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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Cancer diagnoses confusing patients

Nearly two-thirds of cancer patients do not fully understand their doctor's explanation of their diagnosis, according to a new survey. In the research, carried out by the charity Cancer BACUP, campaigning group Ask About Medicines and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, only half of those surveyed knew that when their doctor said ìthe tumour is progressingî, it was not good news. Nearly four out of 10 did not feel they knew what questions to ask about their treatment options - and only half felt encouraged to ask questions at all. Kate Tillett, chair of the ABPI's Involved Patient Initiative said the study proved there was no substitute for a good open relationship between cancer patients and healthcare professionals. ìWe hope it will serve as a call to action to healthcare professionals to develop information prescriptions for their patients and encourage them to ask questions about their treatment,î she added.

New NHIS database launched

A newer version of online NHS information library, the National Health Intelligence Service (NHIS) web library (www.nhis.info), is now available. The database's developer, Infonetica, said that the revised service would allow customers to segment information to the right level as well as better understand the important strategic changes in the NHS such as practice based commissioning. Among other things, the NHIS database offers Quality Outcomes Framework data for each practice in the UK, PCT changes as the proposals become available and PCT information and budgets.

BMA slams nurse prescribing plans

The British Medical Association (BMA) has branded plans to give nurses and pharmacists greater prescribing powers as ìirresponsible and dangerousî. Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has backed the move, saying it will free up GPs to carry out more complex care. Both nurses and pharmacists will have to undergo extra training to get the extended powers, which will allow them to prescribe many drugs on NHS formularies. However, Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee said: ìWe believe only doctors have the necessary diagnostic and prescribing training that justifies access to the full range of medicine for all conditions.î

30th September 2008

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