12 November 2019

Extra GP Appointments 'Cannot Happen Overnight' and Must be Backed by Investment and Support for GPs And Their Practices, Says College

The College has responded to the Conservative Party's pledge to create 50m additional GP appointments by 2024/25.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Waiting times for a GP appointment have become the national conversation - and GPs are as frustrated as our patients, especially when we are working flat out to try and keep up with rising demand at the same time as we have a severe shortage of GPs and practice staff.

8 November 2019

Parents Must Not Panic – Or Blame GPs For Flu Vaccine Shortages, Says College

The Royal College of GPs has responded to Public Health England's announcement on shortages of flu nasal spray - particularly affecting schools – and advising parents to have children vaccinated at their GP surgery instead.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "This is not the news we wanted to hear, but we must urge parents not to panic - and not to blame GPs if their surgery is unable to cope with the extra demand.

5 November 2019

Scientists Developing Diagnostic Test to Detect Antibiotic Resistance in Less than 45 Minutes

Scientists are developing a low cost, rapid diagnostic sensor test which aims to show the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics within 45 minutes.

NHS laboratory testing of samples can take up to two days and the test aims to allow doctors to be able to prescribe the correct antibiotic to a patient for an infection more quickly.

28 October 2019

RCGP Scotland comment on Increasing Undergraduate Education in Primary Care

Commenting on the release of Professor John Gillies' report on Undergraduate Medical Education in Scotland, Dr Carey Lunan, Chair of RCGP Scotland, said:

"It is essential that the Scottish Government does all it can to expand the GP workforce to manage the rising volume and complexity of their workload. This announcement will go some way towards achieving that.

29 October 2019

MRC And NIHR Join Forces to Support GACD Projects

MRC and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have joined forces to invest over £6m in five implementation science projects focused on tackling diabetes and hypertension in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These projects will unite with over 25 international research projects from across 40 different countries in a landmark collaboration under the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD).

24 October 2019

'Vote Winning Gimmicks' Not the Answer to Long Waiting Times for GP Appointments, RCGP Chair Tells Politicians

In her final major speech as Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard will sound a warning to politicians not to resort to 'vote-winning gimmicks' as a way of reducing waiting times for GP appointments.

Professor Stokes-Lampard will say that the solution to unacceptable waiting times is not 'arbitrary targets that prioritise what politicians want over what patients really need’.

22 October 2019

Cell Therapy Safe to Use in Liver Patients, Clinical Trial Suggests

Liver disease patients could one day benefit from a new cell therapy that has just completed its first clinical safety trial, led by researchers at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

The study, published in Nature Medicine, tested the potential treatment in patients with liver cirrhosis – where long term damage produces scarring – and found the therapy had no significant adverse effects.

Now the team is conducting the next stage of the trial to gauge the effectiveness of the treatment based on white blood cells, called macrophages, which are key to normal liver repair.

16 October 2019

Appropriately-Prescribed Statins Are Safe and Effective, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to analysis of research into statins published by the BMJ today.

She said: "Evidence has shown that statins are safe drugs and an effective preventative measure against heart conditions when prescribed and used appropriately.

15 October 2019

Another Treatment Option for Ovarian Cancer Approved for The Cancer Drugs Fund

An ovarian cancer treatment, designed to help maintain the effects of chemotherapy, has been approved by NICE for use in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

Rucaparib can now be offered to women with relapsed ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer, that has responded to platinum-based chemotherapy. Taken as a tablet, twice daily, it slows the progression of cancer by preventing cancer cells repairing so slowing down the tumour’s growth.

14 October 2019

College Celebrates Innovative GPs and Patients

GPs, their teams and patients with ground-breaking ideas developed in the real-world high-pressure environment of primary care have been recognised by the Royal College of General Practitioners with RCGP Bright Ideas Awards.

Bright Ideas Awards were established to inspire, celebrate and recognise fresh thinking in primary care.

8 October 2019

NICE Looks to Company to Ensure a New Treatment for Advanced Breast Cancer with Significant Unmet Need is Cost-Effective

Draft guidance published today (3 October 2019) by NICE does not recommend atezolizumab (also called Tecentriq and made by Roche) for treating people with a type of breast cancer called triple A breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and who can’t have surgery to remove it.

Given by injection every 2 weeks with nab-paclitaxel, a type of chemotherapy, atezolizumab works by blocking the activity of a protein called PD-L1 which is produced in larger amounts on cancerous cells than normal cells. By blocking PD-L1 it helps the person’s own immune cells to attack the cancer.

7 October 2019

Research Could Indicate More Older People Seeking Help for Mental Health Conditions Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to findings of research by the University of East Anglia into antidepressant use in older people.

She said: "This increase in anti-depressant use among older people could indicate a greater awareness and acceptance of mental health conditions in society, and show more people over 65 are seeking help for mental health problems which in the past may have been ignored or under-treated - which are both encouraging.

1 October 2019

Migraine Drug Not Cost-Effective NICE Says in Final Draft Guidance

NICE has said that a new drug for preventing migraine is not a cost-effective use of NHS resources, in final draft guidance published today (26 September 2019).

The draft guidance looks at erenumab (also called Aimovig and made by Novartis) for preventing chronic and episodic migraine in adults who have 4 episodes or more of migraine every month and where at least 3 other preventive treatments haven’t worked.

26 September 2019

Parents Need to Be Aware of The Clear-Cut Evidence on Vaccination Safety, Says RCGP

Responding to today's NHS Digital figures on routine childhood vaccination rates, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said

"Even a small drop in the take-up of vaccinations is disheartening and very concerning. Our efforts to eradicate potentially serious - but entirely preventable diseases - had been going so well, but we are now seeing a rise in the numbers of cases of measles and mumps.

24 September 2019

World-Leading Genomics Project to Give Insights into Health and Diseases

In a major advance for public health and the UK’s global leadership in genomics, a £200m public-private collaboration will support the complete sequencing of the genetic code of all 500,000 participants in the UK Biobank health research resource.

UK Biobank, which is funded primarily by the MRC and the Wellcome Trust, is already a uniquely rich data resource that has dramatically increased our understanding of the factors that contribute to the development of disease. This Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) project is the single most ambitious sequencing programme ever undertaken, anywhere in the world. It will be game-changing by making large-scale sequence data available to the global scientific community to help understand, diagnose, treat and prevent life-changing diseases, such as cancer and dementia.

12 September 2019

Renewed Debate Around Prescription Charges Welcome, Says College

Responding to a pledge by Labour to end prescription charges in England, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"We have always been supportive of any safe and sensible measures to reduce medication costs for patients and ensure access to necessary medication is equitable, so it's encouraging to have a renewed debate around a review of prescription charges.

17 September 2019

Children with Rare Inherited Condition to Benefit From Drug Through Managed Access Agreement

It is estimated that in the UK there are around 30 to 50 children living with the condition

A drug which slows the decline of a rare inherited condition affecting children is to be made available on the NHS.

NICE’s Highly Specialised Technology committee is supporting a positive recommendation for cerliponase alfa (Brineura, BioMarin) for children with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2) – a very rare inherited condition affecting between one and six babies each year in the UK – in the context of a managed access agreement.

Cerliponase alfa is an enzyme replacement therapy administered directly into the brain via a surgically implanted permanent access device.

12 September 2019

Introducing the New Training Portfolio

The Royal College of GPs has announced that it has partnered with FourteenFish to bring GP trainees a brand new Training Portfolio in 2020.

Over the past year, the RCGP has been considering options for replacing the current Trainee ePortfolio – and our decision to partner with FourteenFish has been based on feedback and requests from members.

The new Training Portfolio will be easier to use and should save time for both trainees and trainers. It will include an integrated mobile app, allowing trainees to record learning logs and review existing entries on the go, even without an internet connection.

10 September 2019

NICE Recommends Novel Gene Therapy Treatment for Rare Inherited Eye Disorder

It's estimated that 86 people would be eligible for treatment with voretigene neparvovec in England

A novel gene therapy treatment for rare inherited eye disorder has been recommended by NICE for use on the NHS.

The draft highly specialized technologies guidance recommends voretigene neparvovec (also called Luxturna and made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK) for people with vision loss caused by inherited retinal dystrophy from confirmed RPE65 gene mutations and who have enough viable retinal cells.

5 September 2019

Six-Week Check for New Mothers Must Be Funded, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a report from the National Childbirth Trust.

She said: "Having a baby is usually a very special time but it can lead to a whole host of physical and mental health concerns for new mothers, and it's essential they feel comfortable discussing these with their GP and other healthcare professionals, and that they receive the appropriate support.

27 August 2019

NICE To Work with Company on Addressing Issues in Appraisals of Cannabidiol for Treating Difficult to Control Epilepsies

NICE has announced its intention to work with GW Pharma to address the issues highlighted by its independent appraisal committee in its evaluation of cannabidiol for treating 2 types of severe treatment-resistant epilepsy.

NICE’s draft guidance, also published today, does not recommend the drug (also called Epidyolex and made by GW Pharma), used with clobazam, for treating Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, types of epilepsy which begin in early childhood and which are lifelong and difficult to control.

23 August 2019

System-Wide Approach to Tackling Falling Childhood Vaccination Rates Welcome, Says RCGP

Responding to the Government's childhood vaccination strategy, launched today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Vaccinations are simple, easy and highly effective health interventions and in most cases, they protect for life. Across the NHS we are doing a good job of getting this message across to patients, and in the UK we actually have high take-up rates of many vaccinations.

"But we are still suffering from the now entirely debunked MMR scandal of the nineties, and it is potentially disastrous that as a result so many young people are now susceptible to serious, often life-threatening infectious diseases, such as measles, that we could have completely eradicated in this country if this had never happened.

20 August 2019

UK Joins Forces with International Experts to Tackle Global Challenges

UK researchers and innovators will work with counterparts across the planet to tackle global challenges such as Ebola outbreaks, the impact of subpolar ocean currents on global climate, and the effect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on society and individuals’ happiness and wellbeing following a major funding announcement.

Innovative UK companies will also be supported to develop into new markets following the announcement of the second wave of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Fund for International Collaboration today, Friday 9 August 2019.

19 August 2019

Disingenuous to Suggest GPs Are Shirking Responsibilities to Patients, Says RCGP

Responding to media reports on GP surgery opening hours today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "GPs and our teams are working under intense resource and workforce pressures - and it is disingenuous to insinuate that we are in some way shirking our responsibilities to patients.

13 August 2019

New Lung Cancer Treatment Option Approved By NICE

Another new life-extending treatment for some people with lung cancer is to be made available on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) following its approval by NICE in draft guidance published today (8 August 2019).

Immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (also known as Keytruda) used with chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel will now be an option for adults with squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) which has spread to other parts of the body and who haven’t had any previous treatments.

12 August 2019

Promises of More GPs Must Be Delivered to Avoid Waiting Times Getting Worse, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a survey by Pulse magazine that has found patients are waiting for more than two weeks on average for a routine GP appointment.

She said: "Our patients should be able to see a GP when they need to – and the fact that this is becoming increasingly difficult is frustrating for GPs and our teams, as we know it is for them.

6 August 2019

Offer Daily Aspirin to Those with Inherited Genetic Condition to Reduce the Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Aspirin taken daily for 2 years or more could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in people with Lynch syndrome (LS), says NICE in new draft updated guidance.

People with LS have an increased lifetime risk – estimated to be four out of five people – of developing colorectal cancer.

Regular screening with colonoscopy and polypectomy to identify pre-cancerous cells has until now been the main strategy to detect early colorectal cancer in people with LS and offer appropriate management.

4 August 2019

RCGP Welcomes Pledge to Overhaul GPs' Pension Arrangements

Responding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's pledge to overhaul GPs' pensions arrangements today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"General practice is currently facing intense workforce pressures and current pensions arrangements are exacerbating these, so it is good to see the Government taking this issue seriously.

30 July 2019

Innovative Treatment for Gynaecological Cancers Approved for Cancer Drugs Fund

Olaparib, a medicine that has previously been used at a later stage in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer, has now been approved by NICE as a first-line maintenance treatment.

This positive recommendation affects adults with BRCA mutation-positive, advanced high-grade epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer that has responded to chemotherapy.

25 July 2019

Not Possible to Deliver Truly Holistic Care In 10 Minutes Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs has responded to research indicating that up to a third of GPs have been unable to properly diagnose patients because of short appointment times.

She said: "It has been clear for some time that the standard 10-minute appointment is no longer fit for purpose. As GPs, we want to be able to deliver truly holistic care to our patients after considering all the physical, psychological and social factors potentially impacting on their health.

16 July 2019

Superbug MRSA Susceptible to Existing Antibiotics

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become a serious problem, forcing doctors to turn to antibiotics other than penicillin or penicillin derivatives, or to different drug cocktails, which are often less effective in treating hospital and community based infections.

But new MRC funded research from scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Sanger Institute has found that some MRSA infections could be tackled - and by using existing antibiotics.

11 July 2019

Patient Satisfaction Results Are 'Testament to the Incredible Efforts' of Primary Care Teams, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the 2019 GP Patient Survey.

She said: "It is testament to the incredible efforts of GPs and their teams that patient satisfaction in general practice has remained so high – especially given the intense resource pressures currently facing our profession and the strenuous circumstances our colleagues are working under.

9 July 2019

Device for Preventing and Relieving Pain of Cluster Headaches Approved by NICE in Draft Guidance

A handheld device that delivers a small electric current has been recommended by NICE for the prevention and treatment of cluster headaches, a rare but painful type of headache that affects around 100,000 people in the UK.

The recommendation is made in NICE’s draft medtech guidance published today (5 July) for public consultation. It highlights that using gammaCore in addition to standard care (sumatriptan, zolmitriptan and oxygen) could save the NHS £450 per patient in the first year compared to standard care alone.

4 July 2019

Take Steps to Keep Symptoms Under Control and Help Prevent 'Back to School Asthma', Says RCGP

The RCGP has responded to findings published in the BMJ linking 'back to school asthma' with an increase in health service appointments.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Asthma is an extremely distressing condition affecting one in 11 children, but in the majority of cases can be well-managed by parents with the support of GPs and our teams who are highly trained to identify symptoms, prescribe appropriately and monitor treatment to help patients of all ages.

2 July 2019

People with Dementia Should be Offered Activities That Can Help Promote Wellbeing

People living with dementia should be offered activities such as exercise, aromatherapy, art, gardening, baking, reminiscence therapy, music therapy, mindfulness and animal assisted therapy to help promote their wellbeing.

The recommendation comes in NICE’s updated quality standard on dementia published today (28 June 2019).

It says people living with dementia and people involved in their care should be given the opportunity to talk about their life experiences, preferences, interests, strengths with a healthcare professional. This can help the person living with dementia to choose activities to promote wellbeing that suit their preferences and needs.

1 July 2019

Primary Care Networks Have Undeniable Benefits, But There Is No 'One Size Fits All' Approach to Solving GP Pressures, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the launch of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in England.

She said: "Primary Care Networks are essentially groups of practices working together and aiming to work with other agencies to deliver improved care for patients - and collaboration can have great benefits, particularly at a time when general practice is facing such intense resource and workforce pressures.

24 June 2019

Innovative Treatment for Inflammatory Eye Condition Recommended for Use on the NHS

People with recurrent non-infectious uveitis affecting the back of the eye could benefit from a new treatment option, the fluocinolone acetonide implant, as a result of new NICE guidance published today.

The treatment, which is injected into the eye, lasts 3 years. This could mean fewer hospital visits for patients who receive current treatments: including corticosteroid injections, immunosuppressants, and dexamethasone and adalimumab implants.
Clinical trial results suggest the fluocinolone acetonide implant may improve clearness of vision for people with uveitis and help prevent the disease returning.

22 June 2019

RCGP to Consult Members on Assisted Dying

The Royal College of General Practitioners will consult its 53,000 members as to what its stance should be on whether there should be a change in the law on assisted dying.

The decision was made by the College's governing Council, which met today.

The College last consulted its members on the issue in 2013. The result, announced in February 2014, was that the College should not change its stance, and as such, its current position is that it is opposed to any change in the law on assisted dying.

18 June 2019

Prevent No-Deal Brexit and Safeguard the NHS, RCGP Urges Tory Leader Hopefuls

The Royal College of General Practitioners has written an open letter to the next leader of the Conservative Party – and next Prime Minister of the UK – calling on them to safeguard the NHS and avoid a 'no deal' Brexit in the best interests of patient care.

In the letter, which has been sent to all remaining candidates in the leadership race - Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab and Rory Stewart - Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP Chair has written:

12 June 2019

Ghost Patients 'Nothing Sinister' – and the Insinuation GPs Are Complicit in Fraud Is 'Shocking’, Says RCGP

Responding to reports that the NHS Counter Fraud Authority has launched an investigation into 'ghost patients' on GP lists, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"The insinuation that GPs – some of the most trusted professionals in society - are complicit in defrauding the health service is shocking and will be incredibly hurtful for hard-working GPs and their teams who are struggling to deliver care to more than a million patients a day across the country, with insufficient time, resources or workforce to do so.

11 June 2019

Employers Encouraged to Help Their Staff Become Active in Fight Against Obesity

A fit and energised workforce is less likely to be off sick and more satisfied in their jobs

Highlighting a lunchtime yoga or spin class at a local gym, offering subsidised gym memberships and encouraging the use of stairs instead of using the lift are just some of the ways employers can encourage their staff to be more active, NICE has said.

Organisations are also urged to provide information about safe active travel routes to work, as well as producing physical activity programmes for the workplace to encourage employees to be more active and reduce sedentary behaviour.

11 June 2019

RCGP Welcomes 'Pragmatic' NICE Physical Activity Quality Standard

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a new physical activity quality standard from NICE.

She said: "Exercise can have a hugely positive impact on our physical and mental health, so making it easier for people to be more active as part of their daily routine – both at work and in their leisure time - is key to helping patients live a long and healthy life.

4 June 2019

MRC Festival of Medical Research Programme Launched Today

The annual MRC Festival of Medical Research takes place from 13–23 June 2019. To find MRC Festival activities near you to attend, take a look at the MRC Festival programme. 

The MRC Festival takes place in England, Scotland, Wales and Africa where a wide range of free public activities involving scientists from research establishments, including MRC units, centres and institutes, will showcase MRC-funded research.

3 June 2019

Focus on Retention in Interim NHS People Plan Welcome and Necessary, Says RCGP

Responding to NHS England and NHS Improvement’s interim NHS People Plan, published today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "The NHS long-term plan contains aspirations that will be good for patients, but delivering it will depend on having the workforce – including thousands more GPs - to do so.

"We welcome the focus on retaining existing, experienced GPs in the workforce, and appreciate the commitment in today's plan to address barriers to this, such as current pensions rules, and on making the NHS a workplace that people want to work in.

29 May 2019

15-Minute Minimum Consultations, Continuity of Care Through 'Micro-Teams', And An End To Isolated Working: This Is The Future Of General Practice

An end to the standard 10-minute GP consultation to allow family doctors to spend more time with patients with complex needs is core to the Royal College of GPs' vision for the future of general practice.

It states that by 2030 face-to-face GP consultations will be at least 15 minutes, with longer for those patients who need it.

23 May 2019

RCGP to Honour Pioneering Psychoanalysts Who Transformed GP Training with Blue Plaque at Former London Home

Celebrated psychoanalysts, Michael and Enid Balint, who had a profound influence on the development of general practice around the world, will be honoured by the Royal College of General Practitioners with a blue plaque at their former Regents Park home this week.

The psychoanalysts worked with groups of pioneering GPs in the 1950s, holding teaching and research seminars to explore the dynamics of the doctor-patient relationships and its role in diagnosis and treatment.

21 May 2019

NICE Recommends First Ever Treatment for Children with Rare Muscle-Wasting Condition

Children with the rare genetic disorder spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) can now be treated with nusinersen after NICE today (15 May) recommended it following agreement of a deal between the company, Biogen, and NHS England.

SMA affects the nerves in the spinal cord controlling movement. This causes muscle weakness, progressive loss of movement, and difficulty breathing and swallowing.

People with the most severe forms of SMA usually die before the age of 2. There are currently no active treatments targeting the underlying cause of SMA so the condition is managed through supportive care which aims to minimise the impact of disability, address complications and improve quality of life.

14 May 2019

New Evidence on Thyroid Hormones 'Powerful', but Patients Should Not Stop Taking Prescribed Medication, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to an article in the BMJ about thyroid hormones.

She said: "Prescribing is a core skill for GPs and we will always aim to take into account the physical, psychological and social factors potentially affecting a patient before recommending any form of medication – as well as taking into account relevant clinical guidelines.

14 May 2019

Lower Price for MS Drug Paves the Way for Positive Recommendation From NICE

A new, lower price for a drug to treat a rarer form of multiple sclerosis in adults has paved the way for its approval by NICE

In its final draft guidance published today (9 May 2019), NICE has reversed its previous draft decision not to recommend ocrelizumab (Ocrevus, Roche) for treating primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) in adults.

7 May 2019

New GP Workforce Figures 'Disheartening but Unsurprising', Says RCGP

Responding to new figures from the BBC and Nuffield Trust about falling GP number, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "These figures are disheartening but will be unsurprising for GPs – and their patients - across the country who are feeling the impact of relentless workforce pressures in general practice on a daily basis.

7 May 2019

New NICE Guideline Will Help Doctors Recognise and Refer People with Suspected Neurological Conditions

NICE’s new guideline is the first to offer comprehensive information on neurological conditions to help non-specialist healthcare professionals to identify people who should be referred for specialist assessment and care.

Published today (1 May 2019) the guideline makes recommendations about which symptoms and signs should prompt a referral for further neurological assessment. It also covers some examinations, assessment tools and investigative tests for helping to decide whether a person with a suspected neurological condition should have further investigation or be referred to a specialist.

3 May 2019

Urgent Investment Needed to Alleviate 'Intense Resource and Workforce Pressure' on GP Out-Of-Hours Services, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to an investigation about out-of-hours GP services.

She said: "Patients should be able to access safe, high-quality care whenever they need it through routine GP services and GP out of hours services - and these services should be well-resourced and staffed appropriately by both clinical and non-clinical workers, to meet demand

30 April 2019

NICE Launches Online Resource to Help Development and Adoption of New Health Technologies

HealthTech Connect, a new online resource provided by NICE to help identify and support new health technologies as they move from inception to adoption in the UK health and care system was formally launched today (29 April).

Developed by NICE with help from a range of partner organisationsi and funding from NHS England, HealthTech Connect is for health technologies (medical devices and diagnostic and digital health technologiesthat:

28 April 2019

Child Obesity 'Mustn't Be Swept Under the Carpet', Says RCGP

Commenting on research being presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Nobody wants to think of themselves or their child as overweight or unhealthy, but the stark truth is that overweight and obese children face numerous, serious health-related problems – both physical and mental – in the years ahead, if their weight is not addressed.

23 April 2019

Offer Women a Choice of Procedure to Terminate Their Pregnancy

All women should be able to access both medical and surgical procedures to terminate their pregnancy, says NICE in draft guidance.

Developed with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the draft guideline aims to improve the organisation of termination of pregnancy services and make it easier for women to access them.

This includes aiming to provide women with an initial appointment within 1 week of requesting one and undertaking the procedure within 1 week of the appointment.

23 April 2019

New Cancer Referral Figures are 'Testament to the Hard Work and Dedication of GPs and Their Teams', Says College

The RCGP has paid tribute to dedicated family doctors in its response to NHS England's announcement that cancer checks have topped two million for the first time.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "This is excellent news that is testament to the hard work and dedication of GPs and their teams around the country – as well as being very reassuring for our patients.

16 April 2019

New Approach to Tackle Ebola and Other Deadly Infections

Medical Research Council scientists have isolated therapeutic antibodies from healthy volunteers exposed to the Ebola vaccine but not Ebola virus itself, suggesting that protective therapies could be developed from people who are disease-free.

The researchers, from the MRC Human Immunology Unit at the University of Oxford, say their findings could apply to other infectious diseases from MERS to SARS and avian influenza, paving the way to a fast and cost-effective approach to developing new antibody therapies. Their study was published in the journal Cell Reports.

13 April 2019

Time For Care 'One Part' Of Much Bigger Solution That is Needed on GP Workforce and Workload

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "NHS England's evaluation of the Time for Care programme suggests it is making a real difference to some GP practices, and it is reassuring to know that NHS England are listening to our concerns about GP workload and taking action to help tackle this.

"However, most of our hard-working, hard-pressed GPs will still tell a different story of working longer and longer hours and seeing more patients per day to try and cope with demand, which continues to increase in both volume and complexity.

9 April 2019

Promising lung cancer treatment approved for Cancer Drugs Fund

A promising new lung cancer treatment will be available on the NHS through the Cancer Drugs Fund, thanks to a new NICE recommendation.

NICE has today published draft final guidance  recommending durvalumab (Imfinzi, AstraZeneca).

It will be made available on the NHS in England immediately for people with locally advanced unresectable non-small-cell lung cancer, who have already had platinum-based chemoradiation.

8 April 2019

Widespread Debate Needed On 'Disease Mongering' and Overdiagnosis Of Patients, Says RCGP in Response to BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine Paper on Definitions of Disease

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Disease mongering is scaremongering and it has the potential to cause huge strain for the NHS and  other healthcare systems around the world.

2 April 2019

NICE Publishes a Summary of Its Guidance and Other Safety Advice on Valproate

NICE has today (28 March) published a summary for healthcare professionals bringing together all its recommendations and other safety advice on the drug valproate.

Valproate is licensed for use in epilepsy and bipolar disorder. It is also used off-label for depression, neuropathic pain, dementia and migraine.

Children born to women who take valproate during pregnancy are at significant risk of birth defects and persistent developmental disorders. If valproate is taken during pregnancy, up to 4 in 10 babies are at risk of developmental disorders, and approximately 1 in 10 are at risk of birth defects.

28 March 2019

Rising Prescription Numbers Not 'Automatically a Bad Thing', Says RCGP

Responding to new prescription data published by NHS Digital today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Prescribing is a core skill for GPs, and we will only prescribe medication to a patient after a full and frank discussion with them, considering their unique circumstances, and if we genuinely believe they will be of benefit to their patient.

26 March 2019

Thousands Set to Benefit from Blood Pressure Treatment Under New NICE Guidance

NICE has published its draft updated guideline on the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) for public consultation.

In the biggest change to NICE’s previous guidance published in 2011, the level of a person’s cardiovascular disease risk at which treatment for high blood pressure can be started has been reduced.

The draft guideline recommends that blood pressure lowering drugs should be offered to people aged under 80 with a diagnosis of stage 1 hypertension who have a 10% or greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years.  

17 March 2019

We Must Never Give Up on Building the GP Workforce Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a new workforce report by The Health Foundation, The King's Fund, and Nuffield Trust.

She said: "We agree with the writers of this report that the GP workforce faces significant challenges, but we disagree that these are insurmountable. We must not, under any circumstances, give up on our aims and endeavours to build the GP workforce – achieving these is vital for the future of the NHS, and patient care.

19 March 2019

Nine-Month Treatment Regimen for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Is as Effective as 20-Months

A nine to 11-month treatment regimen is as effective in treating multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) as the 20 to 24-month regimen recommended in 2011 WHO guidelines, according to new research conducted by a team of researchers, including MRC scientists.

The final results of stage 1 of the STREAM trial, which is the world’s first randomised phase 3 clinical trial to test the efficacy, safety and economic impact of a standardised shorter MDR-TB regimen, are published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

17 March 2019

Workforce Boost Needed to Increase Patient Satisfaction with NHS Care, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to analysis of the 2018 British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey.

She said: "GPs and our teams want to provide the best care that we possibly can for our patients, so it's always disappointing to hear that some people are not always satisfied with the services they are receiving.

12 March 2019

890 More Children and Adults Eligible for Cochlear Implants on the NHS Each Year

Hundreds more people with severe to profound deafness will be eligible for cochlear implants each year, due to updated NICE guidance

The update comes after a review of the definition of severe to profound deafness which is used to identify if a cochlear implant might be appropriate.

Meindert Boysen, Director of the Centre for Technology Evaluation, said: “The appraisal committee listened to stakeholder concerns regarding the eligibility criteria for cochlear implants being out of date. Upon review it was concluded this needed to be updated.”

8 March 2019

New Draft Guideline on Hypertension Needs Careful Consideration, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a new NICE draft guideline on the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.

She said: "Taking steps to prevent cardiovascular disease in patients is vital to help safeguard their long-term health and wellbeing, and it is a key pledge in the NHS long-term plan. But many GPs do also have concerns about overdiagnosis and the unintended harms of prescribing medication to groups of patients when the benefits may be limited.

5 March 2019

NICE Says Drug to Treat Batten Disease Cannot Be Recommended for NHS Use Because Company Is Unable to Address Concerns About Long-Term Effectiveness

NICE has published draft guidance which confirms its earlier decision not to recommend cerliponase alfa (also called Brineura and made by Biomarin) for children with Batten disease – a very rare inherited condition affecting between 1 and 6 babies each year in the UK.

The decision comes at the end of year-long negotiations between the company and NHS England during which the company was unable to price the treatment at a level that would have addressed the problems highlighted during NICE’s assessment of it.

27 February 2019

Striking the Balance on Antibiotics Prescribing 'Extremely Challenging', Says RCGP

Responding to two papers published in the BMJ on antibiotics prescribing, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "GPs are in an incredibly difficult position when it comes to antibiotics prescribing. We are under huge pressure not to prescribe - and publicly vilified when we are deemed to do so too readily - yet, we know that in some cases antibiotics are a matter of life or death.

26 February 2019

New Research Suggests a Simple Blood Test Could Improve the Early Detection of Lung Cancer

New research led by scientists at the MRC Toxicology Unit suggests that by analysing levels of DNA in the blood, the early detection of lung cancer could be improved.

The study, published in the journal Disease Models and Mechanisms, found that in preliminary tests using mice, a blood test could measure the circulating levels of DNA in the blood which cancer cells shed as they grow and multiply, and could even predict the presence of tumours in the lungs before they became cancerous. 

25 February 2019

UK General Practice Helps Avoid US-Style 'Opioid Crisis', Says RCGP

Responding to an investigation into opioid prescribing, published in The Sunday Times this morning, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"When pain evolves from being an response to something to being chronic, it frequently becomes a long-term condition in its own right and unfortunately there is no easy cure. The challenge for doctors is to help patients to manage their pain to allow them to have the best possible quality of life and for some patients opioid-based drugs provide relief - sometimes they are the only things that do.

19 February 2019

NICE Draft Guidance Recommends Pertuzumab for New Breast Cancer Indication After Improved Price Offer from Company

NICE has published final draft guidance recommending pertuzumab (Perjeta, Roche) for treating early HER2-positive breast cancer in people whose disease has spread to their lymph nodes.

This positive recommendation is for people who have had surgery for their breast cancer and whose cancer has already spread to their lymph nodes. The estimated 2700 people in this subgroup have a higher risk of their cancer returning.

13 February 2019

Daffodils Set the Standard for End of Life Care

GP surgeries will now be able to display a 'daffodil mark' as a sign of commitment to improving end of life care, as part of a new partnership between the Royal College of GPs and the terminal illness charity Marie Curie.

The mark, synonymous with the charity, is based on a new set of criteria called the Daffodil Standards – a set of eight quality improvement statements designed to support primary care teams in delivering care to patients living with an advanced, serious illness or at the end of their lives, and their loved ones.

12 February 2019

NICE Updates Guideline on Alcohol Education in Schools

NICE is updating its guideline on Alcohol interventions in secondary and further education.

New draft recommendations will support the Department for Education’s (DfE) plan to make alcohol education a compulsory component of personal, social and health education (PSHE) in all state-funded schools in England from September 2020.
The guideline, developed with Public Health England, advises a positive approach to alcohol education; inviting classroom discussion and wider school policies to embed a ‘whole-school approach’ to PSHE.

7 February 2019

RCGP Welcomes CMO Advice for Parents on Screen Time For Children

Responding to a new report on the impact of screen time on children and advice for parents, published by the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Technology plays a huge role in our everyday lives, and for many children and young people, their entire life has never been accompanied by ready access to a smartphone, computer, or similar device in their pocket.

29 January 2019

New Era for UK Superbug Research: 20 Year Vision and Five Year Action Plan

The UK’s new 20 year vision and five year National Action Plan (2019-2024) for containing, controlling and mitigating antimicrobial resistance has been announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock at the World Economic Forum at Davos today. The plans, which cover health, animals, the environment and the food chain, set out how the UK will continue to make substantial, tangible progress towards preventing the spread and improving treatments for superbugs. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) councils have helped to shape the future ‘One health’ research and innovation priorities, which are a core feature of the vision and five year plan.

28 January 2019

RCGPNI Patient Group Encourages Patients to Use Health System Wisely

The Patient Group associated with the Royal College of General Practitioners Northern Ireland has today launched an information leaflet and campaign that aims to encourage patients to get the most from their health and social care services and to use them wisely.

General practice and other health care services are under immense strain, facing workforce and workload challenges while struggling to meet increasing demand from patients.

22 January 2019

A New Role for the Brain’s Support Cells in Controlling Circadian Rhythms of Animal Behaviour

Astrocytes, ‘caretaker’ cells that surround and support neurons in the brain, play a much more important role in circadian rhythms, the body’s 24-hour internal clock, than previously understood.

The MRC-funded study published today in the journal Science, found that these star-shaped cells, previously thought of as just supporting neurons in regulating circadian rhythms, can actually lead the tempo of the body’s internal clock and have been shown for the first time to be able to control patterns of daily behaviour in mammals.

21 January 2019

College Breaks Down Mental Health Stigmas in New Exhibition

Art installations highlighting the importance of breaking down mental health stigmas have been unveiled at the Royal College of GPs.

The news comes as today marks 'Blue Monday' - widely recognised as the UK's most depressing day of the year after the indulgences of Christmas and the end of the festive holidays.

The three pieces, which are part of a wider College exhibition called What Once Was Imagined (WOWI), highlight the realities of living with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety – two of the most common conditions currently being diagnosed in the UK.

15 January 2019

New Migraine Drug Not Cost-Effective NICE Says in Draft Guidance

NICE has said that a new drug for preventing migraine is not a cost effective use of NHS resources, in draft guidance published today.

The guidance looks at erenumab (also called Aimovig and made by Novartis) for preventing chronic and episodic migraine in adults who have 4 episodes or more of migraine every month and where at least 3 other preventive treatments haven’t worked.

Costing around £5,000 per year (not including a confidential price discount which would have applied if NICE had recommended the drug) erenumab is the first treatment to target the process by which proteins cause blood vessels in the brain to swell, leading to the symptoms of migraine. 

11 January 2019

Missed Appointments Can Indicate Something Is Wrong, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a study in BMC Medicine on missed appointments.

She said: "Patients with long-term conditions need regular monitoring and treatment and advice tailored to their unique health needs, so missing appointments and not being able to access that support has the potential to have a devastating impact on their wellbeing.

8 January 2019

Third Biological Treatment Gives More Choice for People with Severe Asthma

Another potentially life-changing treatment should be available to people with a severe form of asthma, NICE says.

Draft guidance published today says that benralizumab is cost-effective for use on the NHS in England and Wales by some adults who have severe eosinophilic asthma and have struggled to control it with inhalers.

7 January 2019

NHS Long Term Plan 'Aspirational' Says RCGP - But More GPs and Increased Funding for General Practice are Needed Urgently

Reacting to the NHS Long Term Plan launched today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "The aspirations of today's plan are good for patients, and set a constructive direction of travel for the NHS and it is also good to see such a strong commitment to increasing resource for community care – but family doctors will now want to see the detail of what this means for frontline GPs and their teams over the coming months and years as they deliver care to over a million patients every day.

1 January 2019

Gene Variations That Reduce Ability to Store Fat Around the Hips Linked to Higher Risk of Diabetes and Heart Attacks

People who are less likely to put on excess fat around their hips due to their genes are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart attacks, according to a new study led by scientists from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.

19 December 2018

Feast Your Eyes, Not Your Waistline, Say GPs in New Art Exhibition

Patients are being encouraged not to over-indulge this Christmas with the unveiling of a thought-provoking art installation at the Royal College of GPs.

'Feast' is a jacket made entirely from the leftover packaging from an average family Christmas Day dinner.

The meal typically contains around 7,000 calories - more than double the recommended daily allowance for men and women.

25 December 2018

NICE Recommends a CAR T-Cell Therapy for Adults with Some Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

NICE has published final draft guidance recommending a breakthrough cancer treatment, called CAR T-cell therapy, for adults with certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Axicabtagene-ciloleucel, also known as Yescarta and manufactured by Kite, a Gilead company, is part of a new wave of personalised medicine.

The therapy is for adults with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, two aggressive subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It will be offered to people whose disease has not responded after two or more rounds of chemotherapy or relapsed after a stem cell transplant

19 December 2018

College Defends GPs Over 'Morning Sickness' Accusations

RCGP Chair, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, has had a letter published in the Times newspaper today, in response to an article criticising GPs over the care of pregnant women with severe vomiting.

The full version is below.

Once again, it seems to be open season on GPs who, this time, stand accused of ‘fobbing off’ pregnant women with severe morning sickness. (Women palmed off by GPs call ambulances over morning sickness, December 18, page 10)

18 December 2018

Non-Invasive MRI Scan for Prostate Cancer Recommended by NICE

NICE has recommended the scan as a first-line investigation for people with suspected clinically localised prostate cancer.

Multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) works by creating detailed images of the prostate that enable clinicians to better detect suspected prostate cancer.

Currently, men with suspected cancer are offered a blood test which looks for raised prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. If these are raised, individuals may be offered a biopsy which involves inserting a needle into the prostate to take tissue samples. The procedure can be uncomfortable and unnecessary for those with low-risk cancer and comes with the risk of infection.

11 December 2018

NHS Workers Have 'Lost Confidence' In Capita, Says RCGP After Latest Screening Blunder

Responding to new information about administrative errors made in the NHS cervical cancer screening programme, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"This is simply not good enough. Less than a month since we initially heard about this cervical screening error, we are now hearing it is more serious, and has affected thousands more women.

11 December 2018

New Funding Scheme Supporting Clinical Research Capacity

The MRC has launched a new funding scheme today which will provide full-time NHS consultants, who are research-qualified but not active, the opportunity to participate in high-quality, collaborative, research partnerships.

The Clinical Academic Research Partnership (CARP) scheme will enable clinicians to contribute to research programmes as part-time co-investigators rather than programme leads.

10 December 2018

GPs Want to Be at the Forefront of Technology but Need Significant Investment in Core IT Services, Says RCGP

Responding to the NHS decision to phase out fax machines in hospitals, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It's highly ironic that the world is in the middle of a technical 'tsunami' and yet the NHS is still reliant on equipment such as fax machines.

"However, while fax machines may be terribly old-fashioned, they do work and remain a highly valued and reliable form of communication between many GP surgeries and their local hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies.

6 December 2018

Antibiotics Should Be Restricted For COPD

Healthcare professionals should consider the risk of antimicrobial resistance when deciding whether antibiotics are needed for treating or preventing a flare up of symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

These new recommendations come as NICE publishes antimicrobial prescribing guidance (APG) and a separate update to its 2010 clinical guideline on diagnosing and managing COPD in over 16s.

The antimicrobial guidance recommends that antibiotics should be offered to people who have a severe flare up of symptoms, also known as a severe acute exacerbation.

5 December 2018

GPs Concerned About Being Able to Deliver Patient Care This Winter

A recent survey of RCGP Northern Ireland members has revealed that GPs are concerned that pressures on the health service will negatively affect their ability to deliver patient care this winter.

89% of GPs surveyed are concerned that their increased workload during the winter months will negatively affect their ability to deliver patient care.

This figure is unsurprising given that 95% of GPs agreed that their workload increases over winter.

27 November 2018

More Stroke Patients to be Offered Life-Saving Procedure

Patients with acute ischaemic stroke should be offered a procedure to remove the blood clot up to 24 hours after the onset of symptoms.

This procedure, called a thrombectomy, should be offered alongside clot-busting drugs, if there is potential to salvage brain tissue, says NICE in draft updated guidance.

Currently, thrombectomy is only offered to people with stroke up to 12 hours after onset.

24 November 2018

Royal College of GPs Backs 'People's Vote' on Brexit

The Royal College of General Practitioners' governing Council has today passed a motion in support of a second referendum – commonly known as a 'People's Vote' – on Brexit negotiations.

The Council also passed a motion to oppose the UK's exit from the European Union. 
The full text of the motion that was passed was:

20 November 2018

Innovative Skin Cancer Drug Available on Cancer Drugs Fund

Patients with a type of advanced skin cancer have a new treatment option as pembrolizumab, also known as Keytruda, has been recommended for use on the Cancer Drugs Fund.

This recommendation applies to adults who have melanoma that has spread to the lymph nodes, an important part of the body’s natural defence system.

Pembrolizumab would be offered to patients who have already had surgery to remove the cancer. Called an adjuvant immunotherapy, it aims to remove any cancer left behind.

18 November 2018

Responsibility for Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance Lies with Society Not Just GPs, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a new campaign about antimicrobial resistance.

She said: "Antibiotics are excellent, vital drugs when used appropriately - and for many bacterial infections there is often no alternative treatment available.

13 November 2018

Poxvirus Tricks Cells into Moving to Spread Infection

Vaccinia virus – a poxvirus closely related to smallpox and monkeypox – tricks cells it has infected into activating their own cell movement mechanism to rapidly spread the virus, according to a new study led by scientists at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at UCL.

8 November 2018

GPs Need More Time to Discuss Lifestyle Changes with Diabetes Patients, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a new report from NHS Digital about diabetes care.

She said: "Prescribing is a core skill for GPs, and we are highly-trained to make decisions about a patient's care based on their individual needs, in their best interests, and in conversation with them.

