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NEWS IN BRIEF: Dirty Needles; Health Hub; Sugar Tax; Insanity Drug; Malaria; Doomed Contract; Vitamin Supplements


26 Jan 2016

Council says sorry after row over dirty needles picked up from Plymouth car park by pharmacy staff

Public spirited pharmacists were shocked when they collected a pile of bloodied needles from a neighbouring car park, only to be told they had to pay to have them taken away, the Plymouth Herald reports.

Staff at the King Street pharmacy spotted the needles in a stairwell at the Western Approach car park on Friday morning and took it upon themselves to take them to the pharmacy for safe keeping.

However, pharmacist Steven Adjei said he was left reeling after the council said they would have to pay to have them collected.

The pharmacy – which is not licensed to collect “sharps” and has no contract to have them collected – feared it would be stung with a big bill to get them privately removed.

Legal eagles swoop to help deliver new health hub in Leeds T

he expertise of a leading Yorkshire corporate law firm has played a key role in the expansion of an NHS surgery to create a health hub for the resident of Bramley, Leeds, The Yorkshire Post reports.

Shulmans’ LLP provided expert advice throughout the complex procedure of redeveloping the surgery, which now has an additional 10 GP consultation rooms, improved access for disabled patients and space for an independent onsite opticians and pharmacy.

Working alongside NHS England, the Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group and Leeds City Council, the extension programme began following the granting of planning permission and a loan to tender for the works.

Pressure on PM as world health chief calls for sugar tax

The World Health Organisation has called for the introduction of a sugar tax, increasing pressure on David Cameron to change his mind on how to tackle obesity, The Times reports.

Margaret Chan, head of the WHO, said that measures “with teeth” were needed after her expert commission found strong evidence to suggest that taxes on sugary drinks improved public health.

A clampdown on junk food marketing is also recommended in the report, which says that advertisements for unhealthy products should be banned from children’s TV, schools and sports facilities.

Synthetic Highs: Ban fails to halt spread of ‘$5 insanity’ drug

On the street, the drug is called “$5 insanity” because of its quick, cheap hit, the Financial Times reports.

Alternatively known as flakka, it is at the forefront of a surge in the use of Asian-made synthetic drugs in western nations.

The drug, created in illegal laboratories in China and responsible for a spate of US deaths, is a prodigious money-spinner, generating a 32-fold return to traffickers with profits spread from Asia to Middle Eastern countries including Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Osborne and Gates pledge cash to beat malaria

Chancellor George Osborne and philanthropist Bill Gates have announced £3bn in funding over the next five years to tackle malaria, the BBC reports.

Britain will give £500m a year from its overseas aid budget. And The Gates Foundation will give $200m (£140m) this year, with other donations of at least £110m to follow in the next five years.

The aim is to eradicate the disease.

The number of people dying from malaria is falling, but a child still dies from the disease every minute in Africa.

NHS watchdog signed off doomed £750m contract despite doubts

An NHS contract worth £750m that collapsed in December after just eight months was effectively signed off by the regulator and NHS England, despite questions about its viability, the Guardian reports.

The contract – the biggest in NHS history – was the first designed to bring together hospital, mental health services and community care for adults and older people in Cambridgeshire, introducing a single point of contact for patients.

Signed in November 2014 after a 15-month procurement process that cost more than £1m, it was strongly opposed by local campaigners and trade unionists after several private bidders expressed an interest. Opponents feared it would mean transferring thousands of staff into the private sector.

In the end, the contract went to an NHS partnership called UnitingCare.

How vitamin supplements and your diet could mess with your medication

Associate Professor Elizabeth Turnbridge explains how her team’s study into dietary supplements and medication uncovered some worrying results, the Independent reports.

Doctors typically prescribe several drugs to patients with mental health conditions in order to treat the various symptoms.

For example, a person with bipolar disorder may be prescribed one drug to treat mania and another to treat depression.

But there’s limited evidence on how combinations of drugs interact, or how diet and nutrition influence their effects.

Our study on the effects of combinations of psychiatric drugs and a common dietary supplement had surprising results – results that show just how poorly understood and under-researched this area is.

We found that combining drug therapies has long-term benefits for treating depression in patients with bipolar disorder.

However, taking a folic acid supplement might interfere with the drugs’ therapeutic effect.

 


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