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PM suggests NHS could be a part of US trade deal

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Theresa May insists the government would remain ‘committed to an NHS that is free at the point of use’ but couldn’t comment further.

Prime Minister Theresa May says she can only commit to a health service that is free at the point of delivery, but could not comment on whether the NHS would be off the table in trade deal discussions.

During an interview with the Independent May was asked if UK health services might form a part of a potential deal, she said: “We’re at the start of the process of talking about a trade deal. We’re both very clear that we want a trade deal. It will be in the interests of the UK from my point of view”, “I believe we can come to an agreement that is in the interests of both”.

When asked again whether the NHS would be off the table she said: “As regards the NHS, we’re very clear as a Government that we’re committed to an NHS that is free at the point of use.”

The statement left open the possibility of the greater involvement of US firms in UK healthcare, as long as people do not have to pay for the services they provide at the moment they are received.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. somersetsage

    27th April 2017 at 9:15 pm

    “free at the point of use” gives the impression nothing will change for the patient. If pressed they will say, ‘who cares if the provider is state or private as long as the treatment is effective. But context is everything. Private contractors might be better funded but that investment would have to be recovered and a profit earned for the shareholders. Bids have to be adjudicated and evaluated and that involves both lawyers and accountants. The companies incur costs in advertising and lobbying. If the companies have to access other parts of the NHS, then that needs to be charged and the process itself has a cost. If the NHS teams do not get the contract, they are likely to be disbanded or absorbed into the new team. This divides the work force; no longer are they all working for the same employer, and their career depends the new employers.
    The extra costs and probable loss of central oversight will affect the ‘point of use’.

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Midwifery

Royal College of Midwives to end campaign to promote ‘normal births’

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The Royal College of Midwives ends their campaign for “normal births” to avoid making mothers who opt for medical interventions feel like failures.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has been running a continuous campaign since 2005 to encourage expectant mothers to give birth without medical interventions such as; epidurals, inductions and caesareans.

Currently, around 40% of mothers give birth without medical interventions. 20% less than 30 years ago. But experts say a significant number of these are due to the increase in more risky pregnancies.

Prof Cathy Warwick, the Chief Executive of the RCM, said;

“There was a danger that if you just talk about normal births – and particularly if you call it a campaign – it kind of sounds as if you’re only interested in women who have a vaginal birth without intervention”.

“What we don’t want to do is in any way contribute to any sense that a woman has failed because she hasn’t had a normal birth. Unfortunately, that seems to be how some women feel.”

“What we don’t want to do is in any way contribute to any sense that a woman has failed because she hasn’t had a normal birth. Unfortunately that seems to be how some women feel.”

Midwives, will instead, start to use the term “physiological births” to describe those without interventions.

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Pancreatic cancer patients to have routine access to life extending drug after new deal

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NICE has recommended nab-paclitaxel for routine NHS use after the company agreed a confidential price discount and provided more evidence on its effectiveness.

Nab-paclitaxel, also known as Abraxane, made by Celgene will be routinely available as an option for patients with pancreatic cancer that has progressed.

When Abraxane is added to a standard chemotherapy, called gemcibatine the evidence has found it extends life by an average of 2.4 months.

If other combination chemotherapy treatments are unsuitable for a patient, NICE recommends offering Abraxane instead of this standard chemotherapy on its own.

It works by blocking the action of the proteins within cancer cells that cause them to grow and divide.

NICE has reviewed its guidance from 2015 which did not recommend Abraxane for routine NHS use for not being cost-effective.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, said: The life expectancy of pancreatic cancer is poor, with patients usually living for only up to 6 months. It’s incredibly important that patients and families affected by this disease are able to have routine access to this life extending treatment.”

There are almost 10,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, and less than 1% survive for 10 or more years.

This is a final appraisal determination for Abraxane. The company, healthcare professionals and patient/carer organisations now have until Friday 1 September to appeal the decision.

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