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Archive for March, 2008

NHS hospitals likely to miss hospital deep clean deadline – PRimage comment

Monday, March 31st, 2008

As a specialist healthcare comunications agency PRimage is dismayed to learn that after all the media coverage over the threat of super bugs, such as MRSA, and the Government’s pledge to deal with this problem, it appears that NHS hospitals are likely to miss targets to complete deep cleaning operations by the end of March!

Prime minister Gordon Brown previously announced a £60 million programme to improve hygiene at public health centres in order to remove the threat of these super bugs. Currently, ministers expect 93 per cent of hospitals to finish cleaning operations before the deadline while others are in the process of being disinfected. Information obtained by the Conservatives under the Freedom of Information Act also indicates that problems had occurred in providing funding for the programme. The Tories claim that only 25 per cent of the funds earmarked for the programme had been transferred to the NHS. The PRimage team agree with Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary’s view that the programme is a “shambles” – and we see that a spokesman for cleaning firms has said that the Government’s NHS deep-clean programme, which officially finishes today, is in danger of becoming an “expensive publicity stunt”. What’s your view? Is this yet another example of this Government’s incompetence and track-record of over-promising and under-delivering?

Government is ‘in touch’ claim – PRimage disagree!

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Following the editorial ‘call to action’ by health minister Ivan Lewis, urging his Government to be more aware and responsive to the realities that impact on ordinary families, Judy Viitanen was wondering just how Brown would respond…. Well, the response comes from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – who has dismissed the Government’s critics and claims by her fellow minister that the government is out of touch. PRimage, along with other political observers, disagree. We admire Mr Lewis for speaking out, but we believe that Smith’s comment is yet another example of this Labour Government’s hubris … what’s your opinion?

Labour attacked for defending status quo – PRimage agree!

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Judy Viitanen read with great interest the article by health minister Ivan Lewis in yesterday’s News of The World, where he warned that the government is not meeting people’s needs and must pay more attention to issues of daily importance. PRimage totally agree with his call for the Government to be more in touch with the thoughts, needs and daily realities of hardworking families.

In our view this inability to focus on the issues that really impact on famiies has been a fundamental reason why Labour’s popularity ratings have fallen since reaching all-time highs soon after Gordon Brown took over from former prime minister Tony Blair. As we commented last week, the latest opinion polls show the Tories leading their rivals by 14 points. Let’s hope Brown and his crew take note of their colleague’s warning!

Heathrow’s T5 turmoils and traveller’s travails – PRimage view

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team are regular long-haul business travellers with BA from Heathrow – but we will think seriously before booking any future flights with British Airways after seeing the turmoil yesterday at the cavernous new £4.3 billion pound Terminal 5! It seems that things are not much better today, with BA cancelling a fifth of flights from Heathrow, as the chaos of its shambolic opening spilled into a second day. In our view, BA certainly need to do a lot of ‘damage limitation’ if they want to preserve their PR image and restore their damaged reputation! What’s your view?

Medicine Use Reviews – Day Lewis view

Friday, March 28th, 2008

In response to a recent survey by the pharmacy trade magazine, C&D, which found that just 15 per cent of employed pharmacists and 11 per cent of locums are rewarded financially for performing MURs, Day Lewis, the 165-outlet and largest independent pharmacy multiple in the UK, say they believe that MURs have the potential to play a critical role in improving patients’ safety and quality of life.  

Samantha Webb, Day Lewis Training Manager, cites the company’s successful incentive reward scheme to encourage their staff to deliver a target quantity of quality medicine use reviews.