30 October 2018

Many Cases of Dementia May Arise from Non-Inherited DNA ‘Spelling Mistakes’

Only a small proportion of cases of dementia are thought to be inherited – the cause of the vast majority is unknown. Now, a team of scientists, led by MRC-funded researchers at the University of Cambridge, believe they may have found an explanation: spontaneous errors in our DNA that arise as cells divide and reproduce.

The findings, published today in the journal Nature Communications, suggest that for many people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, the roots of their condition will trace back to their time as an embryo developing in the womb.

23 October 2018

College Launches Innovation Initiative for Primary Care

Five GPs who have come up with problem-solving ideas to help improve patients' experience of primary care have been selected to join the Royal College of General Practitioners' new Innovators Mentorship Programme (IMP).

The scheme is the first of its kind for the College and aims to encourage, empower and enable family doctors to find solutions to unmet needs in general practice, such as cutting patient waiting times or finding innovative ways to use technology in general practice to benefit patient care.

23 October 2018

Cancer Trial Shows Treating the Prostate with Radiotherapy Improves Survival

Treating the prostate with radiotherapy alongside standard treatment led to a three-year survival rate of 81%, compared to 73% in those who didn’t receive radiotherapy, for some men with advanced prostate cancer, a study based at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London has found.

These findingsfrom one of the largest ever clinical trials for the disease, are being presented at the 2018 ESMO Annual Meeting in Munich, Germany, and published in The Lancet.

19 October 2018

Supporting Patients at the End of Life Is an ‘Essential Part’ of General Practice, Says College

Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown, RCGP Joint Honorary Secretary, has responded to a new report by the Royal College of Physicians about the importance of talking to patients about end of life care.

 She said: “The entire relationship between GP and patient is based on good communication, and we have a unique role in the NHS of caring for our patients from when they are born to the end of their lives. 

16 October 2018

NICE Says Non-Surgical Options Should Be Offered First for Stress Urinary Incontinence or Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Women should be offered the treatment option of her choice, in discussion with her clinician

A full range of non-surgical options should be offered to women for stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse before any operations, NICE has said.

15 October 2018

Loneliness Strategy Is a ‘Great Result’ For GPs and Patients, But We Need More Detail on Funding and How it Will Work In Practice, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the launch of a new Loneliness Strategy from the government today.

She said: “Today’s announcement is a great result for GPs and for patients. The College has been at the forefront of campaigning to highlight the adverse health implications of loneliness and this shows how much impact we have had in a short space of time.

9 October 2018

Patients to Be Offered Choice Over Setting and Type of Dialysis Treatment, NICE Says

Dialysis choice allows patients to live the life they want to

People being treated with dialysis after kidney failure are to be offered a choice over where and what type of treatment they have.

New recommendations say patients, in discussion with their clinician, can choose which type of dialysis is right for them and where they can have their treatment.

6 October 2018

Patient Reaction to 'Shared Appointments' Has Been Very Positive, Says RCGP

RCGP Chair, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, said: "We are already aware of practices that are offering 'shared' appointments for patients with similar conditions and the feedback has been very positive.

2 October 2018

Double Check Patients With ‘Penicillin Allergy’ To Avoid Increased MRSA Risk

People who incorrectly believe they are allergic to penicillin are unnecessarily put at an increased risk of developing MRSA or C difficile, NICE warns today.

Healthcare staff should be aware of this and ensure that only people with a true allergy to penicillin are documented as such, NICE is urging.
Incorrectly identifying people as allergic could also contribute to antimicrobial resistance, as these people are likely to instead be given broad-spectrum antibiotics.

1 October 2018

Role of Social Media in Perpetuating Loneliness is 'Unsurprising', Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a BBC study on loneliness, which found that 16-24-year-olds experience loneliness more often than any other age group.

She said: "Loneliness is often seen as something that affects elderly people, but actually it can affect anyone and any point in their lives, as this study has shown.

"Online friends and communities can be a source of support for some people, but often these links are more superficial than genuine 'offline' friendship where more meaningful connections occur, so it is unsurprising to hear that these don't always make people feel less lonely.

25 September 2018

Mitochondrial Diseases Could Be Treated with Gene Therapy, Study Suggests

Researchers have developed a genome editing tool for the potential treatment of mitochondrial diseases: serious and often fatal conditions which affect 1 in 5,000 people.

The study, led by scientists from the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit at the University of Cambridge, applied an experimental gene therapy treatment in mice, and successfully targeted and eliminated the damaged DNA in mitochondria, which causes the devastating conditions.

25 September 2018

Patients Should Disclose All Medications and Supplements to their GP, Says RCGP

Responding to the new British Journal Of General Practice study on natural remedies interfering with prescription medications, Chair of the Royal College of GPs Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard said: "Our ageing population means that more people are living longer, often with more than one long-term condition and as a result, they are often, quite appropriately, taking multiple prescribed medications in order to treat and manage these conditions.

18 September 2018

Patients with High-Risk Skin Cancer Have New Treatment Option

Hundreds of patients with a type of advanced skin cancer are set to benefit from a new treatment, dabrafenib plus trametinib.

NICE’s positive recommendation applies to adults who have stage III BRAF V600 mutation-positive melanoma that has spread to nearby lymph vessels or lymph glands, which make up an important part of our immune system.

Dabrafenib plus trametinib would be given to patients who have already had surgery to remove the tumour and associated lymph glands. Called adjuvant therapy or treatment, it aims to remove any residual cancer left behind.

14 September 2018

GPs on 'Permanent Alert' For Signs of Meningitis, Says College

Responding to a new report by the Meningitis Research Foundation, Chair of the Royal College of GPs Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard said: "GPs know all too well that meningitis and indeed any form of sepsis can lead to serious complications, and in some cases can be fatal, if not recognised and treated in a timely manner. But the challenge for all clinicians is that initial symptoms often present in exactly the same way as common viral illnesses such as flu, making both conditions very hard to spot in the early stages of disease.

11 September 2018

Liver Tissue Implants Made from Stem Cells Show Promising Support of Liver Function

Stem cells transformed into 3D human liver tissue by scientists from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh show promising support of liver function when implanted into mice with a liver disease.

The scientists say that in addition to being early-stage progress towards developing human liver tissue implants, it could also reduce the need for animals in research by providing a better platform to study human liver disease and test drugs in the lab.
In this study, published in the journal Archives of Toxicology, the scientists took human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (adult cells that have been induced to turn back into stem cells) and carefully stimulated them to develop the characteristics of liver cells, called hepatocytes. They grew these cells as small spheres in a dish for over a year.

11 September 2018

Connection Between Lifestyle Factors and Overall Health 'Remains Clear', Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the new health profile report by Public Health England.

She said: "It's testament to the tremendous efforts of our NHS and public health services that more people are now living longer, but with this achievement comes the reality that more of us are also living with multiple, long-term conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.

3 September 2018

New “Life Changing” Procedure Can Be Offered to Adults with Severe Asthma on NHS

Procedure could be an option for adults with severe asthma whose symptoms cannot be adequately controlled with drugs

NICE draft guidance published today (31 August) says a potentially life changing treatment for some adults with severe asthma is safe and effective enough for use on the NHS, depending on commissioning arrangements.

Bronchial thermoplasty for severe asthma takes place under sedation or general anaesthetic and short pulses of radiofrequency energy are applied to the airway wall.

27 August 2018

Better Access to Mental Health Therapists Promises to 'Radically Change' Care, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to new guidance from NHS England, which encourages doctors to place mental health therapists in practice surgeries.

She said: "As a profession, GPs are embracing the development of GP-led multi-disciplinary teams, working together in the best interests of patients – and the skills that mental health therapists bring to the general practice team are very welcome."

28 August 2018

Feedback Encouraged to Allow Use of Life Extending Treatment on NHS for Those with Blood Cancer

CAR-T considered to be an exciting innovation which can cure some patients but very expensive

NICE has invited comments and further evidence on a new treatment for aggressive subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma that could lead to it being made available for use on the NHS.

28 August 2018

Better Communication Between Hospitals and GPs Could Have 'Huge Impact' on Heart Care, Says College

Dr Mike Holmes, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to new research funded by the British Heart Foundation.

He said: "Heart failure is a very serious condition and one that GPs are acutely attuned to look out for in patients - but in the early stages of the disease, some symptoms can be vague and more likely to indicate other, more common conditions.

21 August 2018

NICE Would Welcome Further Discussions About Access to Spinal Muscular Atrophy Drug Nusinersen

NICE hopes for further talks over nusinersen for treating a rare genetic disorder; spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Draft guidance does not recommend nusinersen, also called Spinraza and made by Biogen, for routine use on the NHS because of uncertainties over its long-term effectiveness and its extremely high cost.

The committee concluded that, based on its list price, the cost-effectiveness estimates for nusinersen ranged between £400,000 and £600,000 per year of quality adjusted life (QALY) gained. Even with a proposed confidential price reduction the cost of nusinersen is too high for it to be considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

17 August 2018

Flexible Working Helps GP Workforce, Says RCGP

Responding to a survey of GP trainees' career plans, published today by the King's Fund, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We have a record number of doctors in GP training and the moment, and that is brilliant – they are the future of the profession, and are already making a vital contribution to patient care.

"It's not a surprise to see that more GP trainees are planning to either work part-time, or opt for portfolio careers – meaning that they undertake work in other areas of healthcare, as well as clinical work. The intense resource and workforce pressures facing general practice at the moment, mean that full-time working as a GP is often regarded as untenable.

14 August 2018

Factoring in BMI and Sex Can Help Avoid Harmful Side Effects in Type 2 Diabetes

Clinicians can match people with type 2 diabetes to the right drug to improve control of blood sugar and help avoid damaging side-effects, simply by factoring in characteristics such as sex and BMI into prescribing decisions, new MRC-funded research suggests.

The University of Exeter study could dramatically reduce the risk of potentially harmful side-effects such as weight gain and hypoglycaemia, at no additional cost to the NHS.

9 August 2018

GP Patient Survey Results 'Testament to the Great Efforts' of Practice Teams, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Hardworking GPs and our teams will be so encouraged to hear that despite the extreme resource and workforce pressures they are working under, 95.6% of patients have confidence and trust in the healthcare professional they saw.

"This truly is testament to the great efforts and dedication to patient care being shown by GP practice teams across the country. It highlights the fact that patients value general practice greatly, and that urgent steps need to be taken to shore up our service, so that we achieve similar high levels of satisfaction in future years.

7 August 2018

Launch of New Master’s Degree in Evaluation of Health Care Interventions and Outcomes

A new master’s degree in healthcare decision making has been launched by London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in collaboration with NICE.

The MSc, which takes 2 years to complete, will offer skills in health services research, health economics, outcomes research, and health policy.

It is aimed at professionals from a wide range of backgrounds, including the medical professions, pharmaceutical and medical devices industries, healthcare management, government and non-governmental organisations.

7 August 2018

Companies Using Legal Loopholes to Bypass Inspection 'Putting Patient Safety at Risk', Says RCGP

Commenting on a BBC Panorama investigation into websites providing primary care services, due to be broadcast this evening, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It's deeply concerning to hear reports of patients buying prescription medication from unverified online providers with minimal security checks, or from websites whereby the prescribers involved don't have access to their full medical records when prescribing potentially dangerous medications.

31 July 2018

New System Can Identify Drugs to Target "Undruggable" Enzymes Critical in Many Diseases

A new drug discovery system allows scientists to specifically target members of an important family of enzymes, called phosphatases, which were previously considered mostly "undruggable".

Scientists from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology demonstrated the capabilities of the new system by identifying a molecule that could successfully target a phosphatase to reduce the accumulation of Huntington’s disease-associated proteins in the brains of mice.

30 July 2018

Access to Additional GP Services Must Be Tailored to Local Patient Need Not to Meet Targets

In response to the BBC report on GP access, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "General practice is facing intense resource and workforce pressures at the moment – our workload has increased exponentially in terms of volume and complexity, but the share of the NHS budget we receive is less than it was a decade ago, and GP numbers are actually decreasing.

24 July 2018

NICE Guideline Set to Address Variation in Provision of Services for Adults with Cerebral Palsy

NICE has published a draft guideline on the care and support adults with cerebral palsy should receive.

It outlines the steps needed to address the variation in the provision of specific services for adults with cerebral palsy and aims to help local and regional services to provide consistent clear pathways of clinical and social care.

21 July 2018

New Antidepressants Data Highlights 'Interesting Trends', but Shouldn't 'Automatically Be Seen as a Bad Thing', Says RCGP

Responding to figures on antidepressants prescribing, published in The Times, today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It’s important that these figures aren’t automatically seen as a bad thing. They may indicate that more patients now feel able to disclose mental health problems and seek medical care and that negative stigma too often associated with mental health conditions is reducing in society.

17 July 2018

Cancer Drug for Children Recommended After Becoming Cost Effective for NHS Patients

Around 60% of children with high-risk neuroblastoma could be treated with dinutuximab beta

Seriously ill children battling high-risk neuroblastoma - a rare type of cancer that mainly affects children and young people – are to be offered a drug which has potential to extend their lives.

A National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) appraisal committee has recommended dinutuximab beta in final draft technology appraisal guidance published today.

13 July 2018

College Treating Data Investigation Involving Publishers of Emma's Diary 'Very Seriously'

"The College has had a long-running relationship with the publisher of Emma's Diary, and the publisher is co-operating fully with the ICO investigation. The RCGP provides medical guidance for the publication but does not hold or receive data and has had no involvement in the case being investigated."

3 July 2018

Funding Boost for Volunteer Infection Studies to Help Combat Infectious Diseases

Nine research teams are each receiving around £100,000 of seed-funding to help set up new volunteer infection studies. These awards aim to improve understanding of these diseases in order to find better ways to prevent or treat them.

The funding comes from the HIC-Vac network, a joint initiative between the MRC, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The HIC-Vac network is directed by Professor Peter Openshaw and led from Imperial College London. The Deputy Director, Professor Andrew Pollard, is based at the University of Oxford.  

2 July 2018

New NHS App Has Potential but Safeguards Must Be in Place Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Apps are increasingly a vital part of our everyday lives and as technology adapts in the 21st century, the healthcare service must remain up to date with the technologies that the public – and thus our patients – are using.

"The new free NHS app that is being rolled out to patients represents a significant and constructive step forward in the way care is managed and is intended to offer a range of services including more streamlined booking of GP appointments, ordering prescriptions, and recording organ donor preferences - and a way of updating patients registration details at their GP practice.

26 June 2018

People with Dementia Should Be Involved in Discussions About Their Care, Says NICE

NICE has updated its guidance for the support of people living with dementia.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE, reflects upon the difficulties people with dementia can experience, and how she hopes the guidance will help them, their family and their carers:

Dementia is a highly complex and challenging condition. It can present differently from person to person, having a huge impact on the patient, their family and their carers.

26 June 2018

Stigma Around Women's Health Must Be Addressed, Says RCGP

Responding to a new report on reproductive health published by Public Health England today, Chair of the Royal College of GPs and a GP with a long term interest in women's health, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said:

"Reproductive health conditions affect women's health and emotional wellbeing on a daily basis and can range in severity in terms of the impact their condition has on their everyday life.

19 June 2018

Kidney Cancers Caught Stealing Genes from Other Cell Types in Order to Spread

A study has identified how kidney cancers may develop the ability to spread around the body by hijacking genes from other cell types and ‘stealing’ their functions.

The study, led by scientists from the MRC Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge, suggests that this may also help to explain how other types of cancers spread – or metastasise – and provide new targets for cancer therapies.

To metastasise, cancer cells need to develop the ability to break away from the original tumour, survive moving around the body in the blood stream, invade another organ and form a secondary tumour.

17 June 2018

PM Announcement 'Welcome and Encouraging' But General Practice Must Receive A Substantial Share, Says RCGP

Responding to Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement of £384m extra a week, in real terms, for the NHS by 2023, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"The Prime Minister's announcement recognises the exceptional work that our national health service has done over the last 70 years, in the best interests of our patients, and is welcome confirmation that the Government is committed to continuing this.

12 June 2018

Therapy Offered Within One Month to Prevent PTSD, Says NICE

People who have suffered trauma and are at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be offered therapy within one month, NICE says in new draft guidance.

The updated guidance gives recommendations on preventing and manging PTSD. Adults who are at risk of PTSD  should be offered individualised cognitive-behavioural therapy within a month of experiencing a stressful event. Children can be considered for group therapy after shared trauma to reduce the risk of developing PTSD, the guidance says.

8 June 2018

New Report Provides 'Fascinating Insight' Into Progress Of GPFV, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "NHS England's GP Forward View makes more than 100 pledges, each of which, if implemented correctly should benefit general practice, and make our working lives easier, in the best interests of the care we are able to deliver for patients.

"The BMA has provided a fascinating insight on the progress of the GPFV, and we will take their report into account when we release our own comprehensive analysis, and recommendations, in the coming months."

5 June 2018

Improving Heart Health Could Prevent Frailty in Old Age

New research, funded by the MRC, found that older people with very low heart disease risks also have very little frailty, raising the possibility that frailty could be prevented.

The largest study of its kind found that even small reductions in risk factors helped to reduce frailty, as well as dementia, chronic pain, and other disabling conditions of old age.

The study analysed data from more than 421,000 people aged 60-69 in both GP medical records and in the UK Biobank research study. Participants were followed up over 10 years.

31 May 2018

GPs Leaving Profession at 'Incredibly Worrying' Rates Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a survey by the University of Manchester, which found that the number of GPs who say they are likely to quit direct patient care within five years rose to 39% in 2017 from 35% in 2015.

She said: "It's incredibly worrying to hear that so many GPs are thinking about leaving the profession within the next five years, but it certainly isn't surprising, given the intense pressures family doctors are facing – something about which the College has long been raising concerns.

29 May 2018

NICE Approves Multiple Sclerosis Drugs After Prices Are Reduced

Reductions to the price of three multiple sclerosis (MS) drugs mean NICE is now able to recommend them for routine NHS funding.

NICE has published draft guidance recommending interferon beta-1b (Extavia, Novartis), glatiramer acetate (Copaxone, Teva UK Ltd), and interferon beta-1a (Avonex, Biogen Idec Ltd, and Rebif, Merck Serono Ltd) – as treatment options for people with a type of MS called relapsing-remitting MS.

23 May 2018

New Round of Clinical Priorities Announced By College

The Royal College of GPs has announced its latest round of clinical projects to support frontline GPs and their teams as they deliver quality care for their patients.
These will focus on: Dermatology

  • Efficient Multimorbidity Management
  • Lyme Disease
  • Menstrual Wellbeing

22 May 2018

UK Biobank Data Reveals New Alzheimer’s Risk Gene

An international research team funded by the MRC and led by scientists at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Queensland, has identified three new genes linked to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The study, which also involved researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is published today (18 May) in the journal Nature Translational Psychiatry.

18 May 2018

Almost One in Three GPs Are So Stressed They Feel They Cannot Cope At Least Once A Week

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, RCGP Wales has published the figures to raise awareness of the impact of rising workloads on GPs' own mental health and wellbeing.

Almost one in three GPs are so stressed they feel they cannot cope at least once a week

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, RCGP Wales has published the figures to raise awareness of the impact of rising workloads on GPs' own mental health and wellbeing.

15 May 2018

New Guidance Will Help Combat Drug Resistant Urinary Tract Infections, Says NICE

NICE has published new guidance to help healthcare professionals optimise the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

NICE says healthcare professionals should ask patients about the severity and regularity of their symptoms before they prescribe antibiotics.

This should include asking them about the steps they have taken to manage their illness (such as taking painkillers) and may also include asking them for a urine sample so that this can be tested for infection. The results can then be used to identify which antibiotic will work best.

10 May 2018

College Welcomes 'Sophisticated' Safety Measures to Help Reduce Medication Errors

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the introduction of a new safety system to help the NHS monitor and prevent medication errors.

She said: "The data published today should reassure patients that in the vast majority of cases, prescriptions issued from their GP surgery are made appropriately and accurately.

8 May 2018

Scientists Develop a New Test to Safely and Accurately Diagnose Peanut Allergies

MRC scientists have developed a new laboratory test to diagnose peanut allergy. The test has 98% specificity and, unlike current options, it doesn’t run the risk of false-positives or causing allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock.

The simple blood test is five times more cost-efficient compared to the oral food challenge (OFC) – the standard food allergy test – and could be adapted to test for other food allergies.

4 May 2018

RCGP Calls on Government to Facilitate 'Social Prescribing' For All Practices

Every GP surgery should be funded to have access to a dedicated social prescriber in a bid to tackle crippling GP workload, and free up their time for those patients most in need of medical care, according to a report by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), published today.

The report assesses NHS England's Time for Care Programme - specifically, its 10 High Impact Actions, which aim to cut workload in general practice.

1 May 2018

A New Option for Men with Enlarged Prostate

Men suffering with symptoms from an enlarged prostate could be offered a new type of nonsurgical treatment thanks to changes in NICE guidance.

NICE – the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – has updated its guidance for using Prostate Artery Embolisation (PAE) as a treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The prostate is a small walnut sized gland found only in men. It produces the fluid component of semen and grows naturally with age. Problems occur when the change in size puts pressure on the tubes that drain urine from the bladder.

27 April 2018

New Research on The Impact of Climate Change on Health a 'Stark Warning', Says RCGP

Commenting on the Lancet Countdown's report on air pollution and the health benefits of the UK's Climate Change Act, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Climate change is a clear risk to the health and wellbeing of the British population.

24 April 2018

People Growing Older with Learning Disabilities Should Get Regular Health Checks, Says NICE

NICE says people growing older with learning disabilities need to have annual health checks to help them manage conditions that can quickly affect them as they grow older.

New guidance from NICE, advises health and social care workers to help organise regular health assessments for older people with learning disabilities because they may find it difficult to express their needs and be heard.

Older people with learning disabilities are more likely to develop serious health problems such as, epilepsy or pneumonia. They are more likely to die from these conditions because of late diagnosis. They may also find it hard to access health services because of hearing or sight problems.

23 April 2018

Young Women Should Be Reassured to Feel Comfortable Speaking to Their GP About Periods, Says College

Commenting on Plan International UK’s study which found nearly 80 per cent of girls have been concerned about symptoms related to their period but haven't seen a health professional, Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs and a GP with long term interest in women's health said:

"Puberty is a critically important stage in a young woman's life when they are adapting to lots of changes in their bodies and naturally some girls may feel hesitant to seek medical help as they struggle to understand these.

17 April 2018

Drinking More Than 100g/Week of Alcohol - 5-6 Glasses of Wine - May Be Linked to a Shorter Life Expectancy

Recommended alcohol limits in many countries should be lowered to around 100g/week for men and women, according to an analysis of data from nearly 600,000 current drinkers in 19 countries, published today in The Lancet.

A 100 g/week limit is equivalent to 5-6 standard UK glasses of wine or pints of beer per week or 12.5 units. Recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are almost 50% higher than this, and in the USA, the upper limit for men is nearly double this (196 g/week or 11 glasses; 98 g/week for women). The findings from the study are in line with UK guidance which was recently lowered to 6 glasses a week for men and women.

15 April 2018

GP Patient Data Must Not Be Treated Like The Yellow Pages, Demands College

Responding to the Health Select Committee's report into the Memorandum of Understanding on data-sharing between NHS Digital and the Home Office, published today [Sunday 15 April], Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"The Home Office is displaying a blatant disregard for the trusted and vital GP-patient relationship, and its casual approach to confidential patient data risks alienating highly vulnerable patients.

10 April 2018

Help People Make Informed Decisions When They Want to Quit Smoking, Says NICE and Public Health England.

NICE and Public Health England have published updated guidelines for health practitioners and stop smoking services on the best ways to help people quit smoking.

NICE and Public Health England have published updated guidelines for health practitioners and stop smoking services on the best ways to help people quit smoking.

The new guideline recommends prioritising specific groups who are at the highest risk of harm from smoking, such as women who are pregnant and people with mental health problems.

9 April 2018

'Bureaucracy Getting in the Way of Common Sense' - RCGP Verdict on GP Trainee Facing Deportation

Responding to reports that GP trainee Dr Luke Ong is facing deportation due to a delay in his visa process, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "The NHS is severely short of GPs – we simply don't have enough to go around, and our patients are waiting longer for appointments as a result."

3 April 2018

Potential Genetic Link in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Identified

Rare genetic mutations associated with impairment of the breathing muscles are more common in children who have died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than in healthy controls, according to new research co-authored by Medical Research Council scientists.

The findings, published in The Lancet, suggest a possible genetic element of the disorder (also known as ‘cot death’). The research was co-funded by the MRC.

29 March 2018

RCGP Welcomes New NHS England Move on Prescriptions for Over-The-Counter Medicines

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Prescription costs are a massive expense for the NHS, and the College has always been supportive of plans to take safe, sensible measures to reduce these costs.

"However, we have previously expressed our concerns about blanket bans being imposed, and GPs losing their freedom to make decisions in the best interests of individual patients, taking into account the unique physical, psychological and social factors affecting their health.

27 March 2018

NICE Medtech Early Technical Assessment Tool to Form Part of Government Grant Application Process for Healthcare Product Developers

The Medtech Early Technical Assessment (META) tool has been selected, as an option, to form part of the application process for a £1million grant for developers of innovative medicines, diagnostics and regulated digital technology in a real world clinical setting.

This follows the recent announcement from the Office for Life Sciences in partnership with Innovate UK that it will invest up to £1million to help small and medium sized companies generate an evidence base for their products so they can be evaluated for use within the NHS. The support will enable companies to collect and analyse clinical performance and cost effectiveness data within an NHS setting.

23 March 2018

A Healthy Lifestyle Doesn't Need to Be Boring, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a study by Cancer Research UK, which found that more than 135,000 cases of cancer a year in the UK could be prevented through lifestyle changes.

She said: "Living healthier lifestyles is the obvious route to better health outcomes for patients – and as GPs, who want our patients to live as long and healthy lives as possible, we will always encourage our patients not to smoke, to only drink alcohol in moderation, to be mindful of their diet and where possible to be more active.

20 March 2018

10,000 More Women to Be Offered Test to Identify the Cause of Heavy Periods

Hysteroscopy has been recommended as a first line diagnostic test for women with heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), in updated NICE guidance.

The update makes new recommendations for diagnosing and treating the condition, which is estimated to affect around a quarter of women of a reproductive age.

The guideline recommends that women with symptoms and/or risk factors for gynaecological diseases or conditions, such as persistent bleeding between periods, should be offered hysteroscopy.

12 March 2018

GPs Will Not Prescribe Opioids as a 'Quick Fix' Solution, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"High blood pressure, or hypertension, already affects a very large number of patients in the UK. Lowering the threshold for making the diagnosis of any condition is a significant decision, that will affect thousands, if not millions of patients, and must not be taken lightly.

13 March 2018

Decision to Extend Blood Pressure Drugs to More Patients 'Should Not Be Taken Lightly', Says RCGP

Responding to a BBC investigation into opioid prescribing in the NHS, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“GPs take prescribing any medication incredibly seriously and will do so based on the physical, psychological and social factors potentially impacting on the health of the patient in front of them, and in line with current clinical guidelines – they will never prescribe simply as a ‘quick fix’ solution.

12 March 2018

RCGP Welcomes Solutions Suggested in Latest NHS Reality Check Report

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a report by the Royal College of Physicians about the current pressures facing the NHS, and how they can be alleviated.

She said: "We have huge empathy with our hospital colleagues, and we know that GPs around the UK would echo their sentiments around increasing workload, and concerns for patient safety. Our NHS is operating under immense pressures and we're sure that everyone working in the health system can relate to this report in one way or another. 

6 March 2018

NICE Sets Out Measures to Reduce Suicide Attempts in Public Spaces and Prisons

Physical barriers such as nets and fences at bridges and stations could reduce suicides, NICE says.

The draft guideline advises local businesses, community services and prisons on the support people considering suicide need. It says physical barriers like fences and netting in problem areas may be enough to make people reconsider their intentions. Using CCTV could also allow staff to monitor when people may need help.

2 March 2018

Latest RCGP Statement on Bawa-Garba Case

Following extensive discussion of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba's case at UK Council on Friday 23 February, RCGP Chair, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard has made this statement:

Dr Bawa-Garba's case has shaken the entire medical community in the UK - it is now essential that lessons are learnt from this case, and are used to shape the future of medical practice in the best interests of NHS staff and patient care.

27 February 2018

Alternative Treatments for People with Thyroid Cancer to be Offered Routinely on the NHS, Says NICE

The new guidance recommends three drugs, treating two types of thyroid cancer to be made routinely available in the NHS.

Cabozantib, also known as Cometriq, made by Ipsen and sorafenib, known as Nexavar made by Bayer have been recommended by NICE to come off the Cancer Drugs Fund and into routine use. Lenvatinib, or Lenvima made by Eisai has also been recommended for routine NHS use.

It is estimated by the companies that approximately 1,300 people could benefit from these treatments over the next five years.

26 February 2018

RCGP Calls for an End to Referral Management Centres That 'Prioritise Cost-Savings Over Patient Care'

Referral management centres, which are primarily designed to reduce GP total referral numbers to hospital should not be introduced – and where they already exist, it must be demonstrated that they are safe for patients and cost-effective to the whole NHS, recommends the Royal College of GPs in a new report published today.

20 February 2018

Scientists Create Functioning Kidney-Like Tissue from Stem Cells

Scientists have successfully produced human kidney-like tissue within a living organism, which is able to produce urine. The study authors, led by Professors and from the University of Manchester, said it greatly advances our progress toward using stem cells to repair damaged kidneys.

15 February 2018

Latest GP Workforce Figures Are 'Very Disappointing', Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to news that GP numbers are down 0.6% from September 2017 to December 2017, to 33,872.

13 February 2018

Once a Day Pill for Ovarian Cancer Could Be Made Available On the CDF

NICE has invited Tesaro to submit a proposal for including niraparib (Zejula) in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), for treating some types of recurrent ovarian cancer.

According to company estimates up to 850 women in England and Wales could benefit from this new treatment.

In this draft guidance niraparib was appraised for the treatment of women with relapsed ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer who have had 2 or more courses of platinum based chemotherapy.

12 February 2018

Consider the Pharmacist, but Worried Parents Should Trust Their Instinct, Says College

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the launch of an NHS England campaign encouraging parents to take their children to the pharmacy before seeing a GP.

She said: "GPs and our teams across the country are currently facing intense resource and workforce pressures, and patients can certainly help to ease this pressure by seeking advice from a pharmacist where appropriate, before making an appointment to see their GP.

6 February 2018

Bacteria Block Transmission of Zika and Dengue Viruses

Scientists at the University of Glasgow’s MRC Centre for Virus Research (CVR) have found a bacterial strain which blocks dengue and Zika virus transmission from mosquitoes.

In a new study, published in PLOS Pathogens, the scientists show that a novel strain of the inherited bacteria, called Wolbachia, strongly blocks transmission of dengue and Zika virus in infected mosquitoes. This finding could offer a potential alternative to strains already being tested as virus control tools.

3 February 2018

GP Workforce in 'Precarious State' and Needs Urgent Increase in GP Numbers, Says RCGP

Responding to research from the University of Exeter on reasons GPs leave the workforce, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "This research provides important understanding into why GPs are leaving the profession – and hammers home why the College's calls for thousands more GPs must be heard and acted upon.

23 January 2018

First ‘Cell Map’ Of 20,000 Cells in Mammalian Embryo

Scientists at the Wellcome - MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute have used cutting-edge technology to profile over 20,000 individual cells to produce the first ‘cell map’ describing all the major cell types present at the early stage of mammalian embryo development. The researchers used the map to identify an important new pathway involved in blood cell development and say the map could open up new avenues for medicine and drug development.

18 January 2018

Flu Rates Up Over 150% Since Start Of 2018 Show RCGP Figures

Flu presentations in general practice have risen 152.9% since the start of the year and 42% in a week according to the latest figures (up to 14 January) from the Royal College of GPs' Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC).

16 January 2018

How Incurable Mitochondrial Diseases Strike Previously Unaffected Families

Researchers have shown for the first time how children can inherit a severe – potentially fatal – mitochondrial disease from a healthy mother. The study, led by researchers from the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit at the University of Cambridge, reveals that healthy people harbour mutations in their mitochondrial DNA and explains how cases of severe mitochondrial disease can appear unexpectedly in previously unaffected families.

10 January 2018

RCGP Welcomes 'Timely and Sensible' Decision by Care Quality Commission to Pause Routine Inspections of GP Practices

Professor Helen Stokes Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "This will be music to the ears of hard pressed GPs who are working flat out to care for patients in the face of winter pressures.

9 January 2018

NICE Final Draft Guidance Recommends Gene Therapy for Rare ‘Bubble Baby Syndrome’

Strimvelis, a treatment for an ultra-rare inherited immune deficiency condition that has been dubbed ‘bubble baby syndrome’ has been approved by NICE in final draft guidance.

Children with ADA-SCID, severe combined immunodeficiency due to adenosine deaminase deficiency, are extremely vulnerable to infection and usually live in isolation to minimise the risk, hence the nickname ‘baby in a bubble’.

5 January 2018

GP Data Shows Increased Flu Presentations Across England

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "The latest data from our Research and Surveillance Centre (until 31 December 2017) is showing that more patients are presenting to GP practices with flu-like symptoms than earlier in 2017. Whilst this is currently within seasonally-expected levels, we are also hearing anecdotal reports of increased demand at surgeries this week.

2 January 2018

Community-Based Screening Can Substantially Reduce Hip Fractures in Women

The risk of hip fractures in women could be reduced through a community screening programme, a new study has shown.

Published in The Lancet and involving scientists from the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (LEU) at the University of Southampton the study, known as SCOOP (SCreening for Osteoporosis in Older women for the Prevention of fracture’), compared a screening approach, which involved a questionnaire, bone mineral density measurements in some patients, fracture risk calculated using the online “FRAX” tool and subsequent treatments, to routine care.

It found that there was a 28% reduction in hip fractures over five years in older women who took part in the screening programme.

29 December 2017

'3 Before GP': New RCGP Mantra to Help Combat Winter Pressures in General Practice

Patients are being asked to adopt a new three-step 'mantra' to help relieve pressures on GP services this winter.

The Royal College of GPs' '3 before GP' refers to three questions patients should ask themselves before booking an appointment with their GP.

27 December 2017

Support People to Make Decisions if They Have Capacity but Find it Difficult, NICE Says

Health and social care professionals should support people to make decisions who find it difficult, NICE says in new draft guidance.

They should support people even if they make a decision that they may disagree with. Making an ‘unwise’ or ‘risky’ choice does not mean that a person lacks capacity and decisions need to be made on their behalf, the draft guidance says.

Using visual aids or involving friends and family can help a person communicate their wishes, NICE says.

26 December 2017

Patients' Underlying Problems Not Always Medical, Says RCGP

Commenting on a drive by NHS England to implement more social prescribing, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Social prescribing is something good GPs have always done – it’s just the actual descriptive term didn’t exist before.

“Across the UK, GPs and our teams will see over 1m patients today – and sometimes, what people need isn’t traditional medical care. They might benefit more, for example, from an exercise class, or in the case of lonely patients perhaps a community group, than any medication – and GPs will readily recommend them, if these options are appropriate and available. 

19 December 2017

Mesh for Vaginal Wall Prolapse Should Only Be Used In the Context of Research, Says NICE

Updated advice says current evidence on the safety of the procedure shows there are serious, but well-recognised safety concerns.

The evidence for long term efficacy is inadequate in quality and quantity. Therefore, the procedure should only be used in the context of research. This does not constitute a ban on the use of the procedure, as has been suggested in some media reports.

NICE has published eight pieces of interventional procedure guidance (IPG) on mesh. They give advice on the use of mesh as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI), or pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

16 December 2017

Letter to The Telegraph on Impact on NHS Without General Practice

The Telegraph published Chair Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard's letter to the editor on 16 December 2017 in response to Philip Johnston's proposal that the NHS can survive without general practice.

As one of the country's GPs, who will collectively see over a million patients today alone, I am flabbergasted – as I'm sure our patients will be – by Philip Johnston's ludicrous proposal that the NHS could survive without general practice (Here's an idea to save the National Health Service: get rid of GPs, 13 December).

12 December 2017

Placing the UK at the Forefront of Mental Health Research

Today, the government publishes its Framework for Mental Health Research, a document which the MRC has helped to shape along with other public and charity funders of mental health research. Setting out ten recommendations to improve the impact of mental health research over the next decade, the Framework focuses on prevention and early intervention, increased patient and public engagement, user-led research and stronger connections between physical and mental health research. The guidance also points to harnessing advances in technology, broadening the skill base and encouraging the wider life-science community to invest in mental health research.

7 December 2017

Obese Children Face Lifetime of Health-Related Problems, Says RCGP

In response to findings on childhood obesity by the Millennium Cohort Study, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs said:

"This alarming finding that that one in five young people are obese by the age of 14 should strike a chord in all of us. The stark truth is that overweight and obese children face a lifetime of health-related problems, including increased risk of conditions such as cancer and diabetes, if their weight is not addressed.

5 December 2017

New Ways to Diagnose and Manage Asthma Can Improve Care, Says NICE

New tests to help diagnose asthma and a change in how medicines are offered can help people take control of their asthma, NICE says in new guidance.

NICE is recommending objective tests, which include spirometry and FeNO, to help confirm a diagnosis of asthma. This can achieve more accurate diagnosis and therefore more effective treatment, says NICE.

Spirometry tests assess how well someone’s lungs work by measuring how much air they inhale and exhale, and how quickly.

28 November 2017

Good Progress but More to be Done on GP Fill Rates, Says RCGP

Responding to the latest GP fill rates for medical school placements from Health Education England, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "More junior doctors have chosen to specialise in general practice than last year, so progress is being made, but it's clear there is much more to do.

"Our report, Destination GP, demonstrates that by their final year at university 76% medical students have heard negative comments about general practice at some point during their medical training. This immediately needs to be addressed if we are to secure the GP workforce of the future that we so desperately need.

27 November 2017

Remove Earwax If a Build-Up is Causing Hearing Loss Problems, NICE Tells Primary Care

GP surgeries or community clinics should offer to remove earwax if a build-up is contributing to someone’s hearing loss.

This means patients do not need to be referred to a specialist ear, nose and throat (ENT) service for the same procedure, new draft guidance from NICE says.

Earwax can be removed using an electronic machine that pumps water into the ear at a controlled pressure, known as ear irrigation.

Patients should be given ear drops to soften the wax before irrigation, the draft guidance says.

27 November 2017

RCGP and Medical Schools Council Call for Action to Address Negative Perceptions of General Practice to Tackle GP Workforce Shortage

More than three quarters (76%) of medical students report hearing negative comments about general practice from clinicians, educational trainers, and/or academics by the time they reach their final year at university, according to a new report from the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Medical Schools Council.

More than three quarters (76%) of medical students report hearing negative comments about general practice from clinicians, educational trainers, and/or academics by the time they reach their final year at university, according to a new report from the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Medical Schools Council.

21 November 2017

New Technique ‘Trim-Away’ Targets and Rapidly Destroys Proteins in Cells

A new technique, called ‘Trim-Away’, directly and quickly depletes proteins from any cell type in culture. As Trim-Away can also distinguish between different variants of the same protein, it opens up new opportunities to understand the role of proteins in disease, say the scientists from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) and the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany.

17 November 2017

RCGP Response to Journal of Public Health Study on Obesity and Cancer

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs has responded to a study published in the Journal of Public Health which shows the majority of people in the UK don't understand the connection between weight issues and cancer.

She said: "GPs are working hard to ensure patients are aware of how their lifestyle might be affecting their health and wellbeing – including how making often-simple lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay serious conditions, such as cancer.

14 November 2017

Use Antibiotics Effectively to Reduce Drug-Resistance

Good management of antibiotics can half the number of people picking-up drug-resistant infections in hospital, new data suggests.

Research, published in the Lancet, has found antibiotic stewardship programmes can reduce the number of hospital infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria by 51%. It also shows the number of people experiencing drug-resistant infections decreases further when infection control measures, such as good hand hygiene, are followed.

NICE says, healthcare professionals should select the dose, length of treatment and type of administration (for example, tablets or injection) that is right for the person and the infection. This stewardship helps to fight resistance because it preserves the usefulness of antibiotics.

10 November 2017

RCGP Welcomes BMA Report on Protecting the Future of General Practice

In response to the launch of the British Medical Association's new report, Saving general practice, Royal College of GPs Chair, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said:

"We welcome this new report which backs up what we've been saying on the severe workload and workforce pressures facing general practice and our calls for further investment and resources to support hardworking GPs and their teams.

7 November 2017

Inherited Risk of High Cholesterol Should be Identified and Treated as Early as Possible, NICE Says in Updated Guidance

Medical records should be checked to identify people who may be at risk of common inherited cholesterol disorder familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), NICE says.

The guideline recommends those at risk of FH should be offered DNA tests to confirm they have the condition. Previously, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels have been used but they are not always accurate.

6 November 2017

New GP App Could Lead to Patients Being ‘Cherry Picked’ and Create ‘Twin Track’ General Practice, Warns RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Some patients will see this as a ‘golden ticket’ to get quick and easy access to a GP - and for younger, healthier commuters it could prove a solution to long waiting times for an appointment.

“Technology can achieve wonderful things when used properly, but we are really worried that schemes like this are creating a twin-track approach to NHS general practice and that patients are being ‘cherry-picked’, which could actually increase the pressures on traditional GPs based in the community.

31 October 2017

Scientists Unveil Structure of Protein Critical for Gene Expression and Targeted by Influenza

The technique of cryo-electron microscopy - for which MRC scientist Dr Richard Henderson won a Nobel Prize earlier this month - has now been used to solve the structure of a protein complex critical for gene expression.

In the paper, published in Science, the researchers say the structure points to how the human influenza virus is able to disrupt cells’ gene expression machinery.

The study, led by Dr Lori Passmore from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, is the first to reveal the structure of an important part of the protein, called cleavage and polyadenylation factor (CPF).

24 October 2017

Patients Should be Reassured GPs are Highly-Trained to Prescribe Statins, Says RCGP in Response to New BJGP Research

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a study published in the BJGP today on statin prescribing.

