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NEWS IN BRIEF: Ruislip Pharmacist; Munro Healthcare; WebMD; Babylon; NHS Targets; Micro-pub; Organ Donations; Pensions


15 Jan 2016

Ruislip pharmacist calls for help from public over NHS cuts

A Ruislip Manor pharmacist is calling for the public to sign a petition to save local pharmacy services, in light of NHS budget cuts, Get West London reports.

Mr Sanjay Doegar, who owns Ruislip Manor Pharmacy, Victoria Road, is worried community pharmacies are under threat as a result of a reduction in the national budget, with further cuts looming in the future.

He said: “As everyone knows, the health service is under considerable strain and, although the government has recognised the important role of pharmacy in alleviating queues at GP surgeries and packed A & E departments, it has decided to shrink our budget by 6%.”

The Department of Health has indicated that many community pharmacies are too close together and it expects some to shut as a result of the funding reductions.

Pharmaceutical suppler Munro Healthcare Group reports lower profits

Wholesale pharmaceutical suppler Munro Healthcare Group has a sharp fall in annual profits despite turnover growing two per cent to £82.5 million, the Daily Record reports.

Munro Healthcare Group, a wholesale supplier of parallel import and generic pharmaceuticals to pharmacies and the NHS, notes in accounts now filed with Companies House, pre-tax profits slipped 32 per cent to £1.45 million, down from £2.14 million the previous year.

Profits were down largely as a result of lower income from associated undertakings, which dipped to £194,140, down from £998,603 in 2014. The group’s main operating subsidiary Strathclyde Pharmaceuticals has reported a 35 per cent increase in annual sales to £51.3 million for the 2015 year to March 31.

WebMD sale appeals to health and media industries

WebMD, the internet’s best known consumer health publisher, is exploring a sale that may attract interest from both the pharmaceuticals and media industries according to people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times reports.

The digital company, which was founded in 1966 to provide and advice about illnesses, has held talks with a number of potential buyers.

Some of these people said bidders might include retail pharmacy chain Walgreens and insurance company United Health.

WebMD said it is “not currently in any negotiations to be acquired” after the Financial Times report.

Babylon start-up wins cash injection for robot doctor app A UK start-up that enables users to consult a doctor via mobile app is set to secure new investment to develop a version powered by artificial intelligence, the Financial Times has reported. Babylon Health said yesterday that it had received $25m in a funding round led by AB Kinnevik, the Swedish investment group. The investment comes as technology groups display increasing ambitions to disrupt the healthcare sector.

NHS still missing many key targets in England

Hospitals in England continue to miss many of their waiting time targets, official figures for November show, the BBC reports.

Ambulances, the 111 phone service and cancer services all missed key targets.

And A&Es only managed to see 91.4% of patients in four hours – the worst performance in November since record-keeping began in 2010.

Meanwhile, the six-week target for diagnostic tests to be done was missed. It is now two years since it was last met.

Former pharmacy to become micro-pub

A Peterborough pub landlord has set his sights on meeting the demand for city centre drinkers – with plans for a micro pub, the Peterborough Telegraph reports.

Tom Beran, who for almost a decade has run the Coalheavers Arms in Park Street, Woodston, has earmarked a vacant former pharmacy on Westgate for the venture to be called The Bimble Inn.

Organ donations vetoed by hundreds of bereaved families

Bereaved families have blocked the donation of organs from 547 UK registered donors since 2010 – about one in seven cases, the BBC reports.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) says it will no longer seek the consent of families formally, to make such “overrides” more exceptional.

Instead, they will be given a leaflet explaining consent – or authorisation in Scotland – rests with the deceased. Families can still veto that consent but must provide reasons in writing.

NHS faces loss of senior staff as £1m pension cap pushes doctors to retire

The NHS is worried that a generation of family doctors, surgeons and other experienced medical professional could be pushed to retired early because the cuts to pension savings limits, the Financial Times reports.

A large number of senior doctors, as well as other high earners across the public sector, are likely to breach the new £1m cap on the amount savers can amass in their pension pots during their working lives without being taxed.

In the last Budget, George Osborne, the chancellor, lowered the cap from £1.25m to £1m.


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