Play Safe With Your Children’s Medicines! – Advice from your Day Lewis Pharmacist

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Your local Day Lewis Pharmacist is aware that many parents of toddlers and young children will be worried and concerned at today’s news that the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the UK has banned the sale of over the counter cough and cold medicines for babies and young children under the age of 2 as a precautionary measure against accidental overdose because of an increase in reports of adverse reactions linked to overdose. *

Day Lewis has issued the following advice and guidance to parents, customers and patients: “There is no need for parents to panic. The MHRA ban is a precautionary measure and the medicines are not dangerous. But if you are worried, and want to know more, advice is close at hand – at your local Day Lewis Pharmacy. Your Day Lewis pharmacist can explain the guidelines to you, answer your questions and concerns, advise you on the best treatment for your child’s cough and cold symptoms and help you choose a safe over the counter medicine, if necessary”.

In an interview with PRimage, Day Lewis Superintendent Pharmacist, Peter Glover, gives further reassurance to worried parents, saying: “There’s nothing wrong with these medicines – the danger occurs when a child is given too much of the cough medicine, or has more than one at the same time. Small children are more at risk of overdose because of their smaller size. Have a word with your Day Lewis pharmacist, who can reassure you and answer your concerns. Our pharmacists are friendly and expert health care professionals, always available and happy to answer your questions. They can help you find ways to make your child more comfortable when he or she is unwell or has to take medication.”

Peter adds: “At Day Lewis, we understand that every child is unique and may react to medication differently. So our pharmacists can help you tailor the treatment to suit your child’s needs. And our pharmacists can also advise you about safe, non-prescription, over-the-counter drugs that can ease your child’s discomfort. To help parents better understand the medicines they give to their children, Day Lewis has produced this handy advice guide: Play Safe with Your Children’s Medicines.”

Do not give your child products with Aspirin unless your doctor says so. It has been linked to a rare but serious illness called Reye’s syndrome in children and teenagers. Ask your Day Lewis pharmacist to advise you on a suitable children’s over the counter analgesic product. Never share prescription medications with other children, even if they have the same illness. If your child has been prescribed an antibiotic make sure she or he finishes the entire course of medication, even if they feel better within a couple of days. Keep all medications locked away and out of the reach of children. Despite the best care, accidents do happen. Keep the telephone numbers of your Day Lewis pharmacy and doctor on or near your telephone.

PRimage MD, Judy Viitanen suggests that when you pick up your child’s prescription, or visit the Day Lewis pharmacy to buy an over the counter medicine for your child, remember to ask these questions – which will help your child get the most benefit from his or her medication. How much medication should I give my child? When should I give the medication? Is there a way to make it easier for my child to take the medication? How long should I continue giving the medication? Where should I keep the medication? What side effects should I watch for? What should I do if my child spits up the medication or misses a dose? How do I tell if the medication is working? Or is not working? When should I take my child to see the doctor?

With 165 pharmacy outlets in local communities around the country, the Day Lewis Pharmacy Group is committed to ensuring their customers health and wellbeing – and they believe it is very important that patients understand how to use their prescription and over the counter medicines correctly. Their message to parents is – “Please tell your pharmacist about all medications your child is taking, including over the counter and herbal preparations. Alert your pharmacist to any allergies or other health problems your child has. Check with your pharmacist before mixing your child’s medication with food or liquids. Some medications may not work when mixed with something else. Follow your pharmacist’s advice, always read the medicine label and above all, follow the usage and dosage instructions to the letter.”

Remember, by talking to your Day Lewis Pharmacist you can make sure your child gets the most benefit from his or her medication.

“Day Lewis – Caring for our local communities”   

Children’s cough and cold medicines concerns – PRimage healthcare alert!

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

As a specialist healthcare communications agency, PRimage hope that all parents and carers of young children will take note of the news alert that cough and cold remedies for young children under two years of age are to be removed from shelves “as a precautionary measure” amid safety fears of accidental overdose. The move is due to concerns that parents might be giving children the wrong dosages.  Judy Viitanen believes that it’s crucial to remind the public just how important it is to always talk to your pharmacist about choosing and using medicines – and to always read the label and follow instructions.

