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#GPnews: Britain is healthier in the EU, Gerada campaign argues

17:02 And to set us up nicely for the weekend, NICE’s comms team has tweeted that you don’t need to be a health professional to spot a person living in a cold home.

The tweet read: ’You don’t have to be a health specialist, heating engineers can help spot people in cold homes who may need help.’

The callout to boiler plumbers everywhere (?) comes after NHS England recently commissioned fire services to do health visits.

16:22 A group of GP practices that merged in order to remain financially viable is now having to ask patients to travel to other branch surgeries during certain times of the week.

The Plaza Surgery, Cornwallis Surgery, Little Ridge Surgery, Essenden Road Surgery and Shankill Surgery recently combined under health care provider IMH in a bid to ‘deliver sustainable’ services, writes the Hastings Observer, but will now close for several half days at three of the branches, affecting some 10,000 patients.

Dr David Jones, a GP at the Cornwallis Surgery, told the paper: ’We recognise that our surgeries play a key role in the local community and combining our clinical expertise and resources sites means that local services for our patients are protected for the future.’

14:25 A high-profile group including medics, academics and politicians have launched a campaign to keep Britain in the EU for the sake of the health of the nation.

The Healthier IN campaign board includes former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada alongside Royal College of Psychiatrists president Sir Simon Wessely, past-president of the Royal College of Physicians Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, former health minister John Bowis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine professor of public health and primary care Sir Andy Haines and Lancet editor Richard Horton.

The group’s message is that the EU allows the UK to pool resources to tackle important public health issues such as air pollution, tobacco and chemicals and to boost health innovations via medicine approvals and research networks.

Its launch statement said: ’Health threats ignore borders, so we need to build international teams to match. Health innovation is best done at scale, so we need international teams to deliver. The EU is the right framework for meeting these challenges. Finally, our freedom of movement arrangement with the EU enables us to have the best mix of highly specialised skills, boosts our research capacity and helps to make our health service one of the most efficient in the world.

‘The EU is working. Staying in makes us stronger as a nation and healthier individually.’

12:30 The Labour Party’s shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has said her first priority, if she took power tomorrow, would be to get back to the negotiating table with junior doctors.

Speaking at the Nuffield Trust Health Policy Summit this morning, she said health secretary Jeremy Hunt ’was wrong to impose the contract’ which led to ‘plummeting morale’ and threatens an ‘exodus to the southern hemisphere’.

She added that the Government ‘must find a way’ to return to the negotiating table. But it comes as Mr Hunt defended his decision to impose the contract yesterday, as he said he would not be ‘held to ransom’ by doctors over his seven-day access agenda.

Outlining other key health policies of the new Labour Party front bench, Ms Alexander said it would focus on increasing funding for the NHS and remove the obligation on NHS commissioners to put all contracts out to competition.

09:35 Pulse’s top story today focuses on an NHS England initiative to train GPs to coach colleagues to be more resilient.

The coaching will focus on finding a better work/life balance, problem solving, conflict management and recognising signs of stress and burnout.

09:25 British scientists may be a step closer to treating or even curing cancer, reports the Times and other papers.

Researchers from University College London have potentially found the “Achilles’ heel” of cancer tumours, they say, although human trials have yet to begin.

The paper published in the journal Science said individualised cancer treatments could focus on mobilising the immune system to fight tumours.

Charles Swanton, from the UCL Cancer Institute, said: ’I will be disappointed if we haven’t treated a patient [in a trial] within two years.’

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