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Archive for May, 2009

NHS told to tighten data security by watchdog

The information commissioner has told the NHS to improve its data security, after breaches involving the loss of thousands of personal medical records. The losses were described as a cause of “great concern”. The independent data security watchdog says it has taken action against 14 NHS organisations in the last six months. Among the data […]

Swine flu vaccine supplies secured and costed.

Fresh hope of protection against the H1N1 flu outbreak emerged when the labour government said it had signed a £450m agreement to reserve scarce manufacturing capacity for 90m doses of vaccine by the end of the year. The contract, which individuals close to the talks estimated to be worth about £5 a dose, may spark […]

Swine flu: Government signs up for 90 million doses of vaccine

Labour Ministers have signed agreements to secure up to 90 million doses of swine flu vaccine despite the fact that a pandemic has not yet been declared. The deals with pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Baxter will secure “early supplies” of a vaccine for the newly identified H1N1 strain. Enough “pre-pandemic” vaccine has been ordered […]

NHS swine flu absence may reach 85%

The NHS may struggle to cope if there is a flu pandemic because of the number of staff who will fail to turn up for work, a report suggests. Birmingham University researchers quizzed more than 1,000 health workers and found as many as 85% may be absent. This is more than double the official predictions […]

Private companies increase GP presence

The private sector has established a small but significant bridgehead in general practice in England, but any “corporate takeover” of family doctor surgeries remains a long way off. Primary care trusts have been commissioning some 260 “GP-led health centres”, or “polyclinics”, open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week – one in each primary care […]

MPs criticise NHS in England for forcing patients to spend their last days in uncaring hospital surroundings

Elderly patients in the final stages of terminal illness are being denied the right to die at home due to inadequate NHS and social care, a critical parliamentary report warns. Newly allocated funds aimed at improving end-of-life care are at risk of being spent on other medical priorities, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) suggests. Half […]

PFI projects to stay off the books

Many Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects are to remain, in effect, off the labour government’s balance sheet. The decision means that hospitals, clinics, schools, waste and local authority projects can continue to be built under PFI without counting against the government’s capital expenditure totals. With public sector capital spending set to halve in cash terms […]

NICE guidelines on drugs are unfair MPs decide

The methods used by the labour government’s killer quango NICE to decide whether the NHS should pay for expensive drug treatments are wasteful and unfair, according to MPs. A report from the Commons Health Committee recently attacked the way in which the National Institute for Curbing Expenditure (NICE) assesses costly cancer medicines as “both inequitable […]

Health minister to repay £41,000 expenses

Phil Hope, the Labour health minister, has agreed to pay back more than £41,000 he claimed in expenses to refurbish his second home. The care services minister this morning announced he would write a cheque for £41,709 to cover the cost of the furniture and fittings he claimed for the property – a small two […]

Act now to prevent blood clots becoming the next MRSA warns NHS Confederation

NHS trust boards must act to stop deadly blood clots becoming “the next MRSA” in the eyes of patients and the media, the NHS Confederation is warning. In a report to trusts, the confederation says clinical issues such as healthcare acquired infections have the capacity to cause “enormous damage” to trust reputations. With public, political […]