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#GPnews: Two-fifths of CCGs trialling physios in GP practices

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16:00 Apparently more GPs are benefiting from enabling patients to book appointments directly with a physiotherapist, instead of having to refer them.

An audit by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy found two-fifths of CCGs are running at least a pilot scheme were physios see patients with problems like back pain at their first contact.

The CSP says it believes this approach can free up as much as 20% to 30% of GPs’ caseload – and save the average practice around £1,000 a month.

It comes as the CSP has launched new guidance for commissioners on how to set up GP physiotherapy posts – with backing from the BMA, RCGP and NHS England.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GPC lead on education, training and workforce said: ‘Physiotherapists have the clinical expertise to assess, diagnose and treat patients with a range of conditions.

‘Musculoskeletal conditions alone are estimated to account for up to a third of GP consultations, so there is a clear opportunity for physiotherapy services to support GPs.

‘At a time of unprecedented patient demand and rising GP workload, this has the potential to reduce pressure and free up capacity in general practice, as well as improve patient access to skilled musculoskeletal services.’

14:05 The first full study into the impact on DNA mutations from cigarette smoke has come up with some ‘devastating’ findings, reports the Guardian.

The international study found that people who smoke a pack a day for a year had 150 more DNA mutations develop in every lung cell, and some 100 in the voice box, compared to a non-smoker. And it wasn’t just the lungs that were affected, but also areas not directly exposed to smoke, such as the bladder, kidney and pancreas.

Study co-author Professor David Phillips, professor of environmental carcinogenesis at King’s College London, said that the study was aimed at ‘running down the root cause of cancers’.

He said: ‘By identifying the root causes, we gain the sort of knowledge we need to think more seriously about cancer prevention.’

Lead researcher Ludmil Alexandrov, theoretical biologist at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico, said anyone who smokes is ‘playing Russian roulette’ with cancer.

He said: ‘You can miss the right genes. But if you smoke you still play the game. It’s a very strong message for people not to start smoking. If you smoke even a little bit you’ll erode the genetic material of most of the cells in your body.’

11:50 Would the current Government tell patients their GPs can’t see them at their every whim? GP Survival chair Dr Susie Bayley does not think so.

09:45 Campaigners are calling for manufacturers of asthma inhalers not to change colour of the preventer and reliever inhalers as the market grows.

Their call comes as a study found that retaining especially the blue colour coding for the reliever inhaler could save lives.

UK Inhaler Group, which carried out the study, surveyed hundreds of health care professionals and thousands of patients for find that this is how the inhaler, which a patient should use during a life-threatening asthma attack, is referred to.

The paper said: ’Consistency of colouring of inhalers should reduce the likelihood of error and may help to reduce the risk of asthma deaths; however, there is currently a lack of standardisation. This study confirms that clinicians are systematically using colours to refer to inhalers in discussions with their patients, and patients do the same.

’Of all the informal colour conventions, the use of blue for inhalers to be used for rapid relief of symptoms is most commonly adhered to and therefore of greatest importance to protect, particularly given the need for accurate use in acute situations.’

Sonia Munde, clinical nurse manager and head of the Asthma UK helpline, said: ’It is so important to have consistent simple health messaging between people with asthma, their carers and healthcare professionals. This is particularly the case during a life-threatening asthma attack when clear coherent instructions can save lives.

’For example, a 999 call operator may tell someone to take a number of puffs from their blue inhaler, while that person is waiting for an ambulance during an asthma attack. And our nurses will often refer to the “blue inhaler” when they are giving advice on Asthma UK’s helpline.

’The research from the UK Inhaler Group supports the fact that colour coding of potentially life-saving reliever therapy is an important safety feature.’