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#GPnews: Pharmacists 'treating record numbers hurt by aggressive seagulls'

16:40 The RCGP has issued a warning to patients not to buy Viagra, generic name sildenafil, online but to seek out advice from their GP. This was prompted by an increase in sildenafil prescriptions in recent years which sloped off more recently.

RCGP chair Professor Helen-Stokes Lampard said: 'It’s interesting to note that the increase in prescriptions has slowed down over the last year – which could indicate that Viagra or its alternatives are becoming more widely and readily available off-prescription, including online. 

'Buying medication online might seem convenient – and it might be attractive to patients who are embarrassed to discuss medical problems with their doctor in person – but it isn’t without risk, particularly if people are using websites that haven’t been verified by the GMC and CQC.

'Firstly, there is no way for someone to know what they are buying is what they think it is, and this in itself can have profound consequences. But, even if the sildenafil is genuine, it is a powerful drug, which if taken inappropriately can have serious side-effects. There are a number of medical reasons why the drug would not be prescribed – for example, if a patient has a heart or liver problem, or if they have low blood pressure.

'GPs follow strict guidelines when prescribing generic sildenafil – and they will only issue an NHS prescription if there is one of a list of specific medical reasons to do so, but we do also issue private prescriptions if the condition does not meet the criteria for NHS treatment, or for branded sildenafil such as Viagra, if this is the patient’s preference. It is also worth noting that erectile dysfunction is not the only medical condition that sildenafil can be used to treat. 

'GPs and other prescribers in the community are highly trained to take into account physical, psychological and social factors when treating a patient, and will only prescribe drugs if it suits the unique health needs of the person sitting in front of them. They will also be able to ensure that the drugs work safely in combination with other medications that the patient may be using. Unverified websites won’t be as discerning.'

11:37 Patients in Cornwall have been flocking to pharmacists for help as attacks by aggressive seagulls have soared, Pulse's sister title the Pharmacist reports today.

Claire Field, community pharmacist at Carbis Bay, close to St Ives, said the injuries can be severe: ‘We have even seen adults and young children with cuts around and inside their mouths as well as their hands where sneaky seagulls have swooped down to take their food.’

At Ms Field’s Leddra pharmacy alone, they see one to two people per week with a seagull injury, but she warned that there are likely many more affected.

‘The reality is that there are probably more people who have been attacked by them but have decided to treat the wounds themselves rather than seek the advice of a pharmacist,’ she said.

NHS Kernow CCG advised patients who may have been attacked by seagulls to seek out pharmacist advice in the first instance.

It said in a bulletin: 'You don’t need to see your GP as pharmacists can advise on the best treatment and medication you can buy over the counter.'

09:40 Thousands of follow-up letters for GPs from hospital consultants were never sent by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, reports the BBC.

It says 22,000 letters about patient care, from 2011 to 2017, were never posted to practices. The Trust has launched a review into the processing issue, with adversely affected patients due to be contacted.

Trust chief executive Michelle McKay said: 'We regret that this means some patients may not have received the follow-up care they should have.

'We are working closely with our primary care colleagues and partner health organisations to urgently review the individual cases of these patients and to ensure, where appropriate, patients receive the necessary follow-up care quickly.'

Seen something interesting? Email newsdesk@pulsetoday.co.uk or tweet @pulsetoday with the hashtag #GPnews

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