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Pay rises, back pain and Alzheimer’s vaccines – this week’s Friday 5

Smiling nurses

Pay rise agreed for NHS staff

Over one million NHS staff are to be offered a pay rise of at least 6.5% over three years, with some seeing a rise of up to 29%. Those who are lowest paid in each job will receive the biggest rise in their pay. This deal was agreed by ministers and unions on Wednesday and will cost £4.2bn. Sara Gordon, the lead negotiator for the health unions, said that the pay rise will help to boost staff morale.

Read more on BBC News.


Prescription pills

Alzheimer’s vaccination drugs for over 50s could be here within a decade, but with an enormous price tag

Alzheimer’s Research UK has announced that in a few years, drugs to halt, slow or even reverse the disease could become available. The vaccine is estimated to be able to prevent up to 70 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.

12 Alzheimer’s drugs are in late Phase III trials – the last trial before they are allowed to be licensed. The cost of these drugs is expected to cost the NHS £9bn, and experts are encouraging the health system to act now to make sure that this can be funded.

Read more in The Telegraph.

Lower back ache

Treatment for lower back pain could have worsened the condition for many sufferers

As the most common cause of disability, more than 540 million people suffer lower back pain. However, three new papers published in the Lancet medical journal on Wednesday have called on the worldwide medical profession to stop offering treatments such as strong drugs, injections, and surgery, which are often ineffective and can even turn out to be harmful to the patient. Instead, the papers’ authors argue that the best course of action to manage back pain is by keeping active.

Read more in The Guardian

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health

Jeremy Hunt called the current social care charging system ‘far from fair’ and confirmed a cap for individual social care costs

In his first policy speech on social care since taking up the brief, Jeremy Hunt announced that a cap on ‘punitive’ costs, to limit the risk posed by the ‘illness lottery’ for conditions such as dementia. Speaking to a conference of health and social workers, the Secretary of State stated that the cap would form part of a wider number of ‘risk-pooling’ measures. One such measure includes the possibility of an insurance or saving scheme for younger people.

Read more on Sky News

Medical students

Five new medical schools to open in the next two years

The Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt has announced that five new medical schools will be opened by 2020 in a bid to expand the medical and nursing workforce. The schools will open in parts of the country where NHS recruitment is low –Sunderland, Lancashire, Lincoln, Canterbury and Chelmsford. By 2020, there will be 1,500 more medical students every year.

Read more on BBC News.


Quote of the week: At the special needs school she works in, Lucy Beattie set up a café where students from the school are able to gain valuable work experience and skills. On Down’s Syndrome Day, she wrote about the need for us to challenge our perceptions of what children with additional needs are capable of:

“One in 50 people in the UK has a learning disability, and just 6 percent of those known to local authorities and able to work are in employment. How frightening is that if you are a parent with a child with special needs? Surely we can change that?”

Read more in The Guardian

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