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Two weeks in primary care...News Roundup

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Treatment for nerve damage in shingles

A new drug treatment has been found to be effective against chronic pain caused by nerve damage in patients who have had shingles.

The study, a multi-country collaboration, headed by Imperial College London, compared the EMA401 drug with a placebo, and required participants to take two pills a day for four weeks. Over half of the participants found the drug effective, reducing pain by at least 30 per cent.

The study involved 183 patients with post-herpetic neuralgia in six countries.

The researchers hope that the treatment might be effective against other causes of chronic neuropathic pain such as diabetes, HIV, nerve injury and cancer chemotherapy as it targets a mechanism not targeted by any such existing therapies and has fewer side effects.

The findings were published in The Lancet.


Global increase of cancer cases predicted

The number of global cancer cases could reach 24 million a year by 2035 the WHO has said.

The World Cancer Report 2014, published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the specialised cancer agency of the WHO, said more emphasis needed to be placed on diet's role in cancer to help reduce the risk of developing cancer.

It is thought that the developing world will be affected most by the extra cases. Fourteen million people a year are diagnosed with cancer but it is predicted that this will increase to 19 million by 2025, 22 million by 2030 and 24 million by 2035. The WHO's World Cancer Report 2014 said that the major sources of preventable cancer included: alcohol, poor diet, smoking, pollution, and radiation.


NICE consulting to improve the BNF

NICE has announced it is holding a consultation to enhance the information and support currently in the British National Formulary (BNF). The aim of the consultation is to ensure that NICE's vision for an enhanced BNF reflects the requirements and needs of users.

NICE currently provides the BNF, BNF for children (BNFC) and Nurse Prescriber's Formulary (NPF) to the NHS. These are all key resources for nurses who work with medicines.

All healthcare professionals involved in prescribing or handling medicines are encouraged to submit views to the consultation. The feedback will be used to inform future developments to the BNF and the BNFC.

NICE will also run three interactive workshops to gather in-depth feedback. For more information visit:


Government pledges to eradicate FGM practices

Ministers from across government have signed up to the female genital mutilation (FGM) declaration to stop the practice.

For the first time ever it will be mandatory for all NHS hospitals to provide information on patients who have undergone FGM. This will be recorded centrally to provide more information on the incidence and prevalence of FGM.

Additionally a new £100,000 FGM Community Engagement Initiative launched in the first week of February. Charities can bid for up to £10,000 from the Initiative to carry out community engagement work to raise the awareness of FGM. The Initiative was awarded following the Home Office's successful bid for funding from the European Commission,

International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM was held on 6 February.


Clinicians think decisions are based on politics

The Royal Society for Public Health has published a report which found that the majority of health professionals working in local authorities believe that health decisions are being made based on politics rather than evidence.

It also found that many health professionals perceive that budgets that are meant to be reserved for public health initiatives are, in practice, not being ring fenced. Nearly three quarters of respondents also suggested that financial restrictions are impacting on their teams ability to deliver health improvement initiatives.

To read the full report visit:

Lone workers

Rise in physical assaults against NHS staff

There has been a rise in physical assaults against NHS staff in England according to figures from the NHS Business Services Authority.

Figures collected from NHS Trusts, reported that physical assaults for the year 2012-3 had increased by 5.8 per cent.

Lone workers are particularly susceptible to physical assault and a 2012 study by the Royal College of Nursing revealed that more than 60 per cent of community nurses spend more than half of their time as a lone worker without immediate access to a colleague for support. Over 70 per cent also reported that they had been subjected to either physical or verbal abuse in the two years prior to the study.

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