In the news: e-cigarettes; privatisation of services; measles; GP closures
As part of the daily round up, Primary Care Today looks at the leading healthcare stories in today's news
Posted: 9 August 2016
Concerns at GP proposals which could see two Hartlepool practices axed
Two Hartlepool GP surgeries could close under proposals which would potentially affect thousands of patients.
Health chiefs have launched an eight week public consultation exercise on three options for the future of Fens Medical Centre, Hartfields Medical Practice and Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre.
Option one is for one provider to manage the Fens and Wynyard Road sites. The second is one provider to manage Hartfields and Wynyard Road, while the third is to keep Wynyard Road only.
Work on Berwick Infirmary's £25m modernisation to be delayed until autumn
The £25million project to modernise the near 150-year-old Berwick Infirmary has been hit by delays .
Plans for the state-of-the-art redevelopment were displayed to the public in March and April, with work due to start in the summer of 2017 and continue through until 2020 - but that timescale now looks extremely likely to be put back further.
The pause in the Berwick Infirmary rebuild was requested by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and was then agreed at a Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust special board meeting last Friday and work is not expected to start until at least autumn.
'It's been worrying': Islander battling serious skin condition hits out at 'lack of support' from Grafton Surgery
An islander battling a serious skin condition has spoken of her frustration over “a lack of support” from a GP surgery.
Lisa Baker, 53, who is registered with Grafton Surgery, based in the Canvey Primary Care Centre, Long Road, says she has been forced to switch to private healthcare she is unable to afford as a result of her dealings with the surgery.
Two months ago, Ms Baker, of Long Road, was diagnosed with psoriasis, a painful condition which causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales.
Measles spreading at music festivals
Music festivals including Glastonbury have become a hotbed of measles this summer, Public Health England has warned.
It said a "significant number" of cases had been linked to the events, with 36 cases reported in June and July alone.
More infected people are expected to be discovered as the outbreaks are investigated.
People planning to attend other festivals are advised to ensure they are vaccinated against the disease.
A free online tool to help people make sense of research articles is launched
With the burgeoning availability of science journals available free and online, it would seem research has never been more accessible. However, availability of scientific papers is not the same as making the results they report clear, understandable and contextualised. In the digital world where everyone has an opinion, misleading claims based on flawed studies can gain unmerited traction, potentially causing irremediable harm – remember the controversy around the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination? Both the lay public and health professionals face a barrage of confusing and conflicting ‘advice’ - how are we to make sense of it all?
Help is now at hand with the launch of online tool, Understanding Health Research, that takes the user through the steps necessary to make up her or his own mind about the quality of a study. Developed by researchers at MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, in collaboration with two other MRC Units and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, its goal is to help users evaluate the original research paper rather than the media stories or other reports the paper might have generated.
Concerns over potential privatisation of children's community services
A petition has been launched to prevent community health services for children being run by a private company.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s public health team has drawn up a new contract to run services including health visiting and school nursing in the city.
These are currently provided under different contracts run by Sussex Community NHS Trust but the plan is now to bring them together under a single one.
The trust has already shown an interest to continue running the services but government rules mean the contract has to be offered out to tender, giving private companies an opportunity to make a bid.
Retailers caught selling e-cigarettes to under-18s
Almost 40% of sellers targeted in an operation by Trading Standards in England were caught illegally allowing under-18s to buy e-cigarette products.
Children aged 14 to 17 were sold vaping devices by 246 of the 634 retailers visited between January and March 2016.
The operation's report said compliance with rules prohibiting sales to under-18s was "disappointingly low".
Cash-strapped health chiefs propose ban on non-urgent operations and fertility treatment to balance books
Patients who need hip operations or cataract surgery could be refused treatment for four months after health chiefs in the north west of England said they could no longer afford to fund all NHS services.
St Helen’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Merseyside, could become the first in the country to temporarily suspend all non-essential hospital referrals by GPs in a bid to balance its books.
The CCG, which was recently rated ‘inadequate’ by NHS England, said it was aware that the decision would be unpopular but warned that its funding gap was now so large that it would be forced to ‘suspend, reduce or withdraw’ non-urgent services.