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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of NHS and healthcare stories.

Isolation units could curb MRSA

Patients who carry the antibiotic-resistant bug MRSA should be kept in isolated wards, microbiologists have advised. In a letter distributed on the website, www.doctors.net.uk, the microbiologists argue that isolated units may be the most effective way of controlling MRSA as they would be staffed by a dedicated group of doctors and nurses to ensure that the chance of staff carrying bacteria to other wards is reduced.

NHS missing OOH targets

The NHS is failing to meet the targets of its out-of-hours service, which allows patients to be seen by a GP when their local surgery is shut, a BBC investigation has revealed. The investigation, for BBC Radio 4's File on 4, revealed that one in four Primary Care Trusts were not meeting the targets of seeing 90 per cent of patients within one hour and Trusts in London, the Midlands and East Anglia were most affected.

Mental health patients need more choice

Mental health patients should be given more choice regarding their treatment, according to think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research. It argued that patients should be given their own budgets to spend on therapies, medication and support, and that GPs should not be the only access point to mental health services. ìMore choice holds out the prospect to improve services and ultimately help to improve our mental health,î noted report author Jennifer Rankin.

NHS IT suppliers could lose contracts

A number of suppliers to the NHS' IT programme could lose their contracts if they do not start to deliver, NHS IT programme director, Richard Granger has warned. Speaking at a Healthcare Computing conference, Granger warned that although the big four local service providers would not lose their contracts, others could be less fortunate. ìIf suppliers cannot do their job, they will be replaced. Some of that will occur over the next few months,î Granger confirmed. The NHS' IT programme, which includes the creation of an electronic patient-record system, is running behind schedule and has been heavily criticised.

Two arrested in NHS price fix claim

Two directors at pharma company Goldshield Group have been arrested and bailed following a long-running investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into price fixing claims. The NHS claims that a group of companies, including Goldshield, kept the treatments warfarin and an antibiotic based on penicillin in short supply in order to artificially inflate the treatments' prices. Goldshield chief executive officer, Ajit Patel, and chief operating officer, Kirti Patel, were released on bail pending further inquiries.

30th September 2008

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