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This week's Friday Five: 28/10/22


Health and Social Care Committee publish future of general practice report

This week the Health and Social Care Committee published its report on the future of general practice.

A key focus of the report was the importance of continuity of care - with MPs likening seeing a GP to "booking an Uber driver", where patients never see the same GP twice. Authors of the report cite that the doctor-patient relationship is essential for patient safety. Other conclusions reached in the report were that there needs to be a significant drive to recruit and retain GPs and an effort to reduce administrative burden.

Health and Social Care Committee member Rachael Maskell said: “Our inquiry has heard time and again the benefits of continuity of care to a patient with evidence linking it to reduced mortality and emergency admissions. Yet that important relationship between a GP and their patients is in decline. We find it unacceptable that this, one of the defining standards of general practice, has been allowed to erode and our report today sets out a series of measures to reverse that decline."

Read the full report here.

New funding to support the digital health professionals of the future


Health Education England has announced that it will be awarding £52,000 to develop resources to support the next generation of digital health professionals.

Currently the Digital Health Pathway course is a two year course offered to 14-19 year olds at 10 University Technical Colleges across the country. The course teaches students skills required for careers in computing and health sciences. The extra funding will help expand the course to more sites.

Patrick Mitchell, Director of Innovation, Digital and Transformation at Health Education England, said: “The Digital Health Pathways Project has shown to be a fantastic way for young people to gain skills and experience to set them up for a career in digital health.

“We hope that the funding being made available to the Baker Dearing Educational Trust will allow for the resources to be developed so many more young people around the country can have the opportunity to gain digital health skills in this way.”

Read the full story in Pharmiweb here.


Public called to participate in large scale population health study

Researchers are inviting 5 million people to participate in a study aiming to examine the heath of the nation.

The 'our future health' project involves collecting health and genetic data from millions of volunteers to find better ways to prevent illnesses. Researchers will use the large dataset to discover new ways to diagnose and treat disease, especially diseases which are currently incurable or not detected until it is too late - such as cancer or dementia.

Dr Chris MacDonald, of the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: "Information collected through this exciting initiative will provide valuable insight into the health of the nation over time, enabling us to learn more about a wide range of diseases, including pancreatic cancer, and study the signals present in blood samples even many years before diagnosis."

Read the full story in BBC News here.


Novel approach to treating schizophrenia shows promise

Wellcome has revealed that results from a new drug trial for schizophrenia show promise for the first novel approach to treating the illness in over 50 years.

The new drug created by Karuna Therapeutics is a combination treatment that combines the effects of two different drugs. Results from the phase three trial led to statistically significant improvements in psychosis symptoms and patients also did not experience side effects that other antipsychotic drugs cause such as weight gain, drowsiness and restlessness. Karuna aims to file a New Drug Application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) next year.

Lynsey Bilsland, Head of Mental Health translation at Wellcome said: "The KarXT trial is the first positive Phase 3 trial for an investigational medicine that does not directly rely on dopaminergic or serotonergic pathways in the brain in approximately 70 years."

Read the full story here.

Quote of the week:

A new study has highlighted the difficulties faced when receiving an autism diagnosis and highlighted hotspots and coldspots across the country where rates of diagnosis are higher or lower. This means that many individuals are struggling to be diagnosed for autism based solely on where they live.

Tim Nicholls, head of influencing and research at the National Autistic Society, said: "Long waits are traumatic and, for many, will mean struggling without support at school, work and home, leaving some to fall into unnecessary crisis."

Read the full story in Medscape.

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