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NEWS IN BRIEF: Pharma Firms; Fear for Future; Damien Hirst; Middle-class drinkers; £2.3bn Deficit; Never Events


18 Feb 2016

Third of panel overseeing NHS drugs procurement being paid by pharmaceutical firms

More than one in three members of the government panel overseeing the NHS’s procurement of medicines across Britain has been carrying out paid work for drugs companies, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Ten senior officials in the Department of Health’s (DH) Pharmaceutical Mar­ket Support Group (PMSG) are acting as consultants to pharmaceutical firms alongside their role on the panel.

Individual members have been flown to locations such as Vienna and Munich.

One, an assistant director at Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group in south Lon­don, received money to take part in 23 ad­visory board meetings in the last year.

Save our pharmacies! Epsom and Ewell pharmacists fear for future over proposed funding cuts

Save your local pharmacy – that is the message from a group of pharmacists worried about their futures after funding cuts were announced, Your Local Guardian reports.

Pharmacists in Epsom and Ewell could lose up to £30,000 a year each, equivalent to a member of staff’s wages, and fear losing staff would impair their ability to function effectively.

They are calling on their customers to write to MP Chris Grayling about the importance of community pharmacies.

The owners of Horton Pharmacy, Miles Pharmacy and Ricky’s Ewell Spring Pharmacy are worried about their futures after health minister Alistair Burt announced cuts to funding.

Take a Sneak Peek Inside Damien Hirst’s New London Restaurant, Pharmacy 2

Damien Hirst is back in the restaurant business—sort of, artnet news reports.

Pharmacy 2, which is located in the artist’s £25 million ($38 million) London museum, is officially taking reservations ahead of its opening on February 23.

This time the artist has collaborated with British chef Mark Hix.

The restaurant’s decor is strongly influenced by Hirst’s artistic aesthetic, albeit in a far more ostentatious and in-your-face manner compared to Hirst’s first foray into gastronomy.

Between 1998 and 2003 he was a co-owner of the Notting Hill eatery, Pharmacy.

Healthier eating saves middle-class drinkers 

If you are a slim member of the non-smoking middle classes who enjoys a bottle of wine over a healthy meal, there is good news, The Times reports.

The affluent can get away with drinking too much because they are less likely to have other bad habits that amplify the dangers of alcohol, the first study of its kind concludes.

While the rich tend to drink more than the poor, scientists have long been puzzled as to why they do not seem to be made as ill by the same amount of alcohol.

Now researchers have the answer: poorer drinkers are more likely to get sick because they also tend to be overweight smokers who do not eat their greens, magnifying their risks.

Health service on course for £2.3bn deficit, warns King’s Fund

The bleak picture in the think-tank’s report – based on responses from more than 80 trusts – comes as NHS bodies impose stringent financial controls in an attempt to reduce the deficit to £1.8bn, the Financial Times reports.

The health department has never overspent its budget.

If it were to do so this year – exceeding the sum allocated by a parliamentary vote – it would have serious consequences, including triggering a National Audit Office inquiry and a hearing by the public accounts committee.

The department would probably have to repay the overspend.

NHS ‘never events’ a disgrace, says Patients Association

More than 1,000 NHS patients in England in the past four years have suffered from medical mistakes so serious they should never happen, according to analysis by the Press Association, the BBC reports.

The so-called never events included the case of a man who had a whole testicle removed rather than just a cyst.

In another, a woman’s fallopian tubes were taken out instead of her appendix.

NHS England insisted such events were rare, but the Patients Association said they were a “disgrace”.

Other “never events” included the wrong legs, eyes or knees being operated on and hundreds of cases of foreign objects such as scalpels being left inside bodies after operations.


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