17:30 Finally today, Public health chiefs have released updated guidance on Zika virus – they are warning pregnant women to postpone non-essential travel to Central and South America or the Caribbean.
In the event travel cannot be postponed, GPs should inform pregnant women or those planning pregnancy about the risks Zika may present, give them a leaflet and emphasise use of ‘mosquito bite avoidance measures’.
Male travellers should also be advised to use condoms if their partner is pregnant or at risk of getting pregnant, as some cases of sexual transmission of the virus have been reported – full details available on the Public Health England website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/zika-virus-updated-travel-advice-for-pregnant-women
Dr Dipti Patel, director at the National Travel Health Network and Centre, said: ‘All travellers, especially pregnant women going to an area where there is current Zika virus transmission should ensure they seek travel health advice from their GP or a travel clinic well in advance of their trip.’
In more positive news, Public Health England (PHE) has released encouraging Men B immunisation data – showing that 94% of babies had received their first Men B dose by six months of age, and 85% their second dose, since the introduction of the new jab last September. PHE should these rates are likely to go up when they follow them up again at 12 months of age.
There’s also good news on rotavirus vaccinations, with continued high coverage that PHE says is reflected by ‘the considerable decline’ in laboratory reports of cases since the vaccinations were brought in.
And they are also reporting uptake of the pertussis booster in pregnant women is also up. Interestingly, PHE puts this down to GPs catching women at the same time as they call them in for the flu jab – another reason why the pharmacy flu scheme doesn’t really make sense?
16:30 Care at a practice which had its registration cancelled by the CQC is in ‘disarray’, according to the Leicester Mercury.
The local newspaper has reported that while there are interim doctors at the practice in Wigston with a list of nearly 3,000, patients have had trouble seeing a GP, with no appointments available in the afternoon.
The two doctors at the practice are appealing a decision by the CQC to cancel their registration, with the tribunal set to last four days from 12 April.
16:15 This is something you don’t see every day – NHS England praising GPs. It’s because of the success CCGs are having in reducing the use of antibiotics in primary care. Latest figures from NHS England reveal that 90% of CCGs are meeting their antibiotic prescribing targets, and an NHS England spokesperson told Pulse that this ‘underlines the good work of GPs’.
14:05 Elsewhere, a new app has been launched to help doctors with referrals for patients suspected of having cancer, the BBC reports.
The app comprises a reference guide for doctors, including information on symptoms, signs and images of what to look out for.
The app, which was commissioned to be developed by the Scottish government, can be continually updated when the user is in a wi-fi zone, giving doctors the latest information as quickly as possible.
Scotland’s health secretary Shona Robison said: ‘This app, which has been developed in partnership with health professionals and patients, will make it easier and quicker for doctors, pharmacists and senior nurses to access information on referral for those suspected of having cancer.
‘Improving the number of patients diagnosed at an early stage will reduce premature deaths from cancer and have a positive effect on overall life expectancy. I would therefore urge all relevant health professionals to download and use this free app.’
13:30 We have a bit more from Simon Stevens’ speech to the King’s Fund today.
- GP surgeries are a last minute thought when build housing developments;
- These new healthy towns will have technology enabled primary care right from the get go;
- NHS England will soon set out some of the positives from the ’new models of care’ pilots;
- ’Anyone who wants the status quo is deluding themselves’.
10:25 Our big story this morning is about plans under development from NHS England to extend the list cleansing drive. Under the new plans, patients in the East of England who have not visited their GP for five years will be sent a letter. If they don’t respond to two letters, they get chucked off their practice list.
9:15 The big news today is NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens’ plan for ‘healthy towns’.
Under the plans, ten new towns will be built with ’healthy living’ in mind, according to the BBC.
The new towns will include homes with virtual access to GP services, safe green spaces to play and fast-food-free zones around schools.
The Telegraph claims that health chiefs say they will help developers consider: ’Why are children happy to walk all day round a theme park but often get bored on every-day journeys? Could adventure areas be designed into streets to encourage walking and play?’
The funding will come from councils and private companies, and not the NHS. They are expected to be fully built by 2030, but there are some under development now. The places earmarked to test the schemes include existing villages in the South West, London and the North West and two new developments in Cambridgeshire and Darlington.
Mr Stevens will be speaking at a King’s Fund even this morning, and we will have all the coverage from there.