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PR and Med Ed news in brief

Our weekly round-up of PR and medical education stories.

Blood recycling in the spotlight

Many people are unaware that they can ask for their own blood to be recycled after having surgery and do not know that the option exists at several NHS hospitals. According to the Patients' Association, it is safer than transfusing a donor's blood, and is encouraging people to choose the technique. It says the technique would help to eke out supplies in blood banks, especially since controls to stop the human form of BSE spreading through transfusions mean there are fewer donors. The association has a website,, with backing from Baxter, a transfusion product manufacturer, to promote the choice of post-operative recycled blood.

Healthcare PR growth continues

The healthcare PR sector is increasing in momentum above any other industry according to the annual public relations consultancy league tables published in PRWeek. The trend reflects the increase of PR consultancy revenues across the board, with 88 per cent of agencies reporting an increase in 2004. Chandler Chicco Agency for example, has reported a 35 per cent rise in annual fee income, and plans to launch specialist services groups across areas such as medical education and OTC. Weber Shandwick's CEO reports that healthcare and consumer PR were the major growth areas in 2004, and healthcare accounts for 100 per cent of business for Resolute Communications.

Family advice comes first

Patients are putting friends and family at the top of the list when it comes to seeking advice for ill health. Of the 1,000 consumers surveyed, a third sought information from their family and friends first, ahead of medical books and literature, NHS Direct and the Internet. They are also mimicking the illnesses they see in their favourite TV soaps, said doctors. More than nine out of ten GPs claimed to have seen patients reporting symptoms based on what they had seen on TV or read in newspapers and magazines. Two-thirds of the 200 GPs surveyed by Norwich Union Healthcare said medical issues raised in this way were making their patients paranoid.

Schools go healthy

School meals are already becoming healthier with a sharp decline in canteens ordering chips, chocolate and frozen turkey, according to new figures. The reduction in fatty and unhealthy foods being supplied to schools by catering wholesalers pre-dates a campaign by television chef Jamie Oliver, the market research company ACNielsen said yesterday. Fewer frozen chips were supplied to schools in the year to 12 March, than in the previous year, with sales down by £521,000. Frozen turkey sales were also down by £463,000. Chocolate sales were £267,000 lower than last year, while frozen burgers and sausage rolls were both down by about £150,000.

2nd September 2008


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