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NEWS IN BRIEF: Life-saving Pharmacist; Armed Robber; Private Care; Cancer Drug; GP Closures; Addiction


03 Mar 2016

‘You saved our lives’: Bideford family thanks pharmacist who spotted gas poisoning

A Bideford family-of-four has praised a pharmacist who “saved their lives” after an undetected gas leak left them seriously ill for almost six weeks, the North Devon Journal reports.

Mark White, lives with this partner Sarah Evans and two children, a one-year-old son and a four-year son at Redrow’s College Park in Bideford, and moved into the property mid-December last year.

Mark said it was not long after the big move, his whole family started to feel unwell, and if a pharmacist at Bideford’s ASDA had not correctly diagnosed the symptoms, they could have died.

Armed robber holds manager of Stockport pharmacy at knifepoint

A pharmacy manager was threatened with a knife as money and drugs were stolen in an armed robbery in Stockport, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The robber swooped at Lloyds Pharmacy, on Bloom Street, Edgeley , on Friday at around 11.50am. He was holding a kitchen knife and demanded that cash from the till was handed over.

He also wanted the safe opening but was foiled by a delay from the security timer.

The frightened manager handed over £40 and the robber also grabbed some loose change and diazepam before escaping from the store.

NHS expands private care to plug £20bn hole

Doctors from King’s College Hospital visited Dubai last month in the latest stop on a world tour to show off their skills at treating liver disease, the Financial Times reports.

The south London hospital is owned and run by the state. But amid a £2obn funding hole in Britain’s National Health Service, it is one of several hospitals that are boosting their private practices.

King’s is looking for money overseas and at home. It sells treatments for cirrhosis, diabetes and other liver conditions in the Middle East, and it is expanding private wards at its Denmark Hill site.

But the growth of private wards, as NHS waiting lists stretch even longer, has set off a debate about the health service’s priorities.

Cancer halted by combination drug

Thousands of women with advanced breast cancer could live longer after a “game-changing” combination therapy stopped tumours in their tracks, The Times reports.

A new drug alongside an existing hormone therapy halted tumour growth for nine months in women with the most common type of breast cancer, twice as long as when hormones were used alone, according to an international trial.

Scientists have called on the NHS to fund the drug, which is likely to be approved this year.

Almost 300 GP surgeries in England could close due to finances – poll

Almost 300 GP surgeries in England face closure because of financial pressures and nearly half have doctors planning to leave the NHS, according to a BMA survey, The Guardian reports.

The poll, which received responses from about a third of all surgeries, paints a bleak picture of the prospects for general practice with just one in 20 reporting that its finances were in a strong state.

If the 294 practices out of the 2,830 that said they were financially “unsustainable” is representative of the situation nationally, it could mean some 800 under threat in total.

What the five most addictive substances on the planet do to your brain

What are the most addictive drugs? This question seems simple, but the answer depends on whom you ask, the Independent reports.

From the points of view different researchers, the potential for a drug to be addictive can be judged in terms of the harm it causes, the street value of the drug, the extent to which the drug activates the brain’s dopamine system, how pleasurable people report the drug to be, the degree to which the drug causes withdrawal symptoms, and how easily a person trying the drug will become hooked.

There are other facets to measuring the addictive potential of a drug, too, and there are even researchers who argue that no drug is always addictive.

Given the varied view of researchers, then, one way of ranking addictive drugs is to ask expert panels.


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