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Cancer pain undertreated, diabetes standards not being met and another warfarin alternative is approved

Pain in advanced cancer is being undertreated, according to NICE. The watchdog said GPs should be making more of morphine and other opoids to control pain in palliative care, the BBC reports.

It said says there have been ‘misinterpretations and misunderstanding’ over the use of strong opioids for decades, which has resulted in “under-dosing and avoidable pain, or overdosing and distressing adverse effects”.

Mike Bennett, St Gemma’s professor of palliative medicine at the University of Leeds, wrote in the BMJ: ‘Almost half of patients with advanced cancer are under-treated for their pain, largely because clinicians are reluctant to use strong opioids.’

In further criticism of patient care, the National Audit Office has warned that standards for diabetes care are not being met, 11 years after they were set.

The report suggests that only half of patients are getting the nine basic services, such as cholesterol and blood pressure monitoring, eye screening and foot examinations, the BBC reports.

The NHS was spending three times more on diabetes than ministers had estimated, the NAO found.

Aymas Morse, head of the NAO, said that without action, the expected rise in diabetes would have a ‘major impact on NHS resources’.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that another alternative to warfarin has been approved for use on the NHS by NICE. The anticoagulant rivaroxaban has been given the go-ahead for the prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation.

Trudie Lobban, chief executive and founder of the Atrial Fibrillation Association, said: ‘Today’s recommendation is welcome news for thousands who struggle with existing treatment.’