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NEWS IN BRIEF: RPS Responds to AMR Report; Depression Therapy; Cancer Test; Social Prescribing; Jeremy Hunt


15 Feb 2016

RPS responds to AMR report

The latest report from the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) highlights the lack of vaccines and alternative approaches to antibiotics available for doctors to use to tackle many of our most urgent drug resistance threats and calls for more investment into developing these products.

Responding to the report and a call from Jim O’Neill, who is leading the review, for wider use of vaccines and alternative approaches to tackle drug-resistant infections, The Royal Pharmaceutical Society chief scientist professor Jayne Lawrence said: “Jim O’Neill is right to call for alternatives to antibiotics, including vaccines.

“Unlike most other treatments, most vaccines act to prevent or reduce the effects of an infection. Vaccines have been very successful and are responsible for the eradication of smallpox as well as reducing the incidence of polio, measles, flu, chickenpox and typhoid. Most recently vaccines have prevented infections that increase the risk of cervical cancer.

“Furthermore, new types of vaccines are currently being developed to treat, rather than prevent, disease. For example research is underway to develop vaccines to treat people already infected with HIV. As with vaccines used to prevent infection, the goal of a vaccine to treat illness is to stimulate the body’s immune system to destroy the cause of the disease.”

GPs will offer depression therapy in care revolution

A million more people with mental health problems will be treated every year in a “once in a generation” reform of care services promised by David Cameron, The Times reports.

Hundreds of thousands of people with chronic problems including diabetes and back pain will be offered therapy for depression and anxiety in a £1billion pledge to end “the separation of head and body”.

Therapists will be stationed in surgeries as part of efforts to rewire the NHS so that depression psychosis is treated at the same time and place as physical sickness.

New 10 minute test for cancer developed by scientists

A 10 minute cancer test which can be taken at home using just a drop of saliva is being developed by scientists, The Telegraph reports.

David Wong, a professor of oncology at California State University says it is possible to detect tumour DNA when is it circulating in bodily fluids – an approach known as a liquid biopsy.

The saliva test is 100 per cent accurate and is so simple that it could be carried out at a pharmacist, the dentist or even in the privacy of someone’s own home if they were concerned, he said.

Currently scientists can only use blood tests to detect cancer if they have already taken a biopsy and sequenced a tumour, so they know which genetic signature to look for.

Prescription for yoga cuts A&E visits

Prescribing yoga, arts and Xbox fitness classes on the NHS can cut A&E visits by a sixth, according to an analysis of one of the largest such schemes, The Times reports.

Lonely older patients are much happier if GPs send them to knitting, woodwork or local history groups and the NHS could save money because they need less treatment, the study suggests.

Family doctors say they have replaced priests as the first port of call for people with social or financial problems, and non-medical help will free up appointments.

Junior doctors: Jeremy Hunt vote-of-no-confidence petition surpasses 250,000 signatures

A petition calling for a vote of no confidence in Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has passed 250,000 signatures, The Guardian reports.

The minister has come under fire for his decision to “unilaterally” impose a new contract on junior doctors after talks between the British Medical Association and the Department of Health broke down.

Doctors say the new contract – which redefines “anti-social” working hours – is unsafe for patients because it encourages hospitals to ask staff to work longer shifts and will reduce their take home pay.

The petition on the Government’s website reached over 100,000 signatures within 24 hours of its launch and will now have to be considered for debate in Parliament.


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