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Children’s Health « PRImage

Archive for the ‘Children’s Health’ Category

“12 months to save the NHS” – PRimage comment

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Public services reforms is the headline media story today – as David Cameron defends NHS reform plans, saying: ‘doing nothing will end in tears’ – http://bit.ly/e6T5VU
The key is for Education Secretary Michael Gove and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to win over their sternest critics and also win the hearts and minds of the public that these radical changes are what’s needed – and will get results. Everyone in this country faces difficult times ahead – and it’s crucial that that the Government  gets these issues right! …

The Government’s new health policies are aimed at improving NHS performance, reducing bureaucracy and improving the outcomes of treatment for patients. As a specialist healthcare communications consultancy, PRimage totally agree with this – but Judy Viitanen shares some of the concerns voiced by healthcare professionals that the radical shakeup of the NHS could lead to a two-tier health service.

This country certainly needs to tackle its health and social inequalities – and in our opinion the Dept of Health must start to focus on dealing with health inequalities that those members of the community who either aren’t registered with a GP, or see no value in accessing healthcare, continue to suffer. So in this era of NHS reforms it is critical that reducing inequalities becomes a key focus for frontline health providers: not just GPs, but also community pharmacists.

Ask Your Pharmacist if you want to know more about medicines & self care

Friday, November 5th, 2010

As a specialist healthcare communications consultancy, PRimage is spreading the word on the range of services and skills available at your local pharmacy to help you and your family stay fit and healthy – and all available without an appointment!  You can find out more from pharmacies all round the country because from 8th November it’s ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’.  The week is organised by the National Pharmacy Association, who want to encourage more people to make better use of pharmacy’s accessability and skills as a frontline source of healthcare expertise, service and advice.

New research shows that public awareness of the services available from pharmacies lags behind reality. In an NPA survey of 1,123 UK adults carried out between 22 and 27 October 2010, most people thought that less than a third of community pharmacies have consultation areas, whereas a substantial majority have them. The survey also showed that half of respondents thought that community pharmacies do not offer screening for sexually transmitted infections, whereas around 6,000 pharmacies across the UK now offer chlamydia screening.

Pharmacy2U lobby on internet pharmacy logo guidelines & verification

Friday, November 5th, 2010

PRimage client, Pharmacy2U, is the UK’s leading dedicated internet and mail order pharmacy operation, and advocates that internet pharmacy, properly and professionally regulated and strictly monitored, provides a valuable service and additional choice for consumers. Since its launch in 1999, the company’s robust checks and balances business processes and powerful audit systems have been a benchmark example of best practice in e-pharmacy.

Pharmacy2U Managing Director, Daniel Lee, says that during the past year he has noted,  with increasing concern, that the current internet pharmacy logo is being used by pharmacies which do not adhere to the current Code of Ethics and the proposed GPhC Council Standards for pharmacy owners and superintendent pharmacists of retail pharmacy business services. This is a matter of great professional and commercial concern for Pharmacy2U, and to highlight the problem and validate their concerns, the company have conducted an audit and review of the websites of 100 online pharmacies using the Internet Pharmacy Logo.

The audit research findings are very disturbing and reinforce this growing problem – revealing that a number of pharmacies displaying the internet pharmacy logo unfortunately have not fulfilled even the simplest requirements of the standard: such as clearly displaying the name of the owner of the business, or providing information on how to confirm the registration status of the pharmacy or pharmacist.

Of the 100 pharmacies reviewed in the audit sample:
•    23% were not conforming
•    14% were not showing the name of the business
•    16% did not state the superintendent pharmacist
•    16% were not displaying information on how to confirm status
•    16% were not displaying complaints information
•    13% were contravening NHS brand guidelines

Mr Lee comments: “We believe strongly that the verification process for the internet pharmacy logo needs to be robustly monitored and adhered to.  It is vital that the new GPhC, DH, policy makers and other stakeholders recognise this – and Pharmacy2U are committed to campaigning to achieve this. The internet pharmacy logo could be a fantastic tool to enable consumers to find a trusted source of internet pharmacy – but its success and validity can only be based on a tightly controlled process for the distribution of the logo and the monitoring of its use”

“Over the past decade internet and mail order pharmacy has been positively recognised within many Department of Health policy documents – and has been acknowledged as fulfilling the NHS ethos of meeting the needs of patients, with ease of access, convenience and choice. Our research findings show that the credibility and integrity of Internet pharmacy is being put at risk – which is damaging for consumers and for the confidence that the public and opinion holders have in online pharmacy.”

Pharmacy2U recommend that the following five requirements are needed to increase the robustness of the verification process for the internet pharmacy logo, ensuring:
•    Patients privacy is protected
•    Adherence to a recognized and agreed standard of practice
•    Conformation to other standards such as Trading standards, Distance Selling Directives, ISO90071, etc
•    On site inspection mandatory with appropriate costs charged to the registering pharmacy
•    Possibility of a new third party organisation to ensure that applicants meet the initial and ongoing requirements for registration
These recommendations will be part of the Pharmacy2U campaigning message to the GPhC and other key opinion formers and policy makers.

