Boots UK reveals second-quarter sales rise after Christmas boost

Boots UK has revealed a 1.8% rise in second-quarter retail like-for-likes, but continues to face a “challenging” environment, Retail Week reports.

Boots said the sales increase in the three months to February 29 was driven by a “good performance” over Christmas.

Online sales were helped by strong demand for Boots’ ‘Order & Collect’ service, which boosted its online sales, but did not give a figure. Brands including No7, Soap & Glory and Liz Earle also helped the performance.

Boots’ UK like-for-like pharmacy sales rose 3% in the quarter.

Inverness community outraged at pharmacy appeal decision

Furious councillors have criticised a decision to overturn plans for a brand new pharmacy in an Inverness neighbourhood, The Press and Journal reports.

NHS Highland’s pharmacy practices committee approved the application by Green+ Healthcare Ltd, for the site of a former post office in Laurel Avenue in Dalneigh, in December 2015.

The site was also the subject of a failed bid in 2013.

But rival Lloyds Pharmacy appealed the decision and it was overturned by the NHS National Appeals Panel last week.

The grounds of the appeal were limited to “a procedural defect in the way the application has been considered by the board, failure by the board to properly narrate the facts or reasons upon which their determination of the application was based or a failure to explain the application by the board of the provision of these regulations to those facts.”

Penryn's pharmacies risk closure due to Conservative cuts

Penryn's pharmacies are at risk from Conservative budget cuts according to the man responsible for the everyday running of the town's medical facilities, the Packet reports.

Mark Taylor, the practice business manager at the Penryn Surgery, which runs the town's two pharmacies within the surgery and on Lower Market Street, said services could be reduced and one pharmacy might close as Tory ministers refuse to listen to healthcare providers and the Department of Health looks to find savings.

He told a meeting of Penryn Town Council on Monday that the pharmacies not only bring in a profit which helps to cover the costs of the surgeries, but also create an income for pharmacists - two full-time and one part-time - who themselves provide "a crucial part of primary care”.

Gay men follow HIV prevention regimen, if MDs prescribe it

Gay and bisexual men who take a Truvada pill daily to prevent infection with HIV did better than researchers expected at sticking to their medication schedule, according to a new report, Reuters reports.

But overall, doctors aren’t prescribing the drug to enough of the men who could use it, the study found.

Out of more than 1,000 gay and bisexual men surveyed, only 83, or fewer than one in 10, reported that they use HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

But 42 per cent of those who do use it said they had not skipped a single dose in the previous 90 days, and only 6 per cent had skipped more than two doses per week, the investigators reported at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Washington, DC.

Britons lose their taste for snacks in fight to get fit

Britons are cutting down on crisps and chocolate as health campaigns about the risks of high levels of sugar and salt begin to filter through, The Times reports.

The number of people who ate chocolate as a snack in December fell by nine percentage points from the previous year to 59 per cent.

The number who ate crisps fell by 10 points to 57 per cent, according to a survey by Mintel.

Asthma 'over-diagnosed and trivialised'

Too many children are being incorrectly diagnosed with asthma, with inhalers being dispensed for no good reason and becoming almost "fashion accessories", say two specialists in the illness, the BBC reports.

Prof Andrew Bush and Dr Louise Fleming warn that although steroid inhalers are life-saving when used properly, their side-effects should not be ignored.

And they call for more objective, careful diagnoses.

Meanwhile charity Asthma UK says better tests are urgently needed.

Junior doctors walk out in fourth 48-hour strike, leaving 5,100 procedures postponed

Thousands of junior doctors across England are on strike in a bitter dispute with the Government over a new contract, The Telegraph reports.

More than 5,100 procedures and operations have been postponed as a result of the 48-hour walkout, which began at 8am.

This is the fourth stoppage in the dispute, with almost 25,000 procedures cancelled overall since industrial action began. Junior doctors will provide emergency care only during the strike, which is expected to hit hospitals hard so soon after the Easter break.