She said: "Patients should be reassured that GPs are highly-trained to prescribe statins and base their decisions on the circumstances of the individual patient sitting in front of them, including physical, physiological and social factors that might be affecting their health.

24 October 2017

NICE Approves Gene Therapy for Rare ‘Bubble Baby Syndrome’

Strimvelis, a treatment for an ultra-rare inherited immune deficiency condition that has been dubbed ‘bubble baby syndrome’ has been approved by NICE in draft guidance.

Children with ADA-SCID, severe combined immunodeficiency due to adenosine deaminase deficiency, are extremely vulnerable to infection and usually live in isolation to minimise the risk, hence the nickname ‘baby in a bubble’.

Up until now the only treatment has been a stem cell transplant but these are risky and it is not always possible to find a good match.

23 October 2017

Antibiotics Must Not Be a 'Catch All' For Every Illness, Says RCGP as it Supports New Public Awareness Campaign to Reduce Society's 'Dependency'

Antibiotics must not be a 'catch all' for every illness, says RCGP as it supports new public awareness campaign to reduce society's 'dependency'

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Antibiotics are highly-effective drugs when used appropriately, but we have become too dependent on them as a society – and if we don’t tackle this, it will have a terrible impact on patients' health globally."

17 October 2017

Genes Critical for Hearing Identified

Fifty-two previously unidentified genes that are critical for hearing have been found by testing over 3,000 mouse genes. The newly discovered genes will provide insights into the causes of hearing loss in humans, say scientists from MRC Harwell, who led the analysis by the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC).

The study, published in Nature Communications, tested 3,006 strains of ‘knock-out’ mice for signs of hearing loss. ‘Knock-out’ mice have one gene from their genome inactivated, which helps researchers to uncover the functions of that gene. The IMPC aims to generate a ‘knock-out’ mouse for every gene in the mouse genome.

The hearing thresholds of the knock-out mice were assessed with rising volumes of sound at five different frequencies – mice were considered hearing impaired if they could not hear the quieter sounds for two or more frequencies.

12 October 2017

Loneliness Can Be as Bad for Health as a Chronic Long-Term Condition, Says GP Leader

Loneliness and social isolation, particularly for older people, can be on a par with suffering from a chronic long-term condition, the UK’s top GP will tell a conference of 2,000 health professionals in Liverpool.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, spoke about the older patients who are seeing their GP because they are lonely and want human contact or someone to talk to.

10 October 2017

Test Children’s Urine Before Prescribing Antibiotics For Utis, Says NICE

NICE is advising healthcare professionals use dipstick urine tests to decide whether to give children antibiotics for suspected urinary tract infections (UTI).

NICE – the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – has updated its guidance for diagnosing and managing UTIs in children.

The new recommendations give clear advice to GPs and healthcare professionals about how they can accurately test children’s urine for an infection.  

This will help to give them a better indication of whether the child needs antibiotics or not. Therefore assisting in the fight against antibiotic resistance, which can be caused by the misuse of medicine.

6 October 2017

Anxiety and Depression Serious Mental Health Conditions for Patients of All Ages Says RCGP

RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard has welcomed new Age UK research on the worrying number of over 55s experiencing a mental health condition.

She said: "Older people are potentially vulnerable and we have to be careful that we don't normalise depression and anxiety as a routine part of ageing.

3 October 2017

Over 60s Not Using Public Transport Despite Health Benefits

Two thirds of adults over 60 rarely or never use public transport, even though it’s often free or discounted and brings health benefits, according to a study co-funded by the MRC and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The study published in BMJ also found that older people who used public transport regularly, walked faster. 

2 October 2017

Leading GP Says Budget is Missed Opportunity for Patient Care

The Royal College of General Practitioners has described the budget agreed by Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru as a missed opportunity for patient care.

The budget, announced on Sunday, includes a deal which will provide £210m in extra funding for a range of services over the next two years. 

Responding to the budget, RCGP Wales Chair, Dr Rebecca Payne, said: "This budget is a missed opportunity. I am deeply disappointed that the Government have not grasped the opportunity to improve patient care by investing in general practice.

26 September 2017

NICE Sets Out How to Diagnose and Treat Lyme Disease

New NICE guidance will help GPs, specialists and other health professionals spot a potential diagnosis of Lyme disease.

It outlines when doctors can diagnose Lyme disease without the need for tests and when they should investigate further.

Lyme disease spreads to humans through an infected tick bite. It affects up to 3,000 people a year in England and Wales, according to Public Health England.

25 September 2017

Care Navigators Such as Receptionists are not Replacements for GPs

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Care navigators are not replacements for GPs – or practice nurses, pharmacists, or any other healthcare professional working in primary care – and if a patient really needs to see a GP, then they will be able to. Care navigation simply means helping people to get to the best person and place to receive timely care – this could be medical or in some cases identifying non-medical sources of help.

19 September 2017

More Than a Million People Should be Offered Lifestyle Tips as a Way to Avoid Type 2 Diabetes

People at the highest risk of type 2 diabetes should be given intensive exercise and weight loss help by the NHS, NICE has recommended.

Healthcare professionals, from GPs to community nurses and pharmacists, should refer people with elevated blood sugars to exercise classes and nutrition courses, NICE has said in updated guidance.

NICE has identified 1.7 million people as having the highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is based upon them having a fasting glucose between 6.5-6.9mmol/l.

14 September 2017

GP Pressures Will Inevitably Cause Frustration for Patients

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard has responded to data published by NHS England on written patient complaints in the NHS. She said: “GP practices actively encourage patients to submit feedback and raise complaints if they feel that the care and services they have received are below their expectations. It is through patient feedback that GP teams can improve the care they deliver to their patients.

12 September 2017

New NHS Alliance Calls for National Policy Changes to Help Close the Gap Between North-South Mortality Rates

Research findings on ‘North-South disparities in English mortality 1965– 2015: longitudinal population study’ by Manchester Academics, show that large and disturbing differences in premature mortality have emerged since 1995 – particularly in the age group 35-44 and also in the age group 25-34.

12 September 2017

Prevention Crucial in Fight Against Cardiovascular Disease, Says RCGP

Responding to NHS England's announcement on initiatives to prevent heart attacks and strokes, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"GPs right across the country are only too aware of the terrible health impact that cardiovascular disease has on our patients, so we welcome any initiative that can support us to help prevent this, as long as it is properly resourced, and in the best interests of the patient in front of us.

5 September 2017

NICE Says Benefits of Breast Cancer Drug Fulvestrant too Uncertain to Make It Cost Effective

NICE has published draft guidance saying the evidence on using fulvestrant to treat a type of breast cancer does not prove it prolongs survival more than existing, less expensive treatments.

The draft guidance focuses on postmenopausal women who have oestrogen-receptor-positive, locally advanced breast cancer or breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, who have not already had treatment with hormonal therapy (aromatase inhibitors or tamoxifen).

31 August 2017

Society-Wide Approach Needed to Achieve Parity of Esteem Between Mental and Physical Health, Says College

Responding to NHS Digital figures on mental health related fit notes, Dr Steve Mowle, Honorary Treasurer for the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Mental health related issues are making up an increasing amount of the GP caseload, so these figures are not surprising. They might possibly indicate a positive move towards greater awareness and reduced stigma of mental health in society – with people being more open and willing to discuss their mental health conditions.

29 August 2017

New Imaging Technique Could Predict Whether Primary Breast Cancer Will Spread to the Lung

Scientists funded by the MRC, Breast Cancer Now and other collaborators have developed an innovative imaging technique that could predict whether breast cancer will spread to the lung.

In the study, published in Theranostics, researchers have demonstrated in mice that a new non-invasive imaging method can be used to detect changes in the lungs that signal breast cancer may soon spread there – before any metastases are visible.

If validated in humans, this approach could enable patients to be offered more intensive therapy earlier, to potentially prevent breast cancer spread.

22 August 2017

Encouraging Upsurge in GP Recruitment - But Must Not Rest on Our Laurels, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to latest workforce figures from NHS Digital.

She said: "There is no doubt that there is a long way to go before we have the number of GPs we really need – or the number pledged in NHS England's GP Forward View – but it is important that we do recognise success when we find it, and an increase of 321 more GPs in the workforce over a three month period is certainly not to be sniffed at."

22 August 2017

Patients Getting Faster Access to Cancer Drugs as NICE Approves Three Quarters of the Cancer Drugs Fund

Liver cancer drug, sorafenib has been approved for routine NHS use, marking three quarters of the way through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) without a negative decision.

NICE has recommended sorafenib, also known as Nexavar, made by Bayer to be routinely available for some patients on the NHS.

Sorafenib is one of the 24 drugs NICE was asked to appraise from the CDF, and all have been approved so far for routine NHS use.

Its positive recommendation means that NICE is three quarters of the way through the CDF with 18 drugs now approved.

21 August 2017

Colleges Join Forces to Make Young People's Mental Health a Priority

The Royal Colleges of GPs (RCGP), Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), and Psychiatrists (RCPsych) have committed to five shared principles that they hope will lead to tangible actions to improve the care and support of children and young people (CYP) with mental health problems.

15 August 2017

MRC Forges Two New Deals with Industry to Speed Drug Discovery

Academic groups working in discovery science will have two new opportunities to access state-of-the-art industry facilities from today.

Building on the MRC’s strong track record in establishing innovative collaborations with industry, the MRC has formed partnerships with two global pharmaceutical companies, UCB and AstraZeneca.

The deals will help speed translation of discovery research into potential therapies by giving academic researchers the chance to use industry infrastructure and expertise to further their discovery science research.

11 August 2017

RCGP will Continue to Push for Longer GP Training Programme Despite Review Recommendation

In response to the Shape of Training report, published today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"It is the clearly stated position of the College that GP training should be a minimum of four years in length - and that the extra training time should be spent based in general practice. This was reconfirmed at our governing Council meeting in February, and the idea of a '3+1' model - whereby an additional year could be undertaken after the mandatory CCT training programme - was rejected, so we are disappointed with the outcome of this report today.

8 August 2017

Pancreatic Cancer Patients to Have Routine Access to Life Extending Drug After New Deal, Says NICE

NICE has recommended nab-paclitaxel for routine NHS use after the company agreed a confidential price discount and provided more evidence on its effectiveness.

Nab-paclitaxel, also known as Abraxane, made by Celgene will be routinely available as an option for patients with pancreatic cancer that has progressed.

When Abraxane is added to a standard chemotherapy, called gemcibatine the evidence has found it extends life by an average of 2.4 months.

7 August 2017

Labour's Analysis of GP Access Backs Up Previous College Warnings

Labour's analysis of the latest GP Patient Survey backs up previous College warnings on GP access, says Chair of the Royal College of GPs Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard.

She said: "This analysis backs up the warnings that the College has been making for some time - that as a result of years of underinvestment in general practice, our patients are finding it increasingly difficult to make a GP appointment.

1 August 2017

Low-Cost Drugs Package Saves Lives of People Starting HIV Treatment Late

Treating people who start HIV treatment late with a package of low-cost drugs to prevent serious infections saves three lives for every 100 people treated, according to the findings of a trial led by the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL.

31 July 2017

GP Forward View Falling Short on Workforce But it is Still the Lifeline General Practice Needs

NHS England’s General Practice Forward View is falling short in its pledge to build the GP workforce by 5,000 more full-time equivalent family doctors by 2020, the Royal College of GPs has concluded today.

The College’s Annual Assessment of the plan, that was launched in April 2016, recognises that NHS England is making progress in delivering many of its approximately 100 pledges – and that the commitment to spend an additional £2.4 billion each year on general practice by 2020/21 is on track.

25 July 2017

NICE Approves More Tolerable Treatment for Blood Cancer

Around 2,200 patients a year with multiple myeloma are to benefit from a new, tolerable treatment on the NHS following approval by NICE.

Carflizomib does not cause serious side effects, such as chronic pain from damaged tissue, to the same extent as current treatments, the independent committee at NICE found.

The drug, also called Kyprolis and manufactured by Amgen, treats patients with multiple myeloma whose cancer has come back after one round of treatment. Previous treatment must not include a drug called bortezomib.

21 July 2017

Safe, Sensible Measures to Reduce NHS Prescription Costs Should Be Encouraged, Says RCGP

Responding to NHS England's announcement today on low-value medicines, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Our population is growing and ageing, and our patients’ needs are changing rapidly, so we are already thinking about different ways of working - and that means looking right across the health service. The College is keen to work with NHS England and equivalent bodies in the devolved nations to make this a success.

17 July 2017

Strensiq New Deal Paves Way for NICE Approval of Life Saving Drug

An agreement has been reached that means more people with a rare life threatening disease can be offered an innovative new drug.

NICE has published draft guidance recommending the drug asfotase alfa (also called Strensiq and made by Alexion Pharma UK) for people with paediatric-onset hypophosphatasia.

The extremely rare inherited condition affects between 1 and 7 babies each year in England.

A new agreement between the company and NHS England on price and access to the drug means NICE can now widen the group of people eligible for treatment on the NHS.

Previous NICE draft guidance recommended the treatment for only babies with the most severe form.

17 July 2017

Practices Being Forced to Close Will Impact Patients and Wider NHS, Says RCGP

Responding to NHS Digital figures on GP practices opening, closing and merging, released today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“It’s not clear with these figures why practices have closed – some may have merged, and others may have closed as a result of working ‘at scale’, which can bring benefits for patients through pooling resources to provide additional services or better appointment access.

11 July 2017

A New Treatment Option for People with Kidney Cancer

People with advanced kidney cancer are set to benefit from a new treatment, after NICE has said cabozantinib should be available on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends cabozantinib as an option for people with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

The NICE appraisal committee were unable to recommend cabozantinib following their initial assessment of the drug in February 2017. This was because they felt some of the clinical evidence presented by the company was unreliable.

30 June 2017

RCGP Launches Strategic Plan

Our strategic plan sets out the College’s four main objectives for the next three years. And it defines 12 ‘values’, applicable to College members and employees that will shape how we achieve these goals.

Great doctors, great care sets out the College’s four main objectives for the next three years. It also defines 12 ‘values’, applicable to College members and employees, that will shape how we go about achieving these goals.

4 July 2017

NHS Needs More Advanced Paramedics to Ease A & E Pressure, Says NICE

Paramedics with advanced training can reduce the number of patients admitted to hospital unnecessarily, says NICE.

NICE is recommending the NHS provides more advanced paramedic practitioners (APPs) to relieve pressure on emergency departments, in new draft guidance.

Evidence reviewed by NICE shows that using APPs can reduce hospital admissions by 13% compared with standard paramedics.

APPs are able to treat patients in the community, refer them to a GP or decide if they should go to hospital. They can administer stronger pain relief compared with standard paramedics and are able to assess if a wound need stitches.

30 June 2017

Spike in Summer Hay Fever Cases, Show RCGP Figures

Hay fever cases in England have reached their highest level so far this year, and are just under 50% higher compared to this time in 2016, the latest weekly figures from the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Research and Surveillance Centre show.

The figures reveal a spike in the number of patients seeing their GP for hay fever type symptoms - or allergic rhinitis - since the start of June, with family doctor visits more than tripling from 11,353 to 37,568* in England. The equivalent of 20.25 to 67.00 consultations per 100,000 patients.

This represents a huge 230% increase.p;

27 June 2017

Academy of Medical Sciences Report Calls for Action to Prevent Confusion Over Medicines

The new report highlights the significant difficulties patients and some healthcare professionals face in using evidence from research to judge the benefits and harms of medicines, and calls for concerted action to improve the information patients receive. 

The AMS report was instigated following public debate around the benefits and harms of treatments such as statins, hormone replacement therapy and Tamiflu. It calls for a range of actions including significant improvements to patient information leaflets, better use of medical appointments and a bigger role for NHS Choices as the ‘go to’ source of trusted information online for patients and carers, as well as healthcare professionals.

26 June 2017

Saddening to Hear of Patient Dissatisfaction with NHS Care, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, has responded to a new poll by the British Medical Association (BMA) which reveals that more people are dissatisfied with NHS care than satisfied.

She said: "It's saddening to hear that so many patients are not satisfied with the services they are now getting from the NHS, particularly as we know how much our patients love the health service, and historically satisfaction rates have been much higher.

20 June 2017

New Type of Treatment for Crohn’s Disease is Approved by NICE

Following NICE recommendations, patients with Crohn’s disease will have routine NHS access to drug ustekinumab, which offers a new way of treating the condition.

Ustekinumab (also called Stelara, manufactured by Janssen) will be available for patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease.

It is recommended by NICE as an option for treating the disease in adults who have had littleor no response, or an intolerance to existing therapies.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease, and can affect any part of the digestive system. Symptoms can include stomach cramps, diarrhoea and fatigue. It is a chronic condition which means that is it lifelong.

15 June 2017

College Supports National Clean Air Day

The College is supporting the work of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change to promote National Clean Air Day.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, said: “Air pollution puts our patients at higher risk of developing serious health problems, such as lung cancer and cardiovascular disease - or making existing conditions worse. It is vital that action is taken to significantly improve air quality right across the country, in the best interests of our patients’ long term health and wellbeing.

13 June 2017

WHO Update of the Essential Medicines List Should Benefit Doctors and Patients

Responding to the World Health Organisation's update of the Essential Medicines List, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Growing resistance to antibiotics is a serious threat to our patients’ health worldwide, so we welcome the World Health Organisation taking action to help curb this.

9 June 2017

Where Patient Safety is a Concern, it Must Be Addressed Swiftly and Effectively, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a BJGP study published today on patients' experience of safety in general practice.

She said: “It is human nature to report a bad experience of a service than a good one, so the fact that most patients who responded to this survey had a positive perception of safety in their GP practice is really encouraging. However, it is important that where patient safety is a concern, it is identified and addressed swiftly and effectively.

6 June 2017

Predictions of 'Rocketing' Patient Demand Really Concerning for Already Hard-Pressed GPs, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to predictions of 'rocketing' patient demand and appointment waiting times in general practice by 2022.

She said: “Hard pressed GPs around the country are already running on empty so these predictions are really concerning. As well as huge increases in the volume of patient numbers, disease management is also becoming much more complex and we simply cannot do any more without a significant injection of investment in general practice, including a significant influx of GPs.

2 June 2017

New Workforce Figures 'Seriously Concerning', Says RCGP

Responding to the latest NHS Digital figures on GP workforce in England and Wales, published today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP Chair, said:

“It’s frustrating that we can’t make a direct comparison between these figures, and those from the same time last year, given changes in the way the data has been collected – very soon this is going to be necessary in order to fairly evaluate the progress of NHS England’s GP Forward View, and the promise that was made to us for 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs by 2020.

30 May 2017

NICE to Launch New Evidence Tool for Medtech Product Developers

NICE is launching an online tool to help medtech companies get their products to patients faster.

NICE’s Scientific Advice service is launching an online tool to help developers of medical devices and diagnostics understand and generate the evidence needed to show their products are clinically and cost effective. This will help companies prepare for a dialogue with health technology assessment organisations and payers and potentially speed up time to market.

26 May 2017

Quality of Life Must Be Ensured as Patients Live Longer, Says RCGP

Responding to research in The Lancet Public Health on the UK's growing ageing population, published today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“There seems to be a common theme with almost every new research paper about the future of health and social care published; we desperately need more investment across our NHS and social care system to cope with the growing and changing demands of our ageing population.

23 May 2017

UK Dementia Research Institute Takes Huge Leap Forward

Six of the UK’s leading research universities have been awarded centre status in the landmark UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), laying the foundation for an eventual research community of more than 400 researchers dedicated to addressing the challenge of defeating dementia.

The initial UK DRI funding worth £55 million, which will be supplemented by a further £20 million from the institutions hosting the centres, will get the institute up and running and kick-start research that will provide answers to some of the most pressing questions in the field of neurodegenerative disease.

23 May 2017

GPs Doing What We Can to Increase Take-Up of Meningitis Vaccine, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, has responded to a report by the Meningitis Research Foundation.

She said: “GPs are always on the alert for signs of meningitis and we are doing everything we can to increase awareness and take-up of the MenACWY immunisation programme.

“However, there are different rules and responsibilities for vaccinating specific age groups, which has made it confusing for GPs and schools, as well as for our young patients and their parents.

16 May 2017

‘Staggering’ GP Vacancy Problem Must Be Addressed as a Matter of Urgency, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We know that practices across the country are finding it really difficult to recruit GPs to fill vacant posts, and the degree to which this problem has increased over the last six years is staggering. In the most severe cases, not being able to recruit has forced practices to close, and this can be a devastating experience for the patients and staff affected, and the wider NHS.

11 May 2017

New Data to Support GPs Refer Cancer Patients Appropriately Should Be Welcomed, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, has responded to a new, upcoming study by Cancer Research UK which aims to find out if patients' prescription history can support GPs in diagnosing cancer earlier.

She said: “We know that timely diagnosis of cancer leads to better outcomes for our patients, so any new data that can support GPs refer patients appropriately should be welcomed – but we also need much better access to reliable, diagnostic tools in the community.

9 May 2017

NICE Says Head and Neck Cancer Drug is Not Cost Effective

NICE has published draft guidance saying the cost of using nivolumab to treat head and neck cancer is too high for routine NHS use.

NICE have assessed the benefits of using nivolumab to treat different types of cancer. For some types, such as kidney cancer, NICE has been able to recommend the drug.

For others, such as head and neck cancer, the evidence is not as strong and NICE has therefore not recommended it to be offered routinely on the NHS.  

Professor Carole Longson, director of the health technology evaluation centre at NICE, said:  “We understand that treatment options in this area are limited, and it’s important to patients that treatments both extend and improve their quality of life.

8 May 2017

New Round of Clinical Priorities Announced by College

The Royal College of GPs has announced its latest round of clinical projects to support frontline GPs and their teams as they deliver quality care for their patients.

2 May 2017

MRC Launches New Mental Health Strategy

The Medical Research Council’s neuroscience and mental health board has today launched a completely updated mental health strategy (PDF, 750KB) to drive forward discovery science in the field.

Mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, are estimated to affect approximately one in six people at any time in the UK and have a significant and long-term impact on the lives of individuals and their families. Mental disorders cost the UK economy an estimated £70-100 billion annually.

27 April 2017

Sexual and Reproductive Health Must Not Become the 'Cinderella' Service of the NHS, Says RCGP Chair

Years of improvement in the quality of sexual and reproductive healthcare being delivered to patients – including a halving of teenage pregnancy rates over the last decade and steadily increasing uptake rates of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) – is at risk due to the bureaucratic, financial and training barriers facing GPs and practice teams, the Royal College of GPs is warning today. 

25 April 2017

Terminally Ill Children Should Have Access to Around-the-Clock Homecare, Says NICE

NICE has published a draft standard aiming to improve end of life care for children in England.

It says families who are caring for terminally ill children at home should have 24-hour access to specialist medical support and advice.

Estimates suggest there are close to 40,000 terminally ill children and young people in England.

24 April 2017

Crucial That Any Future Government Delivers the Investment and Support GPs And Patients Right Across UK Need, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement today of a snap general election, which could take place on 8 June.

She said: "It is vital that patient care is kept at the forefront of debate over the coming weeks. Once the new government is formed, we will continue to press for the urgent delivery of all the pledges made in NHS England's GP Forward View - and for equivalent investment in GP services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

18 April 2017

New NHS Alliance Highlights an Opportunity for NHS England Area Teams to Engage Community Pharmacy in Providing Flu Vaccination to Reception and School Age Children

The aim is to produce community immunity through immunisation. Over the years, we have struggled to hit WHO or Public Health targets – the New NHS Alliance believe that we must do better. Community Pharmacy has contributed a significant number of immunisations and joint working with General Practice is becoming more common. The flu letter for 2017 – 2018 has arrived and introduces the immunisation of reception and school age children for the first time.

12 April 2017

Pharmacists Playing Increasingly Vital Role Within GP-Led Practice Teams

Responding to NHS England's announcement of plans to place pharmacists in over 700 more GP practices, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: 

“With family doctors are currently facing unprecedented resource and workforce pressures, we are grateful for the support of pharmacists who are playing an increasingly vital role within some GP practice teams. They should not be seen as substitutes for GPs but they are highly-skilled and well-trusted healthcare professionals who carry out important tasks such as medication reviews and managing repeat prescriptions for patients with long-term conditions.

11 April 2017

Councils and Sexual Health Services Should Consider Providing Free Condoms to Reduce STIs, Says NICE 

Condoms should be more widely available to reduce rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), NICE has said in new guidance.

The guidance recommends providing a range of condom distribution schemes to meet the needs of different people to help reduce STI rates.

NICE also recommends local authorities consider giving free condoms to people at high risk of getting an STI, such as those who are involved in increased rates of risky sex (for example, they may have multiple partners or frequently change partners). These condoms could be distributed through pharmacies, sexual health charities, and universities.

07 April 2017

Too Many Practices Being Forced to Close Due to Workload and GP Shortages, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to figures on GP practice closures and the subsequent impact this is having on patients' access to their local family doctor.

She said: “GP practices are the lifeblood of our local communities so the complete closure of any practice will always be a last resort when all other options have proved unworkable.

04 April 2017

New NHS Alliance Responds to NHS Guidelines And Review of Prescriptions

The New NHS Alliance welcomes yesterday’s announcement of the new NHS guidelines and widespread review of prescriptions. We are glad that the government is responding to elements within our report – ‘Supporting the Development of Community Pharmacy Practice within Primary Care’ * – and we wait for further recommendations to be taken forward.

Mark Robinson, NNHSA Executive, Special Advisor – Medicines, Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation, comments:

28 March 2017

Prescription Clampdown Must Not Disadvantage Vulnerable Patients, Says RCGP

Responding to comments made by NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens in the Daily Mail this morning, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Our population is growing and ageing, and our patients’ needs are changing rapidly, so we are going to have to think about different ways of working - and that means looking right across the health service. The College is keen to work with NHS England and equivalent bodies in the devolved nations to make this a success.

28 March 2017

HIV Testing Should be Seen as Routine Practice, Says NICE in New Draft Quality Standard

Millions of people could be offered HIV tests during routine appointments as outlined by NICE.

The new draft quality standard aims to improve the uptake of HIV testing among adults (aged 18 and over) and young people (aged 16-18) who may have undiagnosed HIV. This would mean they could have timely treatment to reduce the risk of onward transmission.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE, said: “There can be stigma and fear around having an HIV test.  This needs to change so that HIV testing is seen as routine practice.  This new draft quality standard sets out clear, practical steps to help encourage and increase the uptake of HIV testing.”

27 March 2017

GPs Will Always Take Womens’ Health Conditions Seriously, Says RCGP

Responding to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health’s ‘Informed Choice Evidence Report’ published today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Women’s health constitutes around a quarter of a GP’s workload; we know that both endometriosis and fibroids can cause women considerable pain and distress, and these are both conditions that GPs and our teams are aware of and take seriously.

21 March 2017

New 3D Spheres Replicate Human Cells to Better Study Infection

A new 3D system has been developed to enable researchers to more effectively study human infections in the laboratory.

A diverse team of infectious disease researchers, engineers and bioinformaticians from the University of Southampton and University College London came together to better understand the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB).

They used a technique known as electrostatic encapsulation to make tiny spheres of collagen – a connecting tissue in the body – within which human cells are infected with tuberculosis (TB) bacteria to generate conditions that more closely reflect events in patients than similar 2D techniques.

17 March 2017

Report Highlights Extra Resources GPs Need to Carry Out Further Training in Managing Suicide Risk, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, has responded to an inquiry into adult suicide by the Health Select Committee.

She said: “Patients identified at high risk of suicide need specialist care and given the delicate nature of their wellbeing, cases must be managed appropriately to secure their safety first and foremost. 

14 March 2017

Treat Life-Threatening Sepsis Within the Hour, Says NICE

NICE is urging hospital staff to treat people with life-threatening sepsis symptoms within one hour.

In a new draft quality standard, NICE says people showing signs of sepsis must be checked carefully. Once someone is classed as high-risk they should be seen by senior staff and given the right treatment within an hour.

Professor Gillian Leng, NICE deputy chief executive, said: “Severe symptoms can develop in sepsis very quickly. If high-risk patients are not identified and treated promptly, people can be left with debilitating problems. In the worst cases, they may die.

13 March 2017

Cervical Screening Important Regardless of Sexual Orientation, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Millions of women every year are appropriately screened for cervical cancer – and it’s safe to say that this national programme is one of the great successes of the modern NHS.

6 March 2017

International Study Finds Education Does Not Protect Against Cognitive Decline in Later Life

A European-wide study published today in the journal Neuroepidemiology has found that whilst older people with a higher level of education have better memory function, it does not protect them from cognitive decline as they age.

03 March 2017

Buying Medication Online Can Seem Convenient but it is Not Without Risk, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to warnings from the Care Quality Commission about buying medication online.

She said: “Whether a patient is accessing care in the community, in hospital or online, they should be confident that it is being delivered safely and in their best interests.

“It’s incredibly concerning to hear reports of patients buying prescription drugs online with minimal security checks in place – so it’s good to see the CQC and others recognising this, and taking the issue seriously.

28 February 2017

NICE Is Producing New Guidelines to Help People Who Work with Children Spot and Stop Abuse or Neglect

It outlines how social workers, teachers and police officers, along with others working outside healthcare, can spot the signs of abuse or neglect and how they should act faced with a range of differing circumstances.

The guidelines include physical, mental and sexual abuse as well as newly recognised forms of abuse such as female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual exploitation, child trafficking and forced marriage.

27 February 2017

GPs are Trained in All Aspects of Mental Health, Including Eating Disorders, Says RCGP

Responding to figures from Beat, published today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Eating disorders can have severe consequences for patients, and GPs - who will often be the first port of call for patients when seeking medical advice whether specifically about their eating disorder, or not - take them very seriously.

21 February 2017

New NHS Alliance Calls for Closer Collaboration to Achieve Better Community Outcomes for Health and Social Care Integration

The New NHS Alliance (NNHSA) view is that the recent report from the National Audit Office on health and social care integration has bought into sharp focus how important it is for organisations across the health and social care sectors to be working more closely and cohesively together for the benefit of local communities and patients. The NNHSA further contend that funding should flow in a different way – one which focuses on the benefits to patients and throughput rather than purely on cost savings to the NHS.

17 February 2017

Online Access to Antibiotics Undermines GPs' Hard Work to Tackle AMR, Says RCGP

Responding to a study by Imperial College London on online-only pharmacies that don’t require prescriptions for antibiotics, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Resistance to antibiotics is a growing global health issue – one of the most serious of our time. Antibiotics are excellent drugs when they are used appropriately, and for many bacterial infections there is no alternative so we must work together and do what we can to safeguard their effectiveness.

14 February 2017

NICE Recommends Controlled Use of Targeted Breast Cancer Radiotherapy Treatment Alongside Further Research

NICE has recommended the Intrabeam Radiotherapy System for people with early breast cancer in limited circumstances with additional data collection.

The recommendation for further data to be collected is because it is not yet certain whether Intrabeam, marketed by Carl Zeiss UK, is as effective as conventional radiotherapy in stopping the cancer coming back. However, the independent appraisal committee heard the risk of this happening is low in the patients who would receive Intrabeam and that people may be prepared to accept some uncertainty if it means they don’t need radiotherapy after their surgery.

11 February 2017

Surgery Times Don't Give the Full Story of What's Happening in General Practice, Says RCGP

Responding to figures on GP surgery opening hours published in the Daily Telegraph today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“These figures don’t give the full story of what’s happening in general practice – they only take into account planned surgery times, not the times that the practice is actually open and providing care.

“Obviously, a large part of a GP’s work is seeing patients in face to face consultations, but there is a lot more involved in day to day general practice – and just because actual surgeries aren’t taking place, it doesn’t mean patient care isn’t being delivered via telephone or online consultations, or by making home visits.

7 February 2017

Discovery Sheds Light on How Nerve Cells Self-Repair

MRC-funded researchers have discovered how a protein in the body enables nerves to repair themselves after injury. The finding could ultimately lead to treatments for those whose peripheral nerves (those outside the brain and spinal cord) have been damaged, for example through traumatic injuries or diabetes.

The scientists, from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, discovered that a protein called Merlin, which was known to play a part in suppressing the growth of nerve tumours, is also vital to the process by which nerves repair themselves.

7 February 2017

BBC Health Check on General Practice - RCGP Responds

As part of the BBC Health Check week, the BBC have published two stories about general practice. The first exploring public opinion on charging for missed GP appointments and the second looking at the standard 10-minute GP-patient consultation. Our responses:

On charging patients for missed GP appointments:

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “When patients don’t turn up for booked appointments it can be incredibly frustrating, especially at a time when demand for appointments is so high and some patients are having to wait a month to see their GP.

31 January 2017

NICE Seeks to Improve Diagnosis and Treatment of Cerebral Palsy

NICE publishes first guideline on cerebral palsy

NICE’s first guideline on cerebral palsy aims to improve diagnosis and treatment across the country.

Last year 192 of 209 CCGs, responding to a survey by charity, Action Cerebral Palsy, did not have specific care pathways for children and young people with cerebral palsy, but 14 did.

The new guideline focuses on the causes of cerebral palsy and how to treat common comorbidities such as saliva control, pain, mental health and communication issues.

30 January 2017

RCGP Welcomes NHS GP Health Service

Responding to the launch of the NHS GP health service, and news of developments in NHS England's GP Career Plus scheme, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Being a GP can be an incredibly stressful job, so it’s no wonder that the intense resource and workforce pressures currently facing our profession are increasingly taking their toll on the mental health and wellbeing of family doctors.

24 January 2017

MRI Scans Prior To Prostate Biopsies Can Help Around a Quarter of Men Avoid Biopsy

The Prostate MRI Imaging Study (PROMIS) also showed that the detection of aggressive cancers can be almost doubled by carrying out an MP-MRI, followed by a biopsy. This is because if the scan is suspicious, the MP-MRI can give information about where the cancer is and its size.

19 January 2017

Open Letter to Party Leaders from RCGPNI Chair

RCGPNI Chair Dr Grainne Doran has written an open letter today to all Political Party Leaders ahead of the election in March, calling for them to commit their Party's support to the future of general practice, regardless of the outcome.

17 January 2017

NICE Approves Kidney Cancer Drug for NHS Use

Patients with advanced kidney cancer will have routine NHS access to the drug everolimus following recommendations by NICE, rather than apply to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved everolimus (also called Afinitor, and manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals) for routine use on the NHS as an option for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Everolimus is one of a series of drugs that has gone through a reappraisal process, where NICE is assessing the cost and clinical effectiveness of drugs currently in the old CDF.

16 January 2017

UK Organisations Unite Against Conversion Therapy

Major UK organisations have been working against Conversion Therapy for a number of years, publishing a Memorandum of Understanding against the practice (2015) and updating the document to warn against conversion therapy in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation (including asexuality).

Aware of concerns regarding the future of Conversion Therapy in the USA, and pleased that Malta has banned the practice and that Taiwan has drafted legislation to ban the practice, we are publicising the following statement in solidarity with like- minded healthcare organisations in the USA:

10 January 2017

The MRC Supports Preprints

The MRC requires that the results of the research it funds are published, ideally in peer-reviewed journals; also that all such articles, whether published in an open access or subscription-based journal, must be archived in Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) and made freely available as soon as possible, and in any event within six months of the first on�line publication.

09 January 2017

Urgent Action Needed to Make Aspirations for Mental Health Care a Reality, Says RCGP

Responding to Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on mental health services today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“It’s encouraging to see mental health, particularly that of our children and young patients, being taken seriously by the Prime Minister. A lot needs to be done, and urgently, to make these aspirations a reality and make genuine progress towards parity of esteem between mental and physical health.

3 January 2017

NICE Says Liver Cancer Treatment to Stay Within the Cancer Drugs Fund, but not Recommended for Routine NHS Use

The drug, sorafenib (also known as Nexavar), which is used for treating advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, is not value for money, NICE has said in new draft guidance.

The committee found that sorafenib does not provide enough benefit to patients to justify its high cost, even when special considerations were applied.

However, having concluded that it could not be recommended for routine use, but recognising the unmet need for patients with this condition, the committee agreed that sorafenib should continue to be recommended for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

01 January 2017

Seven Day GP Service Could not be Achieved Without 'Serious Impact' on Weekday Services, Says RCGP

Number of GPs has not kept pace with patient demand

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said:

 "GPs are working flat out to do the best they can for their patients, but with a severe shortage of family doctors already seeing record numbers of people, there is no way that a seven day routine service could be delivered without having a serious impact on services through the week."

28 December 2016

New NICE Guideline to Help People Take Control of Their Asthma Could Save the NHS Millions

NICE has issued draft guidance setting out what medicines adults, young people and children with asthma should take to control symptoms and reduce asthma attacks.

The draft guidance, now out for public consultation, calls for a change in how medicines are offered, a move NICE says could save the NHS millions of pounds.

According to Asthma UK the NHS spends around £1 billion a year treating and caring for people with asthma. And around 4.5 million people in England are receiving treatment for the condition.

26 December 2016

GPs Need Better Access to Community Treatment Services for Patients Diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Says RCGP in Response to Survey

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, said: “Dementia can have a devastating effect on patients, their families and their carers - and GPs are witnessing the impact of this progressive disease more and more frequently.

“It is testament to the hard work and dedication of GPs across the country that in times of intense workload and workforce pressures, the diagnosis of dementia has increased so significantly."

20 December 2016

New NHS Alliance Calls for Adoption of Health Creating Practices in Health and Care

The new permission to front-load the Council Tax precept to 3% per year for the first two years will raise totally inadequate levels of funds for social care in the face of budget cuts and the growing demand for social care, says New NHS Alliance. Not only that, but it will exacerbate already large inequalities because it will raise the least funds in those areas with the greatest need and least ability to pay. This would frustrate efforts by the Secretary of State and other health bodies to ‘have regard to the need to reduce health inequalities’ (Health and Social Care Act 2012).

16 December 2016

Patients Always Able to See a GP When They Need to, Says RCGP

Chair of the RCGP, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, has responded to a front-page story in the Dail Mail today about out-of-hours care in general practice, claiming that millions of patients still aren't able to see their GP during these times.

She said: "Extending GP surgery opening hours means taking staff and other resources away from our routine service, which is already stretched incredibly thinly due to years of decline in investment.

12 December 2016

NICE Recommends New Lung Cancer Drug Pembrolizumab

Hundreds of people with advanced lung cancer will now have access to new drug pembrolizumab, also known as Keytruda, after NICE recommends it for routine NHS use.

Pembrolizumab works by targeting a specific protein on the surface of cells which is involved in the body’s immune response to cancer.

In draft guidance NICE has said that adults with advanced lung cancer, that test positive for this protein, should have access to pembrolizumab.

December 2016

Patients Can Improve Their Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing by Doing Regular Exercise, Says RCGP

Dr Zoe Williams, RCGP Clinical Champion for Physical Activity and Lifestyle, has responded to research by the University of Oxford which claims that certain sports can cut the risk of dying prematurely by almost half.

She said: “Regular exercise, even moderate amounts, has been shown to significantly improve our patients’ physical health and mental wellbeing.

6 December 2016

Genetic Differences in Amino Acid Metabolism are Linked to a Higher Risk of Diabetes

A study published today in the journal PLOS Medicine has identified the five genetic variants associated with higher levels of the branched-chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine. The researchers also found that these genetic variants were associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers, led by the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, used large-scale genetic data together with detailed measurements of the branched-chain amino acids and their metabolites in the blood of more than 16,000 volunteers*.

1 December 2016

GPs Need Support to Increase HIV Testing in Primary Care

Responding to new NICE guidelines on HIV care, published today, RCGP Clinical Lead for HIV, sexual and reproductive health, Dr Philippa Matthews, said:

“Treatments for HIV now ensure that it is possible to live a long and healthy life with the infection. Yet, around a quarter of people with HIV in the UK are undiagnosed, so do not have access to this life-saving treatment.

29 November 2016

NICE Recommends Extra ‘Triple Therapy’ Drug for Treating Type 2 Diabetes

NICE has published final guidance recommending dapagliflozin for treating type 2 diabetes in ‘triple therapy’

Dapagliflozin can be added as a third drug where two drugs for type 2 diabetes are not controlling a person’s blood sugar. 

25 November 2016

Relentless GP Workload is a Threat to Our Patients' Safety, Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard has responded to a new survey out today from the British Medical Association which highlights the relentless workloads in general practice and the danger this is posing to our patients' safety.

She said: “This echoes much of what the College has been saying for some time now –  the relentlessness of the workload in general practice is a threat to our own health and our patients' safety.

22 November 2016

NICE Welcomes Landmark Fall in Antibiotic Prescriptions 

Fewer antibiotics are being prescribed by doctors in England for the first time, new data shows.

The increase in antibiotic use has been reversed for the first time in England. Doctors prescribed 2.2 million less antibiotics between 2014 to 2015 –  reducing from 40.7 million to 38.5 million, data from Public Health England (PHE) shows.

The 4.3% decline in antibiotic prescriptions is the first time a reduction in antibiotic use has been seen across the whole healthcare system, the 'English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance’ (ESPAUR) report, said.

21 November 2016

Realistic Messages are Important for Patients to be Healthier, Says New RCGP Chair

Clarifying comments reported in the media this weekend, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"Five a Day is an excellent initiative; we want our patients to be healthier, and we want them to eat far more fruit and veg. We should certainly be aiming for this - and more - but the fact is that it remains an aspiration for many patients and as GPs we sometimes need to tailor our advice to the patient in front of us, based on their individual circumstances.

15 November 2016

New NHS Alliance Responds to Announcements to Reduce the Pharmacy Bill

New NHS Alliance is disappointed to hear of the announcement to reduce the pharmacy bill by more than £2m over the next two years.

We have long supported the role of community pharmacy. Our recent support for the role of community pharmacy includes:

  • Supporting the development of community pharmacy practice within primary care
  • Call for a community pharmacy forward view
  • Dispensing Health Equality;
  • Skill mix: Can pharmacists and community pharmacy rescue general practice?

