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Primary Care

Morning after pill can now be bought online for £4.99

Sarah J

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Online pharmacy Chemist 4 U has revealed they will be selling the morning after pill to women for just £4.99 per pack.

Initially, the online-only pharmacy was praised for making the morning after pill more accessible for women at an affordable price but some have criticised the move.

Women will be able to buy as many as three packs of Levonelle, a generic version of the pill, from the online pharmacy in six months.

Campaigners on reproductive ethics have been quick to condemn the initiative, explaining that the accessibility presents the morning-after pill as regular contraception, when professional advice is to only use it in emergencies.

Shamir Patel, Managing Director of Chemist 4 U, told The Independent;

“We always advise women in an emergency situation, to go to their nearest pharmacy that day, rather than waiting a day to receive it from an online pharmacy.

“However our belief is, an advanced supply from us avoids the panic in the unlikely event of barrier method failure. We advise all patients that EHC should not be used as a regular contraceptive method”.

Other retailers such as Boots and Superdrug have recently drastically reduced the cost of the morning after pill following calls from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

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Primary Care

May set to end public sector pay cap

Sarah J

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Reports indicate that Theresa May and Phillip Hammond are drawing up plans to remove the public sector pay cap.

Experts say that Theresa May is drawing up plans to end the seven-year cap on public sector pay, which currently restricts annual public sector pay increases to 1 per cent. It is thought mounting from public sector unions and finally contributed towards this change in policy.

Despite voting against the removal of the pay cap earlier this year, several senior ministers, including Boris Johnson Michael Fallon are in reportedly in support of dropping the unpopular policy.

The announcement is expected to take place when Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, sends guidance letters to the pay review bodies, including the NHSPRB, later this month.

Removal of the pay cap for all 5 million public sector employees would cost an estimated £4 billion a year.

A Downing Street spokesperson said;

“We are listening.

“We know that many people in the public and private sector feel they are just about managing.”

Many claim removal of the pay cap will help with staff shortages in certain areas, such as nursing, teaching and the senior civil service.

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NHS begs for emergency funding as it faces worst winter in history

Ian Snug

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Experts are warning that the NHS is facing its worst winter in history if it does not receive an immediate funding boost.

NHS Providers, the association that represents healthcare trusts in England, has called for emergency funding of between £200m and £350m to enable the NHS to ensure patient safety in the coming winter months.

Experts say that failure to provide extra funding will lead to longer waiting times for patients in A&E as well as other services. They go on to warn that patient safety could be put at risk.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said:

“Last winter the health service came under pressure as never before.

“At its height, the NHS had to provide 4,500 additional beds a day – equivalent to more than eight extra hospitals.

“Patient safety was compromised as local services struggled to cope with the pressures. “At times, in some places, the NHS was overwhelmed.

“We must act now to prevent the situation becoming even worse this winter.

“Trusts are doing all they can to prepare for this winter in the face of increasing demand for their services and competing priorities.

“And they are benefiting from much better national level planning from NHS England and NHS Improvement which is helping to identify and support those local areas that are most at risk.

“But despite this, the overwhelming view of NHS trusts is that without immediate extra funding they will not have sufficient capacity to manage this winter safely.

“This risk has been heightened because, in many areas, the £1bn of extra support for social care announced in the Budget will not ease winter pressures on the NHS, as the Government had planned.

“Patients will therefore be put at greater risk as local trusts won’t have the extra beds, staff and services they need to meet the extra demand they will face.

“The only way to mitigate these risks is through an urgent NHS cash injection to ensure the NHS has the necessary capacity this winter.”

NHS Providers explains that NHS Trusts are at greater financial pressure than ever before and therefore extra funding is ultimately needed to ensure patient safety.

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