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Two hour blood test to cut GP prescribing, ending small pharmacy support could overload practices, and foodbank users risk nutritional problems

A portable blood test, currently in development, could help GPs in cutting their antibiotic prescribing by returning results on whether a patient’s infection is bacterial or viral within just two hours, the BBC reports.

The test, currently only at the laboratory stage but described in Plos One, accurately predicted the type of infection in the majority of cases after analysing blood samples from more than 300 patients.

Prof Jonathan Ball, a virologist at Nottingham University, told the BBC: ‘The work addresses a really serious problem… this will allow informed clinical intervention and minimise the need for inappropriate use of antibiotics, for example with someone infected by a virus.’

The Guardian reports that GP surgeries and A&Es across the country could be overloaded as the Government rolls up the ‘essential small pharmacy’ scheme which topped up the income of otherwise unviable small pharmacists.

Similar to the general practice MPIG, the Guardian reports that 100 small pharmacists across the country are having their funding withdrawn and fear the demand will spill on to struggling practice.

Graham Phillips, director of one of the affected pharmacists wrote: ‘The majority of owners, like me, are still stuck in negotiations with local area teams. We have no clarity on future funding. Our patients and staff are angry, anxious and confused.’

And finally, food bank users could be at risk of developing nutritional problems an expert has warned, after finding some groups who had been reliant on the emergency food handouts for 12 weeks.

The Independent reports Mel Wakeman, a Birmingham City University said: ‘We found that it’s very much processed food being donated, with little fresh produce… We’re not criticising what food banks are doing and, of course, only food that is safe to eat should be available, which limits the handling of perishable food.’

Food bank usage grew in the UK after the financial crisis, and has surged under the Coalition’s austerity measures with more than a million people receiving support in 2013/14.


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