qianshanwanshui blog
May « 2007 « PRImage

Archive for May, 2007

NHS approval for anti-smoking pill

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has issued guidance and draft approval on the use of Champix, a twice-daily pill which contains the active ingredient varenicline and works by providing relief from cravings and the withdrawal symptoms experienced by smokers.  It also reduces the satisfaction a smoker will get from further cigarettes if they have a relapse. Trials have shown the drug was effective after a 12-week course, with 44% of smokers managing to stop.The cost of a 56-day pack of tablets is £54.60. The recommended 12-week course of treatment costs about £163.80.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) said the NHS should pay for twice daily doses of varenicline, sold as Champix, for those who want to quit. The draft guidelines follow controversy over Nice’s decision to reject the drugs Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The institute ruled that at £2.50 per day per patient they were not cost-effective. Champix costs £1.95 per patient per day.

PRimage comment

Although there is a great deal of divided public opinion as to whether smoking cessation aids and drug costs should be covered by the NHS or individuals, Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team believe the NICE provisional ruling should be welcomed, because Champix is the first new anti-smoking drug to be launched in 10 years – and is hailed as the most effective non-nicotine treatment yet to help smokers quit.  Our view is that the £163.80 cost to the NHS for each 12-week course would be more than recouped from the NHS’s £1.5 billion annual bill for treating diseases caused by smoking! Do you agree?

We are now just weeks away before England’s smoking ban comes into force on July 1, and like many smokers, Judy Viitanen is struggling to quit.  Willpower alone doesn’t work, so she is using nicotine patches (which she pays for herself) – and is getting a lot of good advice and support from her local pharmacist.

Business impact of smoking ban

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

A new Chartered Management Institute (CMI) report suggests the smoking ban will have little impact on business.

Tories on health

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

In a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank, Tory Shadow Chancellor, Mr Osborne stated that healthcare budgets should be devolved to GPs and patients, rather than “large bureaucracies like primary care trusts”.

PRimage comment

As a specialist healthcare communications agency, PRimage was greatly encouraged by George Osborne’s comments on the Conservative perspective on healthcare.  Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team certainly agree that it makes sound sense that healthcare budgets should be devolved to GPs and patients.  What’s your view?

Tories ‘to carry on Blair reform’

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

The Conservatives are best placed to carry on Tony Blair’s public service reforms, the shadow chancellor says. George Osborne claimed Gordon Brown, the next prime minister, had “abandoned the centre ground of public service reform to the Conservative Party”. The Tories would therefore have “a great opportunity to improve life for the many, not the few”, he added. Mr Blair has called for personalised services which allow people to choose schools and hospitals. Mr Osborne commented that Mr Blair’s ideas on choice were right, but said he had been wrong to impose them from Whitehall. He said: “I’m saying work with the public service professionals, work with teachers, work with doctors to give them much greater power over their local services and to give the users of these services… the choice that is the driver of improvement in every other walk of life and can be the driver of improvement in public services. In healthcare, budgets should be devolved to GPs and patients, rather than “large bureaucracies like primary care trusts”, he said.

Debt burden

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

News reports suggest that up to a million households struggling with rising living costs will face court action over their debts this year.

PRimage comment

This is disturbing – the PRimage view is that the problem is also caused by many consumer being lured by offers of easy credit.  What’s your opinion?

Are Londoners Grumpy?

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Londoners regard themselves to be the most moody people in the UK – and the least sociable – according to a new study.The survey for Combined Insurance asked more than 2,000 people across the UK how they would define the people that lived in their community. The Scots they felt they were the most sociable (18% against an average of 12% across regions) and were least likely to regard themselves as tight-fisted.People from the West Country regarded themselves to be the friendliest (73% compared to an average of 63% across regions) and the most well mannered (56% compared to average of 47%).Despite the image of suburban South East England being keen to “keep up appearances”, people in the South East were actually those most likely to regard themselves as hostile to neighbours (15% against an average of 13% across regions).People in the North East actually regard themselves to be the rudest people in the UK (17% against an average of 13% across regions), while East Anglians think they are the sexiest.The Welsh topped the poll as the most helpful, in contrast to Londoners who came out as the least helpful (44%) as well as the least friendly (56%).

PRimage comment

Interesting! Judy Viitanen and PRimage believe that these results suggest that the days of Brits conforming to a common national stereotype are gone.

More immigrants ‘want to stay’

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

The proportion of Eastern European immigrants who intend to settle in Britain increases fourfold within months of them coming here, research shows. Researchers at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that many Eastern European migrants choose to settle in Britain permanently despite early intentions to stay for only a short time. They found women were more likely to decide to stay than men, as were those with higher than average earnings.

PRimage comment

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team believe that the findings of this report are sure to be seized on by those calling for tougher controls on immigration from Eastern Europe. Watch this space!

What’s your opinion and view on the thorny and controversial issue of immigration?

NHS cutbacks leave £500m unspent!

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

According to a report in the Guardian the NHS has underspent by half a billion pounds as a result of the aggressive cuts imposed by the health secretary, Patricia Hewitt. A Guardian analysis of health authority figures has revealed that the the size of the underspend has caused fury among health union leaders, who said it was generated by an unnecessarily harsh squeeze on spending during the winter months when many NHS trusts economised by closing wards, axing jobs and delaying operations until the start of the new financial year in April. The cuts included the loss of 22,300 jobs, mainly through local recruitment freezes, and 1,446 compulsory redundancies, mostly among non-clinical staff.

The biggest surplus was in the north-west, where the NHS ended the financial year with £161m in spare cash. Other surpluses included £116m in Yorkshire and Humberside, £92m in London and £73m in the north-east. The only deficits came in the eastern region, which overspent by £152m, and the south-east coast, which was nearly £55m in the red.

PRimage comment

Judy Viitanen think the unions are quite right to be furious at this further example of NHS mismanagement!  PRimage understand that the total underspend is estimated at £456.8m, without taking into account NHS foundation trusts. And worringly, when their results are declared the surplus could top £500m!

Maternity care flaws ‘putting babies at risk’

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

NHS Trusts across England could be risking the safety of mothers and babies on maternity wards, an independent study has warned. The study for the Department of Health says maternity support workers (MSWs) are being used to stand in for midwives. But the these extra workers drafted in to help hard-pressed midwives could actually be putting mothers and babies at more risk, the report claimed. But the report found they were doing tasks deemed within the role of midwives and requiring specialist midwifery knowledge and training.

The report said a lack of consistency in the training and role of MSWs had the potential to leave midwives and hospital managers uncertain about their competence and placed patients at risk from a low standard of care. King’s College London, which surveyed trust managers across England, noted there was no statutory requirement for MSWs to undergo training, or any regulation to ensure public protection.

PRimage comment

Judy Viitanen believes this report will be very worrying for all mums-to-be! As PRimage understand the situation, maternity support staff are supposed to free up midwives’ time by helping with paperwork and non-clinical duties. And Judy Viitanen has read reports that show Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has always insisted that MSWs would not be used as substitutes for professionally qualified midwives.

Young people & drink driving

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

More young people are drinking and driving, police have revealed.Scotland Yard said almost a quarter of all offenders and casualties in London were aged between 17 and 24. An investigation by BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat revealed the figures were mirrored across England and Wales.Scotland Yard’s Supt Dave Page told Newsbeat that police were concerned about the trend.

PRimage comment

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage agree that this is indeed a worrying trend.  Evidently, about a quarter of all arrests are people between 17 and 24, which is obviously very worrying.