Pharmacy2U is further worried about the many illegal internet pharmacies operating in the UK. Mr Lee has zero tolerance of illegal and non conforming internet pharmacies – and the company continually report these rogue websites to the MHRA. Unfortunately, according to Mr Lee, there is little the MRHA can do for rogue websites operating outside of the UK.

The company is not alone in their concerns on this issue. In September Google announced its intention to file lawsuits against online rogue pharmacies that it believes have deliberately broken its advertising rules.

Personalised Healthcare

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

This morning Judy Viitanen checked out an interesting new report from Nuffield Council on Bioethics, ‘Personalised Healthcare’ – Medical profiling and online medicine: the ethics of  ‘personalised healthcare’ in a consumer age.

This report weighs up the benefits and harms, along with the ethical values that come into play.  These developments include direct-to-consumer personal genetic profiling and body imaging, and websites that provide health advice, storage of health records and medicines for sale. PRimage is especially interested in Chapter 7 – which covers buying medicines online.

Check out the executive summary at:


Generic substitution of medicines will not be implemented

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The Department of Health has announced that the Government has decided not to progress with plans for the generic substitution of medicines in primary care. Following a full public consultation the Government has published its response which outlines the reasons why proposals which would have allowed dispensers to replace branded drugs for generic versions when dispensing a prescription will now not be implemented in England.

The response to the consultation on proposals to implement generic substitution in primary care is available on line at:


Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Quality, commented:
“We know that there are valuable savings to be made from the use of generic medicines where it is clinically appropriate. However, we believe that national plans to enforce generic substitution in primary care are too prescriptive.

“We have listened to the concerns from the public, patients and other interested parties about legislative proposals to enable pharmacists to replace a branded medicine with a generic medicine. It is also not clear whether the proposals would have provided substantial benefit to the NHS, compared to the efforts of frontline staff to implement them. This is why we have decided not to progress with national implementation.

“We want patients to get the drugs their doctors recommend at the best price for the taxpayer. Patients should be reassured that we are looking at more appropriate ways of supporting the use of generic medicines and, in the long term, value-based pricing will help to ensure we pay a price for drugs which better reflects their value.”

Andrew Lansley – “Pharmacies are an under-used asset in delivering better health” – PRimage comment

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

lansley-31As Health Secretary Andrew Lansley publishes further details on the NHS White Paper today, Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team had their mid-morning coffee break tuning into Mr Lansley’s live online White Paper Q&A via the Number 10 web site.

With clients in the pharmacy and healthcare sector, PRimage has been keen to know what the NHS Health White Paper would mean for pharmacists. So Judy was delighted and encouraged to hear some really positive comments from the health secretary on the value and potential of community pharmacy.

Andrew Lansley commented:pharmacists

“Pharmacies are an under-used asset in delivering better health”

“ GPs have too often seen themselves and pharmacists in competition for resources. With GP-led commissioning I believe we will see a greater recognition by local consortia that pharmacy is an integral part and an effective part of how they can deliver services better, for example minor ailments and medicines’ use reviews”pharmacist-2

“Through local authorities we will also be delivering local health improvement strategies, they can and should be developing preventative work with pharmacists, like the health check or Chlamydia screening”

“Under the pharmacy contract we had simply not seen the development of those additional services that was intended, we need to ensure that the pharmacy contract delivers what all participants wanted which is fair and transparent funding for dispensing and an increasing opportunity for pharmacy to offer health services”pharmacy-4

NHS WHITE PAPER: ‘Equity will be maintained’: PRimage profiler

Monday, July 12th, 2010


  • patients at the centre of the NHS
  • empowering clinicians and GPs in particular
  • refocusing the NHS on outcome measurement.



  • The government will devolve power and responsibility for commissioning services to GPs and practice teams working in consortia.
  • Every GP will be a member of a ‘shadow’ consortium by 2011/12.
  • Consortia will start taking on duties from 2012/13 and full financial responsibility from April 2013.
  • Management allowances will be available to help fund commissioning.
  • An independent and accountable NHS commissioning board will allocate and account for NHS resources.
  • NHS commissioning board will calculate practice-level budgets and allocate these directly to consortia and will hold practices to account.
  • GP consortia will include an accountable officer.
  • Each consortium will hold its constituent practices to account.
  • GP consortia will agree local priorities each year, taking account of the NHS Outcomes Framework.
  • GPs will need to engage patients and the public in the commissioning process.
  • Over time the DoH will seek to establish a single GP contract and funding model.
  • PCTs and SHAs will be phased out.
  • Patients will be able to choose which GP practice they register with regardless of where they live.
  • The current performance regime will be replaced with separate frameworks for public health and social care.
  • A new NHS Outcomes Framework will provide the direction for the NHS.
  • The government will incentivise ways of improving access to primary care in disadvantaged areas.


