GPs put the brakes on receiving new patients

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that at least 100 GP surgeries in England stopped receiving new patients during 2014/15.

This means that there are now almost 300 surgeries in England that are not taking on any new patients.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has said that many are at “breaking point” as they do not have enough staff to deal with demand.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “This news is very worrying for patients, who we know are already struggling to access primary care services."

Local pharmacy could take centre stage

Community Pharmacy Scotland recently launched a Manifesto on behalf of members to highlight how community pharmacy can continue to evolve, The Scotsman reports.

There were three overarching areas and with the first area titled Pharmacy First.

The term “Pharmacy First” is coined for the public to consider making their local community pharmacy the first port of call for access to NHS services.

Islanders pointed to pharmacy

Health and care services on the Island are facing significant New Year pressures and challenges according to the NHS, mainly due to bed capacity at St Mary’s hospital and in the community, the Island Echo has reported.

The Trust is continuing to work with the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the local authority’s social service teams and the Island’s nursing and residential care homes to ensure those ready to leave hospital can be found appropriate placements.

There are currently a number of individuals who are medically fit but who can’t move out of the hospital for a number of reasons.

Islanders are being asked to use health services when appropriate and to consider whether they need to go to hospital, the doctors or whether a local pharmacist may be able to assist.

Cross-party review 'needed for health and care'

A cross-party commission should be set up to review the future of the NHS and social care in England, the BBC has reported.

Ex-health secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn and Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb say without radical change, the future looks bleak.

Mr Lamb will raise the issue in Parliament on Wednesday, warning that the systems could crash without action.

He said even the promises of extra money for the NHS were not enough.

Northern Ireland resist abortion act

Northern Ireland’s first female leader vowed to prevent the Abortion Act 1967 being extended to the region, setting up a legal clash between politicians and pro-choice campaigners in the courts, the Guardian has reported.

Arlene Foster, who will take over from Peter Robinson as first minister on Monday, told the Guardian she intends to maintain the Democratic Unionist party’s opposition to any reform of the province’s notoriously strict abortion laws.

After being elected DUP leader unopposed, Foster told the Guardian: “I would not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England and don’t support the extension of the 1967 act.”

NHS overspend reaches £1.6bn

Overspending by NHS trusts in England has risen to £1.6bn this year as concerns about financial problems grow, the BBC has reported.

The official figures for April to September mark the half-way mark of the 2015-16 financial year - and mean the deficit has grown from the £930m posted in the first three months.

Regulators have described the problems as the "worst for a generation".

The figures cover 241 trusts running hospital, mental health, ambulance and some community services.

Diabetics could face an injection-free future

Diabetics could soon have an alternative to insulin injections after scientists say they have discovered a way to treat sufferers using a treatment made from their own skin, The Telegraph has reported.

Scientists have found how to transform normal human skin cells into insulin-producing pancreatic cells in a move that could eventually improve treatment for diabetes patients.

They developed cells to produce insulin in response to changes in glucose levels and, when transplanted into mice, found they successfully protected the animals from developing diabetes.