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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news in brief

iSoft in talks with potential buyers
iSoft is in talks with potential buyers, while problems surrounding its key contract to upgrade the NHS IT system continue to plague the Manchester-based healthcare software firm. The firm said it had been approached by financial investors and other firms with healthcare interests with a view to either acquiring the entire company, taking a large stake or forming a strategic alliance. ìThe board has concluded that shareholders' interests are best served by opening discussions with a number of these parties with the objective of clarifying the options and determining the most appropriate route forward for the company,î iSoft said in a statement.

RA drug access hit by postcode prescribing
Obtaining advanced rheumatoid arthritis drugs on the NHS is still very much a postcode lottery despite their approval by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), a new study has asserted. Researchers from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register, sent questionnaires to 509 consultant rheumatologists in the UK, of whom 252 responded. The results revealed a wide disparity in the provision of anti-TNF therapy (anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha) drugs. Just under half of respondents said there was some limitation on their ability to prescribe anti-TNF therapy across the country. Anti-TNF therapy drugs were approved by NICE for the treatment of RA in November 2002.

Mental health failed by funding mistakes, says report
Mental health patients are not receiving adequate community services and have to suffer extremely long waiting times and a lack of specialist care, according to a new report from think tank, Reform. The report, by Nick Bosanquet, professor of health policy at Imperial College London and others, says too much money has been spent on long-term hospital stays and compulsory treatment and is calling for choice and competition to cut waiting times dramatically for the ìvast majorityî of patients. ìMental health services have been left out of the mainstream of NHS policy for too long,î said Professor Bosanquet. ìModern thinking has not been applied to a key illness of modern society.î

30th September 2008

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