14 November 2016

RCGP Launches New Brain Tumours in Children Toolkit

A new resource to support GPs, their teams, and parents to spot signs of brain tumours in children and young people has been launched today by the Royal College of GPs, in partnership with the University of Nottingham’s HeadSmart campaign.

The toolkit has been developed as part of the College’s clinical spotlight project on Brain Tumours in Children, which began in June, recognising that brain tumours account for a quarter of all UK childhood cancers, and are currently the commonest cause of cancer death in children.

8 November 2016

Life-Extending Breast Cancer Drug Approved by NICE in Draft Guidance

People with advanced breast cancer are set to benefit from a life-extending drug as NICE says it should be available on the NHS.

After considering new evidence that has become available since its 2012 guidance, NICE has said the drug should be an option for people with locally advanced breast cancer or breast cancer that has spread despite them having had at least 2 prior chemotherapy treatments.

Eribulin is recommended only if the company provides it with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme.

4 November 2016

New Report Highlights Gaps in Healthcare for Increasing Number of Patients Living with Multiple Conditions

A new report reviewing how effectively the current health system serves patients living with multiple long-term conditions, has been published by the Royal College of General Practitioners today.

Responding to the needs of patients with multimorbidity: A vision for general practice comes on the back of College analysis that revealed the number of people living with one or more serious, long-term conditions in the UK will increase by nearly 1m to 9.1m by 2025.

1 November 2016

Parent-Led Early Intervention Reduces Autism Symptoms

An early intervention for autism aimed at helping parents communicate with their child has been shown to have an effect on reducing the severity of autism symptoms, and this reduction continued for six years after the end of treatment, according to a study published in The Lancet.

The MRC-funded study, led by the University of Manchester, King’s College London and Newcastle University, is the first to identify a long-term effect of an early intervention for autism, and is consistent with UK guidance supporting the use of early intervention.

25 October 2016

Health Professions Calling for Greater Leadership and Action to Tackle Early Deaths of People Living with Severe Mental Illness

A joint report published today by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges sets out essential actions to improve the physical health of adults with severe mental illness across the NHS.

Although the health of the general population in the UK has improved significantly over the past 50 years, the life expectancy of adults with severe mental illness (SMI) in 2016 is lagging behind. Nearly half (46%) of people with SMI have a long-term physical health condition and are at risk of losing on average 10-20 years of their lifespan due to physical ill-health.

25 October 2016

NICE Recommends Wider Use of Tests to Detect Cancer-Causing Genetic Condition

In draft guidance published today for consultation NICE has recommended that everyone who is diagnosed with colorectal cancer should be tested for an inherited genetic condition called Lynch syndrome (LS).

LS is the most common cause of hereditary bowel cancer and people with it also have an increased risk of developing other cancers including womb, ovarian and stomach. Testing for the condition helps to identify whether the patient’s family may also be at increased risk of cancer, meaning they could be monitored more closely if needed.

The draft guidance recommends that microsatellite instability (MSI) testing or immunohistochemistry (IHC) should be used to detect abnormalities that might mean the presence of LS.

25 October 2016

Health Professions Calling for Greater Leadership and Action to Tackle Early Deaths of People Living with Severe Mental Illness

A joint report published today by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Academy of MedicalRoyal Colleges sets out essential actions to improve the physical health of adults with severe mental illness across the NHS.

Although the health of the general population in the UK has improved significantly over the past 50 years, the life expectancy of adults with severe mental illness (SMI) in 2016 is lagging behind. Nearly half (46%) of people with SMI have a long-term physical health condition and are at risk of losing on average 10-20 years of their lifespan due to physical ill-health.

18 October 2016

Genetic Signature Linked to Cancer Prognosis Identified

Researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge have identified a genetic signature related to metabolism associated with poor patient prognosis. The results of the analysis of 8,161 tissue samples could in the future help clinicians decide how best to treat a patient as well as aid the development of new targeted treatments.

13 October 2016

Vulnerable Practices Should Be Supported - Not Allowed to 'Wither On The Vine', Says RCGP in Response to Claims That Practices in Yorkshire and the Humber are Closing

Chair of the RCGP, Dr Maureen Baker, has issued a statement on behalf of the RCGP in response to a leaked NHS England document which states that some vulnerable GP practices in England will be allowed to fail and close.

She said: “GP practices are at the heart of our local communities, our patients rely on them, and it is wrong to suggest that, because practices are vulnerable, they do not provide high quality care or are resistant to change."

4 October 2016

A Urine Test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease May Be Possible

Researchers at the MRC Prion Unit at UCL have found that it may be possible to determine whether or not a person has sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (sCJD) by testing their urine for the presence of abnormal prion proteins.

Prions are infectious agents that cause invariably fatal brain diseases such as CJD in humans, scrapie in sheep and BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or ‘mad cow disease’) in cattle. They are a rare but important cause of dementia and it is increasingly recognised that the fundamental process involved in these diseases – prion proteins changing shape and sticking together to form fibres or polymers that damage the brain – is also what happens in the much more common dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

1 October 2016

Online Antibiotics Risk Efforts to Curb Growing Global Resistance, Warns RCGP

Responding to research by 5 Live Investigates, Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPS, said:

“Resistance to antibiotics is a global and growing threat and we need to work together as a society to raise public awareness that antibiotics are not always the answer to minor, self-limiting conditions.

“GPs are working hard to reduce antibiotic prescribing with notable success – we saw a reduction of 2.6m prescriptions by GPs last year alone – so it's concerning that patients are increasingly turning to other means to obtain antibiotics, and the ease with which patients can get prescriptions through online pharmacies and online doctors will only serve to hinder our ongoing efforts.

27 September 2016

Retaining GPs Must Be as Big a Priority as Recruiting New Ones, RCGP Urges Government

Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has written to Health Secretary in England Jeremy Hunt, urging him that he must make retaining the GP workforce a priority.

In the letter she acknowledges the pledge made in NHS England’s GP Forward View to increase the number of doctors working in general practice by 5,000 by 2020 -  but emphasises that this cannot be achieved through recruitment initiatives alone.

23 September 2016

NICE Says Yes to Another Hepatitis C Drug

A new drug which effectively treats more genotypes of hepatitis C has been recommended for use in the NHS.

NICE has published new draft guidance which recommends sofosbuvir-velpatasvir – an anti-viral drug that offers patients with chronic hepatitis C a potential cure.

Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir – a tablet taken once daily – works by blocking the virus from multiplying and infecting new cells. Trials of the drug showed cure rates of 89% and above for all genotypes.

20 Sep 2016

New NHS Alliance Welcomes Forward View for Community Pharmacy

New NHS Alliance whole-heartedly support Pharmacy Voice’s Forward View for Community Pharmacy. We have long held the view that community pharmacy is an essential element to reduce the demand on general practice and to share the workload through effective partnership. Our recent support for the role of community pharmacy includes:

  • Supporting the development of community pharmacy practice within primary care;
  • Call for a community pharmacy forward view;
  • Dispensing Health Equality;
  • Skill mix: Can pharmacists and community pharmacy rescue general practice?

19 September 2016

Patients Should Be More Involved in Decisions About Their Care, Says NICE

A new collaborative, made up of the UK’s leading health care organisations including NICE, has set out plans that will help get patients more involved in decisions about their care.

Research has shown that when clinicians and health care professionals work together with their patient, more appropriate decisions are made about their care.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: This can lead to improved patient safety, better patient satisfaction and more efficient use of resources.”                                             

13 Sep 2016

More Options to Be Made Available to Treat Hepatitis C

Another ‘potential curative’ drug for people with chronic hepatitis C will be made available on the NHS.

New draft guidance published today from NICE recommends elbasvir-grazoprevir - one of the newer hepatitis C antiviral drugs that can offer patients more effective treatment.

In clinical trials, elbasvir-grazoprevir showed cure rates above 90% for people with genotypes 1 and 4. The cure rate is dependent on the genotype, treatment history and presence of liver damage.

8 September 2016

Good to See a Study That Cuts Through the Controversy Around Statins, Says RCGP

Responding to a review of evidence around the effectiveness of statins, published in The Lancet, Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“This study cuts through a lot of the controversy surrounding statins; it recognises the benefits that these drugs have for many patients, but also the potential side-effects that any prescribing healthcare professional should be aware of."

05 Sep 2016

Babies Born with a Low Birth Weight May Be Less Active in Later Life

Individuals who are born with a low birth weight are less likely to be good at sports at school or participate in exercise later on in life.

The study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, used data from the MRC National Survey for Health and Development, a unique birth cohort that closely monitors a group of people all born in the same week in March 1946. This particular research involved data from 2,739 of study participants.

01 September 2016

New Tool Supporting Antibiotic Prescribing Could Be Highly Valuable for Our Young Patients, Says RCGP

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, has responded to a study in the Lancet on a new tool designed to support GPs and their teams when prescribing antibiotics for young patients with Respiratory Tract Infections.

She said: “GPs are working hard to reduce antibiotic prescribing with notable success – a reduction of 2.6m prescriptions by GPs last year alone – so a tool that can support GPs and other prescribers to identify when antibiotics are the appropriate course of treatment would be highly valuable."

30 August 2016

NICE Set to Recommend Device to Help Spot Heart Disease Using 3D Models of Blood Vessels

Medical software that creates 3D models of blood vessels in the heart to help clinicians diagnose heart disease is the subject of NICE’s latest draft medical technologies guidance.

Provisional recommendations from the NICE medical technology advisory committee support using the new software called HeartFlow FFRCT in patients with stable recent chest pain that’s thought to be heart-related and who have an intermediate risk of heart disease.

26 August 2016

When Prescribed in Small Doses and for a Short Time, HRT is an Effective Form of Treatment, Says RCGP

Honorary Treasurer at the RCGP, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard responds to new research out today from the British Journal of Cancer, on the link between Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and increased risk of breast cancer.

She said: “The menopause can cause great distress for many women – and for some specific symptoms, such as hot flushes, hormone replacement therapy is the only medical treatment for which we have good evidence.

23 August 2016

World's Most In Depth Study to Detect Early Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

A new multimillion pound study, which will see the most thorough and rigorous series of tests to detect Alzheimer’s disease ever performed on volunteers, is announced today.  The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study is funded by the National Institute of Health Research and the MRC and hopes to dramatically improve the success rate of clinical trials for treatments in Alzheimer’s disease.

This landmark £6.9million research project has been designed to identify measurable characteristics, known as biomarkers, which can detect the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease very early on in the progression of the disease - when a person may have no obvious symptoms.

18 August 2016

Measures to Address Diet and Lifestyle Essential to Tackle Childhood Obesity, Says College

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, spokesperson for the Royal College of GPs, said:

“We are currently seeing a dangerous epidemic of childhood obesity across the country – the tragedy being that overweight children invariably have a life marred by ill-health, and increased risk of conditions such as cancer and diabetes ahead of them.

“The College has been leading the way in getting something done about this – we wrote to the Chief Medical Officer almost two years ago highlighting the issue - so we welcome the aspirations of this strategy report today.

16 August 2016

Thousands to Benefit as NICE Set to Recommend Drug to Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes

NICE has published draft guidance recommending anti-clotting drug ticagrelor 60 mg with aspirin for people who have had a heart attack.

In 2012/13 there were around 140,000 hospital admissions for heart attacks in England.

Heart attacks and strokes are caused by the build-up of fatty material in artery walls to form a plaque. If the plaque ruptures it can cause a blood clot which can block blood flow to heart muscles causing a heart attack.

If the blood clot dislodges it can travel in the blood stream and block blood flow to the brain causing a stroke.

11 August 2016

Mind Finds ‘Worrying’ Levels of Stress Among Primary Care Staff

Mind has today released research¹ revealing that almost nine in ten (88%) primary care workers find their work life stressful, significantly higher than the wider UK workforce (56%)². The poll of over 1,000 NHS workers in primary care, including GPs, practice nurses, practice managers and their colleagues, also showed that work is currently the most stressful area of their lives, ahead of their finances, health, family life and relationships.

9 August 2016

New Health Research 'Explainer' Tool

The MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, based at the University of Glasgow, today launches a free, interactive website designed to explain complex health research.

The Understanding Health Research website is the creation of a collaboration between the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit and an advisory panel of academics.

8 August 2016

Clarity RCGP Appraisal Toolkit for GPs Experiencing Technical Difficulties

We are aware that the Clarity/RCGP Appraisal Toolkit for GPs is currently unavailable due to a technical issue.

2 August 2016

NICE Publishes Final Guidance Recommending Ataluren for Children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

NICE has published final guidance recommending ataluren for treating children aged 5 and over with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) caused by a nonsense mutation.

Today's guidance follows the announcement on 7 July that NHS England and the company, PTC Therapeutics, have successfully negotiated a ‘managed access agreement’ that established financial and clinical details surrounding the use of ataluren.

This ‘managed access agreement’ was a condition for making the drug available imposed by NICE in its April draft guidance.

27 July 2016

Regular Physical Activity, Spread Across the Day, Should Be Encouraged, Says RCGP

Dr Zoe Williams, RCGP Clinical Champion for Physical Activity and Lifestyle, has responded to a report in The Lancet on the possible health benefits of doing one hour of physical activity, spread across the day, on a daily basis.

She said: “GPs want their patients to live healthy lives for as long as possible, but without regular physical activity patients could be putting themselves at a greater risk of life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer."

26 July 2016

Controlling ADAM33 Gene Could Stop Asthma

Scientists at the University of Southampton have discovered a potential and novel way of preventing asthma at the origin of the disease, a finding that could challenge the current understanding of the condition.

The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight, analysed the impact of the gene ADAM33, which is associated with the development of asthma.

ADAM33 makes an enzyme, which is attached to cells in the airway muscles. When the enzyme loses its anchor to the cell surface, it is prone to going rogue around the lung causing poorer lung function in people who have asthma.

23 July 2016

Patients to Wait More Than One Week to See GP On 100m Occasions by 2020 - Endangering the Health of Thousands of Patients

Patients will have to wait to see their GP on almost 100m occasions by 2020/21, endangering the health of thousands of patients, if the Government fails to implement promises, signed off by David Cameron, to increase support for general practice.

The new analysis published today by the Royal College of GPs show that, if recent trends continue, the number of occasions when patients will have to wait longer than a week to see their GP will increase by more than 28m occasions from 2015/16, when patients had to wait to see a GP on just over 69m occasions, to 98m in 2020/21.

19 July 2016

New Competency Framework for All Prescribers

A new and updated Competency Framework to support healthcare professionals to prescribe effectively has been published.

Developed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in collaboration with NICE, the Framework sets out competencies central to effective performance needed by all prescribers, regardless of their professional background.

14 July 2016

New Guidelines on Diabetes in Children Admirable - But Need Adequate Resourcing, Says College

RCGP Diabetes Lead, Dr Stephen Lawrence, has responded to new NICE guidance on diabetes in children and young people.

He said: “Diabetes – both type 1 and type 2 - are debilitating, long term conditions for patients, and can lead to other serious conditions, such as cardiovascular, eye and kidney disease, and the prevalence of both is increasing in patients of all ages.

“When we spot signs in children, it’s a priority for GPs to act quickly in order to give our young patients the best chance of maintaining a healthy, high quality of life for as long as possible."

12 July 2016

New Insights into Blood Cancer that Develops Before Birth

Researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh have identified the cells responsible for a form of leukaemia that can develop while a baby is in the womb. The research, published in Cell Reports, adds to our knowledge of how this aggressive type of cancer advances and will help identify future therapies.

6 July 2016

Nursery School Policies Should be in Line with Clinical Guidance, Says College

Responding to research published in the British Journal of General Practice today, Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“We understand the concerns that childcare providers have in admitting children with acute infective conjunctivitis (AIC), as they don’t want to put other children in their care at risk. But policies to exclude children with AIC are not in line with official clinical guidelines, and this has a number of serious implications for patients, their families and wider society.

5 July 2016

Thousands of Men with Enlarged Prostates Could be Helped by New NICE Guidance on Laser Device

Laser treatment recommended in new NICE guidance could benefit more than 13,000 men with a benign enlarged prostate.

The guidance recommends the GreenLight XPS laser system for patients who aren’t at high risk of complications from treatment, such as those men without urinary retention or an increased risk of bleeding, and whose prostates are smaller than 100ml.

The NICE committee found that men benefit from a quicker return to normal activity following treatment and a shorter period of time in hospital because the Greenlight XPS procedure can be done as a day-case. The NHS also benefits: NICE estimates up to an estimated £3 million could be saved by using this device when compared with the commonly used procedure transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) because TURP requires an overnight stay in hospital.

28 June 2016

Decisions on Statins Must be Made Between Doctors and Patients, Says RCGP

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, responds to BMJ paper on statins controversy and says patients shouldn't stop taking medication out of fear of reports.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It goes without saying that when an issue receives media attention, and the way things are reported in the media, it will impact on people’s opinions and behaviour – and this can influence the decisions they make about their health.

28 June 2016

New NHS Alliance Calls for Community Pharmacy ‘Forward View’

A new paper, published today by New NHS Alliance: “Supporting the Development of Community Pharmacy Practice within Primary Care” argues that community pharmacy in England, with approaching 11,700 pharmacies, represents health on the high street and within our communities.

The NHS needs clinical pharmacists within general practice, urgent care and out of hours, nursing homes and many other multidisciplinary teams. But, New NHS Alliance argues, the NHS also needs clinical pharmacists within a community pharmacy setting and a strategy for community pharmacy to deliver its potential.

27 June 2016

Physical Activity and Lifestyle Announced as a Clinical Priority by the RCGP

The RCGP has announced that Physical Activity and Lifestyle will be a clinical priority for the next three years, running from 2016-2019.

Physical Activity and Lifestyle is the latest clinical priority to be announced by the Royal College of GPs, aiming to support primary care professionals with reliable, evidence-based information to prevent and manage lifestyle-related diseases.

23 June 2016

NICE Bronchiolitis Guidance Will Reassure Parents and Help Reduce Antibiotic Prescribing, Says RCGP

New guidance from Nice on bronchiolitis in children will reduce anxiety among parents and will help reduce antibiotics prescribing says Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP.

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said: “Bronchiolitis can be a very nasty illness for babies and young children - and very distressing and alarming for their parents."

22 June 2016

Improving Home Care Services for Older People

Home care services need to prioritise older people’s needs and wishes so they are treated with dignity, a new NICE quality standard says.

NICE has issued a new quality standard which highlights how social care providers can help older people maintain their independence for as long as possible.

Around 470,000 people used local authority funded home care services in England last year. The majority of these will be people aged over 65 years old.

7 June 2016

Three New Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes Recommended By NICE

Tens of thousands of people with type 2 diabetes will be eligible for new treatments under new guidance from NICE.

The drugs will help to control blood sugar in those patients who cannot take more commonly prescribed medicines meaning their condition remains stable for longer.

An estimated 31,000 people may be eligible for the three recommended treatments: canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Forxiga) and empagliflozin (Jardiance).

The three drugs can all be used on their own if a person can’t use metformin, sulfonylurea or pioglitazone, and diet and exercise alone isn’t controlling their blood glucose levels.  

1 June 2016

RCGP Announces Liver Disease as a Clinical Priority

The Royal College of GPs has announced today that Liver disease will be a clinical priority starting this year and running until 2019. During this period, the College will be supporting GPs and healthcare professionals in delivering quality care to patients suffering from this disease.

31 May 2016

Major Funders Collaborate to Produce First In-Depth Guide on Evaluating Healthcare System Innovations

An e-book published today is the first to comprehensively address the challenges faced by healthcare providers in evaluating system-level innovations in healthcare services in an evolving landscape.

If innovations can be better evaluated then better, evidence-based decisions can be made by healthcare providers to improve the quality of health services in the UK.

25 May 2016

RCGP Response to NHS Improvement Figures on Antibiotics Prescribing

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "These figures show that healthcare professionals across the UK are taking our warnings about growing resistance to antibiotics, and its terrible consequences, seriously and are working hard to address them.

"Such a significant drop in prescribing shows that the work the College is doing to support appropriate prescribing and urge healthcare professionals to say 'no' is taking effect, despite the pressure GPs often face from patients to prescribe antibiotics."

24 May 2016

Resources to Support GPS Deliver Care to Autistic Patients Sent to Every Practice in England

Resource packs to support GPs and their teams to make their surgeries more visibly friendly for patients with an Autism Spectrum Disorder have been sent to every GP practice in England this week.

The packs, developed by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), aim to support GP practices to meet the commitments in the RCGP Autism Patient Charter, which provides a framework for making GP surgeries more visibly friendly for those on the autistic spectrum.

19 May 2016

Antimicrobial Resistance: A Call to Action 

Antibiotic resistance could kill ten million people a year by 2050, a stark government report has warned.

Lord Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs has set out his final report on the global challenge of resistance to commonly used drugs.

Lord O’Neill was commissioned by David Cameron in 2014 after dire warnings that drug resistance would send modern medicine back to the dark ages, making routine operations too risky and even minor scratches life threatening.

17 May 2016

Lithium May Be Better Than Newer Drugs at Reducing Self-Harm in Bipolar Disorder

A large Medical Research Council (MRC)-funded study of 6,671 patients with bipolar disorder has found that using lithium reduces levels self-harm and unintended injury when compared to three other common and newer medications prescribed for the condition. It is thought this is because lithium reduces aggressiveness and impulsive behaviour.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that mostly affects mood. People with the condition experience severe mood swings from extreme highs to lows with episodes lasting up to weeks. People can experience several highs before a low and vice versa. It can affect up to one in 100 people during their lifetime.

13 May 2016

In The Bag - Making Moving Between Hospital and Social Care Better

A simple ‘red bag’ has helped to speed up and improve the transfer of patients between hospital and care home settings.

Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) developed the simple and novel approach to follow NICE guidance on the transition between hospital and care home settings. Each person moving between hospital and care home is given a red bag to store their paperwork, medicines and belongings. Using the bags has improved care and ironed out potential problems for patients and their carers that can cause confusion and delay.

Delays in the discharge of patients place a huge burden on the NHS. Figures show that more than a million hospital days were lost due to delayed discharges in 2015. In 2012-13, more than a million people were readmitted to hospital as an emergency within 30 days of discharge. This costed the NHS £2.4 billion.

10 May 2016

Action is Needed to Address Inequalities in End of Life Care

Failure to recognise individuals’ needs means patients are receiving poor quality end of life care, a highly critical report by the Care Quality Commission has found.

Elderly patients are being kept in hospital for their final days despite many preferring to die at home or in a hospice, and patients diagnosed with a mental health problem or dementia are not receiving the individualised care they need, the CQC found.

9 May 2016

RCGP Comment on Eating Disorders in Males

RCGP spokesperson, Dr Clare Taylor, responded to a BBC Newsbeat story on eating disorders and its prevalence in males compared to females.

Dr Clare Taylor, spokesperson for the Royal College of GPs, said: “Eating disorders can lead to dangerous consequences for our patients, their families and carers, and research suggests that they are more prevalent in women compared to men."

3 May 2016

Historic £100 Million Charity Backing for UK Dementia Research Institute

Two major UK charities have announced £100m of new partnership funding for the UK’s first Dementia Research Institute – one of the single biggest financial commitments to dementia research in the history of both charities. Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK have pledged £50m each towards the work of the Institute, led by the Medical Research Council, making the total commitment over a quarter of a billion pounds.

Announced by the Prime Minister last year, the Institute will bring together scientists and experts from across the globe to transform the landscape of dementia research and firmly secure the UK’s reputation as a world leader in research and development against these devastating diseases.

28 April 2016

RCGP Response to RCP Report on E-Cigarettes

Dr Tim Ballard, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the Royal College of Physicians’ report Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction released today.

He said: “Smoking and smoking related conditions lead to a number of serious long-term conditions and premature death for many patients, and cost the health service a huge amount of money so whatever can be done to help people stop smoking should be encouraged.

26 April 2016

Renewed Call to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance 

A long-term solution to antibiotic resistance can only be achieved if we act now, an expert has warned.

The comment comes as NICE launches a new quality standard which aims to help healthcare professionals and organisations tackle the problem.

Antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics is one of the greatest dangers to our health. Dame Sally Davies, the UK Chief Medical Officer, has described the threat as “catastrophic”. It could lead to people dying from ordinary infections, and routine operations such as hip replacements becoming deadly due to the risk of infection.

21 April 2016

College Campaign Triggers Major NHS England Announcement on General Practice

The Royal College of General Practitioners has declared that NHS England’s General Practice Forward View, announced today (Thursday 21 April) is the ‘most significant announcement for general practice since the 1960s.’

In her response to the long-awaited document, which answers the major calls of the College’s Put patients first: Back general practice campaign, College Chair Dr Maureen Baker, said: "For too long GPs – and our members – have been undervalued, underfunded, and not recognised for the essential role we play in keeping the NHS sustainable and safe for patients. We genuinely hope that today's news marks a turning point for general practice and the health service."

19 April 2016

Using Cellular Components to Treat Drug Overdose

It may be possible to treat paracetamol overdose in the future using microRNAs to silence transcription of genes that lead to the production of toxic metabolites. This is according to a proof-of-concept study carried out using stem cell models by researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

The study published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine also found that liver cells grown from stem cells acted as a good model for analysing drug toxicity in the human liver.

15 April 2016

RCGP Response to Reform Report on General Practice

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said, “This support for seven-day general practice services flies in the face of our own research – and the fact that a number of surgeries that have piloted seven-day working have had to scale-down services due to a lack of patient demand at weekends.

“Access to general practice services is undoubtedly important, but patients recognise that prioritising weekend and evening access must not come at the expense of access and services during normal hours. They have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than have their ears syringed."

11 April 2016

Antibiotic Resistance 'High Among Children With Urinary Tract Infections'

Up to half of samples of urinary tract infections in children are resistant to common antibiotics, new research has shown.

The analysis found high levels of antibiotic resistance in infections caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli).

Antimicrobial resistance is as big a risk to global public health as terrorism, Dame Sally Davies, the UK Chief Medical Officer has said. Without urgent action routine operations such as hip replacements could become life threatening, cancer treatment would be impossible and organ transplants too risky, it has been warned.

NICE has a range of guidelines aimed at tackling inappropriate use of antibiotics, including in children.

10 April 2016

Take a Break Before you Reach Breaking Point to Keep Patients Safe, College Warns GPs

A new poster campaign urging family doctors to take regular breaks in order to keep their patients safe is launched today by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

The College says that general practice - like aviation and long haul driving - is a ‘safety critical industry’ and that the rules for preventing fatigue in pilots and train drivers should also apply to GPs in their surgeries.

1 April 2016

RCGPNI Response to Revised Termination of Pregnancy Guidance

Dr John O’Kelly, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners NI, said: “The revised termination of pregnancy guidance is a step forward for helping family doctors to provide compassionate care to women facing crisis pregnancies and provides improved clarity to GPs. However, uncertainty still remains around particular aspects relating to pregnancy terminations. 

31 March 2016

Research Funders Join Forces to Tackle Zika Virus With £3.2m

The MRC, the Newton Fund and the Wellcome Trust have joined forces to tackle the global threat posed by the Zika virus.

Following the Zika Rapid Response Initiative launched by the MRC in February, which saw £1m of funding made available through the Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund, an additional £1m and up to £2m was contributed by the Wellcome Trust and the Newton Fund respectively, totalling up to £4m worth of funding.  This was further aligned with additional support in Brazil provided by the São Paulo Research Foundation FAPESP.

29 March 2016

New Drug Shows Promise against Muscle Wasting Disease

A new drug to treat the muscle wasting disease inclusion body myositis (IBM) reverses key symptoms in mice and is safe and well-tolerated in patients, finds a new study led by the MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at University College London (UCL) and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, found that the new drug Arimoclomol reversed the disease’s effects at the cellular level and improved muscle strength in mice. A safety trial in 24 IBM patients conducted in London and Kansas found that the drug was safe and well-tolerated.

24 March 2016

RCGPNI Response to NI Health Minister Announcement on Plans to Restructure Health and Social Care

Dr John O’Kelly, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners NI, said: “Any attempt to streamline and reduce complexity within the health and social care system to improve care for patients is to be welcomed.

“Unfortunately the changes which the Minister for Health has announced today have introduced a further element of uncertainty for general practice."

22 March 2016

Faster Access to Effective Cancer Treatments through New Cancer Drugs Fund

Proposals will see new clinically and cost effective cancer drugs approved for use on the NHS earlier than any other country in Europe.

New arrangements for the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), approved today by NICE’s Board, will see patients benefitting as promising new and innovative treatments are considered earlier.

NICE will now be able to make decisions on cancer drugs faster than ever before.

For the first time NICE will issue draft guidance on new cancer drugs or significant new licence indications before they have received marketing approval in the UK. Any drug that receives a positive draft recommendation would then be funded from the point of licence.

18 March 2016

RCGP Response to Autistica Report on Premature Death in Autism

Dr Carole Buckley, Clinical Champion for Autism for the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that autism can have significant implications on a patient’s physical and mental health and wellbeing – sometimes, as this report today shows, with tragic consequences.

“With 90% of NHS patient contacts delivered in general practice, it is essential for GPs and our teams to have good awareness and understanding of autism, and the steps we can take to make our autistic patients’ experience of general practice as comfortable and supportive as possible."

15 March 2016

Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy May Help Babies' Bones

Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may lead to stronger bones in babies born during the winter months, a new study has shown.

Researchers from the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, recruited over 1,000 pregnant women across Southampton, Oxford and Sheffield to the MAVIDOS study, a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin D supplements in pregnancy.

Women were randomised to take either 1000 units (25 microgrammes) of vitamin D every day or a matched placebo capsule from 14 week’s gestation until delivery of the baby.

9 March 2016

RCGP Response to PAC Report on Access to General Practice in England

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said:

“We are pleased that the Public Accounts Committee have listened to the College and recognised the enormous resource and workforce pressures currently facing our profession.

“This report echoes what we have been saying for a long time through our Put patients first: Back general practice campaign - that urgent measures need to be taken to reverse declining investment in our service and address the recruitment crisis in general practice.

8 March 2016

NICE Approves Sickle Cell Device That Could Save NHS £13m per Year

NICE has recommended a new device for managing sickle cell disease that makes treatment for the condition easier and quicker, and could save the NHS around £13 million per year.

NICE has recommended a new device for managing sickle cell disease that makes treatment for the condition easier and quicker, and could save the NHS around £13 million per year.

In latest guidance, NICE recommends the Spectra Optia Apheresis System for red blood exchange in patients with sickle cell disease who require regular transfusion.

7 March 2016

A Story of Medicine Told in the Home of General Practice

The NHS is a British institution, universally loved amongst patients and globally coveted - and general practice is its lifeblood with 90% of patient contacts in the health service being made by GPs and their teams.

1 March 2016

Metabolism 'Rewiring' Can Lead to Aggressive Lung Cancer

Scientists have discovered that lung cancers with extra copies of a cancer causing gene-defect ‘rewire’ their energy supply, helping them to survive and making them more likely to spread.

Researchers at the MRC Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge studied lung cancers with mutations in their Kras genes, which are found in around 30 per cent of adenocarcinomas - the most common type of primary lung cancer. They found that the number of copies of Kras mutations had a profound impact on the disease, as those with extra copies undergo a change in their metabolism.

26 February 2016

RCGP Response to RPS Report on Pharmacists in Care Homes

Responding to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s report ‘The Right Medicine - Improving Care in Care Homes’, Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“We welcome the opportunity to further develop the constructive and valuable relationship that GPs have with our pharmacist colleagues, in a way that can increase our patients’ safety and save the NHS money.

23 February 2016

Improving and Standardising Care for People with Incurable Blood Cancer

Latest NICE guidance aims to help improve and standardise the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of myeloma.

The recommendations cover a range of areas including offering communication and support, imaging tests, and palliative care services.

Myeloma is a form of cancer that arises from plasma cells – a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow. The cancer affects a number of organs including the bones, kidneys, blood and immune systems.

18 February 2016

RCGP Response to the Lancet Study on Antibiotics Prescribing

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “When used appropriately antibiotics are excellent drugs, but as a society we have become too dependent on them, resulting in growing global resistance to the bacteria that antibiotics have been so effective at fighting.

“GPs can come under huge pressure from patients to prescribe antibiotics, even when we know they are not the best course of action. Our patients need to realise that this is dangerous for each and every one of us, not just 'other people'.

16 February 2016

Global Scientific Community Commits to Sharing Data on ZIKA

Leading global health bodies including academic journals, NGOs, research funders and institutes, have committed to sharing data and results relevant to the current Zika crisis and future public health emergencies as rapidly and openly as possible.

Organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Médecins Sans Frontières, the US National Institute of Health and the Wellcome Trust, along with leading academic journals including Nature, Science and the New England Journal of Medicine, have signed a joint declaration and hope that other bodies will come on board in the coming weeks.

11 February 2016

RCGP Response to Government Decision to Impose Junior Doctors' Contract

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We are shocked and dismayed at the Government’s decision to impose a contract on our dedicated and committed junior doctors.

“Imposing a deal on junior doctors is wrong-headed, will inevitably damage morale across the NHS – and may damage patient care.
“We had hoped that ministers would ensure an agreement could be reached in a professional and amicable way, so that the two sides could bridge their differences in a constructive manner."

9 February 2016

Consultation Open on Potential New NICE Indicators

Indicators focused on atrial fibrillation, diabetes care, and weight management are proposed for the latest NICE indicator menu.

Based on NICE guidance and quality standards the potential indicators, now open for consultation, aim to improve healthcare by supporting both national frameworks and local quality improvement initiatives.

They are developed to be used by GP practices and CCGs for service development and improvement as well as for the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and the CCG Outcome Indicator Set (CCG OIS).

8 February 2016

RCGP Comment on Charging for Missed Appointments

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the results of a poll commissioned by the Astellas Innovation Debate.

She said: “GPs and our teams are making in excess of 370m patient consultations a year – 60m more than five years ago – but our workforce has remained relatively stagnant and as a result, our patients are still finding it increasingly difficult to make a GP appointment.

“When patients don’t turn up for appointments, it can be frustrating– for both GPs and for patients who could have had the appointment otherwise – but charging a penalty for this is not the answer.

2 February 2016

Study Finds Paracetamol Use in Pregnancy Can Cut Female Fertility

A study led by the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh and published in the journal Scientific Reports, has found using painkillers in pregnancy may reduce fertility in subsequent generations.

Tests in rats found that when a mother was given painkillers during pregnancy, her female offspring had fewer eggs, smaller ovaries and smaller litters of babies than those not exposed to the drugs.

30 January 2016

New NHS Alliance Responds to Predicted Pharmacy Closures

In response to the announcement that Alaistair Burt believes up to 3,000 high street pharmacies could close because of 6% budget cuts Dr Mark Spencer, co-chair designate of New NHS Alliance, and a GP in Fleetwood, said:

“This policy appears to be extremely short-sighted. The proposed £170m cut will save roughly 0.14% of the annual NHS budget, but the services and expertise we risk losing have the potential to save far greater NHS resource in the long run.

26 January 2016

Updated Tuberculosis Guidelines Will Help Target Most Vulnerable 

Updated tuberculosis (TB) guidelines call for greater education and prevention to help target people from socially deprived backgrounds who are most vulnerable to contracting the infection.

The guidelines also raise the upper age limit for the treatment and diagnosis of latent TB from 35 to  65 years and under.

TB is an infection that can be caught by breathing in bacteria from someone who has infectious TB.

While the incidence of TB in the UK has remained relatively since 2005, it remains high when compared with other western European countries.

19 January 2016

RCGP Response to Commonwealth Fund GP Survey

Professor Nigel Mathers, Honorary Secretary for the Royal College of GPs, said: “Such high levels of stress amongst GPs in the UK compared to other countries is bad news for the NHS and for our patients, as growing numbers of family doctors are becoming dissatisfied with their working circumstances and consider leaving the profession.

“But the findings today are not surprising. GPs and our teams across the country are working harder than ever, doing more consultations than ever, to meet the increasing demand of our growing and ageing population. This year we will do in excess of 370m patient consultations – 60m more than we did five years ago.

19 January 2016

Study Shows Beneficial Effects of Blocking Brain Inflammation in an Experimental Model of Alzheimer's

A study, published today in the journal Brain, has found that blocking a receptor in the brain responsible for regulating immune cells could protect against the memory and behaviour changes seen in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The research was jointly funded by the MRC and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

It was originally thought that Alzheimer’s disease disturbs the brain’s immune response, but this latest study adds to evidence that inflammation in the brain can in fact drive the development of the disease. The findings suggest that by reducing this inflammation, progression of the disease could be halted.

18 January 2016

RCGP Response to Labour Analysis of GP Patient Survey

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams are working harder than ever, making more consultations than ever, to meet the increasing demand of our growing and ageing population.

“But resources into general practice have been decreasing over the last ten years to the point where our service now receives just over 8% of the overall health service budget – despite making 90% of all NHS patient contacts, and our work becoming greater in both volume and complexity. This is not safe for us, and it is not safe for our patients.

12 January 2016

New Recommended Drinking Guidelines Welcomed by NICE

NICE has welcomed proposed new guidelines on alcohol which aim to limit the health risks that result from drinking.

The proposed guidelines, published by the Department of Health and out for consultation, make 3 main recommendations on safe levels of alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is one of the biggest avoidable risks for disease and death. Between 2010 and 2011, alcohol misuse led to 1.2 million hospital admissions 15,000 deaths.

7 January 2016

RCGP Response to Latest GP Patient Survey Results

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard from the Royal College of GPs, said: “Over 91% of patients have trust and confidence in their family doctor – as a profession, that is truly something that we should be very proud of, particularly against a backdrop of such intense resource and workforce pressures.

“However, the GP Patient Survey results continue to highlight the growing difficulty that our patients are facing when trying to make a GP appointment and this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

5 January 2016

RCGP Response to HEE's Figures Showing More Doctors Being Accepted for GP Training

Health Education England report an increase in the number of trainees who have been accepted for the third round of GP training in 2015.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is excellent news that we are seeing more doctors entering general practice, particularly at a time when we have a chronic shortage of GPs and soaring patient demand. 

31 December 2015

Funding award for Centres of Excellence in Neurodegenerative Disease Research

The Centres of Excellence in Neurodegenerative disease (CoEN) initiative, launched in 2010, funds collaborative research in the field of neurodegenerative disease, spanning age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Disease. Under the third CoEN funding call, £3.6m (€4.9m, CA$7.4m) has been awarded for 11 international ‘Pathfinder’ projects, constituting innovative and creative proof of principle studies which, if successful, will provide a step change in neurodegeneration research.

29 December 2015

First Evidence to Suggest That Screening for Ovarian Cancer May Save Lives

New results from the world’s biggest ovarian cancer screening trial suggest that screening based on an annual blood test may help reduce the number of women dying from the disease by around 20 per cent.

The research, published in the Lancet, also cautions that longer follow up is needed to establish more certain estimates of how many deaths from ovarian cancer could be prevented by screening. Estimates from the results so far are promising, but the exact figures remain uncertain.

24 December 2015

New Guidelines to Improve Care for People at the End of Life 

NICE has launched the first guidelines for the NHS on improving care for people who are in their last days of life.

The guidelines aim to put the dying person at the heart of decisions about their care, so that they can be supported in their final days in accordance with their wishes.

Around 500,000 people die each year in the UK. Of these deaths 75% are not sudden, but expected.

While a recent report has ranked end of life care in the UK as the best in the world, there are areas where care can be improved and made more consistent.

22 December 2015

Kadcyla Too Costly For Use on the NHS

Final guidance on the use of Kadcyla (trastuzumab-emtansine) says the drug is too high in price for routine use on the NHS.

Kadcyla is a treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer which has spread to other parts of the body that cannot be surgically removed and has stopped responding to initial treatment. The drug costs around £90,000 per patient at its full list price.

Earlier this year, Roche the manufacturer of the drug, agreed a significant price discount with NHS England to stop the drug being removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund. The manufacturer offered smaller, different discount to NICE for use in this appraisal.

18 December 2015

RCGP Response to HEE's Figures Showing More Doctors Being Accepted For GP Training

Health Education England report an increase in the number of trainees who have been accepted for the third round of GP training in 2015.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is excellent news that we are seeing more doctors entering general practice, particularly at a time when we have a chronic shortage of GPs and soaring patient demand."

15 December 2015

Progressing Clinical Academic Careers in the UK

An MRC-led review exploring the experiences of early-career clinical academics across the UK has highlighted that while many successfully advance to research leadership positions, widespread barriers to both clinical and academic progression are faced by many of those aspiring to pursue a clinical academic career.

The review details the experiences of more than 400 clinicians who applied for clinical research training fellowships or clinical scientist fellowships from the MRC, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health Research or the Wellcome Trust, and explores how past fellowship applicants had become interested in research, the career pathways they have pursued, and their experiences of enablers and barriers to progression as a clinical academic.

14 December 2015

Another NICE Disappointment

Filed under Mark Robinson

I read NICE Guidance (NG19) – Diabetic foot problems: prevention and management. It comes after attending a diabetes meeting in which I had to walk past 135 single shoes to get to my seat. That is a powerful message to identify that we must try and reduce the number of amputations.

8 December 2015

Ensure People with Type 2 Diabetes are Involved in Decisions about Their Care

Healthcare professionals should involve people with type 2 diabetes in decisions about their care such as managing blood glucose levels, NICE says.

Updated guidelines stress the need for individualising care for people with type 2 diabetes, and include new recommendations on managing blood glucose, effective drug treatments and lifestyle interventions.

The vast majority of people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes, a form of the condition that tends to appear in people over 40, but that is increasingly being seen in younger people due to rising obesity levels.

7 December 2015

RCGP Response to BJGP Study on Antibiotics Prescribing

Dr Tim Ballard, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Patients want to feel as though they are taking something away from their GP appointment, especially as in many cases, they will have had to wait a long time to secure one – and family doctors are under pressure to prescribe accordingly.

