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At the heart of general practice since 1960

PCTs admit to short-term view

'MRSA threat to babies'

The story

Hundreds of babies in hospital are being hit by the MRSA super-bug, the Sun reports.

The source

The Patients' Association warned that in recent years a number of babies had been infected with MRSA in hospital after carrying out a survey of 30 hospitals with the worst rates of MRSA infection.

Expert view

Professor Barry Cookson, director of the laboratory of health care-associated infections at the Health Protection Agency, said: 'Some hospitals have special care baby

units where MRSA has caused some infections. Babies born prematurely or of low weight often need intravenous lines or to be ventilated, making them more vulnerable.'

'Pain relief in a simple patch'

The story

A patch impregnated with a morphine-like drug could provide relief from chronic pain for millions of patients, the Daily Mail reports.

The source

A new fentanyl patch designed to be smaller and less likely to fall off was recently launched in the UK by manufacturer Janssen-Cilag.

Expert view

Dr Neil Amin, GP in Enfield, north London, and member of Arthritis Action, said: 'Fentanyl patches have been available for some time and the patch technology is getting better all the time. But these are strong opiates and the type of thing that you would expect to be prescribed in a pain management clinic as a last resort.'

'No more open heart surgery'

The story

New keyhole surgery techniques could make open heart surgery a thing of the past, according to the Daily Mail.

The source

A feature in the newspaper's health section reported that a new technique has been developed for replacing a heart valve, involving the insertion of a new valve through an

incision in the patient's leg.

Expert view

Mr Andrew Sosnowski, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, said: 'This kind of surgery is not available in this country and won't be for many years. This is very very early work. There have been no trials. I would never ever try to do it.'

'Super-bug spread in gyms'

The story

A virulent new strain of the MRSA super-bug can spread through gyms and health clubs, warn the Daily Express and the Daily Mail.

The source

During a newspaper interview, a Health Protection Agency researcher said there had been 100 cases of community-acquired MRSA in England and Wales in the past three years and that some infections had been acquired through contact sports such as rugby.

Expert view

Professor Barry Cookson, director of the laboratory of health care-associated infections at the HPA, said: 'The Health Protection Agency is unaware of any link to gyms or health clubs.'

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