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Archive for February, 2008

Dental crisis – pharmacy a possible solution? PRimage agree!

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Judy Viitanen has often commented on this PRimage blog site about the growing crisis and problems in accessing dental services – so the PRimage team was interested to learn that the Conservatives have proposed ideas to allow community pharmacies to run clinics for dental hygienists. The shadow Tory health spokesperson, Mike Penning (a well-respected local MP for the PRimage team) has said he would abolish the law by which patients would need to have to a referral from a dentist to see a dental hygienist from “day one” of the Conservatives taking office. He commented to pharmacy trade magazine, C&D: “It would be entirely up to the businesses themselves, but I would like to see Boots or Lloyds using their premises to offer clinics by dental hygienists,”. He added that making dental hygiene clinics available on the high street would tackle the failure of the government to provide dental care for over a million patients who cannot get on NHS dental lists.

As a specialist healthcare PR and communications consultancy, PRimage has client interests in both pharmacy and dentistry: we think Mike Penning’s suggestion is a sensible solution – and certainly worth scoping by community pharmacy. PRimage client, the Company Chemists’ Association, says that its members (the UK’s pharmacy multiples) would consider the suggestion “like any investment decision”.What’s your view?

New Frontiers 2008 – Your fast track to the UK Pharmacy Market

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Are you a US healthcare company considering launching your products, services or innovative healthcare technology in the UK? Then PRimage recommend that you consider attending the ‘New Frontiers’ business development seminar in November 2008. Hosted by the Company Chemists’ Association – the UK professional trade body representing the UK’s largest multiples - this is truly a ‘must-attend’ event for US and international companies expanding in the UK pharmacy market.  Register before 31st March and be eligible for the 10% ‘super early bird’ discount!

In just 2 days you will: – Understand the UK pharmacy market and assess its potential – Hold guaranteed private meetings with key decisions makers from all the major UK pharmacy businesses -Gather valuable intelligence about how to tailor your sales and marketing strategies to the needs of UK pharmacy

For more details about the benefits of attending New Frontiers and to register on line, go to: www.thecca.org.uk/newfrontiers

Tories commit to raise NHS spending – PRimage comment

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team read Andrew Lansley’s interview in The Times this morning with interest and enthusiasm – and are delighted with his plans for our beleagured health service. Shadow Health Secretary, Mr Lansley, who was recently guaranteed his post by Mr Cameron until the next election and beyond, commented that spending on the NHS could rise by up to £28 billion a year under a Conservative government and gave a long-term commitment that under the Tories health spending will rise to take up an extra 2 per cent of GDP.

As a specialist healthcare PR and public affairs consultancy, PRimage view is that the NHS must change in the coming years to reflect the fast changing nature of medicine and society, so the Tories commitment to the NHS is very welcome news. It is the most explicit pledge to increase spending on the NHS since David Cameron became Tory leader and takes the party into territory beyond current Labour commitments. We also note that Mr Lansley’s comments align the Tories for the first time to the projections of the Government’s own health adviser, which Labour ministers have yet formally to match.

PRimage believe the Conservatives are fast emerging as strong and credible contenders to replace Labour as the party of the NHS! Do you agree?

Doctors’ leaders defend GPs’ productivity – PRimage comment

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team are interested to see that GP’s leaders have spoken in defence of GPs’ productivity after a report questioned whether their new contract has resulted in increased efficiency.

As a specialist healthcare PR and communications agency, PRimage view is that the GP contract has caused so many rows and ongoing controversy – just look at the heated dispute and current stand-off between the government and GP’s leaders over the government’s proposals to extend GP’s hours and open surgeries at evenings and weekends. We believe that the rows and criticisms are largely of the government’s own making, as it allowed GPs to opt out of providing evening and weekend surgeries when it developed and implemented the new GP contract back in 2004.

The National Audit Office has said the new contract for general practice has cost the Department of Health £1.76 billion more than it originally budgeted for. In the first two years of the contract, productivity has dropped by an average of 2.5 per cent per year. While the number of consultations with patients has increased, the NAO says these are not in proportion with the increase in costs. GPs are now working seven hours less per week and the annual average pay of a GP partner is £113,614, an increase of 58 per cent since 2002-03. GP partners have also taken more profit from the practice as pay.

