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RCN & BMA urge NHS focus in snap general election

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The Royal College of Nursing & British Medical Association are urging voters to remember the NHS during Junes general election and not be fixated on Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that there will be a snap general election in the UK on June 8, to “secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond”.

However, British Medical Association (BMA) the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have both warned that the NHS needs to be a key issue and said voters shouldn’t be fixated on Brexit.

Mark Porter, BMA Council Chair, stressed that, with the NHS “at breaking point”, it must be “a central issue in the upcoming election”, and not “pushed to the margins in the focus on Brexit”.

He went on to warn that “hospitals and GP surgeries are full and social care is on its knees, with staff working under impossible conditions,” and that “crippling funding and staffing shortages” are “undermining the delivery of safe care”. Added to which, there are “serious question marks over the future of thousands of EU citizens who are a vital part of the NHS”.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said: “Brexit is not the only issue the country faces – we will make sure that NHS and social care are on the ballot paper this June”.

She goes on to explain “The RCN will challenge all parties to give health and care services the funding and staff they need for safe patient care. We will be consulting our members on the RCN’s manifesto and the commitments they want to see from election candidates”.

The RCN is currently embroiled in an ongoing row with the government over the NHSPRB recommendation to extend the 1% pay cap on Agenda for Change staff.

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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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