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#GPnews: Pleas to protect NHS funding of cancer drugs

16:12 Fifteen major charities have written to Prime Minister David Cameron to plead with him not to scrap the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Changes coming into force in July means only NICE-recommended drugs will receive NHS funding, writes the Telegraph.

But, according to cancer charities, the plans amount to a return to wholesale rationing, with an estimated 20,000 patient a year expected to lose access to treatment.

Their letter suggests NICE’s methodology is dated and does not lead to approval of enough cancer drugs.

It says: ’At this late stage, we urge you to intervene and commit to a review of the outdated mechanisms used to assess cancer medicines.’

14:30 Elsewhere today, it has been revealed that more than half of those seeking a diagnosis for dementia have delayed going to see their GP by at least a year, a charity has said. 

A survey of 2,000 adults carried out by the Alzheimer’s Society found that nearly two thirds of people feared that a diagnosis would mean that ‘their life was over’, while almost half said that they would have to stop driving because of the condition, the BBC reports

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Too many people are in the dark about dementia as many feel that a dementia diagnosis means someone is immediately incapable of living a normal life, while myths and misunderstandings continue to contribute to the stigma and isolation that many people will feel.’

’There’s no question’ that a diagnosis will have a  ‘profound and devastating impact on people, their family and friends’, however early diagnosis will enable the patient to live ‘as well as possible.’

12:39 Private clinics will be restocked with the Meningitis B jab from June, following a global shortage, reports the Guardian.

GlaxoSmithKline said the constraints that impacted UK supply during the first half of this year ‘have now eased’ and that it has ‘advised private clinics that they can start new courses of vaccination for patients’ from ‘the beginning of June’.

A spokesperson said: ’We are aware that many private clinics have waiting lists for parents who wish to have their child vaccinated against meningitis B. Over the coming months, we will work closely with these clinics to ensure that they have sufficient supply to meet current demand.’

The shortage has hampered private clinics at the same time as the Government rejected a public petition, signed by over 800,000, to extend MenB vaccinations to older children.

Since last year, the MenB vaccine is offered to infants at two month, with further doses at four and 12 months, but high-profile cases of older children suffering from the disease sparked the call for eligibility to be expanded to older age groups.

10:35 Junior doctors are ’a generation of leaders’, hundreds of delegates at the annual junior doctors’ conference, organised by the BMA, heard on the weekend.

As BMA News reports, junior doctors committee chair Dr Johann Malawana said the ‘unity’ created among doctors of different specialties over the junior doctor contract dispute should be ‘celebrated’.

He said: ’There is much on which we and the government differ, but we can surely agree on this: That this generation of junior doctors doesn’t do apathy, it doesn’t shrug its shoulders, it doesn’t fall into the corrosive trap of giving up.

’This generation has proved beyond doubt that it will go to extraordinary lengths to protect and improve the care of patients. And that is something for us all to celebrate.’

Referring to the restarted negotiations over the contract, which have been extended until Wednesday, Dr Malawana said: ’Now that we’re talking, let’s keep talking.

’The government will find they’re talking to leaders… there are leaders on every ward in every hospital in the country. And they’re called junior doctors.’

09:40 Our top story this morning reveals that the NHS pensions authority has had to apologise to retiring GPs – as they had to wait around six weeks for their first award.

The reason? More GPs are retiring early and the NHS is struggling with a backlog.

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