Monday, July 12th, 2010

7706136The coalition government is set to launch its much anticipated NHS White Paper later today and with it major changes to the NHS system.

Amongst the main changes and market dynamics expected in the White Paper are:

  • Compulsory commissioning for GPs
  • Scrapping of PCTs and PECs
  • NHS Board with regional offices will be established.
  • Patients to have elected positions on boards

02052007_doctors_talking_with_patientsq1It’s likely that the White Paper will propose that around £80 billion should be handed directly to general practitioners who will then be given the power to invest the money in patient care as they see fit.

As a specialist healthcare communications and lobbying consultancy, PRimage is keen to see a new results-driven framework – which works for the benefits of patients. Labour’s top-down targets were way over the top and frustrated many primary healthcare professionals.

In our view it is crucial that Andrew Lansley and the Government stick to their plan to cut £1bn from NHS bureaucracy and use it to improve frontline services. It’s also spot-on to allow patients to be given more choice and control of their care.lansley1


Friday, July 9th, 2010

sun-3Day Lewis Pharmacy Group – the UK’s largest independent pharmacy multiple – is urging people to keep hydrated, following official weather forecasts of high temperatures and a possible heat wave alert – which could pose health risks. Daytime temperatures could reach 29-30 degrees C, with a night-time minimum of 15-18 degrees C.

While most people enjoy a hot summer, it is important suitable precautions are taken. The heat is especially dangerous for the very young, older people or those with serious illnesses. In particular, it can make heart and respiratory problems worse. In extreme cases, excess heat can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Peter Glover, Day Lewis Superintendant Pharmacist, comments: “Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone in hot weather and if it isn’t treated it can lead to heatstroke, which can be dangerous and even fatal. To help prevent heat related illnesses during a heat wave, it’s best to stay in the shade wherever possible, and cool yourself down and stay hydrated by having plenty of water to hand, but avoiding caffeine and alcohol.”

Remember that if you must go out into the sun, to wear sun protection and comfortable clothing. It is important we follow the health guidelines, and look after both ourselves and the more vulnerable members of our community to ensure a safe and happy season for everyone.

Top tips for coping during a heat wave include:

· Keep plenty of water to hand and stay in the shade where possible.

· Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

· Shut and shade windows when it is hotter outside and open them for ventilation when it is cooler outside.

· People with serious health problems (for example heart conditions), should avoid going out in the heat, especially between 11am and 3pm.

· Drink cold drinks like water or fruit juice regularly and avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.

· Stay tuned to the weather forecast and plan ahead with supplies – think of elderly neighbours who may need help with supplies.

· Identify the coolest room in the house to use as a room to cool down or sleep in.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness or cramps, pale skin, and a high temperature. If you find yourself suffering from these, you should move somewhere cool and drink plenty of water or fruit juice. If you can, take a lukewarm shower, or sponge yourself down with cold water.

Contact your Day Lewis pharmacist, your doctor, or NHS Direct if you are worried about your health during a heat wave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms.

Day Lewis Pharmacies – Caring for our local communities


New Government’s ambitious legislative programme – PRimage comment

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

We’ve just finished listening to the Queen’s Speech. _45798937_007343060-11

Our view: the coalition is taking on an ambitious and challenging political programme! But we wish them success. David Cameron’s Con-Lib government aims to enact 22 separate bills over an 18-month period, as it attempts to build on the early goodwill towards the coalition. Nick Clegg will preside over a range of political reforms, including fixed-term parliaments and a bill to hold a referendum on changing the Westminster voting system to the so-called “alternative vote”.

Our interest as a healthcare communications agency means that we were looking for steers on the NHS.  So, particularly important for health was that the voice of patients and the role of doctors in decision-making will be strengthened, with the aim of improving public health as well as reducing health inequalities. A Health Bill is expected to begin its legislative process in 2011.  So there are sure to be a number of consultations to respond to – and plenty of opportunities for engagement in the coming months as the content of the Bill is decided. PRimage is looking forward to this – and to factor in our client’s interests and viewpoints.

MD, Judy Viitanen, is pleased that the overall thrust of the programme indicates that both the Tories and LibDems share a common interest in devolving power over public services to local people. We also give a ‘thumbs up’ for the news that the legislative programme include plans to create an Office of Budget Responsibility to produce independent economic forecasts and a shake-up of City regulation, giving the Bank of England greater powers in maintaining economic stability.

As a specialist healthcare public affairs and PR consultant, Judy is reassured that the Treasury has confirmed that the Department of Health’s overall spending will not be reduced in the current financial year. 7706136The Chancellor has announced £6.2bn would be saved from government spending during 2010-11, but none would come from the DoH. Health will have to make additional efficiency savings but they will be reinvested within the department.

For sure there will be tough and difficult times ahead; but the PM and deputy PM are right to focus on reducing the huge deficit as the most crucial challenge. 57434645771821We will be seeing an interesting 18-months of politics ahead ……..