Integration can help power patient-focused NHS

Plans to cut bureaucracy across the NHS by encouraging integrated working between primary care, GPs and hospitals have been announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

He told the Health Service Journal’s annual lecture up to 27% of GP appointments could be avoided with more co-ordinated working including wider use of primary care staff and better use of technology.

The new model for a more patient-focused culture in the NHS also includes introducing ‘Ofsted style’ ratings for local healthcare services.

"By being more transparent than ever before about crucial services and freeing up more time for GPs to care, we really can make NHS patients the most powerful in the world,” said Hunt.

Stay Well This Winter campaign backs community pharmacists

Two leading community pharmacists are advising the public about common winter conditions in the Stay Well This Winter campaign.

Leyla Hannbeck and Sanjay Ganvir have been selected to represent the sector following recommendations by Pharmacy Voice.

Hannbeck said: “The public are becoming more aware of the support and services available in community pharmacy, but we must still do all we can to make every contact count this winter.”

The initiative, launched by NHS England and Public Health England, aims to advise the public about the most appropriate places to receive health advice.

Strategic plan lays out challenges ahead

The major challenges facing pharmacy over the next three years have been identified in a strategic plan released by the General Pharmaceutical Council.

The document sets out the regulator’s ambition to play a central role in assisting pharmacy professionals to practice quality and health and wellbeing across England, Scotland and Wales between 2016 and 2019.

According to the report, the key strategic aims are delivering efficient and effective regulatory services, meeting patient needs, using knowledge to promote improvement in pharmacy care and enhancing understanding of issues, risks and opportunities.

Quitting smoking key to stub out poverty

More than 1.4m households with a smoker are living below the poverty line, analysis by Action on Smoking and Health has revealed.

The national data shows that, of the 5 million households in England that include an adult smoker, 27% are below the poverty line, and an estimated 418,000 households could be lifted out of poverty if they quit smoking.

Pharmacy expansion aided by lawyers

Rotamol have pushed forwards with expansion plans after purchasing a south London pharmacy for more than £1m.

Pharmacist Wole Ososami, of dispensing company Rotamol Ltd, engaged Newcastle law firm Clarke Mairs LLP to help seal the deal on Streatham Hill Pharmacy.

The sale marks another success for Tim Clarke, partner at Clarke Mairs, who said the past few months have seen an “influx of pharmacy clients”.

Healthy lifestyles halt dementia

Encouraging patients to lead a healthier lifestyle could delay the onset of dementia, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said.

People should be encouraged to stop smoking, be more physically active, reduce their alcohol consumption, and adopt a healthy diet to help lower the risk of developing dementia, disability and frailty in later life.

The latest guidance from NICE recommends that commissioners, managers and practitioners with public health as part of their remit, working in the public, private and third sector should continue to develop and support population-level initiatives to reduce the risk of dementia, disability and frailty.