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NHS U-turn sees breast cancer drug Kadcyla approved for use

Ian Snug

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Kadcyla, a new drug which could extend the lives of women with advanced breast cancer, has been approved for routine use on the NHS.

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Women with aggressive breast cancer will be granted the use of a life-extending drug called Kadcyla after a ‘monumental’ U-turn by NHS rationing bodies.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) had previously said the drug “does not work well enough to justify its high cost” of £90,000 per patient  – despite, in clinical trials, it has given women with advanced breast cancer up to nine months’ extra life.

The u-turn has been hailed by charities as a “monumental” decision by rationing bodies.

A new deal between NHS England and the pharmaceutical company Roche will make the drug initially available to about 1,200 women per year in England after it was approved for use on the NHS in Scotland earlier this year.

Kadcyla is administered intravenously (IV) once every three weeks. Clinical trials also demonstrated an increase in quality of life for patients compared with other treatments.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “NHS cancer survival rates are now at record highs, and this year we’re going to be making major upgrades to modern radiotherapy treatments in every part of England. 

“NHS England is also taking practical action to drive greater value from taxpayers’ growing investment in modern drug treatments, and that work is beginning to bear fruit.

“Today’s announcement on Kadcyla shows that for companies who are willing to work with us, there are concrete gains for them, for the NHS and most importantly for patients able to get new and innovative drugs. In this case, tough negotiation and flexibility between the NHS and Roche means both patients and taxpayers are getting a good deal.”

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NMC says regulation for nursing associates moves a step closer

James M

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council say regulation for nursing associates is getting closer and is expected by July 2018.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has welcomed the Department of Health’s consultation on proposed changes to its legislation to enable the regulation of nursing associates.

The consultation follows the decision of the NMC’s Council to agree to regulate the new role, following a request from the Secretary of State for Health in January 2017.

Earlier this month the NMC released it’s draft standards of proficiency for Nursing Associates.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“This consultation is a vital step towards the NMC becoming the regulator of nursing associates.

“It’s always been our ambition to open the register to nursing associates in January 2019, when the first trainees qualify. But in order to do so, it’s critical that Government drives through the necessary changes to our legislation, to ensure that we’re able to protect the public from the moment the first qualified nursing associates begin to practise.”

The NMC expects the necessary changes to its legislation to come into force by July 2018. This will give the regulator six months until the first trainees qualify to complete the activities that need to be in place in order to open the register. This includes approving the NMC’s Rules and fees, approval of the final nursing associate standards and approval of nursing associates programme providers.

The consultation, Regulation of Nursing Associates in England, will run from 16 October to 26 December.

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NMC makes significant changes to language requirements for international nurses

Sarah J

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council have made significant changes to its English language requirements after claims the previous test was ‘too hard’.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has today announced that it is making alternative options available for nurses and midwives, trained outside the UK, to demonstrate their English language capability.

From 1 November 2017, the NMC will accept the Occupational English Test (OET) in addition to the International English Language Test System (IELTS), as proof of a nurse or midwife’s English language competence.

This change will provide an alternative way for nurses and midwives to demonstrate their English language capability.

The NMC had previously investigated if the IELTS was too difficult with experts warning it was the primary reason for a reduction in the number of EU nurses.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“Nurses and midwives trained outside the UK make up around 15 percent of our register. They are vital to the delivery of health and care services across the UK.

“By accepting alternative forms of evidence we are increasing the options available for nurses and midwives to demonstrate they have the necessary command of English to practise safely and effectively, without compromising patient safety.”

The regulatory body says these changes are part of an ongoing review process into its English language requirements.

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