Submitting Articles

Articles on good practice in medicines optimisation are welcome. The Association would like to use the news page to share information from around the country. If you have a particular article you would like to share please email admin@associationforprescribers.org.uk

UK Sepsis Trust

I am delighted to announce that Dr Ron Daniels BEM, CEO- UK Sepsis Trust will be presenting at the AFP conference. Get your Early Bird tickets now!

Major campaign launched to celebrate 70 years of the NHS

England’s Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Prof Jane Cummings, has announced a major new campaign to improve recruitment and retention as part of plans to recognise the health service’s 70th anniversary this year.

The campaign will highlight the significant contribution of nurses and midwives over the past 70 years, along with identifying the wide range of career opportunities in the NHS today.

It is hoped this will improve the rate of recruitment and level of retention in the NHS, which has been suffering from recent staff shortages.

‘The shape of the UK’s future workforce is changing and people today will have job choices in areas that may as yet not even exist. But what will remain constant is the need in our society for extraordinary people who want to care for others,’ said Prof Cummings.

‘We want to highlight through this new campaign that nursing and midwifery provides the opportunity not only for an outstanding career, but the chance to have a profound and direct impact on the lives of thousands and thousands of people in a way that simply can’t be matched.’

Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), responded to the news: ‘Nursing is a modern and dynamic profession with caring for people at its heart. This campaign is a welcome focus on promoting nursing and we would be delighted to work with the CNO on this in England.

‘We must do anything we can do to attract people to the profession and shake off outdated perceptions of nursing. However, we have a huge task on our hands to recruit and retain the next generation of nurses when the current workforce is shrinking.’

The campaign, which will be run through a collaboration of organisations, is just one part of a number of measures announced by Prof Cummings.

Others measures include the establishment of 165 ‘nursing and midwifery ambassadors’ to boost the image of the profession, protecting the title of ‘nurse’ to ensure only registered nurses can use the title, and launching a 70-day national campaign to get elderly people back into their preferred environment so they are more comfortable and reduce the burden on the NHS.

More Diabetes undergoing a ‘paradigm shift’ as 5 types of the disease identified

A group of Scandinavian scientists have said diabetes can be separated into five different diseases, with specific treatments for each one possible.

The researchers from Sweden and Finland claim they have unearthed a far more complex picture of the disease and that we should give up the idea diabetes can be divided into just two types.

Leif Groop, professor of diabetes at Lund University and author of the study, claimed the results could herald a ‘paradigm shift’ in our understanding of the disease and said it could be the ‘first step towards personalised treatment’.

In the UK there are almost 3.7 million people living with diabetes, with a further 1 million estimated to be undiagnosed. Under current classifications, 90% of these have Type 2 diabetes.

The research, published in the Lancet, and which conducted a detailed analysis of 14,775 patients, argued the disease could be stratified into five distinct categories:

  • Severe autoimmune diabetes (SAID) – This is basically the same as Type 1 diabetes, where one’s immune system is unable to produce insulin and which effects people when they are young.
  • Severe insulin-deficient diabetes (SIDD) – Very similar to SAID, except their immune system was not to blame.
  • Severe insulin-resistant diabetes (SIRD) – For this class of patient, their pancreas was still producing insulin but their bodies were not responding to it. They were generally overweight.
  • Mild obesity-related diabetes (MOD) – This was mainly observed in people who were very overweight, although metabolically more health than those with SIRD.
  • And, mild age-related diabetes (MARD) – This form was linked to older age and tended to be milder and less harmful for patients.

Surprisingly, most specialists already acknowledged the shortcomings of type 1/type 2 split, said Dr Victoria Salem of Imperial College London.

Annual Conference 2018

We are very busy organising this Year’s conference. This will be our 20th Annual Conference and will be held on the 20th of November 2018 at the RCN, 20 Cavendish Square London. Keep an eye out for early bird registration.

 

General practice ‘in decline’ as satisfaction drops to record lows

Public satisfaction with general practice has fallen to its lowest level since records began, according to the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey.

The annual survey, which started in 1983, revealed that satisfaction dropped by seven points last year to 65%. Meaning, that for the first time, general practice is not seen as the best NHS service. In 2009 its satisfactory rating was 80%.

The survey – of 3004 people in England, Scotland and Wales – was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research and was analysed by the think tanks Nuffield Trust and the King’s Fund. Reasons for the drop in satisfaction include staff shortages, waiting times, funding concerns and government reforms.

