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Two weeks in primary care...News Roundup

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Pay Review

Scotland will not prevent pay rises in NHS workers

Scotland's health secretary, Alex Neil, has promised to stop any attempt by the UK health secretary to prevent pay rises or changes to the terms and conditions of NHS staff in Scotland.

The UK Government has confirmed it has told UK-wide pay review bodies that it wants to renege on a 1 per cent pay rise for NHS workers, which could have implications for Scotland.The Scottish government has made proposals to the same pay review bodies, proposing a pay rise in 2014/15 to help those on low wages and ensure that no one employed by the health service earns less than the Scottish Living Wage. Mr Neil said: 'My message to the UK health secretary is unequivocal - Scotland rejects this proposal.'


NHS workers encouraged to be more active

A series of NHS Stay Active Challenges aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of NHS staff have been launched.

The challenges follow figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre which showed the average sickness absence rate for NHS workers was 4.38 per cent compared with a national average of 2.1 per cent.

The aim is to increase daily activity levels as much as possible.

The NHS-wide Stay Active Challenges will then take place in January, April and September of next year. Organisations are invited to choose their preferred time of year.

For more information and to register visit:


Self care can be taught by primary care workers

Primary care practitioners should encourage patients to self care to ensure the NHS continues to stay sustainable says the Self Care Forum.

It has launched a resource, Save Our NHS: Time for Action on self care which contains a six-point action plan outlining the steps that primary care professionals can take to support patient self care.

Sara Richards, a specialist primary care nurse speaking on behalf of the forum, said that self caring can boost a patient's self-esteem and improve their health.


Conference highlighted student mental health

The RCN hosted a conference on 8 October organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) to address issues surrounding student mental health before World Mental Health Day the following week.

The conference was also supported by mental health charity Mind. Student services, mental health agencies and students gathered in central London to discuss student mental health and the role of education in helping students that experience mental health problems.

Figures released by the NUS in May of this year found that 92 per cent of respondents identified having feelings of mental distress, 20 per cent of students considered themselves to have a mental health problem, while 13 per cent reported having had suicidal thoughts.


Nursing e-mentors required for students

Career Academies UK is seeking e-mentors from the nursing sector for its new Career Ready programme.

There was a high demand for places on the nursing programme, which aims to bring together employers, schools and colleges to prepare 16- to 19-year-old students for the workplace.

E-mentoring is an effective way for nurses to give students valuable insights into nursing while developing their own management skills and demonstrating team values.

Mentors will receive training and will be matched with appropriate students to ensure the scheme is beneficial for both parties.

Interested nurses can call 020 7986 5494 or email

Job Satisfaction

US nurse practioners most satisfied

Nurse practitioners in the US might be the most professionally satisfied group in US healthcare according to a survey conducted on behalf of the American Nurse Practitioner Foundation (ANPF).

The results showed that all of the 222 respondents reported positive feelings about being a nurse practitioner and 99 per cent said they were positive and optimistic about the future of their profession. When rating their professional morale, 98 per cent said it was positive.

Website Launch

New website launch for stillbirth charity

Sands, a charity supporting those affected by stillbirths and neonatal death, has launched a new website with a section dedicated to health professionals.

The professionals' page provides information on the principles of bereavement care, and has access to useful resources, guidelines and reports to support grieving parents. There is also information on upcoming events and training programmes for professionals to attend.

Research found that almost half of the visitors had been accessing the site through mobile phones or tablets. Visit the new website

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer risk can be cut by walking

Women between the ages of 50 to 74, who walk for an hour a day can significantly cut their risk of breast cancer, a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention has suggested.

Researchers followed over 73,000 women for 17 years and found that walking for at least seven hours a week lowered the risk of the disease. The women also had to complete questionnaires about their health and how much time they spent during the week engaging in physical activities such as walking and swimming.

The team at the American Cancer Society said that this was the first time that a reduced risk of breast cancer had been specifically linked to walking.

Vital Statistics
Breast Cancer
  • 8 in 10cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women over 50
  • 400men in the UK were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010
  • 85.1%of women diagnosed now survive for more than five years
  • Breast Cancer is the most common form of cancer in women but recent developments have ensured the survival rates continues to increase

Source: Cancer Research UK


Bone marrow donor campaign in Wales

A campaign to raise awareness about becoming a bone marrow donor in Wales has been launched.

More than 75,000 people have already joined a database of potential donors, but the Welsh Blood Service said that with around 20,000 patients across the world searching for a match from an unrelated donor, this number is not high enough.

Anyone registered as a blood donor can sign up to be a bone marrow donor.

This is the first awareness programme the Welsh Blood service has run for bone marrow donors.

RCN Council

The RCN has announced new council members

The RCN has announced the new members of its council. Following their recent elections, there was a tie in the vote for the Vice Chair of Council. Rachel Greaves withdrew from the contest and Lorrae Allford will take up the position.

The position of Chair of Council will be taken by Michael Brown, Honorary Treasurer will be held by David Harding-Price, Ian Norris was re-elected unopposed to the Chair of Nursing Policy and Practice Committee, the Chair of the Membership Representation Committee has been awarded to Anne Wells and Kevin Bell is now Chair of the Governance Support Committee.


A new CPD resource for health professionals

The Cochrane Library has launched a new health professional development resource called Cochrane Learning.

It will offer online and evidence-based resources designed to support health professionals as part of their CPD and to improve patient care.

Registration is free and will allow access to all of the training programmes available from Wiley Health Learning, publishing partners of the Cochrane Library. Users are able to start, save and complete activities at any time and store completed activities so that CPD certificates can be easily accessed.


Lack of information for contraception types

Women are not receiving information on long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), according to research commissioned by MSD.

Over three quarters said that their nurse, GP or family planning professional had not discussed LARC options with them.

To raise the awareness of LARCs MSD and the Family Planning Association have launched the Love, Life and LARCs campaign, to encourage discussion about different forms of contraception.

Forthcoming Events
Date: 13-14 November 2013 Event: Annual RCM Conference Location: Telford Contact:
Date: 14 November 2013 Event: Annual HCA Conference Location: Birmingham Contact:
Date: 19 November 2013 Event: Nurse Clinics Conference Location: London Contact:

Bowel Disease

Stool test recommended for bowel problems

A simple stool test recommended by NICE could help practice nurses and GPs decide whether patients have IBS or other more serious bowel conditions.

New NICE guidance recommends taking stool samples to measure the levels of the protein calprotectin, which can be traced in samples for several days.

If the bowel is inflamed this can lead to high levels of calprotectin passing through intestine walls. This can help distinguish between inflammatory and non-inflammatory bowel diseases.

However, the tests are not recommended for people who are being considered for referral for suspected cancer, as inflammatory markers are also present in bowel cancer.

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