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NEWS IN BRIEF: Antibiotics Alarm; Whistleblowing Pharmacist; Brexit; Conflict of Interest; Meningitis Risk


04 Apr 2016

Antibiotics alarm as women shown to be biggest users

Women are nearly 30 per cent more likely to have taken antibiotics than men, research has revealed, as doctors were warned not to be pressured into overprescribing them, The Times reports.

A greater willingness among women to visit the doctor for coughs and colds could explain the “fascinating” difference between the sexes, experts have said.

Antibiotics are routinely prescribed unnecessarily for minor ailments, a trend that is speeding up the rate at which bacteria develop resistance to the drugs, threatening a future in which they stop working.

Whistleblower pharmacist ‘was told she was too honest to work for the NHS’ after raising concerns about safety before being sacked

A leading pharmacist was reportedly told she was too honest to work in the NHS after blowing the whistle over wide-ranging safety concerns, the Daily Mail reports.

Maha Yassaie, formerly the chief pharmacist for Berkshire Primary Care Trust, was sacked after making numerous allegations about prescribing practices and colleagues at the now defunct trust.

During an independent inquiry – which she believed would address the safety issues she raised – she became the target of separate disciplinary action after being branded a ‘bully’ by management.

Brexit would mean less money for the NHS

Letter from Alan Milburn, Patricia Hewitt, Andy Burnham and Alan Johnson in The Guardian.

We are proud to have served as health secretaries in a Labour government that oversaw record investment in our NHS.

At a time of growing challenges – from an ageing population to new treatments to increasing demand for primary care – continued investment is more important than ever, as successive governments have acknowledged.

That continued investment is now under threat. The economic implications of Britain leaving Europe would be felt at the heart of our cherished national institution.

There is a dangerous lie being propagated by those wanting to leave the European Union that they will protect the NHS.

NHS bosses promise crackdown on conflicts of interest following scandals

The NHS promised to crackdown on conflicts of interest as it announced plans to make the health service a “world leader in tackling such issues”, the Independent reports.

The move follows a series of scandals that included staff being paid £500 a day to attend meetings only to be lobbied by industry representatives to use their products in the NHS, and GPs awarding schemes to private companies in which they have financial ties.

Workers involved in drugs purchasing decisions for NHS bodies have also held advisory roles with drugs companies, while a recent review into productivity in the health service found that 65 sales representatives were on one hospital site in England at the same time.

Meningitis risk from prescriptions

Patients given antibiotics are twice as likely to get meningitis over the following year a study has found, The Times reports.

Antibiotics could kill off “good” bacteria that protect against infection, the researchers said, which could be another reason to be cautious about prescribign the drugs.

However, the researchers added that people who suffer from more infections might be more susceptible to meningitis.

The team at King’s College London compared data on 7,300 adults and children who had meningitis with 29,400 otherwise similar patients.


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