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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of NHS and healthcare stories

Sight-loss patients facing postcode lottery
Patients in England and Wales in need of treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are facing a postcode lottery, the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) has warned. While the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has licensed the drug, Macugen (pegaptanib), to treat the condition, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which covers England and Wales, is not expected to give guidance on the drug until August next year. ìIn the meantime, many primary care trusts are giving a blanket `no' when patients are recommended for the drug,î said RNIB spokesman Steve Winyard. AMD is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK and affects a quarter of a million people. The wet form of the condition can cause a loss of central vision and altered colour perception.

`Possible accounting irregularities' at Isoft
Shares in Isoft fell after the troubled healthcare software group's new auditors said they had uncovered signs of possible accounting irregularities in its revenues for 2004 and 2005. An independent probe into its accounting problems also concluded there were grounds for a more formal investigation, Isoft said. The firm added it had commissioned an investigation into the possible irregularities. In January, Isoft admitted the rescheduling of the £6.2bn NHS IT contract would badly affect earnings, sending shares tumbling.

30th September 2008

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