'Biggest crackdown' on rogue pharmacists

Nine pharmacists who sold drugs illegally have been banned from practice, after a BBC investigation led to the "biggest crackdown" in UK pharmaceutical history, the BBC reports.

In 2012, undercover reporters were sold Valium and opiates without prescription at seven London pharmacies. Now those responsible have been banned for between six months and life.

The BBC's evidence has been submitted to the government by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), which is calling for increased powers.

The GPhC says it has been told by the Home Office that legislative change will follow, giving it the right to use covert surveillance to investigate the sort of abuses documented during the investigation.

Pharmacists to offer free patient assessments to ease pressure on GPs

Pharmacists across Wales will provide new NHS services for people with minor illnesses to ease the pressure in GPs and hospitals, Wales Online reports.

The Choose Pharmacy service will see pharmacists take responsibility for managing a range of minor ailments. 

People will be able to see their pharmacist for free treatment instead of making an appointment to see their GP.

The scheme will help to free up GP time to deal with people with more complex needs.

Up to 18% of GPs’ workload and 8% of emergency department consultations are estimated to relate to minor ailments such as coughs, colds, earache, hay fever, conjunctivitis and head lice.

Pharmacies fight infections

Pharmacies across Forth Valley could become the first port of call for people needing treatment for an uncomplicated urine infection, The Falkirk Herald reports.

From Tuesday, all 76 pharmacies – including the 34 in the Falkirk area – will be able to offer, if appropriate, free antibiotic treatment without the need for a prescription.

On the spot medication will also be available, without prescription, for impetigo – a common skin infection.

The move to make treatments available for these conditions in local pharmacies came after figures for 2014/15 showed that almost 22,000 patients in Forth Valley were prescribed the antibiotic Trimethoprim by a GP for a urine infection.

Middle-aged 'risk unhealthy retirement'

Unhealthy middle-aged people must improve their lifestyles if they want to enjoy a healthy retirement, a new government campaign is warning, the BBC reports.

Public Health England's One You campaign is urging the over 40s to drink less, exercise more, eat better and give up smoking.

It is the first national campaign to specifically target this group.

Currently more than two-fifths of those aged 45 to 64 are living with an illness or disability in England.

NHS wants mothers to donate organs of brain-damaged babies

Pregnant women whose babies are unlikely to survive could be asked to consider carrying them to term so that their organs can be donated, The Times reports.

With more than 7,000 children and adults waiting for transplants and three dying each day the NHS is under pressure to encourage more donations.

One option is to take advantage of new rules that make it significantly easier for doctors to take organs from babies born with severe brain damage or other fatal problems when the parents consent.

Over the past two years 11 babies less than two months old have been organ donors but the NHS hopes to raise this to 100 a year, according to The Mail on Sunday.