GPs’ Mental Health

Mind | August 2018 |Two in five GPs have experienced mental health problems, finds survey

A survey conducted by the mental health charity MIND reports that 40 per cent of  GPs have experienced mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Among the 1000 doctors who participated in the survey 84 per cent said they would look to family or friends for support; 77 per cent would consult their own doctor and 45 per cent would also speak to colleagues. 

Mind is urging Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and GP practices to ensure the whole primary care workforce receives appropriate support when needed and has workplace policies and procedures in place to better promote staff wellbeing (Source: Mind).

Mind’s survey results also includes the experiences of two GPs who talk about their own mental health.  Read the full release at Mind 

Read Dr Simon’s blog about being a GP and his experience of managing his own mental health at Mind 

RPS backs development of pharmacist independent prescribers

Royal Pharmaceutical Society | August 2018 |RPS backs development of pharmacist independent prescribers

The way health services are delivered is changing and there are more opportunities than ever before for Pharmacist Independent Prescribers (PIPs). 

Greater use of PIPs will increase patient access to medicines and support.  RPS believe all pharmacists in direct patient care roles should have access to independent prescriber training and be able to practise the skills they gain to enhance patient care.


RPS’ policy document on independent prescribing outlines their views.

Key recommendations include:

  • New models of care should enable PIPs to routinely use their skills and knowledge to benefit patient care
  • A clear pathway must be developed for pharmacists to become qualified Independent Prescribers

Pharmacist Independent Prescribers policy document is available here 

NHS workforce increases by 1.6 percent in a year

NHS Digital |  August 2018 | NHS workforce increases by 1.6 percent in a year

NHS Digital has published figures on NHS workforce, it has produced an infographic to accompany the data. 

workforce statistics
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A total of 1,230,000 FTEs were employed by the health service across NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), NHS support organisations and central bodies in England as well as in General Practice.

Full details at NHS England 

Heavy drinkers generate alcohol industries profit

University of Sheffield | August 2018 | Two-thirds of alcohol sales are to heavy drinkers 

A new study from the University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group in conjunction with the Institute of Alcohol Studies research has  found that alcoholic beverages purchased in supermarkets and off-licences (81 per cent) compared to pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants (60 per cent)  were more likely to be consumed above guideline levels. The research findings which have now been published in the journal Addiction show that if people consuming alcohol followed guidance and adhered to recommended levels of intake, sales of alcohol would plummet by £13 billion. 

The study also indicates that heavy drinkers generate a greater share of revenue for producers of beer (77 per cent), cider (70 per cent) and wine (66 per cent) than spirits (50 per cent).


Notable findings :

• Drinkers consuming more than the government’s low-risk guideline of 14 units per week make up a quarter of the population, but provide 68 per cent of industry revenue.

• Four per cent of the population drinking at levels identified as ‘harmful’ account for almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the total value of all alcohol sold.

The research, also explores the financial importance of heavy drinking to different types of retailers and producers (via University of Sheffield).

The full news release is available from the University of Sheffield 

The journal article is available from Addiction 

Full reference: Maheswaran, R., Green, M. A., Strong, M., Brindley, P., Angus, C., and Holmes, J. | 2018|  Alcohol outlet density and alcohol related hospital admissions in England: a national small‐area level ecological study|  Addiction|


Alcohol outlet density and alcohol related hospital admissions in England: a national small‐area level ecological study via Wiley 

In the news:

The Telegraph Heavy drinkers fuel alcohol industry

Evening Standard Alcohol Firms would lose a staggering £13bn if drinkers in England stuck to limits, study shows 

Diabetes epidemic predicted to increase rise in heart attacks and stroke

British Heart Foundation | August 2018 | Growing diabetes epidemic to trigger ‘sharp rise’ in heart attacks and strokes by 2035

Currently  in England, nearly 4 million people are living with diabetes. Extrapolation of data based on the increasing number of people with diabetes predicts that almost  39,000 people living with diabetes suffering a heart attack in 2035 – a rise of 9,000 compared to 2015 – and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke – a rise of 11,000.


BHF expect that to rise to over 5 million over the next 20 years, as a result of the population’s  worsening lifestyles and the UK’s growing obesity rates.  As well as the increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, this rise in diabetes cases will increase the number of people suffering from conditions including angina and heart failure. BHF forecasts this will put further pressure on the NHS with previous estimates suggesting the yearly cost of treating people with diabetes will be £16.9 billion by 2035, up from £9.8 billion in 2012.

BHF are underlining  urgent need for ‘bold action’ to tackle lifestyle factors, such as obesity and a poor diet, that are leading to spiraling rates of diabetes, as well as a greater focus within the health sector on earlier diagnosis.

Read the full news story at BHF 

In the news:

BBC News Rise in diabetes ‘to cause surge in heart disease and strokes’

Sky News Diabetes epidemic set to cause surge in heart attacks and strokes

Daily Mail  Britain’s diabetes time-bomb: Rise of Type 2 will cause heart attacks and strokes to soar over the coming years with 30% increase in serious illnesses linked to the condition

The Telegraph Obesity epidemic will fuel 30 per cent rise in heart attacks in 2035

Times Diabetes means big rise in heart attacks

The Guardian Diabetes epidemic ‘will lead to rise in heart attacks and strokes’

Combination of new drug and chemotherapy used to treat patients with advanced ovarian and lung cancer

ICR | August 2018 | Drug combination gives ‘exciting’ results in ovarian and lung cancer in early trial

The results of an early clinical trial suggest that a combination of chemotherapy and a new drug could be used to provide treatment for patients with advanced ovarian and lung cancer, where other treatments had failed. 

Scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, decided to test vistusertib, which inhibits the activation of a specific molecule in ovarian cancer cells, to determine if the drug combination was safe for patients, the dosage and its efficacy.  The combination of targeted drug vistusertib along with paclitaxel chemotherapy caused tumours of over 50 per cent of patients with ovarian cancer and over 33 % with lung cancer to shrink, and stopped patients’ cancers from growing for almost six months.


This far exceeds what is expected with standard treatments in patients with advanced disease who have already had, and have now become resistant to, standard treatment (Source: ICR).

Read the full news release from The Institute for Cancer Research Drug combination gives ‘exciting’ results in ovarian and lung cancer in early trial

In the news:

BBC News Drug cocktail can ‘shrink cancer tumours’

The Times Cancer drug Vistusertib gives hope for terminal patients

Children’s eye health at risk as parents believe sight tests take place at school  

Association of Optometrists| August 2018 | Children’s eye health at risk as parents believe sight tests take place at school

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) have launched the A B See Campaign to encourage parents to take their child/ren to have their eyesight tested. The campaign is in response to AOP’s survey findings, where a little over 1,2040 parents of children between the ages of 4 and 16  across the UK.  They found that children are missing out on vital eye health care because parents believe their children’s vision is tested at school. 


Key findings in the survey include almost three quarters (74%) of practising optometrists have seen children in the past year who had vision problems that could have been treated more successfully if they had been diagnosed at an earlier age.

Almost a quarter (24%) of 4-16-year-olds had never been taken for a sight test by their parents.  27% of parents admitted to waiting for their child to show certain behaviours before taking them for a sight test, such as sitting too close to the television or holding books close to their eyes.

While one in seven (14%) admitted to only booking a sight test when their child told them they were having trouble seeing.

Read the full news story from the Association of Optometrists 

In the news:

BBC News Children ‘getting sight problems because of eye test delays’

Huff Post This Is When You Should Take Your Child For An Eye Test

Asthma Audit Development Project (AADP) Phase 2: Final report (August 2018)

Royal College of Physicians & Health Quality Improvement Programme | 2018 | Asthma Audit Development Project (AADP) Phase 2: Final report (August 2018)

The Asthma Audit Development Project (AADP) is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcome Programme (NCAPOP). HQIP is led by a consortium of the
Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices. Its aim is to promote quality improvement, and in particular to increase the impact that clinical audit has on healthcare quality in England and Wales. HQIP holds the contract to manage and develop the NCAPOP, comprising more than 30 clinical audits that cover care provided to people with a wide range of medical, surgical and mental health conditions. 

Royal college
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Asthma Audit Development Project (AADP) Phase 2: Final report is available to download from HQIP 

Deaths related to drug posioning in England and Wales

Office of National Statistics | August 2018 | Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales

The latest issue of Deaths related to drug posioning in England and Wales has been released by the Office of National Statistics. 


Main points:

  • There were 3,756 deaths relating to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2017, a rate of 66.1 deaths per 1 million population, and similar to levels seen in 2016.
  • Two-thirds of drug-related deaths were related to drug misuse, accounting for 43.7 deaths per 1 million in 2017.
  • Males’ mortality rate decreased from 91.4 deaths per 1 million population in 2016 to 89.6 in 2017, while the female rate increased for the eighth consecutive year to 42.9 deaths per 1 million population; neither changes were significant.
  • The North East had a significantly higher rate of deaths relating to drug-misuse than all other English regions; London had a significantly lower rate.
  • Deaths involving cocaine and fentanyl continued to rise while deaths related to new psychoactive substances halved in 2017.The figures show cocaine is the second most common drug in England and Wales.  Deaths as a result of cocaine increased for the sixth consecutive year, in 2017 432 deaths related to cocaine in 2017, compared with 371 deaths the year before. The age-standardised rate in 2017 was 7.5 deaths per 1 million population, which is the highest rate recorded since the start of the time series. It is not possible to distinguish the form of cocaine (such as, powder cocaine or crack cocaine) in relation to these deaths. Deaths mentioning cocaine show a rising trend since 2011, in which they have increased from 1.9 deaths per 1 million population.


The full release is available from the Office of National Statistics

In the media:

The Guardian Rise in cocaine deaths prompts calls for government action

The Telegraph Cocaine deaths reach all-time high in England and Wales

BBC News Fentanyl and cocaine drug deaths rise

Daily Mail Cocaine deaths quadruple in seven years prompting call for urgent investigation to tackle the ‘scandalous’ rise

Maternal request caesarean research highlights postcode lottery

Birthrights | August 2018 | Maternal request caesarean research highlights postcode lottery

New figures published by Birthrights highlights concerns about  the treatment of women requesting a cesarean section. Their freedom of information request finds that the majority of Trusts in the UK make the process of requesting a caesarean lengthy, difficult or inconsistent adding anxiety and distress to women at a vulnerable time. Statistics show that 15% of Trusts have policies or processes that explicitly do not support maternal request caesarean, while 47% of Trusts have policies or processes that are problematic or inconsistent. Only 26% of Trusts offer caesareans in line with NICE best-practice guidance (via Birthrights). 

Birthrights news story here 

In the news:

On Medica Some hospitals tell women requesting caesareans to go elsewhere

The Guardian One in six NHS trusts do not offer caesareans on request – charity

BBC News  Women ‘being denied Caesarean choice’

[Video] BBC News I had to fight for my C-section while in labour’