


New nursing appointment at PHE

Joanne Bosanquet MBE has been appointed as the deputy director of nursing at Public Health England (PHE).

Ms Bosanquet brings knowledge and experience from a range of roles in public health, nursing and health visiting and has worked with the RCN, QNI and City and London Metropolitan Universities.

For the past seven years Ms Bosanquet has worked as a nurse consultant at the North East and North Central London Health Protection Unit.

The role will aid the development of the nursing workforce with PHE and will develop and support a skilled multidisciplinary workforce and provide expert advice to nurses.

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