23.09.2022
NHS prescriptions to be available without seeing GP under planned changes

Therese Coffey has announced that patients could be able to get some prescription drugs without visiting a GP. The change is part of the health secretary’s new NHS plan, which she revealed in the House of Commons yesterday, September 22, reports Birmingham Live.

She said: “To help free up appointments, we will ease pressures on GP practices by expanding the role of community pharmacies.

“I’m pleased to announce that today we have agreed a deal for an expanded offer over the next 18 months.

“Pharmacists will be able to prescribe certain medications rather than requiring a GP prescription.

“As well as other measures involving community pharmacists, we estimate that this will free up two million appointments.”

“My priorities are patients’ priorities and I will endeavour to level up care and match expectations that the public rightly has,” she added.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive, said: “I know how much patients value timely, convenient access to GPs and primary care, the front door to the NHS, which is why we are continuing to drive improvements, including new roles to better meet patients’ needs and new tech to make contacting your local surgery easier.

“NHS staff are working incredibly hard to deliver record numbers of GP appointments for patients, with 11 million more this year so far than the same period last year, and more than four in five people who need an appointment seen within two weeks, including more than two-fifths within one day.

“We will work with the Government so we can support NHS staff to deliver these new ambitions for patients, underpinned by the development of a long-term workforce plan.”

Therese Coffey was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by Liz Truss on September 6.

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    Omicron could be the end! Evolutionary scientists say Covid ‘may be settling down

    “I think there’s a plausible case that we won’t be stuck on a new variant treadmill forever,” he told the Times yesterday, though he added, “I have learnt to never rule out any outcome.” After the Alpha variant was identified in Kent and swept through the world it was superseded by a new – Delta variant – within months. Delta in turn was supplanted by Omicron.

    However, nine months since Downing Street almost instituted a lockdown in the face of highly transmissible Omicron, the descendants of Omicron are still the main circulating variant.

    This has led to hopes new variations will be based on small changes to Omicron – to which our immune systems have already been primed.

    Professor Anthony Brookes, an expert in genomics and bioinformatics at Leicester University said: “Viruses evolve like an arms race, changing to overcome our immune systems and in turn, our immune systems adapt to attack viruses.”

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    “However the virus doesn’t have an infinite range of options and will eventually run out of road. At some point we will have defences against all versions of covid at which point the virus will become endemic affecting only those who have underdeveloped or poor immune systems like the very young, the very old or those who are immunocompromised.”

    “This is the case for the covid as for all viruses regardless of lockdowns, masks or vaccines – though covid vaccines have helped reduce mortality.”

    “But we do not know when this will happen and we cannot know if Omicron is among its last range of options.”

    “We’ve lived with viruses for billions of years and we’ve always won the arms race with viruses reaching a final endemic state – rising and falling at relatively low levels. There is no reason to think covid will be any different.”

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    Louise Fletcher: Cuckoo’s Nest’s Nurse Ratched battled cancer before her death

    Louise Fletcher won an Academy Award for her unforgettable portrayal of the wicked Nurse Ratched in 1976, but she also starred in Cruel Intentions (1999). While she spent many years away from the limelight to raise her family, tributes came rushing in when her agent, David Shaul, confirmed she had passed away on Friday, September 23, 2022. On Twitter, The Sting posted: “I hate Nurse Ratched. She’s every bureaucratic authoritarian I’ve ever come across.

    “But I love Louise Fletcher for giving us all this glorious benchmark. She was absolutely magnificent in Cuckoo’s Nest.”

    Jon Wesley Huff stated on the social media platform: “Ah, Louise Fletcher. What a talent.

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    1673712

    One in seven women in the UK develop the cancerous lesion, with the disease more commonly affecting older women.

    Breast cancer symptoms to look out for include:

    “It is important that any symptoms you have are checked by a doctor, even if you are feeling well,” Cancer Research UK noted.

    Women between the ages of 50 to 70 in the UK will be invited for breast screening every three years.

    Known as a mammogram, it involves taking X-rays of the breasts to find tumours.

    As the screening occurs every three years, any signs of breast cancer between screenings should be checked out by a doctor.

    “In some parts of England, the screening programme has been inviting women from 47 to 73 years old as part of a trial,” Cancer Research UK added.

    Should breast cancer be detected, treatment will depend on the size of the tumour, whether it has spread elsewhere in the body, and the person’s health.

    Options can include radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.

    There is a risk that breast cancer can return post treatment, as it did with Fletcher.

    However, there are regular follow-ups after initial treatment so that any reoccurring tumour can be dealt with.

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    Joanna Lumley’s ‘nervous breakdown’ made her feel frightened to go to the shops

    In her mid-20s, Joanna Lumley experienced “a complete nervous breakdown”. Quitting the play she was performing at the time, the young, single mum fled to her parents’ home in Kent. “I was off [work] for six months,” Lumley recalled. “I was pretty badly shaken up,” she said of her anxiety. “My nerves were gone. I didn’t dare go to the shops. I had a really ropey old time. I was spending all day thinking, ‘How will I get through the day?’”

    Lumley told The Times: “I had those panic attacks when you think, ‘Breathe in, breathe out, just keep breathing in. Study the flowers. What colour are the flowers?’

    “Anything to stop your mind going mad. And I thought, ‘I’ve got to get out of this, how do I?’”

    A panic attack “is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety,” the NHS explains.

    Physical sensations can include: shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid heartbeat, breathlessness, sweating, and dizziness.

    “The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous, but can be very frightening,” the NHS adds.

    “They can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.”

    Most panic attacks last between five minutes to half hour, but they will “always pass”.

    Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath, discussed how you can effectively manage a panic attack.

    “Tell yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by anxiety,” he advised. “Ride out the attack.”

