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Issue:- 23 May 2013


THE NHS has broken its constitutional promise to over 80,000 patients as new research shows they are at risk of being denied their right to new, lifesaving blood clot drugs.

Access to potentially lifesaving drugs for the treatment and prevention of blood clots is being blocked by local NHS organisations as the grip of austerity tightens on primary care, according to new research.

Findings by Lifeblood: The Thrombosis Charity found that 63% of GPs in the North West had encountered barriers to prescribing Novel Oral Anti-Coagulant (NOAC) blood-thinning medicines for blood clots. The overwhelming majority (85%) cited cost-restrictions imposed by local commissioners as the main obstacle to patient access.

It is estimated that there are 83,500 new cases of potentially fatal blood clots every year, with the total cost burden to the NHS at an estimated £640 million. Traditionally these patients would have to attend a hospital or specialist centre to receive blood-thinning injections and then warfarin tablets that require regular visits to hospital for monitoring. NOACs are the next generation of medicines and are taken in tablet form, and do not require monitoring, reducing the need for costly care and leading to long-term cost-savings for the NHS. These cost-savings were well-documented by NICE, who approved NOACs for venous thromboembolism (VTE), or blood clots, in July 2012.

A year on and three quarters of the North West GPs surveyed by Lifeblood are still entirely unaware of this positive NICE guidance or do not know how to put it into practice. Further research by Lifeblood shows that whilst 97% of hospitals in England have a protocol in place for the management of suspected VTE, 61% have still not updated it to include NOACs nor have they issued any prescribing advice for the new treatments.

Professor Beverley Hunt, Medical Director of Lifeblood: The Thrombosis Charity, said:- "The NHS Constitution grants patients the right to NICE approved medicines if they are clinically appropriate. We have shown today that many eligible patients in the North West are being denied this fundamental right. Lifeblood has long campaigned for the prioritisation of VTE in the NHS and we are now global leaders in the prevention and treatment of blood clots in hospitals. However, today's research shows that whilst we excel in secondary care, we are falling well short of our own standards of excellence in primary care, and ultimately letting patients down.  The Government has been very clear in its motivation for reform of the NHS; to deliver patient-centred, evidence-based decision making. In reality it would appear we are letting budgets dictate the quality of care we deliver, and limit our willingness to embrace innovation and new technologies that are proven to significantly improve patient outcomes. NOACs present us with a real opportunity to dramatically advance VTE care and it is vital that healthcare professionals, commissioners and providers are able to deliver integrated, high quality care across the entire patient pathway."

Professor David Fitzmaurice, Clinical Lead, Primary Care Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham, said:- "There is currently a gap in our knowledge about the role of primary care in the treatment and prevention of VTE. We do not know what information high-risk patients receive prior to hospital admission or what happens to them when they return to the community. Lifeblood's research certainly paints a worrying picture as to the level of support that GPs are receiving financially and in terms of professional development. What we do know, is that primary care has a critical role to play in the delivery of VTE care. Research is currently underway to identify how we can: increase the knowledge of VTE prevention amongst primary healthcare professionals; educate patients before and after a stay in hospital; and ultimately reduce the cost burden on the NHS by preventing readmission to hospital for recurring VTE."

Southport Town and Country Fair 2013 is ready to go!

THE Southport Town and Country Fair is going ahead as planned according to The Garden Festival Company and it will be bigger and better. Te event will be held over 31 May to 2 June at the Leisure Lakes, Mere Brow (PR4 6JX); instead of the playingfeilds of Stanley Sports College where it has been held in the past. The move means the event will have better parking, more attractions and 3 arenas, "packed full of entertainment!" For full information visit:-


WITH just a few days to go until TT2013 gets underway, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has announced that deposits for next year's festival will open from Monday, 27 May 2013. Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained:- "The deposit system is intended to help TT fans secure a place on the ferry and book accommodation a year in advance. We know from past experience that fans eagerly await the opening of deposit bookings and we're expecting strong demand again this year ahead of TT2014." For further information visit:-

British acting Royle-ty Ricky Tomlinson joins The CAMRA Family

FAMOUS for playing Jim Royle in the BBC's popular sitcom The Royle Family as well as starring in movies "Mike Bassett England Manager" and "51st State", Ricky Tomlinson is the newest member of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) after signing up during a local beer festival.

Ricky joined the ranks of Real Ale enthusiasts at CAMRA after being impressed by the beers on offer at the Clitheroe Beer Festival - Making jokes and shouting a "cheers" to the crowds, he stayed for a few pints whilst signing autographs and taking photos with fans at the festival.

A long time beer lover, Ricky was invited to officially open the Clitheroe CAMRA Real Ale Festival which took place over:- Friday, 16 May 2013, and Saturday, 17 May 2013.

"We are delighted that Ricky Tomlinson has joined CAMRA and appreciate the support he gave the campaign at Clitheroe Beer Festival. Seeing famous faces enjoying real ale will hopefully encourage more people to give it a try!"
Said Neil Walker, CAMRA Press Manager.