“It’s concerning that patients associate a prescription for antibiotics with a satisfactory visit to their GP, particularly as we know that in many cases antibiotics are not appropriate forms of treatment and could actually do more harm than good, so it may be better not to prescribe."

1 December 2015

Liver Cell Therapies Closer as Study Reveals Key to Mass Production

Scientists from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh have developed a new technique for growing liver cells from stem cells.

The new approach is cost-effective and could be adapted for mass production of clinical grade cells, aiding the quest to produce treatments for patients with liver damage. 

27 November 2015

Royal College of General Practitioners Launch New 'Consequences of Cancer' Toolkit

The Royal College of General Practitioners, in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, has today launched an innovative toolkit to support primary care professionals to deliver high quality care to people living with the consequences of cancer and their subsequent treatment.

The ‘Consequences of Cancer’ toolkit brings together best practice advice, clinical guidance and patient resources in one place on the RCGP website.

24 November 2015

Reduce Waste by Carrying Out Blood Transfusions Only When Necessary 

Blood transfusions should only be carried out when necessary to help avoid waste in the NHS and prevent risk to patients, says NICE.

In new guidance, NICE makes a number of recommendations to help reduce variation in practice, increase patient safety, and prevent needless use of resources.

Blood transfusions are common procedures that tend to be safe and result in a small likelihood of harm. Yet recent studies have highlighted variation in their use and that at least a fifth of transfusions are unnecessary.

NICE’s latest guideline on blood transfusion aims to address these concerns through recommendations that help standardise practice and improve patient safety.

23 November 2015

Poll Results Show General Practice Struggling to Cope With Tsunami of Increased Patient Demand, Says RCGP

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has said that general practice - and the NHS as we know it – is in danger of disintegrating unless the Chancellor urgently increases investment in the family doctor service to meet the tsunami of increasing patient demand.

In a message to the Chancellor she said: “Fail to invest in general practice in the Spending Review, and general practice and the whole of the NHS is in danger of disintegrating before the end of the current parliament. It’s as simple as that.”

17 November 2015

Colour-Changing Burns Dressing Will Help Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance

A ‘smart’ medical dressing developed by scientists at the University of Bath that changes colour when it detects infection will improve treatments for burns patients and help combat the global problem of antibiotic resistance by reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Children with burn wounds are particularly susceptible to bacterial infections because of their immature immune systems. Such infections can slow wound healing, leading to longer hospital stays as well as increased risk of permanent scarring. In severe cases, burn infection can lead to sepsis, which can kill.

16 November 2015

More Than 400 Pharmacists to be Recruited to GP Surgeries by Next Year

More than seven million patients will soon have access to expert advice from a clinical pharmacist when they visit their GP, thanks to the expansion of a new scheme to fund, recruit and employ pharmacists in local practices.

NHS England has more than doubled funding from £15m to £31m for its clinical pharmacists in general practice pilot, due to an overwhelmingly positive response from GP surgeries. NHS England, Health Education England, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the BMA are today announcing the 73 applications that will receive a share of the funding, which will cover 698 GP practices and include 403 clinical pharmacists.

10 November 2015

Integrated Care "Critically Important" for Older People with Social Care Needs and Multiple Long-Term Conditions

Health and social care services should work more closely together to ensure older people with social care needs and multiple long-term conditions receive effective care, says NICE.

In latest social care guidance, NICE calls for care to be integrated so that better, more person-centre care can be provided for the growing number of older people with social care needs and multiple long-term conditions.

Many long-term conditions such as dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are linked with age.  Since the population is ageing, the number of people with long-term conditions is set to rise by about 1 million in the next 3 to 5 years.

6 November 2015

RCGP Response to BJGP Paper on Seven Day Working

The Royal College of GPs has responded to a paper published in the British Journal of General Practice showing a lack of demand for routine weekend opening of GP practices.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, said: “This adds even more weight to the argument against routine Sunday opening for GP practices. Not only will it be of little benefit to our patients - but they themselves do not want it."

3 November 2015

Withdrawing Dementia Drug Doubles Risk of Nursing Home Placement

Withdrawing a commonly-prescribed Alzheimer’s disease drug from people in the advanced stages of the disease doubles their risk of being placed in a nursing home within a year, according to research published today in The Lancet Neurology.

Researchers funded by the Medical Research Council and Alzheimer’s Society followed 295 people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease to monitor the effects of continuing or discontinuing the drug donepezil - which is typically withdrawn in the later stages of the disease because of a lack of perceived benefit by clinicians. The participants were randomly selected to either continue donepezil or withdraw from the drug by receiving a placebo. These two groups were then each divided to test the effect of receiving another dementia drug, memantine, or a placebo.

29 October 2015

A Healthy Community Pharmacy Strategy

Filed under Mark Robinson

I am doing some research for a ‘Healthy Communities’ meeting I have been invited to. Lots of clever people will be there – you know counsellors and politicians, but I doubt there will be a pharmacist.

27 October 2015

Leading a Healthier Lifestyle Can Delay Dementia, Disability and Frailty in Later Life

People should be encouraged to stop smoking, be more physically active, reduce their alcohol consumption, and adopt a healthy diet to help lower the risk of developing dementia, disability and frailty in later life.

24 October 2015

GPs Back Levy on Sugary Drinks in Battle to Curb Obesity

GPs are backing calls for a levy on popular sugary drinks, ahead of today’s Health Select Committee where public health chiefs will be asked to explain why a report making the case for a ‘sugar tax’ has not been made available to MPs.

The Royal College of General Practitioners is calling on the Government to release the findings of the report prepared by Public Health England for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

It wants Ministers to take urgent action to halt the use of sugar – or the ‘hidden enemy’ – that is a major contributor to obesity-related health problems and is costing the health service around £5bn a year.

20 October 2015

Study Finds Inflammation in the Brain is Linked to Risk of Schizophrenia

A study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is the first to find that immune cells are more active in the brains of people at risk of schizophrenia as well as those already diagnosed with the disease.

The finding could completely change our current understanding of schizophrenia, raising the possibility that testing people most at risk of the disorder ahead of time could allow them to be treated early enough to avoid its most severe symptoms.

16 October 2015

GPs Call for Greater Access to Diagnostics for Detecting Cancer

RCGP response to BMJ study claiming that ‘slow’ referrals are driving up death rates

Dr Richard Roope, Cancer Lead for the Royal College of GPs and Cancer Research UK, said:

"Across the UK, GPs are already doing a good job of appropriately referring our patients that we suspect of having cancer – 75% of patients found to have cancer are referred after only one or two GP consultations.

13 October 2015

Antibiotics Not Effective For Rare Heart Infection 

Antibiotics should not be prescribed to prevent infective endocarditis - a potentially fatal heart infection, NICE has reaffirmed.

Research published in The Lancet last year suggested that rates of infective endocarditis had increased in England after NICE advised against giving antibiotics to prevent the infection. 

After the introduction of the NICE guideline in 2008, antibiotic prescribing fell significantly from an average of 10,900 prescriptions per month from January 2004 to March 2008, to only 2,236 prescriptions per month from April 2008 to March 2013.

12 October 2015

RCGP Response to Health Foundation’s Review into Quality Indicators for General Practices Across England

Scorecard approach to improving quality outcomes would be counter productive for GPs

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We are pleased to see that common sense has prevailed and that the Health Foundation is advising against the introduction of a ‘GP scorecard’ as a way of measuring the quality of care in general practice.

29 September 2015

Cell 'Switch' Discovered That Could Shed Light on Cancer

Biologists, physicists and computational scientists have come together to solve the atomic structure of a protein which controls how cells make 'decisions' - giving clues for the design of new cancer drugs.

The protein, IKK-gamma, lies at the heart of a cobweb-like network of proteins which talk to one another inside the cell, determining how the cell will respond to its environment and to signals sent by other cells. The team’s findings suggest that tiny movements effectively switch the protein on and off, driving changes in cell behaviour.

25 September 2015

New Campaign Launched to Inspire Young Medics to Choose General Practice

Four of the country’s leading health bodies have joined forces to launch a new campaign to encourage more young doctors to become GPs.

The campaign forms one strand of the 10 point action plan ‘Building the Workforce – the New Deal for General Practice’ published in January 2015 and is aimed at increasing the number of doctors choosing to pursue a career as a GP

22 September 2015

RCGPNI Response to End of Private Contracts ‘Helped to Fuel NHS Waiting Crisis’

The RCGPNI would only view the use of the private sector as a stop gap measure

Responding to the latest news that Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK that is not using the private health sector to clear hospital waiting lists, Dr John O’Kelly, Chair of the Royal College of GPs Northern Ireland, said:

"It is deeply worrying to hear about the rise in hospital waiting times. As a GP, I regularly encounter patients who spend months waiting on much needed operations and can understand the discomfort and distress that this can cause to patients and their families.

18 September 2015

Helping GPS Make an Early Diagnosis of Cancer

Thousands of lives in England could be saved each year if the NHS follows updated guidance to help it diagnose cancer earlier. Here we outline what the guidance means for GPs.

NICE’s updated suspected cancer guideline covers the recognition and selection for referral or investigation in primary care of people of all ages, including children and young people, who may have cancer.

14 September 2015

NICE Joins Project to Make Development of New Treatments More Efficient

NICE is partner of a new public-private project which aims to identify activities that can make the development and regulation of medicines more efficient.

Called the Accelerated Development of Appropriate Patient Therapies (ADAPT SMART), and funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative, the project is a collaboration between 32 international partners that includes regulators, patients, academia, and industry representatives.

10 September 2015

New Clinical Study Strengthens the Possibility that the Dissemination of Misfolded Proteins May Contribute to Alzheimer's Disease

A study published in Nature presents an interesting observational study on a small number of patients who had acquired CJD following treatment with growth hormone derived from human brain tissue - human-derived growth hormone has not been used since 1985. 

8 September 2015

RCGP Response to Simon Stevens' Speech on Occupational Health Services for GPs

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs are working harder than ever to meet increasing patient demand with limited resources and this unrelenting workload pressure undoubtedly puts our physical and mental health at risk.

“Fatigue, stress – and eventually burnout - among family doctors is increasing, to the detriment of their own health, and this could have a devastating impact on the care that our patients receive.

7 September 2015

Researchers Develop Novel Test Which Can Tell How Well a Person is Ageing

A new molecular test, which can indicate how well a person is ageing, could transform the way ageing is approached in medical research by assessing a person’s ‘biological age’ rather than the number of years they have lived.

The findings, published today in Genome Biology, could help improve management of age-related disease by identifying people most at risk of diseases affected by age, as well as improve the way anti-ageing treatments are evaluated.

1 September 2015

Stricter Blood Glucose Targets for People With Diabetes

New diabetes guidance includes tighter targets for blood sugar levels to help reduce variation in the management and care of condition.

Nearly 400,000 adults in the UK are affected by type 1 diabetes, and around 27,000 children and young people have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Currently, most adults with type 1 diabetes are not maintaining the level of glucose in the blood. This means they are at increased risk of a range of complications over time such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and foot problems that can lead to amputation.

28 August 2015

Police – The New Health Workers?

Just by way of introduction, I have been invited to become the police special adviser on the NHS Alliance National Executive. I am a retired police officer with considerable experience in achieving health outcomes in disadvantaged neighbourhoods whilst working towards policing objectives. I am an honorary fellow at the University of Exeter Medical School and a Council of Europe “Expert” in the field of access to social rights.

25 August 2015

RCGP Response to BMJ Study on Alcohol and Cancer

Dr Richard Roope, Royal College of GPs’ Clinical Lead for Cancer, said: “We have known about the strong link between alcohol and cancer for sometime, but this study serves as a useful reminder about how pronounced this is, especially when coupled with smoking, and when people have a family history of cancer.

22 August 2015

Heart Attack Deaths could be cut if Hospitals Stuck to Guidelines

Fewer heart attack patients die after treatment in Swedish hospitals than in UK ones, and that could be down to differences in how patients are treated, MRC research suggests.

The researchers looked at data on how hospitals in the UK and Sweden treated patients who had suffered the most severe form of heart attack (ST elevation heart attack), and how many of these patients survived for 30 days after their attack.

18 August 2015

Calls for NHS to Curb Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing 

Healthcare professionals should encourage sensible use of antibiotics and cut back on unnecessary prescribing of the drugs to help tackle the rise in antibiotic resistance, says NICE.

Antibiotics are a vital tool for modern medicine and not just for the treatment of infections, such as pneumonia, meningitis and tuberculosis, but also for preventing infections from occurring during surgical procedures and cancer treatment.

However, the more antibiotics are used the less effective they become. This is because overuse gives resistant bacteria a greater chance to survive and spread.

The problem of antibiotic resistance is compounded by the fact that the discovery of new antibiotics is at an all-time low.

14 August 2015

NHS Alliance presents Communites of Care, a programme with ITN Productions

ITN Productions are a long term and valued partner of NHS Alliance and its communications network. Building on our rich heritage of collaboration, we are again producing a news and current affairs-style programme exploring key issues, and showcasing good practice and innovation within healthcare in this vital year.

Communities of Care will be an in-depth, online programme specifically aimed at those within the sector. The programme will look at the efforts being taken to create a responsive and responsible system. Policies affecting primary care and initiatives to support the future of a proactive and preventative system will also be examined.

3 August 2015

Guideline on Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer to Reduce Variation in Care

NICE’s latest guideline aims to improve survival rates and reduce variation in the care of patients with melanoma, currently the fastest growing form of cancer.

The guideline covers the full pathway of care, and includes recommendations on managing low vitamin D levels, and the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy for staging.

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that occurs when cells in the skin develop abnormally. It accounts for more deaths from cancer than all other skin cancers combined.

29 July 2015

RCGP Response to NICE Draft Guidance on End of Life Care

Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, Clinical Lead for End of Life at the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is crucial that patients approaching the end of their lives receive high quality and compassionate care that is tailored to their own needs and wishes. This guidance highlights how important it is for people to be involved in having discussions about their care."

28 July 2015

Regular Consumption of Sugary Drinks Associated With Type 2 Diabetes

Sugar sweetened drinks may give rise to nearly 2 million diabetes cases over 10 years in the US and 80,000 in the UK.

Regular consumption of sugar sweetened drinks is positively associated with type 2 diabetes independent of obesity status, finds an MRC-funded study published in The BMJ this week.

Artificially sweetened drinks and fruit juice also showed a positive association with type 2 diabetes, but the quality of evidence was limited. None the less, the authors warn that neither artificially sweetened drinks nor fruit juice are suitable alternatives to sugar sweetened drinks for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

27 July 2015

RCGP Response to the Roland Commission Report on Primary Care Workforce

In response to ‘The future of primary care: Creating teams for tomorrow’, Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Patients – and the wider NHS – depend on the care of GPs in their local communities, but we have a severe shortage of family doctors and this will have a disastrous impact on future generations unless urgent action is taken to stem the tide.

21 July 2015

Offer Anticoagulants Instead Of Aspirin for Stroke Prevention

Adults with atrial fibrillation (AF) should be prescribed newer medications instead of aspirin for the prevention of stroke, says NICE.

AF is a condition that affects the heart, causing it to beat irregularly and too fast. When this happens, blood does not flow properly through the heart and the rest of the body.

This means that people with AF may be at increased risk of blood clots. Clots can block blood vessels, and a stroke can occur if a blood vessel in the brain is blocked by a clot.

19 July 2015

RCGP Response to the Independent Cancer Taskforce Report

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs play a vital role in diagnosing patients with cancer and providing the care they need to help them live with the disease – and more support to allow us to do this effectively is essential.

“The Taskforce report outlines a number of recommendations, which if implemented properly – and resourced appropriately - have the potential to save thousands of lives.
“GPs are already doing a very good job of appropriately referring our patients who we suspect of having cancer, considering the relative rarity of presentations - an average GP might see eight new cases of cancer for every 8,000 patient consultations - and the limited resources available to us.

14 July 2015

Landmark 69-Year Study to Provide Window into Dementia

A landmark Medical Research Council (MRC) study that has been following a group of people since their birth in the same week in March 1946 is now turning its focus to the risk factors and early signs of dementia. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers based at UCL (University College London) is studying 500 members of the unique MRC National Survey of Health and Development as volunteers approach their 70thbirthday, to gain crucial insight into Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The study is funded by the MRC Dementias Platform UK, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, and the Wolfson Foundation.

13 July 2015

Alcohol Abuse Has Devastating 'Domino Effect', Says RCGP in Response to Report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies

Policymakers should take heed of this important report

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said:

“Everyday in our surgeries, GPs are dealing with the fallout of alcohol abuse in some of our patients’ lives, and this report really hammers home the devastating ‘domino effect’ on families and the wider community.

07 July 2015

RCGP Response to Alzheimers Society Report

Responding to today's report by the Alzheimer's Society, Professor Nigel Mathers, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“This report demonstrates the scale of the challenge that GPs are facing every day in our surgeries in trying to care for the increasing numbers of patients whose lives are affected by this dreadful disease. 

03 July 2015

New Standard to Help Reduce the Harm from Smoking

NICE’s latest quality standard sets out advice to help reduce tobacco-related harm for people who are unwilling or not ready to stop smoking.

Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death in England. Around half of all life-long smokers die prematurely losing about 10 years of life on average.

In 2012-13 smoking is estimated to have led to 460,900 NHS hospitable admissions in England alone among people aged 35 or over. This accounts for 5 per cent of all hospital admissions in this age group, and costs the NHS an estimated £2 billion per year.

30 June 2015

NHS Alliance Responds to Jeremy Hunt’s Speech on a New Deal for General Practice

Dr Michael Dixon, chair of NHS Alliance, said: “NHS Alliance welcomes today’s speech from the Secretary of State. I have long believed general practice is the jewel in the NHS crown, and today’s affirmation of this indicates we are likely to see a new dawn for general practice and primary care.

26 June 2015

Bloodless Malaria Test Passes First Test in Humans

A new laser test that can detect malaria in seconds with a simple skin scan is the first in-human device to diagnose the disease without drawing blood.

The device works by sending a safe laser pulse through the skin to a blood vessel. Here, if present, tiny parts of malaria parasites (called hemozoin) absorb the laser light. This causes them to instantly heat up and produce a microscopic vapour ‘nanobubble’. When this transient vapour bubble bursts, it produces an acoustic ‘pop’ which is detected through the skin by a sensor, indicating the presence of malaria.

23 June 2015

Reducing Variation in the Care of People with Osteoarthritis

NICE’s latest quality standard on osteoarthritis includes eight statements designed to tackle variation in the care of people with osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of pain and disability. It has a higher prevalence in women than men and affects around 7.3 million people in England with– a figure that is likely to rise due to an ageing population and increasing rates of obesity.

19 June 2015

RCGP Response to Health Secretary's Announcement on 'First Step in a New Deal for GPs'

RCGP pleased Secretary of State publicly acknowledging the value of general practice, with the College credited for making compelling case for more investment in general practice

RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said:

“We are really pleased that the Secretary of State is publicly acknowledging the value of general practice and the sterling job done by hardworking GPs up and down the country every day on behalf of their patients – after years of GPs being used as a whipping post by successive governments.

16 June 2015

Mother’s Environment Periconception May Affect Her Child's Life Long Risk of Disease

Scientists have shown for the first time that a mother’s environment before and around the time of conception, a period known as periconception, could permanently change the function of a gene influencing immunity and cancer risk in her child.

Diet is likely to play a role in this process, according to the study published in Genome Biology.

This is the latest discovery by an international collaboration led by researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit in The Gambia, West Africa, and the MRC International Nutrition Group at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine together with a team at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

11 June 2015

RCGP Response to Seven-Day GP Access Pilot Decision

Responding to the decision by NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group to suspend seven-day access due to a lack of patient demand, Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: 

“Seven day access to GP surgeries will be used and valued in some areas, but not everywhere, which is why it is essential that Clinical Commissioning Groups have the autonomy to tailor services to the needs of their local population."

9 June 2015

NHS England Asks NICE to Suspend Safe Staffing Programme

NHS England has asked NICE not to begin new activity in its safe staffing programme.

NHS England will now take forward the issue of staffing work as part of a wider programme of service improvement. It is looking at alternative approaches to helping NHS providers to achieve the right levels and mix of staff.

The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, told delegates at the NHS Confederation Annual Conference in Liverpool that they would review how staffing levels were determined across the NHS: "I have asked Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer, to take a look at whether it would make more sense in respect of the new staffing guidelines that are being proposed for various parts of the health service, to instead remit that to our new urgent and emergency care vanguards and the mental health taskforce and various others – so a different approach to answering those questions." 

5 June 2015

RCGP Response to RCEM and Patients Association Report on Urgent Care

Responding to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and the Patients Association report ‘Time to Act – Urgent Care and A&E: the Patient Perspective’, launched today, Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: 

“Family doctors already make a valuable contribution to Emergency Departments, both by working in them – and by treating patients in the community, keeping them out of hospital.

2 June 2015

RCGP Response to International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership Findings on Cancer Referral

Responding to research published by Cancer Research UK in the BMJ Open today, Dr Richard Roope, Clinical Lead for Cancer at the RCGP said:

“GPs see hundreds if not thousands of patients with potential cancer symptoms – but only an average of eight will be diagnosed with the disease. Data suggests that one-year survival rates are improving and three quarters of those found to have cancer are referred after one or two consultations.

26 May 2015

Michael Dixon’s Three Point Plan

Filed under Dr Michael Dixon

Increasing pressures and demand, with reduced real and relative funding over many years, have left general practice in poor heart. Early retirement of the 27% of GPs over 55, lack of young doctors to fill the insufficient training places, difficulties in recruiting other staff, and some GP practices going out of business altogether, all call for a radical review of general practice – what we expect of it and how we can enable it to deliver what patients and Government want and expect. Below is a practical three point plan to help general practice on its feet and enable GPs to shed the siege mentality, which has been an adaptive response to an increasingly undoable job. It will enable general practice to restore good family medicine and, with the right resources, meet wider aspirations of extended service and access.

26 May 2015

New Support for Clinical Audit from NICE

Quality standards will be the focus of a new range of audit support packages being developed by NICE.

A new tool being developed will help health and social care organisations audit the improvements they are making to their services, as part of a redesign of the audit support NICE provides.

"We have changed our approach to audit support to focus on NICE quality standards, as the statements they contain are designed to drive measurable service improvements," said Sally Chisholm, NICE’s programme director for adoption and impact. "We have developed a template that allows those who are undertaking an audit to measure either one or more quality standard at the same time.

20 May 2015

Paracetamol in Pregnancy May Lower Testosterone in Unborn Boys

Prolonged paracetamol use by pregnant women may reduce testosterone production in unborn baby boys, research has found.

Researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) say their findings could help to explain reported links between paracetamol use in pregnancy and reproductive health problems in young boys.

19 May 2015

RCGP Response to Prime Minister's Speech on 'Seven Day' NHS

Access to GP services important but weekend and evening access must not come at expense of access and services during normal hours making patients worse off

RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker said:

14 May 2015

Community Pharmacy – Back to the Future

Filed under Mark Robinson

I tried to explain at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress that Pharmacy ethos needs to change. We need to start with the person and work from there. A pharmacist asked me what I meant – so I visited their pharmacy and showed them what I was saying. I must say that there are others that think like me – it is clear with the Dispensing Health and the self-care pharmacy initiatives that some community pharmacists are on the same track.

12 May 2015

NICE Consults on Changes to Interventional Procedures Guidance Programme

Proposals now out for consultation seek to formalise the involvement of medical device manufacturers

NICE is updating the way it develops Interventional Procedures guidance to increase the speed and efficiency with which new surgical techniques and other technologies can be safely introduced into the NHS.

8 May 2015

New Screening Technique Could Pick up Twice as Many Women with Ovarian Cancer

A new screening method can detect twice as many women with ovarian cancer as conventional strategies, according to the latest results from the largest trial of its kind.

The method uses a statistical calculation to interpret changing levels in women’s blood of a protein called CA125, which is linked to ovarian cancer. This gives a more accurate prediction of a woman’s individual risk of developing cancer, compared to the conventional screening method which uses a fixed ‘cut-off’ point for CA125.

5 May 2015

NHS Alliance Announce the Launch of a New General Practice Nurse Network

NHS Alliance announces today the launch of a new nurse-led General Practice Nurse (GPN) network. The network is designed to promote and strengthen the role of nurses in primary care. It will also enable nurses working in primary care to connect with each other, and with wider primary and community colleagues, as well as patients’ carers and residents.

The network is the initiative of the co-vice chair of NHS Alliance, Heather Henry, a Queen’s Nurse and former GPN, and Louise Brady, the newly appointed GPN special adviser at NHS Alliance. Louise is a GPN at Donneybrook Medical Centre in Hyde and is also the GPN Clinical & Strategic Development Lead for the three NHS Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups.

5 May 2015

RCGP Response to Economist Intelligence Unit Report on the NHS

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said:

"The UK NHS has long been the envy of the world and the standard setter for other countries to follow so this is very disappointing.

"However, we strongly refute the claims that 'expensive' self-employed doctors will prohibit future recruitment.

"UK GPs are incredibly good value for money - providing 90% of patient contacts in the NHS - and boosting the number of GPs is the solution to so many of the problems currently besetting the health service."

28 April 2015

RCGP Response to BJGP Paper on Physician Associates

Responding to research published in the British Journal of General Practice today [Monday 27 April], Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, Honorary Treasurer of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Physician Associates must never replace GPs, but they can play a vital role in supporting doctors and other practice team colleagues.

"Widening the general practice team to include more Physician Associates and other roles - such as pharmacists working in practices as we proposed last month - is beneficial for patients and for general practice."

24 April 2015

Make Healthy Choices a Life-Long Habit to Prevent Early Death

Ensuring people develop healthy habits from an early age can help prevent long-term disease and early death, says NICE.

The advice comes from NICE’s three new quality standards, which together aim to encourage healthier lifestyles and reduce the economic and health burden of long-term illness.

The standards on tackling physical activity, preventing harmful alcohol use, and cutting smoking, provide advice to the NHS and local authorities on ways of improving the health of their communities.

21 April 2015

RCGP Response to BMA Survey on GP Workforce

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “These findings confirm what the College has been saying for some time about the chronic lack of family doctors across the country, and the devastating impact this could have on the future of general practice, the wider NHS, and most importantly, our patients.

16 April 2015

NICE Recommends Rivaroxaban to Prevent Blood Clots in Patients Who Have Had a Heart Attack

Rivaroxaban (Xarelto), in combination with clopidogrel and aspirin, or with aspirin alone, can now be used as an option for preventing blood clots in people who have had an acute coronary syndrome, following latest guidance.

People who have had a heart attack are at increased risk of further complications. In 2009/10 admissions for heart attacks in England, with 28,000 subsequent heart attacks.

14 April 2015

New Film Puts Hep C in the Primary Care Spotlight

A new film to raise awareness and increase knowledge of hepatitis C among GPs and other primary care practitioners has been launched today by the Royal College of GPs, the Hepatitis C Trust and HCV Action.

Hepatitis C affects around 214,000 people in the UK and the virus can lead to liver disease and cancer, making it a significant public health issue.

10 April 2015

Ensuring People with Autism Get the Best Treatment and Care

Health and social care practitioners can ensure they are delivering the best treatment and support for people with autism by following NICE’s quality standard, according to a leading expert.

“On World Autism Awareness Day it is worth remembering that autism is a condition that affects both adults and children, and while it has no cure, early access to specialist treatment can help,” said Jonathan Green, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Manchester, and a member of the committee that developed the quality standard. 

7 April 2015

NHS Alliance Backs RCGP and RPS Proposals on GP Practice Based Pharmacists

Speaking after today’s announcement from the RCGP and RPS, Mark Robinson, medicines, pharmacy and medicines optimisation lead at NHS Alliance, said: “NHS Alliance welcomes today’s announcement from the RCGP and RPS. The proposed plan highlights the need for a mixture of skills within the evolving general practice model, and sheds some light on how pharmacists could provide a timely addition to the practice team. The news builds upon work that NHS Alliance has been doing over the past six months, much of which has demonstrated that patients value the ability to choose between a practice nurse, practice pharmacist, or a GP, depending on their needs.

6 April 2015

Building on the Success of Brain Research

The MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit at the University of Oxford (MRC ANU) will close on 31 March after 30 years of world leading research on the complex networks of the brain. Under the leadership of director Professor Peter Somogyi and associate director Professor Paul Bolam, the MRC ANU has played a vital role in understanding healthy brain function and disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

24 March 2015

New Images of the Brain Show the Forgetful Side Effect of Frequent Recall

A study by the MRC (Medical Research Council) Cognition and Brain Sciences unit in Cambridge has shown how intentional recall is beyond a simple reawakening of a memory; and actually leads us to forget other competing experiences that interfere with retrieval. Quite simply, the very act of remembering may be one of the major reasons why we forget.

20 March 2015

Pharmacists Set to Work in GP Surgeries in Radical Move to Ease Pressures on General Practice and Improve Patient Care

Radical proposals calling for pharmacists to work in GP surgeries will be unveiled at a summit in London today (Tuesday 17 March).

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) have come up with the plans in a bid to ease current pressures in general practice and address the severe shortage of GPs.

They say that the move will improve patient safety and care and, crucially, reduce waiting times for GP appointments.

17 March 2015

Most Home Care Visits Should Be At Least Half an Hour

Home care visits to elderly people should last for at least half an hour and be centred around personalised care rather than a “one-size fits all” service, says NICE.

Last year, an investigation by Unison found that the number of councils in England commissioning 15 minute home care visits is on the rise.

In 2013/14, 470,000 people used home care funded by local authorities in England, with the vast majority, 79 per cent, people aged 65 or older.

13 March 2015

Medical Royal Colleges urge future governments to invest in the NHS

Chairs and Presidents of six Medical Royal Colleges have signed the following letter, which has been published in the Guardian today.

Dear Sir,

Recent polls showing that the NHS will be the number one issue for many voters in the forthcoming general election reflect how much our health service is valued by all sections of society, but also how worried the public is about its future.

10 March 2015

Combination Cell-Gene Therapy for Lung Cancer to be Tested in UK Patients

A pioneering new combined cell-gene therapy to treat lung cancer will be tested in NHS patients this year, after receiving £2m of Biomedical Catalyst funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Researchers led by Professor Sam Janes at UCL/UCLH will carry out the first UK clinical trial of a combined stem cell and gene therapy for the disease which kills around 34,000 people a year in the UK.

7 March 2015

RCGP Chair Comment on Easter Opening

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has commented on plans for GP practices to open over the Easter holiday.

She said: “It is vital that patients have access to the appropriate GP services at holiday times and, as happened at Christmas, many GPs and their teams will be working flat out to provide care for patients over the Easter period."

3 March 2015

Women in Established Labour Should Receive One-To-One Care

Women in established labour should receive supportive one-to-one care to ensure they have a safe experience of giving birth, NICE says.

The recommendation comes from NICE’s second guideline on safe staffing in the NHS, which gives advice on midwifery safe staffing levels for women and their babies on whatever setting they choose.

2 March 2015

RCGP Response to Leonard Cheshire Disability Research

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has commented on research by Leonard Cheshire Disability showing that GPs spend 15,000 hours a month caring for disabled and elderly patients who have suffered health problems because of their inaccessible homes.

Dr Baker said: “GPs treat the whole person, so we are only too aware that inaccessible or inadequate housing can have a negative impact on our patients’ physical and mental health.

24 February 2015

Unhealthy Eating Habits Outpacing Healthy Eating Patterns in Most World Regions

Worldwide, consumption of healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables has improved during the past two decades, but has been outpaced by the increased intake of unhealthy foods including processed meat and sweetened drinks in most world regions, according to the first study to assess diet quality in 187 countries covering almost 4.5 billion adults, published in The Lancet Global Health journal, and funded by the Medical Research Council and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

24 Feb 2015

GPS Facing 'David Versus Goliath' Battle to Provide Out of Hours Care

GPs who want to run out of hours services in their local areas should be awarded contracts without facing a ‘David versus Goliath’ struggle with large private companies, according to a report launched today by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

The College says that the regulations for awarding contracts should be clarified, and legislative changes made if necessary, to enable practices or groups of practices to take back their out of hours service without having to go through a competitive tender.

17 February 2015

Tackling Variation in the Care of Patients With COPD

Improving access to specialist care and smoking cessation support are among actions that can help reduce variation in the care of patients with COPD, according to a new report.

The report recommends following NICE’s quality standard on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to help measure improvements made and standardise care.

COPD is a term used to describe a range of lung diseases that include chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People with COPD have difficulties with breathing, which can impact on their quality of life.

13 Feb 2015

RCGP Response to Report on the Health Benefits of Exercise

Responding to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ report, Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“There is no doubt that exercise is beneficial for our patients’ physical and mental health – but the extent of the benefits, as outlined in this report, are astounding."

10 February 2015

New League Table Reveals GP Shortages Across England, as Patients Set to Wait Week or More to See Family Doctor on 67m Occasions

A new ‘league table’ of projected GP shortages across England shows that some parts of the country will need substantial increases in the number of family doctors employed locally by 2020, to meet the growth of the population.

Figures produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) today show that certain areas of the country will need at least a 50% increase in the number of GPs working in the community over the next five years - due both to the growing population, and shortages of family doctors that already exist locally.

06 Feb 2015

Babies with More Frequent Eye Movements Are More Likely To Develop ASD

Researchers funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) have found that babies who move their eyes more often than their peers at the age of six months are more likely to meet criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder¹ (ASD) as children.

In everyday life, babies are constantly making fine eye movements which are barely visible. The frequency of these movements has been thought to show how engaged an infant is with what they are looking at, and how quickly they process what they are seeing.

3 February 2015

Draft Guideline to Improve Asthma Diagnosis

Spirometry should be used as the first-line investigation for diagnosing asthma in children over 5 and adults, says NICE.

The draft guideline – NICE’s first on asthma – reinforces recommendations made in the 2014 BTS/SIGN asthma guideline which also supports spirometry as the preferred initial test to assess the presence and severity of airflow obstruction.

Currently, there is no gold standard test available to diagnose asthma and it is diagnosed principally on the basis of a thorough history taken by an experienced clinician.

29 January 2015

Minister Announces £14m Investment in Stratified Medicine

Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman today announced a further £13.7 million investment in stratified medicine collaborations funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

These four new awards bring the total of stratified medicine consortia funded by the MRC to thirteen with investment totalling over £52 million – part of the government’s £130 million commitment to stratified medicine set out in the UK Life Sciences Strategy.

27 January 2015

New Genetics Study Identifies Possible Target for Epilepsy Treatment

A single gene that coordinates a network of about 400 genes involved in epilepsy could be a target for new treatments, according to research.

Epilepsy is a common and serious disease that affects 1 in 200 people. The mortality rate among people with epilepsy is two to three times higher than the general population. It is known that epilepsy has a strong genetic component but the risk is related to multiple factors that are ‘spread’ over hundreds of genes. Identifying how these genes are co-ordinated in the brain is important in the search for new anti-epilepsy medications. This requires approaches that can analyse how multiple genes work in concert to cause disease.

26 January 2015

£10 Million Investment Boost to Expand General Practice Workforce

Health leaders have today announced a £10 million investment to kick start a new plan to expand the general practice workforce.

NHS England funding will be used to develop a range of initiatives in collaboration with Health Education England (HEE), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the BMA to increase the number of GPs and develop the role of other primary care staff such as nurses and pharmacists.

20 January 2015

NICE Sets out Draft Safe Staffing Guidance For A&Es

NICE has outlined draft guidance to help A&E departments ensure there are enough nursing staff available to provide safe care at all times to patients.

The number of A&E visits increased in 2014 by more than 40,000, with many hospitals currently declaring 'major incidents' as they struggle to cope with demand.

The figures published by NHS England revealed that there were over 14.6m visits to A&E in 2014 - an increase of 446,049 on 2013.

19 January 2015

European Boost to Dementia Research

People at risk of dementia will benefit from a £50 million initiative to improve drugs that could prevent the condition.

Scientists from the UK will collaborate in a new European initiative to identify people at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and invite them to participate in trials of new drugs that could slow its onset.

13 January 2015

Researchers’ Help Needed For Crowdsourced Map of UK Science Landscape

The Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology is looking at the UK science landscape. The aim of this project is to build a picture of the whole research landscape in the UK and to develop a stronger evidence base. This evidence base will help to inform future strategic decision-making and help the UK to maintain and develop its excellence in research.

11 January 2015

RCGP Statement on NHS England Cancer Taskforce

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “For the first time ever, the number of people living with cancer is equal to those dying from it. This is a great achievement but UK survival rates are still lagging behind the European average. The new taskforce will help to address this and it is crucial that GPs are at the centre of its work.

6 January 2015

Address Gaps in Mental Health Care for New Mothers

By Sanjay Tanday

Women who have experience of, or are at risk of mental health problems, should get extra support before, during and after their pregnancy, says NICE.

Between 10 and 20 per cent of women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby.

31 December 2014

GPs and Physicians Want Care Based on Patients' Needs Rather Than Buildings

A new joint statement on integrated care issued today by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of General Practitioners supports the provision of new models of care based on the needs of patients, service users and communities, rather than buildings.

The statement, which is also supported by other medical Royal colleges and faculties, sets out the values, vision and commitments of both colleges in working together at a national level to promote person-centred care, integrated care and collaboration.

30 December 2014

NICE Greenlights Dabigatran for Treatment of Blood Clots

Patients at risk of recurrent blood clots can now be offered dabigatran (Pradaxa) as an alternative to warfarin, says NICE.

In latest guidance, NICE recommends the drug as an option for treating and preventing recurrent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism in adults.
Around 1 in every 1000 people in the UK is affected by DVT, a condition that increases in risk with age. Further risk factors include a previous DVT or pulmonary embolism, obesity and the presence of comorbidities such as heart disease.

26 December 2014

Major Initiative to Encourage People to Apply for Places in General Practice Training

RCGP Chair, Dr Maureen Baker, has today written to thousands of trainee doctors in England, encouraging them to apply for a career as a GP.

This is the first time that the Chair of the RCGP has ever taken such a step on this scale, in a bid to address the chronic shortage of GPs in England.

23 December 2014

Cognitive Abilities Age at Different Rates Because Our Brains Age Differently
Some skills may ‘go’ quicker than others

Researchers at the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit have discovered that specific mental abilities – such as problem-solving or multi-tasking – decline with age at different rates because individuals’ brains age differently.

This challenges the previously held idea that, as we get older, these types of mental abilities all decline at the same rate. Given the number of people who are now living well into old age, this has important implications for our understanding of declining mental ability.

19 December 2014

RCGP Response to GMC-Commissioned Review ‘Doctors Who Commit Suicide While Under GMC Fitness to Practise Investigation’

RCGP Chair Maureen Baker said: “Patient safety must be paramount in any fitness to practise process, but it is also essential that GPs and all doctors are investigated fairly and sensitively. It is shocking that so many of them have taken their own lives while investigations have been ongoing.

16 December 2014

RCGP Response to Care Data Report

Response to the report on Care.data by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Patient and Public involvement in Health and Social Care and the Patients Association

RCGP Honorary Secretary Nigel Mathers says:

“This report reinforces everything we have been calling for and adds weight to the need for a more cautious roll-out and for patients to be able to actively opt out.

“We also support the recommendation for open consultation on the data sets that will eventually be used.

4 December 2014

Public to Shape How NICE Balances Fairness with Efficiency

Dignity, collective responsibility, and safeguarding the vulnerable are among the values that should be considered when making decisions about how resources should be spent both fairly and efficiently.

The recommendation comes from the latest report by the NICE Citizens Council, which is a group of members of the public that provides input into NICE’s work.

Given the climate of increasing resource pressures in health and social care, it is often difficult to find ways of balancing an efficient use of resources – where the most is done with what’s available – with equity, where they are fairly distributed.

9 December 2014

UK Clinical Research Collaboration Establishes New National Tissue Directory and Research Collaboration

UK Clinical Research Collaboration establishes new National Tissue Directory and Research Collaboration

The Medical Research Council is pleased to announce on behalf of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC)* the establishment of a National Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre, led by University College London in collaboration with Nottingham University.

3 December 2014

NHS Alliance and RPS Report Suggests Pharmacists Hold Solution to Workforce Crisis in General Practice

The NHS Alliance and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have produced a new report, Pharmacists and general practice: A practical and timely part of solving the primary care workload and workforce crisis, on pharmacists and the role that they could play in general practice.

2 December 2014

RCGP Statement on Flu Vaccinations

Dr George Kassianos, RCGP Immunisation Lead, said: “Flu can have potentially serious consequences and young children - particularly those under the age of five years - are one of the groups who are most at risk, so we are concerned that the uptake of the vaccine is lower than last year and that such a large number of parents are still unaware that it is now available in a nasal spray.

27 November 2014

Offer Weight Loss Surgery to Obese People With Diabetes

The NHS should offer weight loss surgery to thousands more people in order to tackle an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, says NICE.

A quarter of the UK population is now obese, fuelling a rise in cases of type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease, fatty liver disease and cancer.

One in 20 people in the UK has type 2 diabetes. It is a progressive disease that causes heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and limb amputations.

25 November 2014

New National Research Centre to Tackle Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace

A major new research centre to tackle the impact of musculoskeletal disorders on people’s ability to work has been announced by two leading medical research bodies.

Researchers at the £1.4m Arthritis Research UK/MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work, led by the University of Southampton, aim to find cost-effective ways of reducing the impact of conditions that affect the muscles, joints and bones on people’s employment and productivity, with benefits for patients, employers and society as a whole.

21 November 2014

Summit on World Diabetes Day Aims to Reduce Variation in Quality of Care

To mark World Diabetes Day, The Diabetes Exchange, NHS Alliance and Novo Nordisk have joined together to hold the first Diabetes Exchange Summit. The event will investigate how we can solve the challenges we face as levels of diabetes continue to rise, and look at how we can reduce variation in the quality of care, as well as stimulate the development and adoption of new models of out-of-hospital care.

18 November 2014

RCGP Response to Care Quality Commission's Intelligent Monitoring for GP Practices

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “Every patient has a right to expect high quality and consistent care from their local GP practice, and it is crucial that we urgently address any variations in quality of care.

