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Where does the RCGP stand on PSA tests? Lord knows

Oh what a tangled web the RCGP has woven over PSA testing. GPs were told last month to allow all men aged 45 years or older to request a test, in guidelines that appeared to be endorsed by the college. 

The RCGP logo appeared on the ‘consensus guideline’ from Prostate Cancer UK – alongside those of the Association of Urological Nurses, the British Association of Urological Surgeons and the Primary Care Urology Society – and a representative of the college sat on the forming committee. But after an angry response from GPs to its recommendations, Pulse learned that the RCGP had requested its logo be taken off the new guideline and had removed its endorsement.

After Pulse made enquiries, Prostate Cancer UK said that although the RCGP representative had agreed the wording, the charity had ‘misunderstood the process for gaining this endorsement’.

The RCGP confirmed: ‘The college had a representative on the steering group that developed the consensus statements around prostate cancer, but we have not endorsed the guidelines, as was originally suggested on Prostate Cancer UK’s website. We asked the charity to remove mention of our endorsement and our logo from their website, and it has done so.’ Then the college followed up with a statement from its chair Dr Maureen Baker – rather bizarrely – welcoming the release as ‘helpful in terms of making decisions about who should and shouldn’t be offered PSA tests’ and reducing ‘inconsistency’ between GPs.

She added: ‘What is really needed in the best interests of patients who we suspect have prostate cancer is better access to a more specific and sensitive test than the current PSA’. But where does the college stand on PSA testing currently? Answer: we still have no idea.

PR fail of the month has to go to the Department of Health. Its press officer huffily emailed Pulse saying she was ‘surprised at the tone’ of our news story on the thousand-pound hikes in CQC fees

She pointed out that the 3.2% contract funding uplift this year included additional funding to cover these expenses. Of course she got short shrift from the news team at Pulse, who reminded her that funding only lasted a year and that the regulator had gone against most of the consultation responses that urged a slower introduction of the fee hikes. And wasn’t it the DH that forced the CQC to do this in the first place by withdrawing funding?

The junior doctors’ strike was brightened up by some familiar faces turning up in their green scrubs. Actors from the Green Wing comedy series came along at the start of the 48-hour walkout to support pickets outside Northwick Park Hospital in Middlesex. As Stephen Mangan (who played Swiss anaesthetist Dr Guy Secretan) eloquently put it: ‘They’re trying to bully them and that doesn’t seem right. The majority of the country supports the action of the junior doctors and as this is the hospital where we filmed Green Wing, we thought we would come and support them ourselves.’ Respect.

In a parallel universe, revalidation has become ‘the best thing that could have happened’ to nurses across the UK, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Revalidation started last month for nurses, and the NMC managed to find candidates who enjoyed the process so much they are currently being sedated in a darkened room somewhere (okay, Sick Notes made the last bit up).

Practice nurse Marcela said her reflective discussion was ‘amazing’ and Mark, a midwife, finds that reflection not only benefits his own practice, but also ‘helps me and my colleagues to work as a team’. Can’t you see them doing a chest bump and running down the street together with their arms linked?

Tweet of the month is from Dr Steve Kell: ‘Our letter from NHS England asking us to confirm we were ready to go paperless required a reply by letter.’ #fail


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