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Paramedics get prescribing powers, diabetes incidence up by 60% and e-cigarette use increasing among teens

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

Paramedics could be given prescribing powers and be used to ‘stand in for GPs’ after just 16 weeks of training, the Daily Mail reports.

NHS proposals would see 780 paramedics encouraged to qualify as ‘independent prescribers’ via a four month course at universities and colleges around the country, writes the paper.

It says paramedics could also be used to conduct routine appointments, though Suzanne Rastrick, chief allied health professions officer at NHS England, said this is not part of the consultation into independent prescribing.

Some 3.3 million people in the UK have a form of diabetes, an increase of 60% in last decade, according to charity Diabetes UK.

The BBC reports that 90% of these cases are incidences of type 2 diabetes, which is closely related to diet and exercise. North west London GP Dr Joan St John, who practices in one of the regions with the highest incidence of diabetes, said ‘not a week goes by that you don’t make a new diagnosis’.

Dr Martin McShane, NHS England’s long-term conditions director, said: ‘These figures are a stark warning and reveal the increasing cost of diabetes.’

Finally, fears that e-cigarettes could be acting as a ‘gateway’ for children to take up smoking appear to be unfounded, with the Guardian reporting that tobacco smoking levels among 11 to 15 year olds are at all-time lows.

This comes despite an Action on Smoking and Health survey warning that the number of youths trying e-cigarettes is on the rise in the past two years, with a 6% increase in the number of 11 to 18 year olds who had used one.

Readers' comments (4)

  • I wish I had gone for Paramedic qualifications, instead of spending 13 years of my life at the university. Talk less of those nights walking on the corridors literally cramming pharmacology.

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  • My dear friends
    All this has come about because for years and years we have not fought to make General Practice a job that good young Doctors would want to do
    We have taken the money and obeyed every stupid diktat from the politicians, forgetting our sacred duty to our patients and future collegues
    We allowed nurses to do our work accepted the demeaning QOF's abandoned our patients at night when they need us most
    But most of all abandoned the true Doctor patient relationship ( no OOH's diabetic clinics COPD clinics etc run by nurses )
    We have behaved terribly and dishonourably
    General practice RIP

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  • From a nurse to a GP I am so very very sorry you feel this way. The health care world we now live in requires that we work together in true multi disciplinary teams. There are many aspects of care that a second tier practitioner - nurse practitioner, physician assistant, paramedic, pharmacist, physiotherapist can provide to relieve the growing burden of providing care to an increasingly complex population. We are here to help and support you and share the workload.

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  • 60% increase in workload on Diabetes alone, with a fall in pay of 25%. Are we not mugs!!

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