“But patients should be assured that the vast majority of practices are doing an excellent job of delivering care to the highest possible quality standards. Over 75% of practices show little cause for concern, with more than half identified as ‘lowest priority’.

11 November 2014

NICE Guidance on Smoking Cessation in Hospitals Could Have a Major Impact on Cutting Smoking Rates

Clinicians should make better use of opportunities to help people quit smoking when they present to hospitals in England, and have the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths by reaching 1.1 million smokers each year, say researchers.

It is estimated that around 460,000 adult admissions to NHS hospitals in England every year are due to smoking. Treating diseases caused by smoking costs the NHS more than £5 billion per year, about 5 per cent of its annual budget, despite the fact that smoking is preventable and treatable.

11 November 2014

UK Tobacco Controls a Success In Cutting Smoking Among Adolescents

A new study has revealed a significant drop in the number of young people taking up smoking over the last 20 years, as the UK has introduced a range of tobacco controls.

However the research findings also show inequalities in starting smoking across different economic backgrounds, despite these regulations.

The figures, taken from the period between 1990 and 2012, show a fall of 50 per cent in the numbers of 15 years-olds who try smoking for the first time, and around a 50 per cent decrease in the likelihood of young people progressing to becoming occasional or daily smokers after initiation.

7 November 2014

NHS Alliance Produces Briefing On Primary Care And Housing

The NHS Alliance has produced a new ‘Viewpoint’ briefing on primary care and housing for members of the Housing LIN (Learning and Improvement Network), titled Breaking Boundaries: reinventing primary care www.housinglin.org.uk/PrimaryCare_Viewpoint.

4 November 2014

Psoriasis is 'More than Just a Skin Condition'

Healthcare professionals should be aware that psoriasis can affect a person’s psychological and social wellbeing, and not just their physical health, says NICE.

Psoriasis is a long-term condition that is characterised by red, flaky, patches of skin covered with silvery scales, affecting around 1.8 million people in the UK.

While psoriasis can begin at any stage in life, most cases start before the age of 35, and peak between the ages of 50 and 60.

31 October 2014

RCGP Launches 'Common Sense' Guide to Ebola For GPs And Their Teams

A step-by-step guide to help GP practices prepare for and deal with the Ebola outbreak is published today by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

The guidance – presented in the form of a card index – has been designed to ensure that patients receive the best and speediest care possible whilst protecting practice teams from possible contamination, in the event of the virus reaching the UK.

28 October 2014

RCGP Comment on Patient De-Registration

The RCGP have commented on an article in Pulse on GP catchment areas.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “This is an extremely distressing situation for patients and for GPs and their practice teams. Every patient should be able to see their family doctor when they need to, and GPs want to provide the best possible access and high quality care for all their patients.

21 October 2014

Co-Commissioning Primary Care: An Opportunity For Community Led Co Design?

Over the last year, clinical commissioning groups have been busy developing their five year strategies. Prompted by NHS England’s calls to action around primary care, they have simultaneously been thinking about how GP care in particular needs to change. It is perhaps not surprising then that when invited, just under 90% of CCGs expressed an interest in co-commissioning primary care.

20 October 2014

People with Dementia ‘Will Experience Poor Care’

People with dementia will experience poor care at some point while living in a care home or being treated in hospital, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has warned.

The CQC carried out a specific review of the care of people living with dementia as they moved between care homes and acute hospitals in England during 2013 and 2014. The review included 129 care homes and 20 hospitals from 22 local authority areas.

Although the CQC found more good care than poor care in the care homes and hospitals that were inspected, the quality of care for people with dementia varied greatly. At present, a person living with dementia will experience poor care at some point along the care pathway, they concluded.

13 October 2014

New Cancer Drug To Begin Trials In Multiple Myeloma Patients

Scientists at Imperial College London have developed a new cancer drug which they plan to trial in multiple myeloma patients by the end of next year.

In a paper published today in the journal Cancer Cell, the researchers report how the drug, known as DTP3, kills myeloma cells in laboratory tests in human cells and mice, without causing any toxic side effects, which is the main problem with most other cancer drugs. The new drug works by stopping a key process that allows cancer cells to multiply.

14 October 2014

RCGP Response to Public Health England Report on Antibiotics

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has responded to the first annual report of PHE’s English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR), published today

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is clear that GPs and other healthcare professionals have further to go in promoting efforts to reduce our population’s resistance to antibiotics.

9 October 2014

Ambitious New Studies Will Give New Insights into Parkinson’s, Addiction and The Immune System

Three ambitious new research programmes, which aim to deliver a step-change in our understanding of disease by using human volunteers in experimental studies, have been funded as part of a £60m investment from the Medical Research Council (MRC).

7 October 2014

New Public Health Quality Standards Announced

NICE is to develop over 70 new public health quality standards on topics ranging from antibiotic prescribing to domestic violence, following the latest topic referral from the Department of Health.

NICE quality standards describe high-priority areas for quality improvement in a defined care or service area. They are derived either from NICE guidance or NICE accredited sources, and apply right across the NHS, social care and public health in England.

6 October 2014

Integrated Thinking for Integrated Care – NHS Alliance and Foundation Trust Network Form New Collaboration

Two leading representative bodies for organisations providing services to the NHS across both primary and secondary care, have formed a strategic partnership with a vision to explore and break down some of the historic silos and tensions that continue to hinder innovation in the health service.

30 September 2014

Modest Effect of Statins on Diabetes Risk and Bodyweight Related to Mechanism of Action

The mechanism by which statins increase the risk of type 2 diabetes has been investigated in a large-scale analysis from an international team led by researchers from UCL and the University of Glasgow, using information from genetic studies and clinical trials. Published in The Lancet, the work received support from a number of funders including the Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, Rosetrees Trust and National Institute for Health Research University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.

Among nearly 130 000 participants from clinical trials that previously tested the effect of statins on heart disease and stroke (major vascular events), those assigned statins vs. placebo, or higher vs. lower doses of statins, were noted to have a small increase in risk of developing type 2 diabetes of about 12% over a four-year period, and also to gain an excess of 240g (around half a pound) in weight.

26 September 2014

Waiting Times to See a GP Now a 'National Crisis'

More than half of Britons think that waiting times to see a GP are now a 'national crisis’, as latest predictions from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) show that on 60m occasions over the next year, patients will have to wait a week or longer to see their GP or practice nurse.

23 September 2014

RCGP Response to Scottish Referendum

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, and Dr John Gillies, Chair of RCGP Scotland, said:

“Following the fervent and passionate debate that has taken place over the question of Scottish independence, the Royal College of General Practitioners takes note of the decision of the Scottish electorate to stay in the UK, and will continue to ensure that all of its members in Scotland – and England, Wales and Northern Ireland – are given a strong voice on the key issues affecting the future of general practice, including the urgent need to increase funding for excellent patient care.”

22 September 2014

NICE Approves Jaw Replacement Surgery, in 500th IP

NICE has recommended the use of jaw replacement surgery for people who have pain and difficulty opening their mouth and are unable to eat a normal diet.

Temporomandibular joint disorders are problems that affect the joint between the lower jaw and the base of the skull. TJDs are relatively common and can occur in approximately 20-30 per cent of the adult population. Symptoms may occur at any age but are more common in women and in early adulthood.

16 September 2014

Nearly 800,000 Patients Face Struggle to See Their GP in Three Years' Time, Warns Royal College

An estimated 800,000 patients in Wales will find it difficult to secure a convenient appointment with their local GP by 2017 because surgeries are buckling under the strain of rising workloads and falling resources, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has warned.

According to new research published by the RCGP, more than 650,000 people found it difficult to get a GP appointment last year and it is estimated that this number could rise to 800,000 by 2017.

12 September 2014

NICE to Seek Greater Access to Clinical Trial Data When Appraising Drugs

NICE will ask for access to clinical trial data from the European regulatory authorities if pharmaceutical companies fail to supply all the relevant data.

The move follows calls for increasing transparency from pharmaceutical companies and comes after Roche was criticised for its handling of data for the pandemic flu drug Tamiflu.

The AllTrials group was set up in the UK on the back of the Tamiflu revelations to call for all past and present clinical trials to be registered and their full methods and summary results reported. To date, 79,855 people and 507 organisations have signed the AllTrials petition including NICE and patients involved in NICE (PIN).

9 September 2014

40 Per Cent of Women with Severe Mental Illness Are Victims of Rape or Attempted Rape

Women with severe mental illness are up to five-times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault and two- to three-times more likely to suffer domestic violence, reveals new research led by UCL and King’s College London funded by the Medical Research Council and the Big Lottery.

5 September 2014

NHS Alliance responds to the Policy Exchange’s new report: ‘The Estate We’re In’

The NHS Alliance welcomes this report highlighting as it does the poor social, health and well- being outcomes and the life experiences endured by residents in some, but by no means all, disadvantaged estates. We agree that heavy financial investment is not the answer and the most successful and lasting solutions occur when residents are supported by service providers towards self-management of their communities, as echoed in the case studies used.

2 September 2014

Hospitals Urged to Tackle Incorrect Use of Drips

Every hospital should appoint an intravenous (IV) fluids lead to help ensure that patients receive the correct dosage and type of fluid, says NICE.

This follows concerns that as many as 1 in 5 patients on IV fluids and electrolytes suffer complications due to inappropriate administration, according to figures from the National Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths report.

31 August 2014

Health Leaders Declare 'State of Emergency' on Childhood Obesity

GPs are calling for a COBRA-style emergency taskforce to be set up to tackle the rising epidemic of childhood obesity.

Health Leaders are warning that unless urgent action is taken now, an entire generation will be ‘destroyed’ by a diet of junk food and sugary drinks - and the NHS will be completely overwhelmed as a result.

26 August 2014

New Funding to Advance Use of Existing Studies in Neurodegeneration and Dementia Research

The EU Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) - has awarded funding for ten groups of leading international scientists to produce guidelines and frameworks to open up the use of existing population studies for research into neurodegenerative disease.

The award scheme was led by the Medical Research Council (MRC), as part of a series of JPND activities designed to maximise the impact of research by aligning and building upon national programmes and initiatives, and to bring a more wide-ranging and multidisciplinary approach to research into the causes, treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.

26 August 2014

RCGP Response to Public Health England Figures on Cancer Survival Rates

The RCGP has responded to Public Health England figures that show an increase in the number of patients surviving for at least one year after being diagnosed with cancer.

Dr Richard Roope, Cancer Lead for the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), said: “These figures are an indication of the excellent efforts made by GPs – and health professionals right across the NHS – to identify cancer at the earliest possible opportunity and to raise awareness of the disease and its symptoms amongst our patients. These findings are testament to recent Be Clear On Cancer campaigns and the increasing primary care engagement undertaken by GP Cancer Leads.

19 August 2014

Thousands of Doctors Prevented from Returning to GP Workforce by Red Tape

Up to 5,000 family doctors who have emigrated or opted for early retirement are being prevented by needless red tape from returning to the GP workforce if they wish to – at a time of a growing crisis in general practice, according to new research.

The Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association (BMA) say that the rules governing the eligibility of family doctors to work in England are being interpreted in such a bureaucratic way that thousands of qualified GPs who would like to return to work after extended periods of maternity leave or practising medicine abroad are effectively being disbarred from the GP workforce without good reason.

18 August 2014

Annual Diabetes Checks among Indicators Proposed For Latest NICE QOF Menu

A series of annual checks to monitor and improve the health of people with diabetes are among measures proposed by NICE for its latest Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) indicator menu.

The QOF is a voluntary incentive scheme for GP practices in the UK, rewarding them for how well they care for their patients, and helping them target resources for where they are most needed. It consists of groups of indicators against which practices score points according to their level of achievement.

12 August 2014

Scientists Unlock Key to Blood Vessel Formation

Scientists from the University of Leeds have discovered a gene that plays a vital role in blood vessel formation; research which adds to our knowledge of how early life develops.

The discovery could also lead to greater understanding of how to treat cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The research, funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation (BHF), is published in scientific journal Nature.

Professor David Beech, of the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, who led the research, said: “Blood vessel networks are not already pre-constructed but emerge rather like a river system. Vessels do not develop until the blood is already flowing and they are created in response to the amount of flow. This gene, Piezo1, provides the instructions for sensors that tell the body that blood is flowing correctly and gives the signal to form new vessel structures.

5 August 2014

NHS Alliance Response to NICE’s Public Health Draft Guideline on Risks Associated with Cold Homes

The NHS Alliance has issued a response to NICE’s public health draft guideline on

Excess winter deaths and morbidity and the health risks associated with cold homes.

Key points raised in the submission include:

  • The impact of cold homes on people’s health and mortality is now proven and it is refreshing to see such an important matter being addressed by the NHS in such a comprehensive way. We are particularly pleased that the guidance emphasises treatment of the causes of ill health and mortality ie, how to make the cold housing warmer, rather than focus on the medical symptoms.

5 August 2014

Crisis Hit GP Surgeries Forced to Turn Away Millions of Patients

GP surgeries are so overstretched due to the lack of investment in general practice that in 2015 on more than 51.3m occasions patients in England will be unable to get an appointment to see a GP or nurse when they contact their local practice, according to new research.

According to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the number of occasions during which patients have to wait more than a week to see their GP or practice nurse are set to go through the 50m barrier for the first time ever following successive rises in previous years: up from 41.9m occasions in 2013 and 46m occasions this year.

28 July 2014

Reducing the Spread of Hepatitis B

NICE’s quality standard for hepatitis B can help to reduce the spread of the infection by ensuring that people who are at increased risk are offered testing and vaccination.

Testing should be offered in a range of settings such as at GP practices including new registrations, prisons or immigration removal centres, drug services, and sexual health and genitourinary medicine clinics.

29 July 2014

Prevention Not Cure: Health on The High Street Key to NHS Survival According to New Report

A new cross-sector paper, We Are Primary Care, published today by a broad spectrum of primary care health professionals, urges the public and policy makers to look beyond general practice as the only alternative to hospital care. The paper highlights the political drive to address the extreme demand and fiscal pressure on the NHS by taking care out of hospital and into the community, but argues that this can only be successful if people have a clear understanding that GPs are not always the most appropriate first contact. It further argues that reducing demand is an imperative and that high street health specialists have a key role to play in tackling public health challenges like smoking and obesity.

25 July 2014

Seven Pharma Companies Offer up Compounds to UK Researchers

UK researchers will be granted access to a ‘virtual library’ of deprioritised pharmaceutical compounds through a new partnership between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and seven global drug companies, announced today by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Research & Development LLC*, Lilly, Pfizer, Takeda and UCB will each offer up a number of their deprioritised molecules for use in new studies to improve our understanding of a range of diseases, with a view to developing more effective treatments.

22 July 2014

RCGP Response to NICE Guidelines on Lipid Modification

RCGP Chair says new guidance has major implications for patients and for general practice. GPs and practice teams do their best for patients, but workload implications of new guidance are immense

18 July 2014

Wider Use of Statins Could Cut Deaths from Heart Disease

Up to 8,000 lives could be saved every three years by offering statins to anyone with a 10 per cent risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) within a decade, says NICE.

In an update to the 2006 guideline on lipid modification, NICE recommends that the threshold for starting preventative treatment for CVD should be halved from a 20 per cent risk of developing CVD over 10 years to a 10 per cent risk.

14 July 2014

Spine-Straightening Device Approved by NICE

A device that can straighten and lengthen curved spines in children, and reduce the need for repeat surgery, has been green-lit by NICE under new guidance.

A device that can straighten and lengthen curved spines in children, and reduce the need for repeat surgery, has been green-lit by NICE under new guidance.

Scoliosis is a condition diagnosed in childhood, where the spine curves and bends to one side. In most cases, the curvature corrects itself in as the child grows. Treatments are also available to stop the spine from curving further, such as a back brace, or an external plaster cast.

11 July 2014

NHS Alliance Announces Strategic Partner Programme

NHS Alliance has established a partnership with Capita and diabetes leader Novo Nordisk to support the delivery of a series of strategic initiatives to drive improved integrated care and services, and help inform its activities throughout 2014 and beyond.

The Alliance is working closely with its two strategic partners, its members, and networks throughout health and social care, on large-scale projects to define new models of primary care. Work will focus on strategies for integrated services and practical work to overcome some of the barriers to the delivery of services at scale outside hospitals – moving towards a collaborative, community-based model of care.

8 July 2014

Who Will Binge-Drink at Age 16?

An international collaboration of scientists leading the world’s largest longitudinal adolescent brain imaging study to date has learned that it is possible to predict teenage binge-drinking. The research, published in Natureopens, found that aspects of life experience, personality and brain structure are strong determinants of future alcohol misuse. New simplified versions of the tests are being developed so that children who are at risk of alcohol misuse can be identified and given help.

This is the first comprehensive analysis of potential influences involved in teenage binge drinking. The researchers used a model which incorporated factors known or believed to be relevant for the development of adolescent substance abuse. These include personality, history/life events, brain physiology and structure, cognitive ability, genetics and demographics – in total 40 different variables were investigated.

7 July 2014

Health Workers Urged to Get Tough on Antibiotics

Doctors, nurses and pharmacists are being urged to get tough on antibiotics, and say ‘no’ to patients who ask for prescriptions to treat minor illnesses.

Health chiefs warn that the current ‘better safe than sorry’ approach to prescribing antibiotics is no longer effective – and can be dangerous in the long-term.

They say that a radical new approach is needed if antibiotics are to remain effective to combat more serious illnesses and diseases in future.

1 July 2014

People with HIV Must Receive Earlier Diagnoses

Ensuring that people with HIV receive earlier diagnoses will reduce transmission and prevent thousands of further cases, accordingto NICE.

HIV is a virus most often transmitted through unprotected sex, leaving people less able to fight infections. In 2012, an estimated 98,400 people in the UK were living with HIV. Yet up to 21,900 people with HIV were unaware that they were infected.

Testing for the virus is key in preventing its transmission. This is because more than half of new cases are estimated to be due to people who are undiagnosed having unprotected sex. People who do not know their HIV status are believed to be 3 times more likely to pass on the infection those who know their status. They are also twice as likely to have unprotected sex.

27 June 2014

RCGP Response to BJGP Research on A&E Attendances

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to research by Imperial College London published in this month's British Journal of General Practice.

She said: “Every patient should be able to see their family doctor when they need to, and GPs want to provide the best possible access and high quality care for all their patients.

17 June 2014

RCGP Urges Patients Not To Panic On Statins

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “With the on-going debate about statins in the media, the most important thing is for patients not to panic and to continue acting on the advice of their GP and taking the medication they have been prescribed.

10 June 2014

Realistic Weight Loss Goals Better Than Quick Fixes

Losing even a small amount of weight can help to improve the health of people who are overweight or obese and lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, says NICE.

The number of people who are overweight or obese in England continues to rise with more than a quarter of adults now classified as obese and a further 42% of men and a third of women classed are overweight. The long-term consequences of obesity place a huge strain on the NHS costing around £5.1 billion each year.

10 June 2014

Molecular ‘Scaffold’ Could Hold Key to New Dementia Treatments

Researchers at King’s College London have discovered how a molecular ‘scaffold’ which allows key parts of cells to interact, comes apart in dementia and motor neurone disease, revealing a potential new target for drug discovery.

The study, published today in Nature Communications, was funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

9 June 2014

NICE Guidance to Help Tackle Transition From Children's to Adult Services

NICE is developing guidance to help tackle the gaps in care sometimes experienced by young people with health needs, as they move from children's to adult services.

More than 40,000 people in England aged under-18 have complex health needs caused by physical disabilities, special education needs, or life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

Such young people often rely on a range of therapies and treatments, which can get complicated as they move from children's and adult services.

3 June 2014

NICE Guidance on Ustekinumab for Psoriatic Arthritis

NICE has published final guidance today which does not recommend ustekinumab (Stelara) for psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory disease affecting the joints and connective tissue, and is associated with psoriasis of the skin or nails. It is a progressive disorder, ranging from mild synovitis (inflammation of the tissue lining joints such as the hip or shoulder) to severe progressive erosion of the joints.

29 May 2014

GPs Warnings Over Impact of Funding Cuts on Patient Care

Patients will find it increasingly difficult to book an appointment with their GP without urgent investment in general practice, the Royal College of GPs NI (RCGPNI) today warns.

Commenting today on new figures published by the Patient and Client Council, which highlighted how over a quarter (26.5%) of patients surveyed were dissatisfied with the access they had to their GP, the College warned how this situation is only set to get worse without the vital funding the profession needs.

27 May 2014

JPND Rapid Action Call for Working Groups on Longitudinal Cohort Studies for Neurodegenerative Disease

MRC is a leading partner in The EU Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND). JPND has recently launched a rapid action call for leading scientists in the field to establish working groups to enhance the use of existing longitudinal cohort studies for neurodegenerative disease research and UK scientists are encouraged to apply.

22 May 2014

A New Route to Good Dementia Care

A new online tool to help people with dementia access care in their local area is launched today by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Aimed at doctors and providers of community care, the Dementia Roadmap is a comprehensive ‘one stop shop’ designed to reflect a patient’s needs as they progress through the disease and signpost them to relevant local resources at the right time, from diagnosis onwards.

20 May 2014

Court Warns CCG over Disagreeing with NICE Guidance

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) cannot choose not to follow NICE guidance because they merely disagree with it, even where there is no statutory duty to do so, a court has ruled.

This follows the case of Elizabeth Rose, a 25 year old woman who has suffered from a severe form of Crohn's disease since she was 14. Her condition had deteriorated and her doctors recommended bone marrow transplantation and chemotherapy to hopefully bring the disease into remission. This treatment can, however, lead to infertility and the early onset of the menopause.

16 May 2014

RCGP Supports BMA Campaign Your GP Cares

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“General practice is the cornerstone of the NHS but it is teetering on the brink of collapse as the number of patient consultations soars to an all-time high while funding for general practice has dropped to an historic low."

13 May 2014

Discovery of Anti-Appetite Molecule Released by Fibre Could Help Tackle Obesity

New research has helped unpick a long-standing mystery about how dietary fibre supresses appetite.

In a study led by Imperial College London and the Medical Research Council (MRC), an international team of researchers identified an anti-appetite molecule called acetate that is naturally released when we digest fibre in the gut. Once released, the acetate is transported to the brain where it produces a signal to tell us to stop eating.

11 May 2014

Eight in Ten GPs Fear Missing Serious Illness in Patients Due to Workload

Around eight in ten GPs (84%) say they worry about missing a serious condition in a patient due to their workloads, according to new research published today.

The findings are contained in a poll commissioned by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), which also shows that 91% of family doctors feel that general practice does not have sufficient resources to deliver high quality patient care.

6 May 2014

RCGP Response to NRAD Report on Asthma

The RCGP said:

"Patients and GPs will be concerned - and very distressed - by these findings and we must do more to ensure that patients with asthma are cared for more effectively in primary care.

"Patients must also be reassured that asthma is a condition that affects milllions of people and in the majority of cases, it is managed well with the right treatment and appropriate monitoring.

1 May 2014

NICE to Support the NHS in Gaining Free Trial Access to Medical Research

NICE is participating in a pilot trial which aims to support the NHS in gaining free access to the latest high-quality clinical and scientific research.

The year-long pilot will make some of the latest research and trials published in medical and scientific journals available to NHS staff across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

29 April 2014

Artificial Skin Layer Grown in Lab

An international team led by King’s College London and the San Francisco Veteran Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC) has developed the first lab-grown epidermis – the outermost skin layer - with a functional permeability barrier akin to real skin.

The new epidermis, grown from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), offers a cost-effective alternative lab model for testing drugs and cosmetics, and could also help to develop new therapies for rare and common skin disorders.

25 April 2014

Dr Michael Dixon Tells CCGs we Need to Reduce Rules and Restrictions for Commissioners and GPs

At a meeting today, between Ashford and Canterbury and Coastal CCGs in Kent, Dr Michael Dixon will say: “If we want to bring back personal doctoring and continuity to our frail patients and those with complex diseases, we need to free up our clinicians to do this, and not restrict them with an over-prescriptive model of how to do it.”

22 April 2014

Intelligent Prosthetic Liners Could Ease Pain for Lower Limb Amputees

A new device could help to relieve the pain and discomfort experienced by thousands of amputees as a result of poorly fitting replacement lower limbs. Researchers have been awarded Biomedical Catalyst funding to develop a prototype of the world’s first prosthetic ‘intelligent’ liner with integrated pressure sensors, which could be available to NHS patients in as little as three years.

18 April 2014

Limit Spread of Blood-Borne Viruses Among Steroid Users

Needle and syringe programmes should support the growing number of image and performance enhancing drug users so they can be offered sterile equipment to reduce the spread of blood-borne viruses and infections from contaminated needles, says NICE.

This has long been considered a “grey area” for needle and syringe services around England that are traditionally geared up to help hard drug users, such as those who use heroin or crack.

15 April 2014

RCGP Response to Government Announcement on 'Transforming Primary Care'

Measures to give GPs more resources to deliver flexible opening hours and personalised care show that the Government is beginning to address the chronic lack of investment in primary care, the RCGP has said.

9 April 2014

Simple Test to Help Diagnose and Manage Asthma

A simple test that measures the levels of nitric oxide a person is breathing out to help with the diagnosis and management of asthma has been given the green light by NICE.

NICE recommends three devices - NIOX MINO and NIOX VERO (Aerocrine), and NObreath (Bedfont Scientific Ltd) - to measure nitric oxide levels which are raised in people with asthma.

8 April 2014

NHS Alliance Response to Inquiry into Winter Pressures

The NHS Alliance has submitted its response to the Primary Care and Public Health All Party Parliamentary Group’s inquiry into winter pressures on health services.

The response includes evidence from a range of people working in different sectors across the country, as well as a number of key points and recommendations for the future of winter pressures, including:

2 April 2014

Men Who Started Smoking Before Age 11 Had Fatter Sons

Men who started smoking regularly before the age of 11 had sons who, on average, had 5-10kg more body fat than their peers by the time they were in their teens, according to new research from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol. The researchers say this could indicate that exposure to tobacco smoke before the start of puberty may lead to metabolic changes in the next generation.

1 April 2014

NICE Seeks Views on how it Assesses Drugs and Other Technologies for the NHS

NICE is beginning a public consultation on proposed changes to the way it makes recommendations on new medicines and other treatments for use in the NHS.

NICE assesses the clinical and cost effectiveness of new technologies to help ensure that patients have access to effective treatments and the NHS makes the best use of its resources.

The new proposals include ways to take into account more systematically and explicitly the severity of a disease, as well as the effect that diseases and conditions have on our capacity to engage in society.

25 March 2014

Resources for GPs to Help Young Patients with Mental Health Problems Will Make a ‘World of Difference’ says RCGP

Children and young peoples’ mental health and wellbeing is fundamental to their physical health and the vast majority of NHS care for children and young people is delivered by general practice teams.

A poll conducted for MindEd of 2105 adults found that 87% would turn to their GP for help and advice if they thought a child had a mental health issue and so it is clear that GPs have a crucial role to play in improving the mental health of younger people.

25 March 2014

Annual Health Checks for Young People with Learning Disabilities are Vital, says RCGP

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is urging GPs to be at the ready to offer young people with learning disabilities in England, aged 14-17, a comprehensive annual health check from April this year.

The decision to extend the Directly Enhanced Service (DES) already provided to adults with learning disabilities has been made as a result of recommendations following last year's Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with Learning disabilities (CIPOLD).

The Inquiry found that three times as many people with learning disabilities die before the age of 50 compared to the general population.

21 March 2014

More Than One in 30 in the UK Participate in Cohort Studies

The Medical Research Council (MRC) today publishes the first review of the UK’s largest cohort studies. The Strategic Review of the Largest UK Population Cohort Studies, which looks at cohorts funded by the MRC and other funders, has found that more than 2.2 million people (3.5 per cent of the population or one in 30) are a participant in a cohort study.

18 March 2014

Scientists Trace ‘Bad’ Fat Back to its Roots

It’s widely accepted that having too much fat is unhealthy, but it’s the hidden fat surrounding our vital organs that poses the biggest threat. Scientists now believe they’ve discovered where this ‘bad’ (visceral) fat comes from, which may have important implications for our future understanding and treatment of obesity and its health consequences.

The research, led by scientists in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh, is published today in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

14 March2014

Give Care Home Residents a Greater Say in Decisions about Their Treatment

NICE has called for care home residents to be given the same involvement in decisions about their care and support as those who do not live in care homes.

People who are admitted to care homes often have diverse needs, and depend on a range of health and social care services, meaning management of their medical treatment can be complex.

11 March 2014

New NICE Quality Standard Aims to Improve Recognition and Assessment of Jaundice in Newborn Babies

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued standards to improve the recognition and management of jaundice in newborn (from birth to 28 days) babies.

Caused by a raised level of bilirubini and characterised by yellow colouration of the skin and the whites of the eyes, neonatal jaundice is one of the most common conditions needing medical attention in newborn babies. It is estimated that more than 430,000 babies - around 60% of all term and 80% of all pre-term babies - develop jaundice in the first week of life.

5 March 2014

RCGP to Develop Unique Online Info Hub to Help GPs Support Carers

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has been awarded more than £380,000* from the Department of Health to develop a unique online information 'hub' to help GPs improve the support and services they provide for carers.

The hub will collate all the information GPs, primary healthcare staff, practice teams, commissioners and Health & Wellbeing Board representatives might need to identify and support carers, bringing together RCGP resources as well as signposting to external resources. Health professionals will be able to use it free of charge.

4 March 2014

Scientists Identify New Huntington Disease Pathway

An international group of researchers has identified a major new pathway thought to be involved in the development of Huntington disease. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, could eventually lead to new treatments for the disease, which currently has no cure.

Scientists at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre and the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics in Vancouver, Canada, and the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester, UK, studied mice and human tissue and found that the HACE1 gene is essential for mopping up toxic molecules during periods of oxidative stress, where harmful ‘reactive oxygen species’ build up in the cell.

1 March 2014

RCGP Statement on care.data

Commenting on government plans to take on board concerns raised by GPs about the implementation of care.data, Professor Nigel Mathers, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"We are very grateful to the Government for listening to the concerns of GPs and for meeting the assurances sought by the RCGP in order to ensure that patients' data is protected.

25 February 2014

RCGP Announces Continued Opposition to Change in Law on Assisted Dying

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is to remain opposed to any change in the law on assisted dying, it has been revealed today following one of the most comprehensive consultations of its members.

21 February2014

Offer Talking Therapies to People at Risk of Psychosis and Schizophrenia

People considered to be at increased risk of developing psychosis should be offered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as opposed to antipsychotic medication, according to updated guidelines from NICE.

Around 1 in 100 people will develop psychosis and schizophrenia over the course of a lifetime. In most cases a first episode of psychosis is preceded by a ‘prodromal period', where a person may exhibit a range of behavioural and psychological symptom. These include shortened attention spans, short periods of low intensity psychotic symptoms, withdrawal, and displays unusual behaviour and ideas.

18 February 2014

Boris Bikes: Health Benefits Outweigh Risks from Injury and Pollution

The London cycle hire scheme has had a positive overall effect on the health of its users by increasing physical activity within the capital. These benefits outweigh the potential negative impacts from injuries and exposure to air pollution, according to the results of a large-scale modelling study published today in the BMJ.

13 February 2014

Achieving Commissioning Excellence Develops Tool to Help Commissioners and Providers Bring ‘Triple Value’ to Heart Failure Services

Achieving Commissioning Excellence, a partnership between NHS Alliance and Novartis, has developed a tool which looks at what commissioners and providers can do to improve heart failure services in their area, and how they can achieve ‘triple value’ for patients, delivering better outcomes, better patient experience and better productivity.

11 February 2014

RCGP Calls on Clinical Commissioners to Deliver First Wave of Extra Funding for General Practice

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, has today written to all 211 Clinical Commissioning Groups in England urging them to use their funding powers wisely to reverse the decline in general practice and deliver improvements in patient care - including the move towards an 'accountable GP' for vulnerable elderly people.

The RCGP has identified three 'pots' of Government funding - two of which are overseen by CCGs - that have the potential to inject much-needed and long-overdue investment into general practice, and transform the care that GPs can provide for their patients.

10 February 2014

Minimum Pricing for Alcohol 'Effectively Targets Harmful Drinkers'

A minimum price per unit of alcohol, as recommended by NICE, effectively targets high-risk drinkers while having little impact on moderate drinkers, according to a new study.

The study published in the Lancet, estimated how people from various income brackets and socioeconomic groups would change their drinking habits if a minimum price for alcohol of 45p per unit was implemented.

4 February 2014

NHS Alliance Forms Partnership with Network Locum

NHS Alliance, the leading representative organisation for provision in primary care, has formed a strategic partnership with Network Locum, the UK’s leading online community for GP locums.

The partnership will allow NHS Alliance members to receive a discount on the use of Network Locums services, as practices will be charged a 10% commission instead of the usual 15%, saving them a third of the cost. Additionally, each new practice will receive a £50 voucher off the first post filled using the organisation. The offer will extend to all practices that are currently members of NHS Alliance and to those that join within the next year.

30 January 2014

Success for Trial of Peanut Allergy Therapy

A new therapy for peanut allergy has been successful in the majority of the 99 children who took part in a trial conducted by researchers at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, UK.

The results of the largest single trial of its kind worldwide are published in The Lancet today. Allergy experts found that 84 and 91 per cent of the two groups of children treated with this new form of immunotherapy could eat at least five peanuts a day.

28 January 2014

Latest Topics for NICE Social Care Programme Announced

Service user experience of social care, the care and support of older people with learning disabilities, and helping people regain independence are among the latest topics referred to NICE for its social care work programme.

Last year the Department of Health ran a consultation to identify social care topics suitable for developing into NICE guidelines and quality standards.

27 January 2014

More Than 1000 GP Practices Now 'Research Ready'

Around one in eight GP practices across the UK are now ‘Research Ready’, after signing up to an initiative by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to encourage GP teams and patients to get involved in primary care research.

1006 GP practices have now completed the online self-assessment designed to ensure that practices are aware of their responsibilities to both themselves and their patients when they get involved in research.

21 January 2014

Branching for Food: How Nutrients Remodel Fruit Fly Vessels

Research in fruit flies suggests a new mechanism explaining how diet may affect cancer, obesity and adaptations to malnutrition.

New research from the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre suggests that nutrients in the diet may play a role in changing the architecture of blood vessels in the gut and other organs. The study, in fruit flies, found that small changes in their diet alter the nerve signalling guiding branching of new oxygen-delivering tubules – a process reminiscent of adaptive angiogenesis. In turn, this affects how the fly handles and stores different nutrients from its diet.

15 January 2014

GPs Make Youth Mental Health a Priority

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) said:

“The majority of GPs are skilled at supporting young people and families in their generalist role but fewer than half of GPs are given the opportunity to undertake a paediatric or psychiatry training placement during their training.

"The vast majority of NHS care for children and young people is delivered by general practice teams and so GPs have a crucial role to play in improving the mental health of younger people. It is also important that children and young patients feel comfortable approaching their GP and that their GP is sufficiently prepared to discuss what are often sensitive issues with confidence."

14 January 2014

NICE Responds to Telegraph Article on Value Based Assessment

Sir Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of NICE, said:

"We have no intention of introducing a change to our methods that would disadvantage older people."

Professor Carole Longson, Director for the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said:

"In making recommendations about which treatments to recommend for use in the NHS, NICE does not and will not make decisions based on the likely age group of patients. It would be wrong morally and legally to consider an older patient as somehow of less value to society.

08 January 2014

RCGP Response to BBC Story on Repeat A&E Attendees

The RCGP has responded to BBC research showing that some patients are attending A&E departments up to 50 times a year.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “Patients who repeatedly attend A&E for problems that could be dealt with by other NHS services is a challenging issue, but to blame GPs for avoidable A&E visits is inaccurate, misguided and unfair.

07 January 2014

RCGP Response to BMJ Investigation of NHS 111 Service

RCGP Chair says GPs want successful service despite expanded workload

Responding to reports by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that NHS England are planning to give patients fast-track GP appointments through the NHS 111 service, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr Maureen Baker, said:

"GPs want to work with NHS England to ensure NHS 111 is a success, but they are already drowning under the weight of ever ballooning workloads - due to increasing patient demand and declining resources.

07 January 2014

NHS Alliance Launches New NHS Confidence Index

New research by YouGov commissioned by NHS Alliance shows public confidence in the health service is stable, while confidence in politicians and the media to portray the NHS in a balanced light is low

The NHS has been in the eye of the media storm as never before in 2013 but new research from YouGov, commissioned by NHS Alliance, the leading voice for organisations providing care outside hospitals, reveals that public trust in the national health service remains stable.

The NHS Alliance’s new annual index, NHS Temperature Check, which launches today, seeks to gauge the public’s confidence in the NHS. According to the 2013 research (undertaken 19th-20th December 2013), of the 1886 adults polled by YouGov, 53% said that their feelings were no different than a year ago, they still trust the NHS to look after them, while 8% said they trusted the NHS more to look after them if they were ill than they did a year ago. Just one in five (20%) said they trusted the NHS less than they did a year ago.

31 December 2013

RCGP Comment on Government Plans for Visitor and Migrant NHS Access

RCGP pleased GP access free at point of need

Responding to the latest on Government plans to charge visitors and migrants who wish to use NHS services, Royal College of General Practitioners spokesperson, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, who is a GP in Birmingham, said:

"We are grateful that the Government appears to have made some concessions to its original proposals and we are pleased that access to a GP will remain free at the point of need.

30 December 2013

Green Light for New Device to Treat Complex Disease of the Main Heart Artery

NICE has recommended the use of the E-vita open plus stentgraft system for treating complex aneurysms and dissections of the thoracic aorta.

Some people might normally need a two stage repair operation because of the extent of disease or damage affecting their aorta, but using the device could remove the need for a second procedure and the associated risk of serious complications.

24 December 2013

NICE Pathway on Common Mental Health Disorders a 'One-Stop-Shop' for Advice

GPs now have quick and easy access to everything NICE has to say on common mental health disorders following the publication of a new NICE Pathway on the topic.

Mental health disorders, such as depression, generalised anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, are thought to affect 15 per cent of the population at any one time. While GPs encounter patients with such issues on a regular basis, the identification and recognition of these disorders can vary, meaning patients are not always receiving appropriate treatment.

20 December 2013

RCGP Response to Seven Day Working Proposals

The RCGP has responded to Professor Sir Bruce Keogh's seven-day working proposals.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Seven-day working is a good thing in principle - but it can only work if it is properly funded.

"There are questions to be answered about where the funding would come from to implement the proposals being put forward by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, but it is not an option to take it from general practice when we are already struggling to cope due to chronic underinvestment.

17 December 2013

MRC Unveils New UK Dementias Research Platform

The Medical Research Council (MRC) today announced a multi-million pound programme to accelerate progress in dementias research.

Launching in April 2014, the MRC UK Dementias Research Platform (UKDP) is a public-private partnership that will unite a wealth of partners and knowledge in a fresh drive to understand neurodegenerative disease onset and progression. The Platform will combine a broad conceptual approach with cutting-edge technologies and significant statistical power, integrating UK strengths in neuroscience, population science and clinical research capability.

12 December 2013

RCGP Response to CQC Announcement on GP Practice Inspections

The RCGP has responded to the CQC announcement today on GP practice inspections

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, said:

"Patients should expect high quality and consistent care from their GP practice, and the vast majority of practices do an excellent job of delivering quality care while maintaining the highest possible standards.

10 December 2013

RCGP Response to Latest HSCIC Figures on Unnecessary A&E Attendances

In response to HSCIC figures on unnecessary A&E attendances released earlier this week, RCGP Chair, Maureen Baker, said: "We recognise the struggle that patients are facing in trying to get an appointment with their family doctor, but to blame GPs for avoidable A&E visits is inaccurate, misguided and unfair.

"GPs are working harder and longer than ever before as we try to do more for our patients but with declining budgets.

10 December 2013

NHS Patients on Drips at Risk of Serious Errors

Patients' lives are being put at risk because of errors in intravenous (IV) fluid care, warns NICE.

Despite being an extremely common treatment, a lack of training for healthcare professionals has resulted in patients receiving too much or too little fluid, or even the wrong type of fluid.

It is thought that as many as 1 in 5 patients on IV fluids and electrolytes suffer complications due to inappropriate administration, according to figures from the National Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths.

3 December 2013

NHS Urged to Become Smoke-Free

NHS hospitals and clinics should become completely smoke-free to create a culture where smoking is no longer considered the norm, says NICE.

Patients who smoke should be offered smoking cessation drugs, nicotine patches, and counselling as soon as they are admitted to an acute, maternity or mental health setting to encourage them to quit.

26 November 2013

A Gene Mutation for Excessive Alcohol Drinking Found

UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking. They have also identified the mechanism underlying this phenomenon.

The study showed that normal mice show no interest in alcohol and drink little or no alcohol when offered a free choice between a bottle of water and a bottle of diluted alcohol. However, mice with a genetic mutation to the gene Gabrb1 overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol over water, choosing to consume almost 85 per cent of their daily fluid as drinks containing alcohol.

26 November 2013

RCGP Letter in Response to Daily Mail Article on 'GP Mistakes'

RCGP Chair, Dr Maureen Baker, wrote the following in response to an article in the Daily Mail. This was originally sent as a letter to the editor, but was not published.

22 November 2013

NHS Alliance Forms Partnership with Provider of Mandated Friends and Family Test, iWantGreatCare

NHS Alliance, the leading representative organisation for provision in primary care, has formed a strategic partnership with iWantGreatCare, the UK’s only service allowing patients to rate and review their doctors, hospitals and GP practices. The agreement comes as NHS Employers and the General Practitioners Committee of the BMA announce changes to the GMS contract in England for 2014/15, which include the introduction of the Friends and Family Test in primary care in December 2014.

9 November 2013

NHS Urged to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance

The NHS is being urged to tackle the rise in antibiotic resistance by cutting back on unnecessary use of the drugs.