Aside from these critical comments, PRimage note that there were some positive findings from the report: nurses spending more time on practice work, leaving GPs to spend more time with more complex cases. GPs also now spend more time with each patient, an average of around 12 minutes compared to eight minutes in 2002-03.

What’s your opinion? Send us your views.

Diabetes awareness – Day Lewis Pharmacies can help

Monday, February 25th, 2008

PRimage client, Day Lewis Pharmacy Plc, supports calls for active programmes to identify people with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes – and the 165 pharmacy outlet chain regularly plays it part to help raise awareness of the condition by highlighting to people that they are putting their health on the line through ignorance of diabetes and its complications.

Day Lewis recent press releases have reminded the public that they can go to their local surgery for a simple pin-prick blood test to see if they are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The Day Lewis pharmacist can answer their questions on the condition and provide easy to understand advice on ways to reduce their risk. 

If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, your local Day Lewis pharmacist can support you with blood glucose monitoring and managing your medicines

Diabetes alert! – PRimage comment

Monday, February 25th, 2008

PRimage has read that a survey of GPs’ surgeries reveals more than half a million people could have diabetes or a high risk of developing the condition without knowing it! Doctors examined medical records of more than 3.6 million patients at 480 surgeries in the UK and found thousands of cases of probable diabetes that had not been diagnosed. Hundreds of thousands more were found to be at risk of developing the disease.

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team believe this is very worrying, because the earlier people are diagnosed, the earlier they can get on with managing the condition and reduce their risk of developing complications. Among the earliest symptoms of diabetes are blurry vision, thirst and a frequent need to urinate. In later stages, the disease can lead to blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations and nerve damage. Two million people in Britain have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, with a further 300,000 known to have type 1, which commonly develops in childhood

PRimage health warning: heart risk rises for the young

Monday, February 25th, 2008

PRimage has read a worrying report in the Times that heart disease, which has been declining for 30 years, appears to be back on the rise in Britain, mainly among the young.

US elections – a new perspective? PRimage comment

Monday, February 25th, 2008

PRimage are keen observers of political developments ‘across the pond’, so we were fascinated to learn that the American consumer advocate Ralph Nader has said he will stand as an independent in the US presidential election. Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team believe this will bring some interesting and fresh political perspectives and dynamics to the current bitter Republican-Democratic battle in the 2008 Presidential Election, especially as Mr Nader has accused both the main parties of shutting out the United States public and failing to talk about the important issues!

The 73-year-old rose to prominence in the 1960s as an auto-safety campaigner and has helped fund many governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the environmental protection agency (EPA), and the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) … and this will be the fifth time the activist has run for president. PRimage recall that he stood as a Green party candidate in the 2000 election … and that many Democrats blamed him for handing the election to George Bush, by taking just enough support from Al Gore, especially in the crucial state of Florida…. However, PRimage wonder if partisan Democrats will be comforted by the fact that Mr Nader has denied he will be a threat to the party this time round?

We loved his observation that: “…. If the Democrats can’t landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form.” … Watch this space! What’s your reaction to this? PRimage want to hear your views. Š

Cancer care – PRimage comment

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team are concerned to hear a warning today from a coalition of 40 cancer charities that Government plans to improve cancer care across England could fail because of lack of funding and a postcode lottery of services. The charities pose “serious concerns” about implementation of the Cancer Reform Strategy launched last year, although the government has stressed they were committed to implementing the strategy. PRimage is aware that Health Secretary Alan Johnson has already announced £370m investment by 2010 to underpin the five-year plan – with proposals that include speeding up drug approval, more money for radiotherapy services and a possible clampdown on sunbeds and cigarette vending machines

As a specialist healthcare communications company, PRimage ofen comment and lobby on cancer issues – and it is a subject that PRimage MD, Judy Viitanen has personal experience with, having nursed her first husband with terminal bowel cancer. Cancer survival in the UK is still below the European average, despite recent improvements …. so we hope that Mr Johnson and his ministers take due note of the coalition’s concerns and warnings!

Political Perspective: PRimage ‘thought for the day’

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

“Reasoned and balanced political debate is good for the mind and for the soul …. but entrenched and partisan views can often become a diatribe!”