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#GPnews: Delayed discharge of pensioners will continue for five years, says Stevens

16:15 On a lighter note, in case you missed it, Noel Edmonds has claimed that a ’simple box’ can help stop cancer:

The box uses ’Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy’, it says.

When challenged on his claims, Mr Edmonds told a fellow tweeter that his cancer may have been caused by ’negative energy’.

The company that produces the box, EMPpad, moved quickly to distance itself from the former BBC 1 presenter’s comments, saying: ’Although research using very low frequency and intensity PEMF to help address cancer has produced some promising early results, it is currently in the very early stages and EMPpad does not make the claim that PEMF therapy can prevent cancer.

’The opinions of Mr Noel Edmonds are his alone and do not reflect in any way with the opinions of us at EMPpad. We had no discussion, input or prior knowledge of the content of Mr Edmond’s statement and we do not agree with it in any way, shape or form.’

14:50 The chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has told MPs that the ’crisis’ that has seen pensioners trapped in hospital due to a lack of community-based alternatives will continue for five years.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee was considering a new report from auditors at the National Audit Office which found the number of vulnerable pensioners trapped in NHS hospital beds had risen ’alarmingly’ by a third in the past two years, the Telegraph reports.

Referring disparagingly to the pensioners as ‘bed blockers’, the report said that about two thirds of the delays were caused by the NHS, and one third by social care teams in councils, but the exact combination of the two differed around the country.

Mr Stevens said: ’We are going to be battling some very substantial headwinds over the next two, three, four years.

’So I don’t think we can guarantee the number will be anything like zero over the next three, four or five years because there are real pressures building in social care and those pressures spill over into the NHS.’


12:50 A fascinating debate is happening on our lead story. as our editor Nigel Praities puts it:

10:00The BMA has warned that GPs are ’being put at risk of contract breaches’ due to CCGs’ ‘covert rationing’ of medicines. 

It quotes Pulse’s story that NHS Stockport CCG has advised GPs in the town against prescribing statins at the 10% risk rate for CV disease stipulated by NICE.

It adds: ’In another instance of restricted prescribing, NHS Bristol CCG told GPs in the city last month to avoid issuing drugs and treatments that could be bought by patients over the counter in a bid to save £5.7m a year.’

GPC deputy chair Richard Vautrey said the restrictions sounded like ‘covert rationing’ by health bosses.

He added: ‘This often seems to be a hidden agenda. There’s no openness or transparency with patients from CCGs when it comes to these schemes.

‘They’re pushing these issues on to a confrontation between a patient and a GP.’

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Readers' comments (4)

  • what other options CCG has if it has to balance its books? It will have to be some form of rationing,be it restricting medicines, stopping some services, putting restriction on operation like not funding Hip/Knee operations for patient above certain weight/ BMIl.
    Government is not addressing issue of lack of funding. This is next step towards co-funding/insurance based system.

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  • Although it is a sensible option and also advised by NICE to prescribe the least expensive option when faced with two equally effective medications, the issue is blurred when there is a difference in efficacy between the options.
    Also many CCG`s use Script switch or something similar to help GP`s swith to cost effective option. Unfortunately Pharmaceutical companies play this game better by reducing prices for few months and get practices to switch to their brand and then raise prices later to more than generic and GP`s are expected to pick up the extra work, patients get confused and this affects GP-Patient relationship.
    Also some software are not that accurate and count only the savings but not the losses (eg when the software suggests change to a particular brand which is actually more expensive than generic NHS costs).
    All this is a game play and practices are compared and named and shamed by CCG`s on their script switch adherence!

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  • Some CCGs are asking GPs to not prescribe gluten free products to over 18s. Whilst prescribing them may seem costly it is not right to ask GPs to go against guidance

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  • The main problem is that when GPs restrict medication, according to CCG policy, we are then confronted with angry patients and high street pharmacies who often support our patients' wishes. This only makes it more difficult for GPs. Then when patients call to complain to CCG Pharmacists they are told that each GP is free to prescribe as he or she wishes. So why even play along with CCG Pharmacists?

    Everything is falling apart...hate going to work now..

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