Ruth Robertson, fellow at the King’s Fund, said: ‘The public used to put GPs on a pedestal. But since 2009, when there was an 80% satisfaction rating, it has been steadily declining.

‘It shows the impact of the huge pressure on GPs and the public is responding to that.’

Speaking to the BBC, Prof John Appleby of the Nuffield Trust, said: ‘These results should make the government sit up and take notice.

‘If they want to see satisfaction rise, my suggestion is they should think seriously now about more money for healthcare over the next few years.’

Ms Robertson said the results risked general practice’s reputation as the ‘jewel in the crown of the NHS’ and that ‘the data sends out an unmistakable message that general practice is in decline’.

Paramedic Prescribing

‘ It has now been announced that the Commission for Human Medicines endorse the recommendations and support independent prescribing for Paramedics. The case for paramedic prescribing now seems to have the support that it needs to change the required legislation and also start planning the educational preparation of paramedic prescribers. This has been too long in the making and something that has been needed to help the health service modernise and indeed like the introduction of other types of prescriber, will help the NHS survive. As we all know from our own journey the change in legislation can take some time but this really is a great development for paramedics to become non-medical prescribers. As other NMP prescribing courses are up and running I hope that their regulator (the HCPC) will look favourably on multiprofessional learning. Having so many different professions in the same classroom helps us all develop a greater understanding of each other’s roles and helps us all develop into better practitioners.
We welcome paramedics joining the AfP and hope that it will help them in their own development as prescribers. I am also sure that having a paramedic on the committee of the AfP would also be beneficial to our organisation. Congratulations to all of those involved for your hard work and let’s hope that the implementation goes smoothly and without too much of a delay’

Professor Matt Griffiths
Independent Consultant Nurse
Advanced Nurse Practitioner
Visiting Professor of prescribing & medicines management

Scotland sees Queen’s Nurses return after 50 years

The prestigious award of Queen’s Nurse has returned to Scotland for the first time in 50 years, marking the latest in a series of awards that began in 1859.

Twenty community nurses have been awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse after being selected in February this year by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) and following a nine-month development programme.

Clare Cable, Chief Executive and Nurse Director of QNIS, said: ‘These 20 exceptional individuals can be deservedly proud of being awarded this prestigious title.

‘From the late 1880s, Queen’s Nurses were social reformers who were taking public health into people’s homes to help families take better care of themselves. The modern Queen’s Nurses are building on this proud heritage – sharing this pioneering spirit to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities of Scotland.’

The cohort – drawn from Scotland’s Health Boards and other independent organisations throughout Scotland – included a midwife who works with asylum seeking mothers in Glasgow, a nurse responsible for people in police custody in Edinburgh, and an advanced nurse practitioner working as the only health professional on a small Orkney island.

The decision to reinstate the award in Scotland came after the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI), which represents the rest of the UK, consulted with the QNIS to develop a programme in collaboration with health and social care leaders. The course was designed to help teams provide quality care and to promote health improvement in a variety of communities.

Clare Cable added: ‘Their roles vary, from bringing care to some of society’s most vulnerable and marginalised groups to supporting people in mental distress or end of life care.

‘They represent the geography of Scotland, from rural communities and small islands to concentrated areas within the big cities, but they all demonstrate nursing excellence which makes a real difference to the lives of the people they work with.’

The award winners were presented with a certificate and badge, as all Queen’s Nurses are, during a ceremony in Edinburgh on the 1st December by guest of honour Prue Leith of the Great British Bake Off and Chancellor of Queen Margaret University.

Exclusive analysis: Fears growing over shortage of community nurse training numbers

Concerns that too few public health and community nurses are being trained in England are growing, as new figures indicate a number of universities have seen reductions in the amount of funded course places they are able to offer this year.

The trend is revealed in figures given to Nursing Times in a snapshot survey of higher education institutions. The decrease in training places is in part a “knock-on” effect after the difficulties in recruiting enough nurses to fill courses in the past couple of years, Nursing Times has been told.

The challenge of filling public health nursing programmes has been so great that at least one university has been forced to cancel a programme.

Unions have warned that a range of factors are to blame, including cuts to public health nurse jobs, service changes and financial pressures, and uncertainties about the amount of funding employers receive to cover nurses while they are in full-time training.

Health Education England, which funds the training, has not yet confirmed how many specialist nursing course places it has commissioned for the 2017-18 academic year, due to its long-delayed publication of workforce plans.

Annual Conference 2017

Thank you to all who attended the Annual Conference last Thursday. I really enjoyed chairing my first conference as the AFP chair – lots of great support!