Breast cancer drug that can extend lives approved for NHS use

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Source: Press Association
“A drug that can extend the lives of women with advanced breast cancer has been approved for routine use on the NHS. A deal has been struck between NHS England and the manufacturer Roche, backed by Nice, to make the drug available to around 1,200 women a year in England. Until now, the drug has been funded only through the cancer drugs fund. In clinical trials, Kadcyla, which has a full list price of £90,000 a year per patient, was shown to extend the lives of people with terminal cancer by an average of six months. It also dramatically improves quality of life and reduces side effects.”
Find article here.

Aspirin increases bleeding risk in older stroke patients: study

MedicalXpress, 14 June 2017
Source: The Lancet
“Long-term, daily use of aspirin to prevent blood clots in very elderly patients leads to an increased risk of serious or fatal internal bleeding, researchers said Wednesday. Heartburn medication would allows people 75 years and older to keep the preventative benefits of aspirin while avoiding its dangerous side-effects. Even among people with no history of heart problems or stroke, the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding goes up with age for aspirin users.”
Find article here.

Coroner calls for GPs to be allowed to order urgent CT scans after patient death

BMJ 2017; 357: j2815
Author: Clare Dyer
“A coroner has demanded a change in rules that stop NHS GPs in some areas ordering urgent computerised tomography (CT) scans, after the death of a 37 year old woman from a brain tumour. Lisa Hashmi, area coroner for Manchester North, gave the warning in a report sent to Bury clinical commissioning group on the death of Elaine Talbot, whose brain tumour was missed by her GP and hospital doctors.”
Find article here.

Health and Public Policy to Facilitate Effective Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Involving Illicit and Prescription Drugs: An American College of Physicians Position Paper

Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(10):733-736.
Authors: Ryan Crowley, Neil Kirschner, Andrew S. Dunn, Sue S. Bornstein
“Substance use disorders involving illicit and prescription drugs are a serious public health issue. In the United States, millions of individuals need treatment for substance use disorders but few receive it. The rising number of drug overdose deaths and the changing legal status of marijuana pose new challenges. In this position paper, the American College of Physicians maintains that substance use disorder is a treatable chronic medical condition and offers recommendations on expanding treatment options, the legal status of marijuana, addressing the opioid epidemic, insurance coverage of substance use disorders treatment, education and workforce, and public health interventions.”
Find article here.

Italy has introduced mandatory vaccinations and other countries should follow its lead

The Conversation, 2 June 2017
Author: Alberto Giubilini
“Parents will have to provide proof of vaccination when they enrol their children in nursery or preschool. In this respect, the Italian policy follows the example of vaccination policies in the US. But there’s one crucial difference: the Italian law doesn’t allow parents to opt out on the grounds of ‘conscientious objection’.”
Find article here.

After-hours GP home visits strain the budget (and don’t help emergency departments)

The Conversation, 1 June 2017
Authors: Barbara de Graaff and Mark Nelson
“After-hours home medical services are a burden on our health budget and don’t ease the strain on emergency departments after all, new research shows. The roll out of after-hours GP-type home visits is linked with as much as a ten-fold increase in Medicare claims in one jurisdiction. And rather than reducing the need to visit the emergency department, their rise in popularity has been accompanied by a slight increase in visits. These findings published today in the Australian Family Physician journal, question whether these convenient house calls are really the best use of taxpayers’ money.”
Find article here.

Wales is leading the world with its new public health law

The Conversation, 31 May 2017
Author: Richard Owen
“Wales’s devolved government is close to enacting another innovative law aimed at bettering the health of its people. the new Public Health (Wales) Bill includes specific provisions for banning smoking in hospital grounds, placing a duty on the Welsh government to produce a national obesity strategy and making pharmacy services more responsive to community needs, the fact that it puts Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) on a statutory footing is the most interesting and important feature. HIAs are a pre-decision assessment of the effects of proposed action – regulations, policy, programmes or projects – by public bodies on human health. It’s a “health in all policies” approach.”
Find article here.

Independent expert panel to begin mental health review

NSW Health, 22 May 2017
“Five mental health experts with wide reaching clinical and lived experience will join NSW Chief Psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright to begin a review of the practice of seclusion, restraint and observations across the NSW mental health system. Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Mental Health Minister Tanya Davies confirmed the review will consider whether existing legislation, policy, clinical governance and practice standards are consistent with national standards, international best practice and the expectations of patients and the community.”
Find media release here.