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Prescription charges – the perpetual problem
Since the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948, prescription charges have been at the centre of debate over its funding. Both NHS founder Aneurin Bevan and future Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson were political casualties when a one shilling charge was introduced in 1951. The issue is unlikely to go away, with many seeing paying for medicines as anathema to the founding principles of the NHS.
Rob Munro

The expanding role of the clinical pharmacist
The Clinical Pharmacy Congress held in London in May focused on the ever-growing importance of pharmacists in a variety of healthcare settings. The presentations covered a diverse range of subject areas, from tackling issues of antimicrobial resistance in urinary tract infections to the management of long-term conditions.
Felix David

Diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis
(click here for the full web article)
Early recognition and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is the key to a more successful outcome. This article discusses the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and its recommended management.
Gerald Tracey 

The menopause: benefits and risks of available treatments
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Menopausal symptoms affect many women, but debate continues over the role of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in their management. This review provides a summary of the current treatment options for menopause management and considers their benefits and risks.
Rosemary Cochrane and Heather Currie

Do multidose compliance aids do more harm than good?
Use of multidose compliance aids (MCAs) is becoming more widespread, yet there is little evidence for their benefit and a recent UK study suggests that they are associated with a high rate of potentially inappropriate medication use and drug interactions.
Steve Chaplin

The growing threat of nontuberculous mycobacteria
(click here for the full web article)
Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) present a growing threat – a number of species are drug resistant and little is understood about how and where infection with these organisms occurs. A meeting organised by Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and sponsored by Insmed Inc, was held in London in March to consider the state of the art in diagnosis and treatment of NTM pulmonary disease.
Steve Titmarsh

Clinical information systems: tools to boost prescribing safety
Clinical information systems (CIS) are an important tool in primary care for recording and managing patient information. This article discusses the use of the features within CIS to identify medication risks and promote safe and effective prescribing.
Atif Saddiq and Sonia Kauser

The NHS GP Health Service: providing mental health support
GPs with mental ill health will rarely admit their emotional vulnerabilities to colleagues and therefore find it difficult to access existing local mental health services. This article discusses the NHS GP Health Service, a new Englandwide service that offers confidential help for GPs experiencing mental health issues.
Angela Dowden

Baricitinib: a new oral treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
Baricitinib (Olumiant) is a new oral janus kinase inhibitor licensed for the second-line treatment of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis. This article summarises its efficacy, side-effects and place in therapy.
Steve Chaplin 

Has the time come to overhaul prescription charges in England?
The campaign to abolish or recalibrate prescription charges in England is gathering pace with the government under pressure to align with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales where they are free. However, the Department of Health insists that the current system provides the NHS with a revenue stream it cannot afford to lose.
Danny Buckland

Addressing the problem of undressing
When it comes to asking reluctant patients to undress for an examination, Dr David Delvin opts for a straightforward, nononsense approach.
David Delvin

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