The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has ordered six products taken by children aged under two be permanently removed from sale. Best-selling brands affected include Tixylix, Robitussin, Benylin and Calpol. About 90 more cough remedies are to be removed from shelves until they can be repackaged to include advice that they should not be given to children under two. In the long term, manufacturers will re-label and re-package them so they can go back on normal sale. Anyone who asks to buy these products will be questioned about the age of the child who is unwell. The product can be sold by a pharmacist if the child is older than two and an advice leaflet will be provided.

The alert centres on 12 ingredients in the medicines, many of which have been used by drug firms for years. A similar warning was issued in the U.S. in January. The Proprietary Association of Great Britain, the organisation which represents OTC medicines manufacturers in the UK, is launching an information campaign with leaflets in pharmacies and other shops. And parents of children under two who have any of the affected products at home will be advised to take them to a pharmacist for safe disposal.

PRimage reconfirm the official advice that parents are being urged to use temperature-lowering drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat babies and toddlers suffering cold symptoms. Parents are also advised to use a simple cough syrup such as glycerol, honey or lemon, with vapour rubs for a stuffy nose.

Judy Viitanen has learnt that the Commission on Human Medicines has been reviewing the risk/benefit of OTC products used for treating coughs and colds in children. The Commission’s advice is based upon evidence that children under 2 may be particularly sensitive to the effects of these medicines, especially if given in overdose. The CHM took account of experience in the United States where a recent safety review of children’s medicines in the United States, revealed a number of serious reports in children. The vast majority of these reports involved children under 2 years, and in many cases children had been given too much medicine because parents /caregivers had been confused about the correct dose or had given more than one product containing the same active ingredient.

PRimage financial alert: Retirees face increased debt!

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

The PRimage team are slightly worried to read a new report which warns that borrowers approaching retirement owe four times more in debts than ten years ago!! The study, from Barclays and Help the Aged, found one in four people approaching state retirement age have outstanding consumer credit commitments – and owe four times as much as their counterparts did ten years ago. Judy Viitanen thinks that with the credit crunch kicking in, this is not good news for ’50-somethings’! What’s your view?

Polyclinics pros and cons – PRimage comment

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

In recent months Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team have been following with great interest the political sagas and comments about the proposals by Health Minister, Lord Darzi to create so-called ‘polyclinics,’ which are effectively super-surgeries, housing GPs alongside other services such as hospital care, physiotherapists and social services – and which would involve several GPs and other health workers working together. Last week the British Medical Association said polyclinics were being forced on to the NHS even when there was no need for them.

So we were interested to read recent comments from Professor Martin Roland, of Manchester University, who believes that the government’s drive to push care out of hospitals and into new polyclinics is flawed. PRimage agree!

After studying pilot schemes, Prof. Roland said focusing GP care in polyclinics would harm patient choice. But the government said polyclinics would not be forced on authorities. Health Minister Lord Darzi said: “We are not imposing polyclinics on anyone. The 150 health centres announced in the NHS Next Stage Review Interim Report are additional, new capacity, and we have not suggested merging small practices.” He said it would be up to primary care trusts to decide what was best for the communities they served. Lord Darzi added: “People want healthcare that is more personalised and convenient…This is about the local NHS making changes that suit people’s needs: clinically led, locally driven and putting the public first.”

What’s your view on polyclinics? Please post a comment.

PRimage comment on cancer-obesity link

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team are disturbed to read that despite extensive media coverage and various healthcare awareness campaigns a new research study reveals that around half of people are unaware that being overweight or obese can cause cancer. Obesity is a major public health problem – and it is an issue that Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team often comment and lobby on.

PRimage believe that today’s news suggests that greater and more effective communication and publicity efforts need to be made to ensure that the health risks of being oveweight really get through to the public!

Earlier this month a study published in the Lancet medical journal revealed that obesity can double the risk of several cancers – and the study also linked being overweight with a number of less common forms of the disease. And PRimage is aware that a major report from the World Research Cancer Fund in October showed that excess body fat was likely to cause some cancers.