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Today marked the End of the NHS Bursary

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Today marked the end of NHS bursaries for new nursing, midwifery and healthcare students in England.

As from today, new nursing, midwifery and other health students such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists will no longer receive NHS bursaries to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Instead, the trainee healthcare professionals will be reliant on student loans and face leaving university with upward of £50,000 of debt despite on-going pay restraint.

The department of health says ending the bursaries will free up £800m a year to help create additional nursing roles.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, this week announced 21,000 new posts to improve mental health services but with over 11,000 nursing vacancies and training figures at an all time low the Royal College of Nursing has criticised this plan.

Student healthcare professionals in Wales will continue to receive NHS bursaries on the condition they commit to working in the country after qualifying.

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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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