The Department of Health has warned that there are few public health issues of greater importance than antibiotic resistance.

"The increasing threat from antibiotic-resistant infections is so serious that in 20 years' time we could be back to how it was in the 19th century when routine operations could be fatal as a result of everyday infections," said Professor John Watson, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.

14 November 2013

Resting Pulse Rates of UK Pre-teens Have Risen During Past 30 Years

The resting pulse rate of UK pre-teens is estimated to have risen by up to two beats a minute during the past 30 years, but the rise does not seem to be linked to the overall weight gain seen in this age group, according to a Medical Research Council funded study, published in theArchives of Disease in Childhood.

While this rise may seem modest, resting pulse rate is a predictor for general physical fitness and cardiovascular health, say the authors, and it could translate into higher risks of diabetes and heart disease in later life.

12 November 2013

Response to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s commission Now or Never: shaping pharmacy for the future

The NHS Alliance is proud to have contributed to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Commission for future models of care delivered through community pharmacy. We are also pleased that the NHS Alliance will be represented at the launch of the report ‘Now or Never: shaping pharmacy for the future’.

11 November 2013

RCGP Response to Monitor Report on Closure of Walk-in Centres

The RCGP has responded to a report by health sector regulator, Monitor, on the closure of NHS walk-in centres.

Chair Elect of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Maureen Baker, said: "The development of walk-in centres was an attempt to provide convenient access to certain groups of patients with predominantly urgent health needs, and to help alleviate the pressures on A&E. While they have proved popular with some groups of patients, walk-in centres have generally not had an impact on the attendances at A&E or on the increasing demand on GPs. Local commissioners are best placed to re-design and integrate their urgent and emergency care systems from a whole system perspective. However, greater clarity is needed in some centres where the walk-in element is the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and if there is a registered list this is the responsibility of NHS England.

5 November 2013

Innovative Ideas for Improving Patient Care

Hard-pressed GPs who have bright ideas for improving patient care - but no time or funding to put them into practice - can apply to become 'Innovation Fellows' in an exciting initiative launched today by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in collaboration with the Peter Sowerby Foundation.

The RCGP CIRC Sowerby Innovation Fellows programme has been set up to support time-poor GPs who are keen to be innovative but cannot take their ideas forward because they are trying to cope with the dual pressures of ever-increasing workloads and funding shortages.

1 November 2013

Call to Use Screening Tests for Alcohol Disorders

Using NICE-recommended screening tests in primary care can help ensure people with alcohol-use disorders are identified and offered appropriate treatment, according to latest research.

More than a million adults aged 16 to 65 are dependent on alcohol in England, yet around 940,000 are not receiving treatment due to healthcare professionals missing symptoms, or because specialist services are not available.

29 October 2013

NICE Guidance To Cover Cost-Effectiveness of 'Free Vitamins For All Children'

Forthcoming NICE guidance will cover whether it is cost-effective to provide vitamin D supplements to all children under-five.

Earlier this week the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, published a report on children's health, which highlighted the problem of vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is essential for skeletal growth and bone health in children and babies. A lack of vitamin D can impair development and lead to conditions such as rickets, a preventable condition that is increasingly common.25 October 2013

RCGP Response to Pulse Article on MRCGP Exam

The RCGP has responded to a Pulse article on the MRCGP exam

They said:

"The recent independent and official review of our exam commissioned by the General Medical Council found no evidence of discrimination. As the review highlights there are indeed differences in the pass rates between doctors who are from white ethnic backgrounds and those who are from minority ethnic backgrounds, particularly international medical graduates. These are differences that exist across many medical specialities and in higher education more generally.

22 October 2013

GPs Should Not Be Turned Into "New Border Agency"

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has responded to the Department of Health's plans to restrict health care to foreign nationals.

Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP, said:

“It is good that the Department of Health have commissioned this research. The more clarity we have regarding this issue, the better. However, it is important to remember that many of the statistics in the report are based on approximate figures and should be treated with caution.

15 October 2013

Dr Michael Dixon: CCGs Must Control Primary as well as Secondary Care Budget if the NHS is to be Sustainable

In a speech at the Westminster Health Forum today, Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance and president of NHS Clinical Commissioners, will outline his vision for the future of the NHS, highlighting the need for CCGs to control the primary as well as secondary care budget.

15 October 2013

Wasted Medicine Costing the NHS Millions

The RCGP Annual Conference moves onto the final day with Jan James, CEO of Medicine Waste Campaign, and Dr Manir Hussain, Head of Medicines Management, discussing patients stockpiling medicine and others return theirs unused. There is a session on obesity, Communication between prison and primary health care and Camila Batmanghelidjh discusses youth engagement

9 October 2013

Medical Research Council Scientists Discover Compound That Arrests Neurodegeneration in Mice

Researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester, who last year identified a major pathway leading to brain cell death in mice, have used an orally-administered compound to block the pathway, and prevented neurodegeneration in the mice.

8 October 2013

Response to King’s Fund Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England

The NHS Alliance has responded to the King’s Fund’s call for evidence on the ‘commission on the future of health and social care in England’. The two leads on the response have commented below:
Dr Donal Hynes, vice chair, NHS Alliance said: “The principles of the NHS remain more critical to our nation than ever. But in order that those principles can be safeguarded, we need a step-change away from our traditional concentration on the disease and the individual. The overriding centre of attention must be on health and communities. The NHS will no longer be focused on treating disease but on maintaining health.

2 October 2013

NICE Draft Guidance Recommends Tests to Help Target Treatments for Bowel Cancer

In draft guidance published today NICE, the independent body responsible for improving quality and encouraging excellence in health and social care, has recommended a number of tests to help doctors target treatments more effectively for people with advanced (metastatic) colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer (also called bowel cancer) is the third most common cancer in the UK after breast and lung cancer, with around 40,000 new cases each year. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK and the 5-year survival rate for metastatic colorectal cancer is less than 7%.

1 October 2013

Government to Extend Cancer Drugs Fund Until 2016

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced an extension to the Cancer Drugs Fund for two years. Since 2011, the fund has ring-fenced £200 million a year of the NHS budget for cancer treatments which may not yet have been assessed by NICE or which have been found not to be cost or clinically effective enough for wider use on the NHS. The Government's extension will make the fund available until 2016.

27 September 2013

RCGP Response to the Independent Review of the Clinical Skills Assessment of the MRCGP Examination

RCGP responds to Independent Review of MRCGP exam saying there is no evidence of racial discrimination and all International Medical Graduates are assessed equally to graduates from the UK

The RCGP welcomes this independent report and its key findings which show there is no evidence of subjective bias due to racial discrimination and that IMGs are assessed in exactly the same way as those from the UK.

24 September 2013

Greater Options for Women with Urinary Incontinence

Women could be offered botox as a treatment option for urinary incontinence if medication has not been effective, according to updated NICE guidance.

Urinary incontinence is a common symptom that can affect women of all ages, with a wide range of severity and nature. While rarely life-threatening, incontinence may seriously influence the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of affected individuals.

New methods of managing urinary incontinence have become available on the NHS since the publication of NICE's 2006 guideline, with botulinum toxin A now more commonly used for treating overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms.

19 September 2013

RCGP Responds to Health Secretary's Speech on Future of Primary Care

The RCGP have responded to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's speech on the future of primary care at the King's Fund.

RCGP Chair, Dr Clare Gerada, said: "We welcome the Health Secretary's intention to shift the focus from hospitals to primary care, which is essential if we are to restore the NHS to a sustainable footing.

17 September 2013

£25m to Kick-Start ‘Industrial Revolution’ in Regenerative Medicine

Three UK Research Councils are to invest £25m in research and equipment to support the development of regenerative medicine therapies for a range of applications, including Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, wound and musculoskeletal repair, eye disorders and deafness.

10 September 2013

Response to the Secretary of State’s Engagement Event on the Vulnerable Older People’s Plan

The NHS Alliance welcomes the Secretary of State’s decision to bring primary, social and community care representatives together to discuss and develop the vulnerable older people’s plan. We are entirely supportive of the Secretary of State’s plans to introduce a named doctor, the need for more joined up working between the three sectors, and for there to be better access to patient records. We are also pleased to see that the Mr Hunt is moving from focusing on the disease agenda to the patient agenda, looking at the whole patient’s needs and emphasising the importance of continuity of care.

10 September 2013

GPs Should Proactively Ask Their Patients Whether They Smoke

Proactively asking patients whether they smoke and offering advice on how to stop can help them quit the habit, according to NICE.

Tobacco consumption remains the UK's single greatest cause of preventable illness. While the number of people who smoke has been falling steadily in recent years, a fifth of the population still smokes.

6 September 2013

Stop Blaming GPs For A&E Crisis, Says RCGP

The RCGP features in Sky News coverage about A&E, and comments on why more investment for GPs is required for patient care.

The Royal College of GPs features in Sky News coverage of the A&E situation this weekend. Read more about the pressures on general practice and why major investment is needed so that GPs can provide more service to patients in their communities.

3 September 2013

3D Tissue Grown From Stem Cells Provides a New Model System for Brain Development

An international team of researchers has used stem cells to create a 3D structure that mimics early human brain development. The group showed that these “cerebral organoids” can be used as a model system to analyse the origins of the human genetic disorder microcephaly, in which brain size is significantly reduced.

28 August 2013

RCGP Response to NICE Guidelines on Acute Kidney Injury

The RCGP has responded to new NICE guidelines on Acute Kidney Injury.

Dr Kathryn E Griffith, Royal College of General Practitioners Clinical Champion for Kidney Care, said:

“GPs can play a key role in identifying and treating patients with Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and the RCGP welcomes the publication of the NICE Acute Kidney Injury guidelines, which highlights this.

19 August 2013

Longer Waiting Times for GP Appointments Predicted as Concerned GPs Raise Fears About the Impact of Cuts for Patient Care

Over 70% of GPs are forecasting longer waiting times for GP appointments within the next two years - as nearly half (47%) reveal that they have cut back on the range of services they provide for their patients.

In the latest survey by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) highlighting the growing crisis in general practice, more than 80% of respondents said that they now have insufficient resources to provide high quality patient care.

As well as the reduction in patient services, 39% of respondents to the ComRes poll also said they had cut practice staff and over half had experienced difficulty recruiting and retaining GPs.

15 August 2013

Avoid Drug Treatment for Children and Young People with Moderate ADHD

NICE advises against using drugs as a first-line treatment for children and young people with moderate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as latest figures suggest a sharp rise in the number of drugs prescribed for the condition.

ADHD is the most common behavioural condition in the UK, affecting between 2 to 5 per cent of school-aged children and young people. It is characterised by hyperactivity...

13 August 2013

New Type of Blood Stem Cell Could Help Solve Platelet Shortage

Scientists funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) have identified a new type of bone marrow stem cell in mice that is primed to produce large numbers of vital blood-clotting platelets. The breakthrough may eventually lead to the development of new treatments to restore platelets in patients who have undergone chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant. The research, published in Nature, was led by the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM), at the University of Oxford.

9 August 2013

Test to Detect Spread of Breast Cancer Could Help Avoid Further Surgery

A test used during surgery to detect whether breast cancer has spread can help avoid further operations and allow treatments such as chemotherapy to begin earlier, according to NICE.

In current practice, patients having breast cancer surgery to remove the main tumour, often have some of the lymph nodes from their armpit removed at the same time

A biopsy test is then carried out on the lymph nodes to determine whether cancer cells have spread from the main breast tumour. It can take up to 15 working days to receive results from this biopsy, which if positive, could lead to a second operation to remove the remaining lymph nodes.

6 August 2013

RCGP Response to NHS Direct Decision to Withdraw from NHS 111 Services

The RCGP issued a statement following NHS Direct withdrawing from NHS 111

"This is a really unfortunate situation but we are pleased that decisive action is being taken and that GP commissioners will be taking over responsibility. The immediate and most important consideration must be to our patients and the public who now need more reassurance then ever that they can rely on the service while the changes are taking place.

12 March 2013

RCGP and Arthritis Research UK Launch New e-Learning Module on MSK

Musculoskeletal Care (MSK) is the focus of a new e-learning course launched this week by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in collaboration with the charity Arthritis Research UK.

The module is the latest addition to the RCGP’s rapidly-expanding Online Learning Environment (OLE) and it is free to all healthcare professionals - not just members of the College. It aims to improve GPs’ and GP trainees' core skills in diagnosing and managing MSK conditions.

8 March 2013

NICE to Review QOF Indicators for Cardiovascular Disease

The Department of Health has asked NICE to review indicators on cardiovascular disease for the Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF), to help improve outcomes for patients with the disease.

Research published in the Lancet shows that over the last decade, much progress has been made in the treatment and prevention of CVD, with a 40 per cent reduction in the rates of mortality among people under 75, and a narrowing in mortality rates between most and least deprived areas.

5 March 2013

Letter to Earl Howe Regarding Section 75

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada has sent a letter to Earl Howe regarding section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act procurement regulations currently before Parliament.

The letter sets out the RCGP's serious concerns that, in contradiction to assurances given by Ministers during the Act's passage through Parliament, the regulations will severely restrict CCGs' freedom to decide not to expose services to competition.

27 February 2013

Improving the Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma

NICE has developed a quality standard for asthma that can help GPs improve the diagnosis and treatment of people with the condition.

Around 5.4 million people in the UK currently receive treatment for asthma, 1.1 million of whom are children.

The NICE quality standard for asthma contains 11 statements of measures for high quality care, such as ensuring that patients with newly diagnosed asthma are diagnosed in accordance with BTS/SIGN guidance.

26 February 2013

Biomedical Research in the UK is to Benefit from a £25.5m Cash Injection to Boost the Resolution Revolution Taking Place in Microscope Technology

Three of the UK's research councils - the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council – have invested £20.1m, £2.4m and £2m respectively, to establish 17 microscopy platforms that will bring about ground breaking advances in biological and biomedical research.

20 February 2013

Fertility Treatments Should be 'Appropriate, Effective and Timely' says NICE

GPs should offer appropriate and effective fertility treatments in a timely manner for women having problems with conception, according to latest guidelines from NICE.

Around 1 in 7 heterosexual couples are affected by fertility problems, with both the number of people affected and those seeking help increasing over the past decade.

GPs should refer women of reproductive age for further clinical assessment and investigation along with their partners if they have not conceived after 1 year of unprotected vaginal sexual intercourse, and in the absence of any known cause of fertility, says NICE.

19 February 2013

Personal Health Budgets: A Guide for GPs

A practical guide to personal health budgets (PHBs) for GPs in England has been published by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

In November following a three-year pilot programme, the Government confirmed that PHBs will be rolled out across England.

The easily accessible guide covers what PHBs are, which patients are eligible, and how they can be used effectively. It has been produced with input from GPs and PHB managers with first-hand experience of using PHBs at the pilot sites.

13 February 2013

Statement of Collaboration Between NICE and Public Heath England

NICE and Public Health England and have agreed to collaborate on:

  • Communicating with and supporting the local public health system
  • Reviewing evidence and providing evidence-based guidance and other products
  • Providing access to evidence about public health
  • Providing support to put guidance into practice
  • Creating a standard public health taxonomy.

NICE's functions relate to the giving of advice or guidance, provision of information, or making recommendations about, any matter concerned with the provision of public health services. This includes public health guidance, QOF indicators for the public health domain and Briefings for Local Government.

12 February 2013

Dementia, Stroke and Cancer Among Potential Indicators for Latest CCG Outcomes Indicator Set

Dementia, stroke, cancer, and end-of-life care are among 32 new indicators put forward for inclusion in the Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set (CCG OIS).

Formerly known as the Commissioning Outcomes Framework, the CCG OIS aims to support clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and improve the quality of patient care across England.

7 February 2013

Gene Responsible for Increased Severity of Influenza in Chinese Populations

Researchers part-funded by the Medical Research Council at the MRC Human Immunology Unit at Oxford University and Beijing Capital Medical University have found a genetic variant which explains why Chinese populations may be more vulnerable to the H1N1 form of flu, commonly known as swine flu.

5 February 2013

No Reduction in HIV Levels in Men who Have Sex with Men Despite a Decade of Prevention Work

Despite a significant increase in HIV testing and treatment, the number of new HIV infections in men who have sex with men (MSM) has remained unchanged over the last 10 years in England and Wales, according to a new study by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Health Protection Agency (HPA). The research also reports undiagnosed HIV infections remained high and annual new diagnoses rose steadily from 2001-2010. These results show that HIV transmission amongst MSM remains a significant public health issue.

31 January, 2013

Primary Care Predicts Future of Substance Misuse Recovery

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Substance Misuse Management in General Practice (SMMGP) have issued a joint paper considering the future impact of the changing commissioning environment on primary care drug and alcohol treatment.

The paper explores how primary care can proactively contribute to the rapidly developing recovery systems of care, by building on its strong legacy of safe, holistic and clinically effective care closer to home. It also includes checklists on how to evidence that services are working towards these themes. The paper is being presented at a joint RCGP and National Treatment Agency conference in York this week to an audience of over 200 clinicians, commissioners and service providers.

29 January 2013

Experts Dismiss Claims NHS Drug Decisions are "Flawed"

Leading experts have dismissed claims that the formula used by NICE to recommend which drugs are funded on the NHS is “flawed” and say that it is still the best available method for assessing drugs.

A European Commission-funded study says that the method used by NICE called quality-adjusted life years (QALY) for assessing the value of new drug treatments does not reflect variations in views on illness and disability.

25 January, 2013

RCGP Response to Alzheimer's Society Report

RCGP Chair, Professor Clare Gerada responds to a report by the Alzheimer's Society.

Professor Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of GPs said

“The RCGP is committed to improving the care GPs provide to patients with dementia but diagnosing patients as having dementia is difficult, especially in the early stages when patients are likely to visit their GP with concerns."

22 January 2013

Bacteria’s Hidden Weapon Could Pave Way for Stem Cell Treatments

A discovery about the way in which bugs spread throughout the body could help to develop stem cell treatments. Researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the University of Edinburgh, have found that leprosy bacteria are able to change the make-up of supporting cells of the nervous system, called Schwann cells, so that they take on the properties of stem cells.

Because stem cells can develop into any of the different cell types in the body – including liver and brain cells – mimicking this process could aid research into a range of degenerative conditions and could help scientists develop new tools for regenerative medicine.

16 January, 2013

Medical Bodies Unite to Combat Addiction to Medicines

Addiction to Medicines Consensus Statement

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) today publish a signed consensus statement aimed at reducing patient addiction to medicines such as tranquilisers and painkillers.

Supported by professional groups, specialist service providers and voluntary bodies representing 17 organisations, it cautions against long-term prescribing of medicines which carry a risk of addiction, except in exceptional circumstances, and recommends rigorous and holistic regular reviews by practitioners with suitable expertise and understanding.

15 January 2013

RCGP Seeks New Clinical Champions

The RCGP is seeking to appoint Clinical Champions to lead on four new clinical priorities for the College.

The College is looking for RCGP members who can work collaboratively to raise the profile and awareness of Chronic Kidney Disease; Epilepsy Care; Eye Health, with a focus on ageing and sight loss; and Youth Mental Health.

10 January, 2013

NICE Consults on New Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Draft Guidance

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing a clinical guideline on the management of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. As part of this process, draft recommendations have been published on the NICE website today (11 January) for consultation.

8 January 2013

NICE Announces its Collaborating Centre for Social Care

NICE has awarded a contract to the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), and its partner organisations, to support the development, adoption and dissemination of its social care guidance and quality standards from 1 April, as the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care.

Developing social care guidance and quality standards is a new responsibility for NICE, as outlined in the government's Health and Social Care Act (2012).

From 1 April, NICE will expand its remit and to reflect this, will be known as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

3 January, 2013

NICE Local Formularies Guide will "Reduce Variation in Prescribing"

NICE has produced a good practice guide to help trusts develop and update local formularies, as part of a move to ensure that all patients in England have access to clinically and cost-effective drugs.

Local formularies provide a list of selected or preferred drugs available to local prescribers and have an important role in underpinning safe and effective use of medicines.

However, there is currently no standard process or advice for putting together a local formulary which has led to variations across the country.

1 January 2013

How NICE Can Help Clinical Commissioning Groups Deliver High Quality Care

It's been a busy time of late for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as they embark upon the first wave of the authorisation process required to transform them into statutory bodies.

At the same time, CCGs are working hard to ensure that they are ready to meet the clinical challenges that lie ahead from April 2013, and are drawing up detailed plans and agreements between commissioners and trusts.

At NICE we've been working for some time on how we can align our guidance, advice and standards so that they can really help CCGs to successfully deliver clinical and cost effective services for the patients that they serve.

31 December 2012

MRC Invests Over £10m in Stratified Medicine Research

The MRC is to invest £10.6m in three major new collaborations that will advance the emerging field of stratified medicine – investigating why different patients with the same diagnosis respond differently to treatments. The collaborations, announced today by the Prime Minister in a report on UK life sciences, will deliver a better understanding of the mechanisms behind these diseases will one day enable doctors to prescribe drugs and therapies that are tailored to an individual’s genetic make-up, vastly improving their chances of getting better and reducing their risk of experiencing serious side-effects.

24 December 2012

Patient Feedback Improvements Welcomed

The health sector has continued to welcome the NHS Commissioning Board’s publication of its planning guidance for commissioners in 2013/14.

Greater use of patient feedback and transparency are highlighted as good steps forward, although The King’s Fund has raised concerns that the Friends & Family test could be being used to pay for performance.

18 December 2012

RCGP Press Comment on NCB Document

RCGP media comment on NHS Commissioning Board document Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013-14

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada said: "We are concerned that this will create unrealistic expectations, especially at a time when financial constraints are placing a severe strain on our NHS and the care that we can provide for our patients.

18 December 2012

Greater Awareness of Hepatitis B and C Needed

Greater awareness of hepatitis B and C is needed so that more people who are at risk can be tested and treated for the viruses, according to latest guidance from NICE.

Hepatitis B and C mainly affect the liver, and are the second most common cause of liver disease in the UK after alcohol misuse.

Hepatitis B is transmitted by contact with infected blood. It arises primarily from injecting drug use, heterosexual contact with someone who is infected, travel to countries of intermediate or high endemicity, homosexual contact, and contact with someone in the same household who is a carrier and mother-to-child transmission.

14 December 2012

RCGP Stance on Assisted Dying

Following a feature discussing assisted dying by Professor Clare Gerada, Chair of RCGP Council, in the December issue of the British Journal of General Practice, the College would like to reiterate that the piece was written in a personal capacity.

The College's stance on assisted dying remains the same: The RCGP firmly believes that with current improvements in palliative care, good clinical care can be provided within existing legislation.

11 December 2012

More Babies Survive Before 27 Weeks, but Severe Disability Rates Remain Unchanged

The number of babies born before 27 weeks’ gestation who survive and leave hospital increased between 1995 and 2006, but the proportion who experience serious health problems into childhood remained largely unchanged, according to new research funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Two papers from the EPICure cohorts, published today in the British Medical Journal, suggest that while the number of very pre-term babies who survive may continue to rise, it is likely that the number of children and adults with long-term disability caused by complications of premature birth will rise in parallel.

7 December 2012

Computerised Therapy for Insomnia

Research from the December issue of the British Journal of General Practice

Insomnia is the most common psychological complaint in Britain and most drugs available for treating sleeplessness do more harm than good. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) has been shown to be at least as effective as drugs in the short term and safer in the long term but it is not widely used because of the lack of trained therapists.

The British Journal of General Practice this month publishes research by Jo Middlemass and colleagues from the University of Lincoln who have shown that it is possible to provide this form of therapy via home computers and by using social networks.

4 December 2012

RCGP Response to Government Announcement on Personal Health Budgets

RCGP Chair offers response

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada said:

"Personal health budgets, used in the right circumstances, have the potential to improve patient care and deliver care tailored to patient needs. They can help improve shared decision making and can provide patients with the opportunity to access different services that are better suited to their personal circumstances. But these benefits will be lost, unless they are introduced in the right way…..

28 November 2012

Tackle Obesity Through a ‘Community-Wide’ Approach

Obesity should be tackled by encouraging different organisations to work together through a 'community-wide'approach, according to latest guidance from NICE. The UK is facing an obesity crisis, with prevalence rising among both adults and children In England in 2010, 26 per cent of adults and 16 per cent of children between the ages of 2 and 15 were obese.

By 2050, it is expected that more than half the adult population in England and a quarter of children will be obese.

27 November 2012

Global Research Team Discovers New Alzheimer’s Risk Gene

Scientists have discovered a rare genetic mutation that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, in a study with major implications for understanding the causes of the disease. The scientists studied data from more than 25,000 people to link a rare variant of the TREM2 gene – which is known to play a role in the immune system – to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s.

The findings, which are published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday 14 November, have the potential to be the most influential gene discovery for Alzheimer’s in the last two decades. Funders for the study included the Medical Research Council (MRC) Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Wellcome Trust.

19 November 2012

Minimum Pricing for Alcohol ‘Will Protect Young People’

Setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol, as recommended by NICE, will protect young people from the dangers of excessive drinking, according to a new report.

The report jointly produced by Alcohol Concern and Balance to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week, states that cheap alcohol encourages young people to drink to excess, making them susceptible to alcohol-related harm.

20 November 2012

Patients with Psychosis should be Offered Therapy

Clinical Commissioning Groups should commission services for people with schizophrenia and psychosis in line with NICE guidelines, including the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for psychosis, say experts.

Currently, just one in ten people who could benefit from the therapy have access to it, despite being approved by NICE.

At the same time, almost half of all practitioners, people using mental health services and their families say that CBT is the most important intervention alongside the use of medication.

15 November 2012

RCGP TARGETs Antibiotics Prescribing

The RCGP has launched a toolkit containing new guidance for GPs and their patients on the appropriate prescription of antibiotics.

The guidance provides a simple, effective, and cost-effective approach to the treatment of common infections to minimise the emergence of bacterial resistance in the community.

13 November 2012

Disrupting Body Fat’s Inbuilt Clock May Lead to Weight Gain

Disrupting body fat's innate clock may lead to weight gain by influencing eating patterns and the rate at which cells store fat, according to a study published online today in Nature Medicine.

Scientists found that switching off the ‘clock’ gene (Arntl) in the fat cells of mice caused them to eat more food when they would normally be asleep, which led to them gaining more weight than normal mice, even when they did not consume more calories. The modified mice also showed changes in the production of hunger-signalling hormones and fat levels in the blood.

10 November 2012

RCGP Response to DH Rotavirus Announcement

Commenting on the announcement today (10/11/12) by the DH that children under four months will be vaccinated against rotavirus from September next year, Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said:

"There are around 140,000 cases of rotavirus in under fives every year, many of which result in a visit to the GP. As well making the children unwell, it can be distressing for parents.

6 November 2012

Alcohol Guidance Among Latest Batch of NICE Public Health Briefings

Tackling the harm caused by alcohol and addressing health inequalities are among topics covered in NICE's latest set of local government public health briefings.

From April next year, councils in England will be taking on the new role of improving the public health of their communities.

To help councils with this task, NICE has been developing a range of local government public health briefings.

The briefings provide tailored guidance for councillors and local authority staff to help them provide effective, best value actions to improve the health of people in their area.

1 November 2012

Sessional GPs an Untapped Resource for CCGs

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are being encouraged to ensure they include sessional GPs more effectively in their developments, in order to provide the very best services for patients.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are being encouraged to ensure they include sessional GPs more effectively in their developments, in order to provide the very best services for patients, in a project report from the RCGP.

30 October 2012

Suppression and Substitution: Two Opposite Brain Processes That Help us to Forget Unwanted Memories

A team of researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) has discovered that the human brain can intentionally forget unwanted memories via two distinct and opposite processes. By improving our understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying these processes, known as ‘memory suppression’ and ‘memory substitution’, these findings may help explain why people can have problems controlling unwanted memories, as seen in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Results from the study are published in Neuron.

27 October 2012

RCGP Response to End of Life Care Media Stories This Week

Responding to recent news articles on end of life care, Dr Clare Gerada, RCGP Chair of Council,said:

“The RCGP is appalled at the media coverage in the Daily Mail and elsewhere about planning for end of life care.

“As well as being inaccurate and deliberately misleading, this coverage is creating unnecessary distress and fear for patients who might be nearing the end of their life and for their families.

23 October 2012

NHS Prescribing High Numbers of NICE-Approved Drugs

Uptake of NICE-approved medicines on the NHS to treat cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis is higher than expected, latest figures reveal.

The data, published within an experimental report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre(HSCIC), examines the use of NICE-appraised medicines in England and covers prescribing during 2010 and 2011.

22 October 2012

Guide Launched to Improve Services for Patients with Learning Disabilities

A commissioning guide to improve the health of people with learning disabilities has been launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners, to help Clinical Commissioning Groups commission the most appropriate and effective services.

Guide launched to improve services for patients with learning disabilities

A commissioning guide to improve the health of people with learning disabilities has been launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners, to help Clinical Commissioning Groups commission the most appropriate and effective services.

16 October 2012

Diabetes Screening May Not Reduce Deaths

Screening the UK population to pick up undiagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes may not be as effective at preventing deaths as previously thought, according to a new study.

In the first ever randomised controlled trial of diabetes screening, researchers found no evidence that testing people for the disease reduces the number of deaths from any cause, including those unrelated to diabetes, after ten years. The results, published today in The Lancet, contradict several previous studies2, which suggested a widespread screening programme would be effective.

10 October 2012

Help for the Treatment of Crohn's Disease

New guidance from NICE provides GPs and other healthcare professionals with advice on the use of glucocorticosteroids for the remission and management of people with Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly affects the gastrointestinal tract.

Around 115,000 people currently have the condition in the UK, with between 3000 and 6000 new cases diagnosed each year.

9 October 2012

A New Report Co-Produced by NHS Alliance and NHS Clinical Commissioners Seeks to Support Commissioners as They Get to Grips with Integrated 24/7 Urgent Care

NHS Alliance and NHS Clinical Commissioners have co-produced a report on urgent care, which supports commissioners as they look to implement effective integrated 24/7 urgent care strategies in their local areas.

The report includes key learnings and discussions taken from two health communities – one in the North West and one in East Kent – that participated in workshops facilitated by the NHS Alliance, and supported by the Department of Health. The workshops aimed to develop understanding of what helps better integration of urgent care, what gets in the way, and what people can do about it.

5 October 2012

First Set of Health and Social Care Quality Standards Referred to NICE

NICE's programme of work is to be significantly extended as it begins developing its first set of health and social care quality standards, which were referred today to the Institute by the Department of Health.

The care and wellbeing of adults and children with autism, and the mental wellbeing of older people in residential care are the first topics quality standards will be developed on.

1 October 2012

Most Baby Boomers ‘Under the Doctor’ at Retirement

The vast majority of the post-war baby boomers have had at least one medical condition requiring regular GP visits in the run-up to retirement, and just one in six was completely condition free, according to the latest findings from the UK’s oldest birth cohort. Diseases affecting more than 10 per cent of those studied included cancer, osteoporosis, chronic respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease.

New research from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development looked at the prevalence of 15 common clinical disorders1 including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis, in a group of 2,661 men and women aged 60-64. It is the first study of its kind in the generation born immediately after World War II (the so-called baby boomers), who were the first to grow up in the welfare state.

28 September 2012

Whooping Cough for Pregnant Women

RCGP comment on Department of Health decision to initiate a temporary vaccination programme to protect pregnant women against whooping cough

RCGP comment on Department of Health decision to initiate a temporary vaccination programme to protect pregnant women against whooping cough.

25 September 2012

RCGP Response to Study from National Cancer Intelligence Network

"Patients, whatever their age, should never be afraid of raising concerns about cancer with their GP.

"GPs make an important contribution to saving lives from cancer, including prompt referral of patients who need specialist assessment. The RCGP’s very first audit of cancer diagnosis in primary care published last year revealed that over 70% of patients visiting their GP were referred to a specialist after one or two consultations and nearly 60 per cent of all patients referred attended secondary care within two weeks.

19 September 2012

Overuse of Painkillers Can Make Headaches Worse

Taking medicines such as painkillers over a prolonged period of time to relieve headaches can actually make symptoms worse, according to latest guidelines from NICE.

Headaches are one of the most common complaints presented to GPs and neurologists, with more than 10 million people in the UK experiencing them frequently or at regular intervals.

Many people who suffer from headaches choose to treat them with over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol, aspirin or triptans.

19 September 2012

Human Stem Cells May Hold Cure for Common Form of Deafness

A cure for deafness is a step closer after scientists funded by the MRC and Action on Hearing Loss used human embryonic stem cells to restore a common form of hearing loss.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Biomedical Sciences developed a method to turn human embryonic stem cells into ear cells.

17 September 2012

Majority of People with Diabetes 'Not Meeting Cholesterol Targets'

More than half of people with diabetes are not having their cholesterol levels adequately controlled, according to a new study.

Charity Diabetes UK analysed figures from the latest National Audit for Diabetes, which revealed 91.6 per cent of people with diabetes are now receiving annual checks for the condition.

11 September 2012

Innovation Scorecards to Highlight Availability of NICE-Approved Drugs

Patients and the public will soon be able to see information on how quickly their local hospitals and primary care organisations are providing NICE-approved treatments and drugs, according to latest government proposals.

From September, every hospital and trust will be rated by an ‘innovation scorecard', allowing patients and the public to see which trusts are adopting the latest NICE-approved treatments and drugs most quickly.

7 September 2012

Improving the Diagnosis and Management of Stable Angina

NICE has produced a quality standard for stable angina that aims to help improve the diagnosis, care and treatment of the condition.

Angina is prevalent in an estimated 1 in every 12 men and 1 in every 30 women aged between 55 and 64 in England, rising to 1 in every 7 men and 1 in every 12 women who are over 65.

4 September 2012

New ‘Traffic Light’ Test Could Save Lives with Earlier Diagnosis of Liver Disease

A new ‘traffic light’ test devised by Dr Nick Sheron and colleagues at University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust could be used in primary care to diagnose liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in high risk populations more easily than at present.

28 August 2012

Funding Boost Will Help Patients Reap Benefits of Genetic Revolution

People suffering from illnesses such as cancer and osteoarthritis as well as rare inherited disorders will benefit from a major investment in medical research, announced today.

Almost £60million of awards from the Medical Research Council (MRC) will help scientists gain fresh insights into conditions such as schizophrenia, cystic fibrosis and genetic eye disorders including retinitis pigmentosa, coloboma and anophthalmia.

26 August 2012

Alcohol By-Product Destroys Blood Stem Cells

Scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology have found that stem cells in the body’s ‘blood cell factory’ – the bone marrow – are extremely sensitive to the main breakdown product of alcohol, which causes irreversible damage to their DNA.

New research in mice, published today (26 August) in Nature, shows that this damage is normally kept in check by two vital control mechanisms: an enzyme that mops up the toxic breakdown product (acetaldehyde) and a group of proteins that recognise and repair damaged DNA. Mice lacking both these protective mechanisms develop bone marrow failure, due to obliteration of their blood stem cells.

20 August 2012

New RCGP Headquarters to Open in October 2012

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has announced that its landmark headquarters in Euston, London, will now be fully open to members in October 2012, due to slight delays caused by the unseasonal downpours.

Staff will move as planned on 24 September and all membership support services will be fully functional. The Clinical Skills Assessment Centre – where trainees take the MRCGP examination – will also be ready from that date, with its first intake of GP candidates due in November.

17 August 2012

Wellcome Trust and MRC invest in world-class Stem Cell Institute

Two of the UK’s largest funders of medical research are to invest £8 million in a new world-leading centre for stem cell biology and medicine. The Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute will advance our understanding of stem cells and their potential to treat a range of life-threatening conditions that currently have no effective cures.

14 August 2012

Call for Better Diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease

GPs should make an early diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) by performing an ankle brachial pressure index measurement, as NICE sets out new guidelines on the diagnosis and management of lower limb PAD.

Peripheral arterial disease is a common condition, affecting 3- 7 per cent of people in the general population and 20 per cent of people over the age of 60, in which the arteries carrying blood to the legs and feet become narrowed or blocked.

13 August 2012

RCGP Unveils New-Look GP Training Curriculum

The RCGP has updated its GP training curriculum to make it more user-friendly and easier to navigate.

The updated curriculum reflects latest developments in general practice, GP training needs and patient expectations.

The changes will apply to trainees beginning their training programme this month (August 2012 ) and are part of the College’s ongoing response to feedback gathered from trainees, trainers and the wider training community.

7 August 2012

Two Effective Treatments for CFS/ME are also Cost-Effective

Two treatments found previously to be the most effective for patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) have now been found to be the most cost-effective treatments evaluated in a large clinical trial.

The latest results from the PACE trial show that both cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET), as supplements to specialist medical care, offer good value for money for healthcare providers when the cost of treatment is weighed up against improvement in quality of life.

31 July 2012

Cancer: RCGP Comment on GP Practice and PCT Profiles

Professor Clare Gerada, RCGP Chair, said:

“These practice profiles contain a wealth of information about the important contribution that GPs make to saving lives from cancer, including how well they do in screening for cancer, investigating patients and referring promptly those who need specialist assessment.

31 July 2012

RCGP Calls for More Clarity on Personal Health Budgets

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) wants to work with the government on finalising the planned roll-out of personal health budgets across England in October.

An RCGP position statement released today states that while it believes that personal health budgets could realise significant benefitsin personalised care and shared decision making for some patients, the implementation of personal health budgets poses challenges that have not yet been addressed by the government.

The RCGP has written to Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP asking him to address the risks identified in the position statement, prior to the roll-out of personal health budgets.

25 July 2012

Help with Identifying Meningitis in Children and Young People

NICE's latest quality standard on bacterial meningitis in children and young people can help GPs and other primary care professionals spot early signs and symptoms of the condition.

Meningococcal meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia, known collectively as meningococcal disease, remain a leading cause of mortality in early childhood causing death in around 1 in ten cases.

17 July 2012

Breastfeeding Linked with Long-Term Reduction in Obesity

Women who breastfed their children have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who did not, even decades after giving birth, according to new research funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

A study of 740,000 post-menopausal UK women, published in the International Journal of Obesity, found that both childbearing and breastfeeding had significant, but opposite, effects on long-term weight.

12 July 2012

Healthy Diet and Exercise Key to Reducing the Risk of type 2 Diabetes

Simple lifestyle changes, such as increased physical activity or eating more healthily, can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, says NICE.

Diabetes is an epidemic of global proportions, with 360 million people worldwide currently thought to have the condition.

Nearly 3 million people have diabetes in the UK, which is set to rise to 5 million, nearly 10% of the population, by 2025.

10 July 2012

Dementia 'Not Being Diagnosed'

Fewer than half of people with dementia ever receive a formal diagnosis, according to a new parliamentary report.

Around 800,000 people in the country currently have dementia, with numbers expected to rise to more than a million by 2021.

Early diagnosis of dementia can help both individuals with the condition and their families, by giving people access to treatment and support services, and by providing them with help in planning for their future.

3 July 2012

RCGP Comment on the Centre for Economic Research Report 'How Mental Health Loses Out in the NHS'

Professor Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP, said:

"We live in a stressful society and the number of patients with mental health problems presenting to GPs is on an upward spiral. GPs face tremendous challenges in caring for patients with mental health problems in primary care and we welcome any development which will help us improve their care.

3 July 2012

Patients with Blood Clots Should be Treated Within 4 hours, Says NICE

People who present to hospital with blood clots in the legs or lungs should be offered treatment within 4 hours and have their investigative tests including scans within 24 hours, according to latest guidelines.

Those aged 40 and over who develop a blood clot should also be tested to see whether they have an underlying cancer.

26 June 2012

‘Experts in Whole Person Medicine’ – College Makes Compelling Case for Future Role of Generalist

The vital role of the “medical generalist” must be more widely recognised and enhanced if the NHS is to meet the challenges facing it, according to a landmark report launched by the RCGP today.

The College sets out a compelling case for why medical generalists – “experts in whole person medicine” – matter to all healthcare systems. It opens the debate on why the importance and influence of the role needs to be given fresh consideration within a much wider context than general practice and primary care.

25 June 2012

A new practical guide has been launched to assist GPs and other community healthcare professionals in identifying and managing the 3 million people in the UK at risk of disease-related malnutrition.

While poverty is often considered a major factor in malnutrition, disease is actually the primary cause1. More than three million people in the UK are at risk of disease-related malnutrition at any one time2, the vast majority (93%) live in the community. At risk groups include those with chronic disease such as cancer, individuals suffering from dementia, patients with an acute illness and those recently discharged from hospital.

20 June 2012

NHS Alliance Welcomes Greater Flexibility for 111 Implementation

The NHS Alliance has welcomed the announcement by the Department of Health that Clinical Commissioning Groups will be able to extend the deadline for full implementation of the 111 service, originally set for April 2013.

According to the NHS Alliance, CCGs leaders need to have greater freedom for local implementation of urgent care services. CCGs should also learn from the results of the full evaluation on NHS 111, currently being carried out by Sheffield University. A full report is yet to be published by the Department of Health.

19 June 2012

Free BNF Prescribing App Launches

Health and social care professionals can now access the latest up-to-date prescribing information from the British National Formulary (BNF) at the touch of a button.

The official NICE BNF app is available to download for free for users of Android and iPhone smartphones via the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

The app, which can also run on the iPod touch, will transform the way people access the BNF - the most widely-used medicines information resource within the NHS.

15 June 2012

Launch of GP Guide to Improve Access to Eye Care for People with Learning Disabilities

The Royal College of General Practitioners has commissioned The Royal College of Ophthalmologists to create a Best Practice Guide for GPs on Vision and People with Learning Disabilities.

The guidance, which is launched for all GPs during Learning Disability Week (18 – 24 June) highlights key areas to ensure that people with learning disabilities can access appropriate eye health care. It was created in conjunction with leading eye care charity SeeAbility and will be available online at www.rcgp.org.uk/learningdisabilities.

