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Pulse weekly: Was the ‘three-week cough’ campaign a success?

Must-read articles this week

Was the ‘three-week cough’ campaign a success?

When the Government launched a high-profile lung cancer awareness campaign in May 2012 urging patients with a cough for more than three weeks to visit their GP, it prompted immediate concern that practices would be swamped with the worried well (and even prompted Copperfield to start a campaign against campaigns). This week, it emerged that those fears may have been at least partially justified.

First, the good news. Figures published by Cancer Research UK show that the campaign resulted in an extra 700 lung cancer diagnoses. Some 400 of those were picked up at an early stage – a clear success story that was covered widely in the national media.

But further figures obtained exclusively by Pulse reveal that during the two-month campaign alone there were an additional 200,000 GP attendances for persistent cough in the over-50s and the overall impact is likely to have been even greater. As public health chiefs plan further awareness campaigns for next year, GP leaders have warned the profession’s capacity to absorb additional attendances is ‘not unlimited’. Let us know what you think here.

Other big news stories this week include a U-turn on support for burnt out GPs, pension scheme errors which have hit hundreds of GPs and GPs being asked to ‘proactively’ visit vulnerable patients over the winter.

Quote Of The Week

‘To not be available for the core hours especially in winter is not acceptable’


Dr David Geddes on why NHS England is insisting practices remain fully open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

If you’re still trying to get to grips with what the 2014 contract changes mean for your practice, make sure you’ve read our full guide to everything that’s coming your way. You can now also use an interactive version of what is quite possibly the most complicated infographic Pulse has ever published to see how the money is moving around the system.

New CPD modules on Pulse Learning cover prostate cancer, challenges in dermatology and how to introduce a new GP to your partnership, while elsewhere on the site we have five tips for planning premises development and a medical accountant’s guide to tax-efficient ways to reward your staff at Christmas.

And finally, while the debate over cancer awareness campaigns rages on, it is ‘awareness days’ which are the subject of Peverley’s latest column, as he lifts the lid on World Toilet Day and celebrates other arcane gems such as International Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Awareness Day and, er, Rare Disease Day. A must-read…

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