Many High Street pharmacies in England face closure, says minister

Thousands of High Street pharmacies in England face closure following plans to cut NHS funding by £170m, according to Health Minister Alistair Burt, the BBC has reported.

Department of Health officials argue that in some parts of the country there are more pharmacies than needed.

But the Royal Pharmaceutical Society says this could put more pressure on GPs and accident and emergency departments.

Discussions on the proposals will continue until March.

A&E patients warned to stay away as pressures build at Oldham Royal, Fairfield and North Manchester General hospitals The number of patients going to The Royal Oldham Hospital's accident and emergency department reached a record high this week - with many suffering from minor problems, the Manchester Evening News reports. Patients in north east Greater Manchester are being told to stay away from A&E unless their lives depend on it. Pennine Acute NHS Trust says each of its three emergency departments – the Royal Oldham Hospital, Fairfield General Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital – are under immense pressure as staff struggle to cope with a huge surge in patients. On Monday, attendance levels at the Royal Oldham reached a record high with almost 370 people walking through the doors of A&E in just 24 hours. Many of those were suffering from less serious conditions and minor complaints such as alcohol intoxication, back pain, migraines and headaches, ear problems, and sore throats – problems which could be dealt with elsewhere. A knife-wielding robber struck just hours after being released on bail A knife-wielding robber subjected shop workers to a terrifying knifepoint raid while out on bail and still wearing his prison clothes, the Braintree and Witham Times reports. Lee Brooker, 34, had only just been released after appearing in court charged with stealing boxes of the tranquiliser diazepam from Braintree Pharmacy and alcohol from Tesco in Braintree town centre the previous day. Despite being under a curfew, he stormed into the Co-op in Mountbatten Road, Braintree, at 9.20pm on October 26 with a steak knife, using his prison issue red jumper and a bandana to cover his face. Brooker was caught within days and on Monday, after admitting a string of charges, he was jailed for a total of four years at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Painkiller use among pregnant women 'could put children's fertility at risk'

Pregnant women who take common painkillers could unwittingly be putting the fertility of their daughters at risk, BT reports.

Tests on rats found that when a mother was given paracetamol or the aspirin-like drug indomethacin, her female offspring had fewer eggs than those not exposed to the medicines.

They also had smaller ovaries and gave birth to smaller litters of babies.

Males were affected too, having fewer cells that give rise to sperm later in life. However, their fertility recovered to normal levels by the time they matured into adults.

Safety warning after "substantial quantity" of drugs stolen from Coatbridge pharmacy Police have issued a safety warning after a “substantial quantity” of prescription drugs – including morphine – were stolen during a daring overnight raid on a Coatbridge pharmacy, the Daily Record reports. Brazen thieves made off with nine different types of drugs from the Mint Pharmacy on Calder Street, Whifflet, in the early hours of Tuesday morning – and cops have warned of the “potentially fatal” risk of taking the medicine without doctors’ advice. Along with morphine and temazepam, the less well known fentanyl, oxycodone, tapentadol, methylphenidate, suboxin, daclatasvir and sofosbuvir were looted by burglars. Police enquiries are ongoing and officers are keen to speak to any witnesses, or people who may have been offered the type of drugs stolen. Older people in need 'let down by NHS' Older people in need of urgent help are being failed by the NHS, a group of English and Welsh health leaders say, the BBC reports. Too many over-65s end up in accident and emergency unnecessarily, says the NHS Confederation's Commission on Improving Urgent Care for Older People. The group said this was because of a lack of help when they fell ill. It called for radical steps, including providing urgent care at home and getting doctors to carry out "ward rounds" in care homes.

Put senior doctors on the door of A&E to reduce needless elderly admissions, say experts

Hospitals should put senior doctors at their front doors to assess whether elderly people really need to be admitted via Accident & Emergency units, The Telegraph reports.

An independent commission says frail pensioners are too often being forced into “continually overcrowded hospitals” which can cause their health to worsen.

The report says senior clinicians should carry out a full assessment of elderly people who arrive at hospitals as emergencies, to determine whether hospital is the best place for them.

Too many pensioners are being needlessly admitted via A&E, for lack of basic care, then left stuck in hospital for weeks, often getting more frail by the day, experts said.