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#GPnews: Pressure group raises £70,000 for fight to release local NHS plans

16:35 Scotland saw the largest number of drug deaths ever recorded last year, reports the BBC.

A total of 706 people died because of drug abuse in 2015, a 15% increase on 2014.

A report by the National Records of Scotland said Scottish drug deaths have risen steadily since 1995, when 426 people died.

It highlighted that two thirds of deaths were among older (over 35) users, while deaths among young people fell from 47 to 30 between 2014 and 2015.

Almost half of deaths were down to heroin and morphine while former legal highs potentially contributed to 74 deaths. A majority (69%) of drug death victims were male and 31% were in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area.

15:25 An increased number of youngsters are contacting a helpline with exam-related anxiety, NSPCC has said.

The children’s charity said its support service ChildLine saw a 20% rise in consultations related to exam stress last year, compared to a 9% increase in consultations on the whole.

NSPCC said the stresses related to exams, including not wanting to disappoint parents, ‘can affect young people’s ability to sleep, trigger anxiety attacks, depression and tearfulness, and eating disorders’, while in some cases it can even lead to ‘self-harm and suicidal feelings’.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: ‘Young people can feel stressed and anxious during exam season which is reflected in the increase in counselling sessions delivered by ChildLine at this time of year.

‘Young people may feel worried or be panicking about revision and exam results but we want to let them know that ChildLine is here to listen however they choose to get in touch. ChildLine also has advice for parents and carers to help ease young people’s exam stress and anxieties during the revision period.’

14.00 The Royal College of Surgeons has called for the Government to use Brexit negotiations to close a a loophole which means NHS cannot test doctors recruited from the EU on their understanding of medical terms, reports the Daily Mail.

It quotes Professor Nigel Hunt, from the college’s faculty of dental surgery, as saying: ‘EU law makes it impossible to insist applicants demonstrate their English skills in a clinical setting … this could be putting patients at risk.’

The college said it has found out, via an FOI request to the GMC, that 29 doctors from Europe faced allegations of inadequate English during 2014 and 2015, compared to just ten from further afield (despite there being twice as many overseas doctors as EU doctors in the NHS). 

The GMC said it wants more powers to test language skills but the Department of Health argued that ‘these cases represent just 0.002 per cent of NHS staff’.

11:45 Pressure group 38 Degrees has raised almost £70,000 for a ‘fighting fund’ aimed to ‘stop Jeremy Hunt’s secret plans to cut local NHS services’.

But it said that ‘to pull off the biggest NHS campaign ever, we need to raise more money’, with a target set at £80,000.

The campaign group, which has also secured almost 240,000 signatures in support of the campaign, said this would ‘pay for investigations, billboards, adverts and leaflets to expose these plans for our NHS’.

It comes as Pulse revealed last week that most grassroots GPs have been excluded in the first six months of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) planning process.

But NHS England responded to Pulse with a statement that said it would not approve plans unless they showed local GPs had their say.

Pulse would also like to see the draft plans, shared with NHS England in June by STP leaders including CCGs, hospital trusts and local authorities, but based on some high-level-management-speak excerpts that have been shared so far, we’re not too sure they’re worth £70,000…

10:49 Dr Hamed Khan, A&E GP and lecturer at St George’s, University of London, was on Sky News this morning talking about the importance of the meningitis jab.

He said: ‘Meningitis W is on the march. Incidents are rising exponentially and what is particularly worrying is that the incidents in the population of university age are higher than in the general population.

‘25% of all the university-age population carry this strain unknowingly. When they reach university they are more likely to live in enclosed spaces and meet new people more frequently as they are socialising much more.

‘Along with the incidents rising exponentially as we are seeing, this creates a two-pronged problem.’

09:40 Public Health England is urging students who are off to college or university to get vaccinated against meningitis and septicaemia.

PHE said young people should see their GP before starting their courses to have their jab protecting against MenA, MenC, MenW and MenY.

PHE said: ‘Young people going on to university or college are particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia because they mix with so many other students, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the bacteria. But anyone in this age group is strongly advised to get the vaccination – whether starting college or not.

It said GPs will be writing to the following groups ‘to encourage them to get vaccinated at their surgery as soon as possible’:

  • all 17 and 18 year olds (school year 13; born between 1/9/1997 to 31/08/1998);
  • 19-year-olds who missed getting vaccinated last year (anyone born between 1/9/1996 to 31/08/1997).

PHE is also advising anyone up to the age of 25 who is going to university to get the vaccination.

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