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Breast cancer screening errors, refugee doctors, and ecstasy being used to treat PTSD- this week&#82

Up to 270 lives shortened by breast cancer screening error

Since 2009, 450,000 women between the ages of 68 and 71 have not received invitations to breast cancer screenings. Due to what the Secretary of State for Health has described as a glitch in a ‘computer algorithm’, up to 270 women may have had their lives shortened.  The problem was discovered after Public Health England conducted an analysis of the data. Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the Royal College of GPs stressed that steps must be taken to ensure that this never happens again.

Read more on the BBC.


600 mental health workers and 700 pharmacists have been recruited to GP practices since the start of the year

As of 2017, almost 600 mental health workers and 700 clinical pharmacists have been recruited by NHS England. This is in the “Improving Access to Psychological Therapies” (IAPT) programme which forms part of the five-year plan to improve general practice by 2020. The news has been welcomed by GP leaders, but they have also highlighted concerns that schemes such as IAPT have no recurrent funding planned after 2020.

Read more on Pulse.


Ecstasy could help veterans suffering from PTSD

MDMA has the ability to assist veterans in coping with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder when administered during psychotherapy, the leaders of an American clinical trial have claimed. After gaining FDA approval for their first clinical trial in 2001, Michael C. Mithoefer, the lead author of the study, said, ‘We began our first phase two clinical trial here in Charleston in 2004 treating mostly crime-related PTSD such as childhood abuse or rape in individuals who had failed to respond to psychotherapy and medications.’ It was the ‘promising’ results of these earlier trials that led to the most recent study.

Read more on CNN.


Refugee medics are helping the Scottish NHS to fill staffing gaps

The Bridges Programmes, a refugee integration charity, is working with the Scottish health system to make it easier for refugee doctors to get licensed quickly. The programme has already seen six doctors graduate, and another four are to graduate by the end of the year. There are a number of benefits to the programme, for both the individual, who is no longer wasting their skills and are able to better integrate, and the health system, which is more easily able to fill its gaps in staffing levels, without spending as much as it would cost to train someone up from scratch.

Read more on the Herald.


Local government must be at the heart of the debate on social care

Jeremy Hunt has called on local authorities to not shy away from the debate on the future of the social care system. The Secretary of State posed strong and open local authorities as the antidote to the ‘effects of repeated, failed reform programmes’. Welcoming signs of collaboration between local government and the NHS, Mr Hunt called for more to be done.

Read more on HSJ. (£)


Quote of the week –

CQC’s new Chief Executive Ian Trenholm on joining the regulator and the challenges ahead:

“I am really pleased to be joining the CQC at a time of challenge for both health and social care. I look forward to working with the CQC team to build on the strong foundations already in place, creating innovative methods of assuring safe and effective care for all.”

Read more on the HSJ. (£)


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