    Rapid, shallow breathing during a panic attack can make symptoms worse, which is why breathing exercise can be helpful.

    “Breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose,” Professor Salkovskis said.

    “Breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath.”

    Lumley, 76, shared that hypnosis and talking herself through her fears eased her anxiety.

    The NHS adds that “talking therapies and medicine are the main treatments for a panic disorder”.

    Psychological talking therapies can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

    “Your therapist may discuss with you how you react when you have a panic attack and what you think about,” the NHS explains.

    “They can teach you ways of changing your behaviour to help you keep calm during an attack.

    “You may need to see your GP regularly while you’re having CBT so they can assess your progress.”

    Following her period of ill health, Lumley went on to star in the BAFTA award-winning sitcom Absolutely Fabulous alongside co-star Jennifer Saunders.

    Joanna Lumley also stars in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, which airs on Saturday, September 24 at 11.40pm on BBC Two.

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    Kylie Minogue’s words of wisdom for getting an earlier diagnosis of cancer

    At the age of 36, Kylie Minogue received the devastating diagnosis that she had breast cancer. Yet, before the tumour was picked up by professionals, an initial medical screening missed it completely. “If you have any doubt, go back again,” the star told Medicinenet in 2021 – and that’s exactly what the I Should Be So Lucky singer did.

    By following her gut instinct, and getting a second opinion, Minogue is still able to perform for millions of her fans at the age of 54.

    On Instagram, Minogue posted: “I will be performing at the opening concert [for WorldPride] in Sydney on 24 February, 2023 at The Domain.”

    The Aussie star has also released her song Especially For You on vinyl and cassette.

    Thanks to eight months of chemotherapy and radiation in 2006, her breast cancer went into remission.

    “And in that moment, I just thought, ‘You really don’t know what anyone is going through.’”

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    Breast Cancer UK notes that this type of tumour is the “most common cancer in the UK”.

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    Men are also at risk of breast cancer, so anybody experiencing these symptoms should seek medical support.

    The charity Breast Cancer UK stated: “Studies have shown that by making changes to your lifestyle you can reduce your chances of getting breast cancer significantly.”

    Healthy lifestyle changes include eating and drinking healthily and exercising every day.

    “Drink no or little alcohol,” Breast Cancer UK advised in order to lower your risk of cancer.

    Another habit to put an end to, if you do already, is to smoke, which is carcinogenic, meaning it can lead to cancer.

    Kylie at the BBC, airs on Saturday, September 24 at 9.10pm on BBC Two.

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    Dennis Quaid on what makes him ‘feel better’ and keeps him physically fit in older age

    Best known for the films Innerspace (1987) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004), how has Dennis Quaid kept physically fit throughout the decades? “I always start [the day] with a solid breakfast,” he said, adding that he is committed to “getting up early in the mornings”. Quaid creates time for movement too, telling US Weekly he “always feels better when [he] gets off a bike than [when he] got on”.

    Noting the carefree element of cycling, he added: “Every time I get on a bike, I feel like I’m 12 years old again.”

    The family man also plays golf “once a day”, enabling him to get some fresh air while stretching his legs.

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    Now a parent to twins Thomas and Zoe, 14, the dad-of-three resides in Nashville with his fourth wife, Laura Savoie, 29.

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    Older adults, regarded as those aged 65 and above, are encouraged by the UK health body, the NHS, to “do some type of physical activity every day”.

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    “Speak to a GP first if you have not exercised for some time, or if you have medical conditions or concerns,” the NHS advises.

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    Light activities are recommended, which can include:

    Moderate activity is better, which can include: walking, water aerobics, cycling, dancing, doubles tennis, and hiking.

    Strength-based activities are also useful, which can include yoga, tai chi, and working with resistance bands.

    “You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days as your aerobic activity,” the NHS adds.

    “Muscle-strengthening exercises are not always an aerobic activity, so you’ll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity [per week].”

    Dennis Quaid stars in The Day After Tomorrow, airing on Saturday, September 24 at 5.55pm on Channel 4.

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    Liver cancer: The unusual sensation around your right shoulder blade that’s a sign

    The liver is the largest organ inside the body – located just above your stomach. When its function is disrupted by cancer, it can cause loads of problems around the body – including in the upper body.

    Liver cancer can be separated into both primary and secondary liver cancer. Primary liver cancer is when the disease starts in the organ.

    It is less common than secondary cancer, which is when cancer moves to the liver from elsewhere.

    Whether liver cancer is primary or secondary, the symptoms are still the same.

    According to the NHS: “The symptoms are the same if the liver cancer starts in the liver (primary liver cancer) or spreads from another part of the body (secondary liver cancer).”

    However, “swelling or bloating in the abdomen” can be another sign, according to the health body.

    Most of the time, symptoms like pain and bloating are caused by common conditions like infections.

    It’s important to visit your GP if any unusual symptoms arise, regardless.

    Pain may come from the tumour itself, but that’s not the only source of pain from liver cancer.

    People may also experience something called referred pain. This refers to the pain caused by an enlarged liver that puts pressure on the nerves under the diaphragm.

    Symptoms may also come from underlying problems, like scarring of the liver – known as cirrhosis.

    Fortunately, liver cancer can be treated, although often with difficulty. The earlier you can spot the condition the better your chances of recovery.

    If you spot symptoms you should visit your GP. They will do basic inspections, such as feeling your tummy or listening to your chest.

    The NHS states: “The GP may refer you to see a specialist in hospital for more tests if they think you have a condition that needs to be investigated.”

    If you are diagnosed with the disease, treatment may differ depending on the size of cancer, where it is, and your general health.

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Health Care NHS prescriptions to be available without seeing GP under planned changes