The festival is 1 of hundreds organised by CAMRA around the UK, with their large national festival happening just once a year; The Great British Beer Festival, which is expecting 55,000 visitors, will take place at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London from:- 13 August to 17 August 2013 and feature over 800 real ales, ciders, parries and beers from the UK and around the world.

Drivers young and old back plans for minimum learner period to tackle crashes

THE driving public; including under 25's; have spoken out in favour of a minimum learning to drive period to tackle young driver crashes, as is currently being considered by government. A survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line out today reveals 84% of drivers agree we need a minimum learning period, while even 69% of drivers under 25 are in favour.

Brake is also calling for post-test restrictions on novice drivers, such as a zero tolerance drink drive limit and a bar on late night driving and carrying mates.

The survey of 1,000 drivers by Brake and Direct Line also found:-

Widespread support for a range of post-test restrictions, including 70% support for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit for novice drivers, and 63% support for this from drivers under 25.

88% think there should be a minimum number of hours of supervised driving for learners, with 58% thinking this should be at least 35 hours.

90% want mandatory lessons on motorways and in difficult conditions for all learners.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said:- "The government has an opportunity to make a real difference to road safety and save a lot of young lives through reforming our driver licensing system. Death and serious injury on roads is devastating, especially so when it involves someone young, with their whole life ahead of them. Evidence on how to reduce young driver crashes is very clear; by introducing a system of graduated licensing we can expect to make real inroads to ending the devastation caused by young driver crashes. We're calling on government to take bold steps by introducing all elements of graduated licensing; including a minimum learning period and post-test licence restrictions; but without compromising safety by simultaneously introducing changes that would increase risk, such as a lower minimum driving age."

Gus Park, commercial director at Direct Line, said:- "Young drivers make up only one in eight licence holders, but are involved in crashes that result in one in five road deaths and serious injuries. We believe that these statistics can be changed substantially through the implementation of graduated driver licensing. It would have a positive effect on the driving behaviour and habits of young people, particularly in the critical period just after passing their test, and more importantly, reduce catastrophic road crashes and save lives."


Traffic is the biggest killer of young people in Britain aged 15 to 24. Young drivers are also involved in a disproportionately high number of crashes that kill and injure road users of all ages. Young drivers (age 17 to 24) are involved in crashes that result in one in five road deaths and serious injuries (20%) - 13 deaths and serious injuries every day; despite only making up 12% of licence holders. Young drivers are more likely to crash because a combination of age and inexperience make them more likely to take risks on roads the younger they are, and less able to handle those risks because of a lack of experience.

Graduated licensing includes a minimum learning period, and post qualification restrictions for a period, such as a zero tolerance drink drive limit, a bar on having young friends as passengers and restrictions on late night driving other than for work or education. Evidence shows these are situations in which novice drivers are particularly at risk.

Where graduated driver licensing has been introduced elsewhere in the world, it has had a big impact on casualty reduction. Research has shown that in the UK a system of graduated driver licensing would prevent 200 deaths and thousands of injuries each year.

Reducing the age at which you can get a provisional licence would negatively impact upon safety gains from introducing a minimum learning to drive period. This is because the younger you are when you can drive independently, the greater your risk of crashing.

Case study

Rachel Blacklidge, 19, from Preston, was driving home at 11.30pm on 23 February 2013. She had only passed her test two months before on January 4. She picked up her cousin and 2 friends to go for a drive, as they often did.

Rachel was travelling at 55mph on a 60mph road, when she lost control on a bend, crashing through a bush and 2 fences before the vehicle rolled over. One passenger's head was pushed through the closed window by the force of the crash, leaving him with cuts to his head. Rachel's cousin suffered cuts on her arms, while her other friend injured his elbow. Rachel herself suffered severe whiplash, a spinal injury, torn ligaments and cuts. The car was written off. They were lucky to survive.

Rachel said:- "The crash has left me traumatised; I can't believe I put my friends in so much danger. Just because a road sign says 60 doesn't mean you have to go at 60 or that it's safe to do so. It's so easy not to see something or judge something wrong, especially when you're a new driver and not used to the road. Now I feel very strongly about informing young drivers about road safety. We're lucky to have survived with only minimal injuries; many other young people aren't so lucky."


Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the 5 deaths and 66 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (18 November to 24 November 2013), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Roof leak closes sexual health clinic

A leaking roof has closed the Wednesday sexual health service at Prince Street Clinic in Waterloo, near Crosby. It is expected the clinic will be closed for four weeks while repairs are carried out. The nearest similar clinics are at Netherton Health Centre and the under 25s' PACE clinic at Bootle Health Centre which are both open on Wednesdays. Information about alternative clinics on other days can be found at:-  Emergency hormonal contraception is available from community pharmacies throughout Sefton and other sexual health clinics.

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