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#GPnews: Regular cervical screening ‘could save hundreds more lives’

15:50 There has been a big story featured across the national media today.

New research, published by Queen Mary University of London, has found that hundreds more cervical cancer patients could potentially be saved if those eligible went for screening. 

Researchers analysed the records of 11,000 women in England who had been diagnosed with cervical cancer – and found that 350 extra lives could be saved if women between 25 to 64 years of age were screened regularly, the BBC reports

The report added that if there was no screening among 50-64 year-olds – then ‘five times more women would die from the condition.’ 

13:05 A new study has made a rather radical claim that ‘GPs are increasing the anguish of cancer patients by depriving them of pain relief.’ 

According to the study, reported in the Guardian, some terminal patients in the UK were ‘often not prescribed powerful opioids such as morphine until nine weeks before their death.’

Lead researcher Dr Lucy Ziegler, from the University of Leeds, said: ‘We have identified for the first time the relatively late onset and short duration of strong opioid treatment in cancer patients prior to death.

‘This pattern of prescribing does not match population data which points to earlier onset of pain. Nine weeks before death is considered late in the course of the cancer trajectory.’

11:20 Former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada has taken to Twitter to embrace the College’s appointment of Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard as the new chair and also congratulated her on claiming the number 1 spot in Pulse Power 50 list. 

Dr Stokes-Lampard responded saying she was ‘inspired by the passion and dedication of her predecessors’. Watch Pulse’s recent interview with the incoming RCGP chair

10:05 And Pulse columnist Dr Pete Deveson has an amusing take on that letter:

9:35: Professor Stephen Hawking is one of a number of prominent people to sign a letter urging for an independent review into the health secretary’s claims that more patients die in hospitals at weekends due to a lack of clinical staff, the Guardian reports.

Mr Hunt has based his seven-day NHS policy on the so-called ‘weekend effect’, and has frequently cited studies which he claims shows that thousands of deaths can be prevented by having more doctors working at weekends. This was the main justification behind his imposition of a contract on junior doctors.

But the letter to the Guardian, which is signed by Professor Robert Winston, Professor Trisha Greenhalgh and Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health among many others, claim the health secretary has caused a ’devastating breakdown of trust between government and the medical profession’ by misrepresenting the evidence.

They say: ’It is wrong to waste precious resources, or lives, because of bad evidence. Like NHS treatments, health policy should be evidence-based to demonstrate clinical and cost-effectiveness.

’Hunt has cherrypicked research, causing a devastating breakdown of trust between government and the medical profession. In making these claims without faithfully representing the evidence, he has obstructed fact and misled parliament and the public.’

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