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Archive for September, 2007

Good news for pet owners! Co-operative Pharmacy has perfect prescription for pet health

Friday, September 28th, 2007

PRimage was interested to see Gordon Farquhar, Director of Retail Commercial at The Co-operative Pharmacy – the UK’s third largest pharmacy chain -  in a live interview this morning on BBC’s Business Breakfast, discussing pharmacy’s potential in the lucrative pet medicines market.

He explained to presenter Declan Curry that pharmacists were not looking to take business away from vets – and that the decision was prompted by demand from Co-operative Pharmacy customers. He added: ‘We take care of our customer’s everyday family health problems, now we can take care of their pet’s health, with a range of preventative healthcare products for cats and dogs.’

As a specialist healthcare agency, PRimage believe that it makes sound commercial sense for the public to be able to go to their local Co-operative Pharmacy for pet health medicines. It offers them the convenience of their local pharmacy, the expert knowledge and advice on hand from qualified pharmacists, a comprehensive product range of leading brand pet health products, and most importantly, cost savings.

Managing director, Judy Viitanen has 4 cats and a dog – and so like many pet owners, she welcomes the benefits and cost savings this new option offers. Her view is why pay more for leading pet treatments such as Frontline? What’s your view?

Brown slammed on hospital hygiene

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Hospital hygiene measures to tackle superbugs announced by the government this week are populist moves that will have little effect by themselves, according to a highly critical editorial in the Lancet.  Judy Viitanen will be interested to see how the Department of Health respond to the Lancet’s claim that plans outlined by Prime Minster Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Johnson to deal with deadly infections such as MRSA and C Difficile were not based on scientific evidence.

Good news for Pharmacy!

Friday, September 28th, 2007

As a specialist healthcare communications agency with a number of pharmacy clients, PRimage is pleased to learn that Health secretary Alan Johnson has submitted a bid for extra funding to support pharmacists taking on more healthcare services under a comprehensive spending review (CSR) to be unveiled by the government this autumn.  Watch this space!

Good win for Tories in Sunderland!

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team were pleased to see some good news for the Conservatives, as they start their annual conference. The Tories have won a by-election victory, taking a seat from Labour on Sunderland Council, with a  3.7% swing from Labour.

Political pundits analysis of the eight contests suggests a projected nationwide Tory lead over Labour of 6.2% – which would result in a dreaded hung Parliament at a general election.   PRimage wonder how much this will influence the PM’s ponderings this weekend over whether or not to announce a snap Autumn election ….. Can the “Brown bounce” hold good?  What’s your opinion?  

Exam results = Pushy dads!

Friday, September 28th, 2007

PRimage was interested to learn that a new lifestyle survey showed that the number one priority for British fathers is their children’s exam results.  Our view is that these days there’s so much pressure on children to do well – even 6 and 7 year olds have this exam stress.  Kids can only do their best, with support from school and family. And it’s not just dads who are concerned; in most families it’s mum who supervises homework and deals with school issues. 

As a former secondary school Governor, PRimage managing director Judy Viitanen continues to take a keen interest in education issues. We’d like to hear your views and experience on coping with your children’s exams, so post a comment!

Is the NHS IT system really secure? …

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team have previously expressed concerns on our company blog site about the progress of the NHS IT system and the possible erosion of patient confidentiality. So the latest news of a celebrity whose medical records were illicitly viewed by more than 50 members of an NHS hospital’s staff again raises doubts about the security of the government’s £12.4bn scheme to upgrade the NHS’s IT systems.

The prying was revealed in board papers for North Tees primary care trust as a warning to managers to tighten procedures requiring doctors and nurses to log on individually before being allowed access to sensitive personal material.

The NHS Connecting for Health project includes plans for GPs to upload the medical records of more than 50 million patients in England on to a national electronic database. The initial aim is to make a summary of each patient’s medical notes available to hospital staff or paramedics treating the patient in an emergency. …. However, PRimage is somewhat sceptical at the Government’s claim that systems for accessing patient records online are secure. And MPs also  raised the issue of security in a report published last week on progress on the system. What’s your view?

Time spent at the Doctor’s = 3.5 million working days lost!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Judy Viitanen was unsurprised that a study of 200 doctors by high street pharmacy chain Boots suggests that 3.5 million working days are lost every year because of time spent at the doctor’s. This is more than four times as much as is lost to industrial action! As PRimage have highlighted, community pharmacies can provide the solution.

Pharmacies provide easy access to healthcare!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

PRimage has several pharmacy clients – and our consumer messaging highlights that community pharmacies are ‘the front door to the NHS’ – open 6 days a week for healthcare advice and medicines…. with no appointment needed! So Judy Viitanen was encouraged to read that the CBI’s report, Just What The Patient Ordered, acknowledged that more over-the-counter advice from pharmacists would help break the link between where people lived and their access to healthcare.

Absolutely! Independent research studies consistently reveal that the public view their local pharmacy as the most convenient place to get accessible and expert healthcare advice …. so let’s see the Government making more use of pharmacist’s skills and accessability!

PRimage believe that some useful coutcomes for pharmacy could possibly arise from the Government’s recent decision to convene a conference of NHS trusts, charities and private companies to work out how patients could access GP services near their place of work or gym during the day, or near their home during evenings and weekends. Two major UK pharmacy chains – Boots and Lloydspharmacy – have told officials they are interested in challenging the traditional service run by local GP partnerships. The companies could be contracted to provide free services to patients, using salaried doctors and nurses, or paid for making consultation areas available in their stores, with medical staff provided by the local primary care trust. Watch this space …

Do GP services need an overhaul?

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team agree with the recent CBI report, which calls for a “thorough overhaul” of family doctor services. It appears that the system is leading to millions of lost working days, and the cost to the economy of restricted opening times, difficulty in booking appointments and the “limited number of services on offer in many GP surgeries” is over £1 billion! Aside from the impact on patients, who need spedy treatment when they are unwell, PRimage believe that this has major social, financial and business impacts – and needs to be resolved.

One solution mooted is that patients should be able to register at more than one surgery so they could visit a doctor close to where they work in a bid to speed up treatment. This makes sound sense: providing patients with a convenient and flexible option. What’s your view? Do you agree that GP services are not working effectively?

Polyclinics – good or bad idea?

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Judy Viitanen is aware that polyclinics attract mixed views from NHS professionals. The Royal College of GPs is the latest body to be critical of the plans for the introduction of NHS polyclinics proposed by junior health minister, Lord Darzi, as part of his vision for the future of the NHS.

PRimage would like to hear the views of doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Send us your comments.