11 June 2012

Large Waist Linked to Diabetes Risk in Overweight Adults

Overweight people with a large waist are just as likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life as those who are obese, according to results from the largest international study of its kind to date.

The study, led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit, followed more than 340,000 people from eight European countries to examine their future risk of type 2 diabetes.

7 June 2012

NHS Alliance Calls on the Government to Act on its Commitment to Shared Decision-Making

Following the publication of the consultation paper Liberating the NHS: No decision about me, without me, the NHS Alliance is calling on the government to show real commitment to shared decision-making.

The NHS Alliance’s Patient and Public Involvement Group is clear that, instead of exploring shared decision-making, the consultation paper focuses almost exclusively on mechanisms to ensure patients’ choice of providers, a relevant but small part of the process.

5 June 2012

New Guidance Helps General Practices Respond to Domestic Abuse

New guidance to support GPs and their teams in recognising and responding to signs of domestic violence has been released today.

Responding to Domestic Abuse: Guidance for General Practices, is produced in collaboration with national charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA), the Identification & Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) programme and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and was funded by the Department of Health.

28 May 2012

CCGs Want More Information About Commissioning Support Choice

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) want more information about choices of commissioning support available to them, according to an independent report published today.

29 May 2012

CCGs Want More Information About Commissioning Support Choice

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) want more information about choices of commissioning support available to them, according to an independent report published today.

The report revealed that 59% of CCGs want more information about choice of commissioning support whilst 61% of respondents want more clarity on the types of services support suppliers are able to provide. A further 64% want more advice about how to procure their support. The survey was commissioned on behalf of the NHS Commissioning Board Authority by NHS Clinical Commissioners, as part of the second checkpoint into the development of NHS Commissioning Support Services (NHS CSS).

25 May 2012

Engaging Sessional GPs in Clinically-Led Commissioning

Hundreds have responded to an RCGP consultation conducted as part of a wider project to ensure sessional GPs are engaged in clinically-led commissioning.

22 May 2012

Health Act Makes NICE Stronger Than Ever Before

NICE will be stronger than ever before under the new Health Act producing quality standards that will be the backbone of commissioning and playing a vital role in value based pricing, the Health Secretary has said.

Addressing delegates at the NICE Annual Conference in Birmingham yesterday, Andrew Lansley said that NICE will be central to developing a NHS based on evidence and will be placed on a firmer footing to do so.

15 May 2012

Enzyme Corrects More than 1 Million Faults in DNA Replication

Scientists from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) at the University of Edinburgh have discovered an enzyme that corrects the most common mistake in mammalian DNA.

15 May 2012

Listening is the Lynchpin of Good Patient Care, says RCGP Chair

The ability to listen to patients and help them make informed choices about their health remains the true strength of general practice, says RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada.

9 May 2012

RCGP Response to Stroke Association Report - Struggling to Recover

"People affected by stroke have every right to expect high quality care following treatment in hospital, and the RCGP is concerned that this has not been the case for the respondents of this survey…….’

8 May 2012

Take a 'Three-Strike' Approach to Teen Cancer Diagnosis, says Charity

GPs should refer teenagers for further investigation after their third visit if they have presented with repeated symptoms of cancer, a charity says.

Research from the Teenage Cancer Trust reveals that a quarter of young people visited their GP four times or more with common cancer symptoms, such as pain, a lump or extreme tiredness, before they were referred to a specialist.

2 May 2012

RCGP Response to GMC Report 'Investigating the Prevalence and Causes of Prescribing Errors in General Practice'

Dr Clare Gerada, RCGP Chair of Council, said:

"There are over one million patient consultations in general practice every day across the UK, and this report demonstrates that in 95% of cases GPs prescribe safely and effectively in the best interests of their patients.

1 May 2012

Clinical Senates’ Key Role to Protect and Foster Localism

In a speech at the Westminster Health Forum – Developing clinical senates and networks: commissioning, integration and efficiency – to be held today in London, Dr Donal Hynes, co-vice chair of the NHS Alliance, will reiterate the need for clinical senates and networks to support CCG’s localism.

According to Dr Hynes, clinical senates should act as a support mechanism for CCGs, rather than undermine their autonomy, by bringing together the clinical community over a relatively wide area to discuss and implement service reconfiguration.

27 April 2012

British Journal of General Practice May 2012

Too many psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs are being prescribed in nursing homes in England and Wales, warn researchers writing in this month’s British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).

Sunil Shah and colleagues from St George’s University, London found that drugs such as antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and anticholinergic antihistamines are prescribed much more frequently in nursing homes than in the community.

24 April 2012

Latest Fellows and Scholars Unveiled

Exploring the use of NICE guidance by out-of-hours GPs, promoting NICE in dentistry, and investigating whether childhood activity guidelines are being followed in schools, are just some of the projects planned by the latest group of fellows and scholars.

NICE has awarded 11 fellowships and 10 scholarships to professionals working in the NHS,social care and public health.

17 April 2012

Targeted Therapy Using Sound-Waves Offers ‘Male Lumpectomy’ for Prostate Cancer

A new type of prostate cancer treatment, which uses sound waves to selectively target individual cancer sites, could provide an alternative to traditional treatment with significantly fewer side effects, according to promising results from a clinical trial.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), is the first to use an experimental treatment known as HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound) to treat areas of cancer just a few millimetres in size (focal therapy). Focal therapy is similar in principle to the ‘lumpectomy’ operation commonly used as an alternative to a full mastectomy in breast cancer.

17 April 2012

Kathrin is Named Outstanding New Researcher

The Scientific Foundation Board of the RCGP and the Society for Academic Primary Care are delighted to announce that the Second Annual Yvonne Carter Award for Outstanding New Researcher has been won by Dr Kathrin Cresswell.

13 April 2012

National Conference for CCG Leaders

The NHS Clinical Commissioning Coalition is calling on all Clinical Commissioning Groups leaders to be part of a free national conference to discuss the implementation of clinical commissioning.

The event, to be held at the Cavendish Conference Centre in London on the 24th of April, will give CCG leaders the opportunity to express their concerns, share their experience and develop common themes that CCGs would like the NHS Clinical Commissioning Coalition to take up on their behalf.

10 April 2012

New Drug for Stroke Prevention Approved by NICE

Patients with atrial fibrillation can now be offered the drug dabigatran (Pradaxa) as an alternative to warfarin in order to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots, says NICE.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition affecting the heart causing it to beat irregularly, and occasionally, too fast. When this happens the heart cannot efficiently pump blood around the body.

5 April 2012

New e-Learning for GPs: Kidney Health in General Practice

Common dilemmas for GPs in identifying, monitoring and managing individual patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are addressed in a new e-learning course launched this month.

Kidney Health in General Practice has been produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in partnership with NHS Kidney Care. The course is free, subject to registration on the RCGP e-learning website. It aims to improve the detection and management of chronic kidney disease.

3 April 2012

Effective and Practical Measures to Prevent Infection Control Outlined by NICE

GPs and other healthcare professionals should decontaminate their hands immediately after direct contact with patients to prevent the spread of infection in healthcare settings, says NICE.

Around 300,000 patients acquire healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) each year as a result of care on the NHS.

Certain HCAIs can be deadly. Clostridium difficile and the ‘superbug' methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) led to approximately 9,000 deaths in hospital and primary care in England in 2007.

30 March 2012

Gene Found in Worms Could Play a Role in Human Cancer

Scientists funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) have identified a gene, in a simple water-dwelling worm, that might play an important role in the development of cancer.

The researchers, from the University of Nottingham, found that removing the SMG-1 gene in planarian worms* caused their normal cell division to go out of control, leading to lethal growths that display many of the hallmarks of human tumours.

27 March 2012

'Mission Critical': RCGP Calls for UK-Wide Vision on Patient Care

The Chairs of the RCGP's UK Council and Councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have today written to the Health Ministers of all four countries calling for a UK-wide vision for the future of the NHS and patient care.

26 March 2012

MRC to Fund Retrieval, Transport and Diagnosis of Donated Brains

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is to commit almost £1.5 million of extra funding to support the UK Brain Banks Network. The funding will be used to enable the collection and transport of tissue to the bank and a primary diagnosis for hospital clinicians, GPs and families. Brain tissue donation must take place as soon as possible after death, ideally within 48 hours in order for it to be useful to researchers.

20 March 2012

Sessional GPs Vital to CCGs Says RCGP

Engaging sessional GPs in clinically-led commissioning is the aim of a pair of surveys launched as part of a new project from the RCGP.

The surveys, one aimed at sessional GPs and the other at those working in emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) seek to identify best practice and models of inclusion, engagement and leadership, and to uncover the existing barriers preventing these things.

16 March 2012

Funding Boost for Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Trial

A pioneering clinical trial that could lead to a potentially life-changing new treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF) has received a £3.1m funding boost from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The research, which has been supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust for a decade, had faced an uncertain future due a funding shortfall. Today’s investment by the MRC and NIHR will ensure the next stage of the programme can continue as planned.

13 March 2012

Commonly Used Dementia Drugs Can Help More Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease

Research funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Alzheimer’s Society has found that the dementia drug donepezil, already widely used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD), also helps in moderate to severe patients and extending treatment to this group could help treat twice as many sufferers worldwide. Encouragingly, the drug has greater positive benefits for patients more severely affected than for those in the earlier stages of dementia.

6 March 2012

NHS Clinical Commissioning Coalition: Commissioning Support Survey

In January 2012, the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) and the NHS Alliance (NHSA) issued a short survey on commissioning support for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The following press release highlights some interesting aspects of the results.

Altogether, there were 95 responses received from across the four strategic health authority clusters: NHS London (12.6%); NHS North of England (33.7%); NHS Midlands and East (32.6%) and NHS South of England (21.1%).

6 March 2012

Response to Lord Crisp’s Letter on the Health and Social Care Bill

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada has responded to Lord Crisp's letter to the Times newspaper on the Health and Social Care Bill.

29 February 2012

NICE to Produce 10 New Quality Standards

NICE will develop a range of new quality standards on topics such as autism, caesarean section, rheumatoid arthritis and self harm, after the Department of Health referred its latest topics.

Topics are selected by the Department of Health and put forward to NICE on the basis of a number of factors, including the burden of disease, the impact on resources, and whether there is inappropriate variation in practice across the country.

28 February 2012

NICE "Key" to Delivering Public Health Services

NICE will play a key role in helping local authorities create an integrated public health service underpinned by evidence on what health measures work, say experts.

Local authorities are preparing to take over the role of commissioning some public health services from Primary Care Trusts from April 2013.

24 February 2012

Clinical Commissioning Coalition Response to No10 Summit

In response to the meeting on 21 February 2012 between the Prime Minister, the Health Secretary and an array of health organisations – including NAPC, the NHS Confederation and the NHS Alliance – to discuss the NHS reform agenda and consequent improvements arising from the changes

21 February 2012

Tackle Mental Health Problems Among Those with Long-Term Conditions, says Thinktank

Following NICE clinical guidelines can help improve the care of people with long-term conditions who also have mental health problems, a leading thinktank says.

People with long-term health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are two to three times more likely to experience mental health problems than the general population.

17 February 2012

Siblings’ Brain Scans Could Hold the Key to Drug Addiction

Researchers funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) at the University of Cambridge have identified a brain abnormality which is found in drug-dependent individuals as well as their siblings who have had no history of drug addiction. The brain abnormality identified by the researchers makes it more difficult for individuals to exercise self-control. This research will help understanding about why some people with a family history of drug abuse are at a higher risk of addiction than others. The findings are published today in the journal Science.

14 February 2012

Putting Quality at the Heart of Patient Care

Over 150 practices have signed up to the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Practice Accreditation award programme since its launch in early 2011. Those enrolled have begun a process which will mark them out as a forward-thinking and progressive practice.

10 February 2012

Frequent House Moves in Childhood Might be Bad for Long-Term Health

Children who move house frequently when young may be more likely to suffer poor health in adulthood, according to new research from the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, followed 850 individuals over a 20-year period to investigate the association between moving house from birth to age 18 on a broad range of outcomes in adulthood. The researchers looked at links to physical health, psychological distress, and health behaviours including smoking, heavy drinking and illegal drug use.

7 February 2012

Improving Access to NICE-Approved Drugs

NICE is to produce a best practice guide to help trusts develop local formularies, as part of a move to ensure that all patients in England have access to clinically and cost-effective drugs.

Local formularies provide a list of selected or preferred drugs available to local prescribers and have an important role in underpinning safe and effective use of medicines.

6 February 2012

Is the NHS Commissioning Board Really Being Set up to Liberate CCGs?

NHS Alliance/NAPC Clinical Commissioning Coalition’s response to NHS Commissioning Board update.

In the Department of Health’s original guidance Developing the NHS Commissioning Board (July 2011), Sir David Nicholson said: "CCGs will be the engine of the new system and things will only be done at a different level of the system where there is evidence that this produces better results."

31 January 2012

Latest RCGP Statement on Health and Social Care Bill

There has been much talk this week about how the profession as a whole can continue to influence the Health and Social Care Bill as it moves into the Report Stage at the House of Lords.

The College’s position has not changed; our concerns remain the same and we are determined to keep on doing everything that we can to bring about change for the good of our patients.

25 January 2012

NHS 111: Getting Lost in Translation?

The new urgent care telephone number NHS 111 may have the potential to bring real benefits to the health care system but, according to a recent NHS Alliance survey, is in danger of ‘getting lost in translation’. The new clinical commissioners currently feel a lack of engagement with NHS 111, despite the fact that they are the key people responsible for its rapid implementation across England by April 2013.

24 January 2012

Nurses Follow NICE Blood Clot Guidelines

Thousands more nurses and healthcare assistants are following the NICE venous thromboembolism (VTE) guidelines, following a drive by the Royal College of Nursing to raise awareness of the “silent killer”.

It is estimated that 25,000 people who are admitted to hospital die from preventable VTE every year, leading the Department of Health to make prevention a priority across the NHS for the forthcoming years.

16 January 2012

Fluorescent Dye Could Detect Early Oesophageal Cancer

A fluorescent dye that can be sprayed onto the gullet could be used to detect oesophageal cancer earlier and spare patients unnecessary treatment, according to new research from Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK scientists.

When sprayed onto the oesophagus the dye attaches to normal, healthy cells but is unable to stick to cancer cells or those in the early stages of turning cancerous. This provides doctors a clear signpost to where the cancer is developing. The research is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

17 January 2012

RCGP Members Support Withdrawal of the Bill, says RCGP Survey

Nearly three quarters of respondents to a poll carried out by the Royal College of General Practitioners think that it is appropriate to seek the withdrawal of the Health and Social Care Bill.

13 January 2012

Current Policy on Specialists’ Role in NHS Reforms Inadequate

Policy on the role of specialist doctors in the NHS reforms is not fit for purpose, according to a discussion paper published today by the NHS Alliance.

Specialists in Commissioning: Looking beyond current policydiscusses the views of GPs and specialists on current policy on specialists in Clinical Commissioning Groups. The paper calls for policy to be more inclusive and flexible to allow both groups of doctors to develop positive relationships to enable integrated care across the primary-secondary healthcare boundaries.

10 January 2012

QOF 2013/14 Consultation Opens

Potential new indicators for the 2013/14 Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) are now out for public consultation.

Introduced in 2004, the QOF is a voluntary incentive scheme for GP practices in the UK, rewarding them for how well they care for patients.

The QOF contains groups of indicators, against which practices score points according to their level of achievement.

NICE has been asked to focus on the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF and has proposed a number of new indicators for the 2013/14 QOF.

4 January 2012

User Experience of NHS Adult Mental Health Services Should be Improved

Adult mental health services in the NHS should be improved to provide person-centredcare that tackles the stigma associated with mental illness, says NICE.

People with mental health issues should have access to mental health services when they need them, and should be actively involved in shared decision-making and supported in self-management.

3 January 2012

A Healthy Diet Can Cost Less Than Junk Food, Says New Research

Parents of some obese children could save up to £6.58 each week by changing their shopping habits and opting for a healthier diet, according to research published in the latest issue of the British Journal of General Practice.

3 January 2012

NAPC/NHSA Coalition Speaks Out on Commissioning Support Guidance

On 14 December, 2011, the Coalition forwarded to the Department of Health its formal response on the Commissioning Support draft guidance Towards Excellence. A copy of the response is attached with this press release.

27 December 2011

MRC Funds £1.6m Research Into CFS/ME

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has awarded more than £1.6m for research into the causes of the debilitating condition chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

The investment will fund five new projects to investigate the mechanisms and underlying biological processes involved in the illness, which could eventually lead to better diagnosis and the development of more effective treatments.

21 December 2011

RCGP Canvasses Members’ Views on NHS Reforms

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is surveying its membership of over 44,000 GPs for the last time on the NHS reforms.

RCGP Chair of Council, Dr Clare Gerada has written to all Members today asking for responses to the online survey which closes on Friday 6 January.

20 December 2011

New NICE Guideline Published on Anaphylactic Episode

NICE, the healthcare guidance body, has published a new guideline on the initial assessment and referral following emergency treatment for a suspected anaphylactic episode.

An anaphylactic episode (sometimes called an anaphylactic shock) is a severe allergic response that is a generalised or systemic hypersensitivity reaction that is characterised by life-threatening airway, breathing and/or circulation problems. Common causes of anaphylactic reaction, especially in children, include foods such as peanuts, nuts, eggs, shellfish, milk, fish, and some seeds such as sesame. Non-food causes include wasp or bee stings, natural latex (rubber), and penicillin. A significant proportion of anaphylaxis is classified as idiopathic, in which there are significant clinical effects but no identifiable stimulus.

16 December 2011

National Summit Calls for Co-production for Health - A New Model for Health & Wellbeing in a Radically New World

Creating a new co-production model is seen as the best way to delivering better health and wellbeing outcomes at the local level in the context of budget constraint - according to a new report (www.sph.nhs.uk/lgcolloquiumreport).

13 December 2011

Three Quarters of Patients With Cancer are Referred Within One Month, Reveals RCGP Report

Published by the RCGP’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC), the report – the first of its kind – describes the findings of the National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care, undertaken in 2009/2010 as part of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative.

12 December 2011

Middle-Aged Drinkers Still Face Peer Pressure

Middle-aged drinkers still face pressure from their friends making it hard for them to stay in control of their alcohol consumption, new research from the Medical Research Council (MRC) suggests.

Evidence from friendship groups of men and women aged 35 to 50 reveals that binge-drinking and drunken behaviour are not unusual among older adults, despite their initial claims that they had become more moderate drinkers with age.

6 December 2011

NICE Consults on Draft Recommendations on the Use of Opioids in Palliative Care

NICE, the healthcare guidance body, is currently developing a new short clinical guideline on the safe and effective prescribing of strong opioids in palliative care. As part of this process, draft recommendations have been published on the NICE website today (2 December) for public consultation.

30 November 2011

Clinical Commissioners Are Ready to Lead

In his opening speech at the 14th NHS Alliance conference, chairman Dr Michael Dixon will talk about concerned CCG leaders, who are being excluded from crucial decision-making about how their organisations will be set up and run.

He will say: “The week before last, I had over 30 emails from concerned CCG leaders. Each told its own story; stories of commissioning support being imposed, of staff being appointed without consultation and of crucial meetings being arranged with less than twelve hours’ notice.

25 November 2011

Three Quarters of Patients with Cancer are Referred Within One Month, Reveals RCGP Report

Published by the RCGP’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC), the report – the first of its kind – describes the findings of the National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care, undertaken in 2009/2010 as part of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative.

22 November 2011

Taking a Hard Look at Urgent Care

Creating an integrated urgent care, which is fit for purpose and delivers the best care for patients, requires a hard look at the current system and full involvement of general practice and clinical commissioners, a new report reveals.

21 November 2011

NICE Opens Consultations on Two Medical Devices Set to Benefit Patients and the NHS

NICE, the healthcare guidance body, today (21 November), provisionally supports two innovative medical technology devices, which can benefit both patients and the NHS. The Institute has opened separate consultations on each device: PleurX which can help reduce the severe abdominal fluid retention experienced by some cancer patients, and the Pipeline embolisation device for treating unruptured giant or complex intracranial aneurysms - a bulging blood vessel in the brain.

10 November 2011

Researchers Unveil ‘Bedside’ Solution for Identifying Individuals Wrongly Diagnosed as Vegetative State

Researchers part-funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) have discovered a practical and cost-effective method for assessing whether some patients who appear to be in a vegetative state may actually be conscious, but simply unable to respond.

10 November 2011

RCGP Launches e-Learning Course on Self Care

The benefits of encouraging patients to self care are explored in an e-learning course launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

9 November 2011

NICE Consults on New Draft Guidance on Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

NICE has today (Wednesday 9 November) opened a consultation on new draft guidance on identifying people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the provision of clinically and cost effective interventions to help reduce the risk or delay the onset of the condition.

3 November 2011

Adding Radiotherapy to Hormone Treatment Could Prevent Hundreds of Prostate Cancer Deaths a Year

Results from a large study by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in collaboration with the NCIC Clinical Trials Group located at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, have shown that combining radiotherapy and hormone therapy in patients with prostate cancer significantly improved men’s survival compared with hormone therapy treatment alone.

2 November 2011

Researchers Confirm That Daily Physical Activity Offsets Genetic Obesity Risk

A huge international study led by researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) has confirmed that regular physical activity can in part offset genetic susceptibility to obesity.

Their findings, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, shed more light on the relationship between genes and body weight, and could eventually help to develop treatments for obesity.

31 October 2011

Advice from NICE Aims to Improve Commissioning of Services for People with Common Mental Health Disorders

NICE has today published a guide for commissioners on services for people with common mental health disorders. The guide is the latest in its series of good practice guides to support commissioners in designing high quality, evidence-based services to improve outcomes for patients and to help the NHSmake better use of its resources. The guide draws on the recent NICE clinical guideline on the identification of and pathways to care for common mental health disorders, as well as other relevant NICE guidance and quality standards.

24 October 2011

GPs Go Into Action for Carers

A new guide to help GPs and their teams provide improved support to carers is launched today by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

21 October 2011

Potential New Treatments for a Common Childhood Hearing Disorder

Scientists from the Medical Research Council’s Mammalian Genetics Unit have identified a potential new treatment for ‘glue ear’ – a common inflammatory condition in children that can cause temporary, but often prolonged, hearing loss.

17 October 2011

NICE Recommends Long-Acting Exenatide for Type 2 Diabetes in Draft Guidance

In preliminary recommendations published today (18 October) by NICE, exenatide prolonged release suspension for injection (Bydureon, Eli Lilly) is recommended in triple therapy regimens (in combination with metformin and a sulphonylurea, or metformin and a thiazolidinedionei) as a treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes, when control of blood glucose remains or becomes inadequate (HbA1cii of 7.5% or above, or other higher level agreed with the individual), and the person has:

  • a body mass index (BMI) of 35 kg/m2 or higher in those of European family origin (with appropriate adjustment for other ethnic groups) and specific psychological or medical problems associated with high body weight, or
  • a BMI below 35 kg/m2, and therapy with insulin would have significant occupational implications or weight loss would benefit other significant obesity-related comorbidities.

17 October 2011

Clinical Commissioning Coalition Demands Equal Relationship With National Commissioning Board

The new Clinical Commissioning Coalition, set up by the NHS Alliance and the the National Association of Primary Care, is demanding a new relationship between the National Commissioning Board and frontline clinical commissioners.

12 October 2011

GPs Tackle the Taboo of Domestic Violence

Innovative e-learning support to help GPs recognise and respond to signs of domestic violence against patients has been produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

7 October 2011

NICE Provisionally Recommends Wider Use of Tocilizumab in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today (7 October 2011) opened a consultation on draft guidance which provisionally recommends the use of tocilizumab (RoActemra, Roche) at additional stages in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

5 October 2011

Scientists Identify a Genetic Link for a ‘Heavy Heart’

An international research team led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) has for the first time pinpointed a single gene associated with one of the leading causes of heart thickening and failure.

28 September 2011

RCGP Consultation on Developing Integrated Care

Integrated care works to ensure that patients are central to the design and delivery of care and that services meet their healthcare needs through apparently seamless, high quality and effective systems.

28 September 2011

Cost-Effective Stop Smoking Treatment May Help Millions to Stop

A clinical trial funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative, a consortium managed by the Medical Research Council, has found that a pill known as Tabex®, can more than triple someone’s chances of quitting smoking for at least 12 months. The cost-effectiveness of this product, which is much cheaper than the leading stop smoking products in many countries, means that this could offer a new practical way for people to stop smoking.

19 September 2011

Health and Social Care Professionals Sought for NICE Fellowships and Scholarships

From today (19 September) dedicated and influential professionals, who would like to play a greater role in improving health and social care, are encouraged to apply for Fellowships and Scholarships from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

15 September 2011

Secretary of State Supports Clinical Leaders’ Call for a Clear Vision, Local Autonomy and Flexibility

Local focus, with national support – this was one of the key messages coming from clinical commissioning leaders at the first independent national conference for clinical commissioning, organised by the NHS Alliance and NAPC, held in London yesterday.

14 September 2011

NICE Draft Guidance Recommends New "Clot-Busting" Drug to Treat Acute Coronary Syndromes

Final draft guidance published today (16 September) by NICE confirms its previous positive draft recommendation for ticagrelor (Brilique, Astrazeneca). The draft guidance recommends ticagrelor within its licensed conditions (that is, in combination with aspirin and for up to 12 months) as an option to treat adults with acute coronary syndromes (ACS).

13 September 2011

Championing Clinical Commissioning Groups

The NHS has served the population of this country well and, in terms of the quality of primary care delivered, remains among the leaders in world class provision. However, many things have changed since its inception in 1948, including demography, ageing population with multiple co-morbidities, advances in medicine, and the cost of delivery. The NHS is now at a point in its history where general taxation and the prevailing financial environment will no longer be able to continue to support and advance modern service provision without further development of the policy of clinical commissioning.

1 September 2011

Sensory and Learning Disability Access Awareness Sessions for GP Practices

GP practices in England are urged to sign up practice team members for access awareness sessions being held across the country.

30 August 2011

Getting the Most from Your GP Practice

A “one stop shop” guide to help patients get the most from their GP practice is launched today by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

26 August 2011

NHS Alliance Calls for More CCG Involvement in Authorisation

NHS Alliance has called on the government to ensure that Clinical Commissioning Groups are fully involved in the authorisation process and modernisation plans. The organisation warns that CCGs are in danger of becoming peripheral and the bottom tier of a commissioning hierarchy

24 August 2011

NICE Issues Final Guidance on Abatacept for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today (24 August) issued final guidance to the NHS on the use of abatacept (Orencia) as a second-line treatment for people with rheumatoid arthritis. The guidance does notrecommend abatacept in combination with methotrexate, for treating rheumatoid arthritis in adults whose disease has responded inadequately to one or more conventional non-biological disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including methotrexate. The recommendations say that people currently receiving abatacept for treating rheumatoid arthritis in this circumstance should have the option to continue therapy until they and their clinicians consider it appropriate to stop.

22 August 2011

Breast Cancer Drug Not Good Use of Resources, Says Draft Guidance

An independent committee of experts that develops guidance on behalf of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) does not believe that a drug, which can be used to delay the growth of a particular type of advanced breast cancer, represents a good use of NHS resources.

17 August 2011

Price Discount Means NICE Can Recommend a New Drug for Chronic MyeloidLeukaemia

In new draft guidance NICE has recommended nilotinib, also known as Tasigna and made by Novartis, for the treatment of the chronic and accelerated phases of CML (chronic myeloid leukaemia)that is resistant or intolerant to standard-dose imatinib. Dasatinib (Sprycel), made by Bristol-Myers Squibb is not recommended for CML that is resistant or intolerant to standard-dose imatinib, and high-dose imatinib (Glivec), made by Novartis, is not recommended for CML that is resistant to standard-dose imatinib.

17 August 2011

NICE Asks for More Information on New Treatment for People with Common Heart Condition

In preliminary recommendations published today (Wednesday 17 August) NICE is asking Boehringer Ingelheim for more information on its product dabigatran (Pradaxa), for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in people with atrial fibrillation.

4 August 2011

Childhood Illness Linked to Less Career Success

Child illness is closely linked to your future health and career prospects, a new study suggests. Researchers, funded partly by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF), found that people who had spent long periods in hospital as a child, or had low birth weight, were more likely to find themselves passed over for promotion in later life. By middle-age, these people were also more likely to have a greater risk of developing heart disease.

1 August 2011

New NICE Guideline Says Drug Therapy Should Come Before Interventional Procedures for People with Stable Angina

NICE has today (1 August) published its clinical guideline on the management of stable angina. The guideline, which has been jointly developed by the National Clinical Guideline Centre for Acute and Chronic Conditions (NCGCACC), sets out recommendations on what treatment and care the NHS should offer to people with a diagnosis of stable angina, including the use of anti-anginal drug treatment and surgery.

26 July 2011

Break Through! NHS Alliance 2011 Conference

This year’s NHS Alliance Conference – Break Through! – will bring together influential clinicians, management and policy makers on a level playing field to explore the impact of the government’s NHS reforms.

28 July 2011

GPs and Pharmacists Working Together to Improve Patient Care

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) have produced a joint statement detailing how GPs and community pharmacists can work together to improve the care provided to patients in the community.

28 July 2011

Scientists Identify ‘Super Antibody’ Against Influenza

Scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) and Humabs BioMed in Switzerland, have found that an antibody called FI6 can combat all influenza A viruses that commonly cause disease in humans and in animals. The finding represents a turning point in the development of emergency flu treatments and in time may help to pave the way for a universal flu vaccine.

25 July 2011

Five Leading Academic Hospitals Install the CyberKnife System for Dedicated Radiosurgery

Adoption Demonstrates Continued Demand for Dedicated Whole Body Stereotactic Radiosurgery Systems at World's Most Renowned Cancer Centers

25 July 2011

First Targeted Treatment Success for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Scientists part-funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) have made an important breakthrough in the development of a treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a devastating disease which affects around 100 boys born each year in the UK. The research was led by scientists at the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) and co-funded by AVI BioPharma.

18 July 2011

Clinical Commissioning: Securing Better Outcomes for the NHS and its Patients

The NHS Alliance, in partnership with NAPC, has published today a discussion paper, Clinical commissioning: securing better outcomes for the NHS and its patients.

The paper explains how clinical commissioning holds the key to tackle the three major challenges facing the NHS in England over the next five years – improve the health of the population; reduce health inequalities, and create a service that delivers better services to patients whilst achieving ambitious efficiency savings.

12 July 2011

NICE Consults on Updated Clinical Guideline on Prevention of Healthcare Associated Infections in Primary and Community Care

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today published draft guidelines on the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in primary and community care. In taking into account new evidence that has been published since NICE's original guideline in 2003, the draft guideline provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date set of recommendations yet on infection prevention and control precautions that should be applied by all healthcare workers in the care of patients in community and primary care settings, including ambulance services.

8 July 2011

NICE Consults on Device to Improve the Outcome of Heart Bypass Graft Surgery

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) today (8 July) opens its consultation on the use of a device that can help improve the outcome of a specific type of heart surgery. The draft medical technology guidance provisionally supports the use of VeriQ, a system that assesses blood flow through a graft during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

6 July 2011

Excess Alcohol Could Damage our DNA

Researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) have uncovered for the first time how excess alcohol can cause irreparable damage to our DNA. In a new study published in the journal Nature today, MRC scientists also discovered a two-tier defence system in our cells that limits the threat of permanent genetic damage.

29 June 2011

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust Selects Jayex QI Interactive Patient Survey and Information Management Kiosk

Jayex's QI Touch Screen Solution Enables the Trust to Instantly Review Patient Feedback to Assist in the Delivery of High-Quality Patient Centred Care.

27th June 2011

‘Lean Gene’ Increases Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes

Having a leaner body may not always give you a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to the newest findings of a Medical Research Council (MRC) study. Researchers led by the MRC Epidemiology Unit have identified a gene that is linked with both having less body fat and an increased risk of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

24 June 2011

NICE Consults on New End of Life Care Draft Quality Standard

NICE has today (24 June) launched a consultation on its draft quality standard for end of life care for adults.

NICE quality standards (QS) are a set of specific, concise statements and measures that act as markers of high-quality, clinical and cost-effective patient care. They are derived from the best available evidence, such as NICE guidance or other sources accredited by NHS Evidence. Quality standards are produced collaboratively with the NHS and social care sectors, along with their partners, service users and carers. They are a pivotal part of the new NHS Outcomes Framework, which defines the aims and objectives in improving patient outcomes in the NHS.

20th June 2011

Clinically-Led Commissioning Must Not Be Set Up To Fail

NHS Alliance has urged the government to ensure that clinical commissioners have sufficient headroom to bring about the urgent changes required by a modern NHS.

“Primary care commissioners must not be overshadowed by centralisation and a secondary care dominated health system, which has, time and again, failed to deliver better services for patients and tax payers,” says NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon.

16 June 2011

Weight at 18 Linked to Cancer in Men Decades Later

Public health researchers, based at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, have identified a link between men being overweight or obese at age 18 and death from cancer in later life. The study shows the link is apparent even if they reduce their weight during middle age.

10 June 2011

RCGP Calls for Greater Continuity of Care in General Practice

Keeping general practice familiar and local improves continuity of care and can tackle health inequalities more effectively, says a new Policy Paper from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

6 June 2011

NICE to Develop New Guideline on Acute Painful Sickle Cell Episode

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently in the early stages of developing a short guideline on the management of an acute painful sickle cell episode in hospital. Sickle cell is one of the most common genetic disorders in England, affecting thousands of people.

2 June 2011

Breaking Through - How GP-Led Consortia Can Unlock The Full Potential of The NHS

Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, today called on the Government to speed up the process of NHS reform in areas where GP-led consortia are ready, willing and able to get on with the job of improving services for patients.

13 May 2011

Researchers Uncover How White Blood Cells Carry Out ‘Triage’ on Injured Tissue

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), have unearthed the mechanism behind an entirely new kind of inflammation, showing that white blood cells have an additional, previously unknown way to cope with injury and infection. The discovery of a fundamentally different form of inflammation opens up new opportunities to develop drugs that target this process to aid healing and recovery from infection.

12 May 2011

The Government Cannot Afford to Mess it up This Time

“The NHS is facing one of its most severe financial crises yet and, unless clinical commissioning and leadership remains truly at the heart of the health reforms, patients will bear the brunt of a system that will become incapable of delivering better health for better value.” This is the stark message from Dr Michael Dixon at the King's Fund/NHS Alliance conference for GP Commissioning Pathfinder leaders in London today.

10 May 2011

NICE Publishes New Guidance on Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

NICE has published new guidance on preventing type 2 diabetes in the general population, and among high-risk groups. These groups include people of South Asian, African-Caribbean, black African and Chinese descent, and those from a lower socio-economic background, where the incidence of type 2 diabetes is higher than in the general population.

9 May 2011

College Puts Pressure On PM Over Health Reforms

The Royal College of General Practitioners has written to Prime Minister David Cameron listing changes that must be made to the Health Bill to protect the principles of the NHS.

20 April, 2011

Heart Drugs Could Cut Blood Pressure Risks in Pregnancy

Medical Research Council (MRC) funded scientists from four UK universities will test whether heart disease drugs can be used to treat pre-eclampsia, a potentially fatal condition which affects up to eight per cent of pregnant women in the UK.

13 April, 2011

NextGen Sciences Launches Multiplex Protein Plasma Biomarker Assay for Breast Cancer

NextGen Group plc (AIM:NGG) is pleased to announce that its US-subsidiary NextGen Sciences Inc, a leader in biomarker discovery, measurement and qualification, has launched its plasmabreast25 multiplex protein assay, targeting breast cancer (http://www.nextgensciences.com/assays/breast.php) biomarker discovery and qualification. The assay simultaneously measures 25 human plasma proteins that are thought to have potential as biomarkers in breast cancer.

1 April, 2011

NICE Welcomes National Prescribing Centre

From 1 April, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will take over the functions of the National Prescribing Centre (NPC), the organisation responsible for helping the NHS to optimise its use of medicines.

1st April 2011

‘Flawed’ Government Plans Could Compromise Patient Safety and the Medical Profession, Argues RCGP

The RCGP has criticised the Government's proposals to redesign medical training following the DH's Liberating the NHS consultation.

30 March, 2011

New Toolkit to Improve Quality of Urgent and Emergency Care

A learning tool to support the quality of urgent and emergency care services for patients is being launched today at the Royal College of General Practitioners.

22 March, 2011

Protein Could be Used to Treat Alcohol Effects on Pancreas

A Medical Research Council (MRC) study has discovered that a protein provides protection against the effects of alcohol in the pancreas. The findings could lead to the development of new treatments to reduce the chances of people developing pancreatic cancer.

7 March, 2011

Patients and Their Care are not Commodities

Comments by Monitor’s newly appointed chair David Bennett, comparing the NHS to utility companies and being ripe for dismemberment, are simply wrong. They illustrate the huge flaws in some of the more simplistic arguments for more markets in the health sector, warns the NHS Alliance.

1 March, 2011

NICE Requests More Data to Help Appraise Maintenance Treatment for Follicular Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently appraising the use of rituximab (MabThera, Roche Products) as a first-line maintenance treatment for patients with advanced follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In draft guidance issued today (1 March), NICE is calling for the manufacturer to provide more analyses to address uncertainties in the data relating to the survival benefit of the treatment.

1 March, 2011

People who misuse alcohol to benefit from new guidance

The majority of people who are dependent on alcohol are not currently being treated, partly because health and social care professionals are failing to identify those in need and assisted withdrawal treatments are inadequate. In response, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published guidance today (23 February) which outlines how the NHS should diagnose, assess and treat the condition.

23 February 2011

New NICE Guideline Places Child and Young Person Food Allergy Management in the Hands of GP's and Other Healthcare Professionals in Primary Care and the Community

The first guideline for food allergy in children and young people issued by the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the routine use of allergy testing by Specific IgE blood tests or, if the facilities exist, skin prick testing in NHS primary care and community settings to confirm suspected food allergy.

23 February 2011

New treatment to benefit certain patients with leukaemia thanks to new NICE guidance

On 23 February the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published final guidance to the NHS recommending the use of a new treatment that can help extend the lives of certain people with the most common form of leukaemia.

23 February 2011

NHS Hearing Aids - Free But at What Price?

In the UK we are fortunate enough to have a free provision of hearing aids by way of the NHS. Over the last few years, the NHS has switched from analogue to digital hearing aids for the majority of patients. These hearing instruments are of a reasonable quality and are programmed to match the patients hearing loss. Fantastic! I hear you say, but there's perhaps a little more to this situation than meets the eye.

22 February 2011

NICE consults on new guideline for diagnosing and treating high blood pressure

In draft guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) published on 22 February, NICE has made a number of new recommendations that are set to significantly change the way high blood pressure is diagnosed and subsequently treated.

21 February 2011

NICE has launched a new section of its website, designed to help staff in general practice get the most out of evidence and guidance provided by NICE.

Specifically created to support the use of evidence-based medicine and public health practice, this online resource offers solutions to enable the uptake of NICE and other national guidance in primary care, and contains a section on how NICE can help GP consortia.

18 February 2011

UK’s largest CFS/ME trial confirms safe and effective treatments for patients

Two effective treatments benefit up to 60 per cent of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), according to a collaborative trial funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and UK government departments.

17 February 2011

GPs lack clarity and understanding of how the new public health systems – health improvement, health protection, health services – will come together under the reformed NHS, according to a new report released today

The NHS Alliance, QIPP Right Care Team, and NHS Solutions for Public Health have published the findings from a national summit exploring the relationship between GP consortia and public health, and their shared role in improving health and wellbeing.

16 February 2011

Statutory Regulation Best to Safeguard the Public

The Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (UK), ATCM, welcomes today's Health Department announcement on statutory regulation of herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners by the Health Professions Council.

9 February 2011

NICE updates guidance on how to treat anaemia in people with chronic kidney disease

Doctors should review how they diagnose and monitor anaemia in people with chronic kidney disease to reduce the risk of strokes and other health complications associated with escalating treatment to achieve high haemoglobin levels in certain individuals.

2nd February 2011

GP concerns over depression questionnaire

English GPs have raised concerns about the questionnaire used to determine severity of depression in patients in a study in this month’s British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).

7 February 2011

LighterLife and the National Obesity Forum Launch The UK Obesity Barometer

LighterLife and the National Obesity Forum have launched The UK Obesity Barometer to track weight gain in the UK.

7 February 2011

New Possibilities for Patients With Difficult to Treat Cancers

For the first time in the UK, cancer patients are starting to receive treatment with Novalis Tx radiosurgery. This device gives the chance of a cure to those with inoperable tumours and offers the possibility to perform precise painless treatment to tumours in a single patient visit.

1st February 2011

Royal College of General Practitioners Survey highlights GP concerns over NHS Reforms

More than half of GPs responding to a snapshot survey carried out by the RCGP are concerned that the proposed health reforms will not lead to improvements in care for patients.

1 February 2011

10,000 Hepatitis C patients could hold the key to better treatment

The Medical Research Foundation, an independent registered charity established by the Medical Research Council (MRC), has donated nearly £2 million to establish a clinical database of 10,000 patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). This will enable a UK-wide network of researchers to find new ways to tackle the deadly infection.

19th January 2011

Royal College of General Practitioners responds to the Health and Social Care Bill

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada has issued the College's response to the Government's Health and Social Care Bill.

17 January 2011

GP Commissioning: It’s not about power, it’s about health care

Committed frontline clinicians and their patients hold the key to a more progressive NHS, says NHS Alliance

14th January 2011

Royal College of General Practitioners questions Government proposals on patient choice

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is warning that some Government suggestions on providing more choice in the NHS will cause long-term harm to patients and the NHS, particularly for vulnerable adults and at-risk children.

11 January 2011

Scientists explain link between chlamydia and ectopic pregnancy

Women who have had chlamydia are at greater risk of having an ectopic pregnancy because of a long-lasting effect of the infection, according to a study part-funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).