Red Meat Can Cause Cancer

The internet has gone cancer crazy this morning as the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed a report on the damaging affects red meat has on our health.

We are often amongst the flurry of warnings of Cancer. It is within all our families, constantly in our newspapers and TV Screens, and unfortunately for some of us personally. Cancer itself is an epidemic that has a good way of striking fear in our hearts as soon as we hear the word.

What seems to be interesting here is that for so long the media and health organisations have painted cigarettes as the monster of cancer. And whilst the report does detail smoking is more harmful, we cannot ignore this lightly.

There have been snippets of being made aware that too much alcohol is bad for us, as is the use of mobile phones even. However living in our modern age we are not probed to detach ourselves from them. Processed meat, and the meat selling industry as a whole also makes a lot of money (alongside alcohol and cigarettes) so we do not know if this revelation will have a huge impact.

However the report states that for every ’50g portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%’ [1]. The report does go on to say that we do not need to stop eating meat, but do be careful in the consideration of how much meat we eat.

But if we think logically about the now proven ramifications eating red meat can have, we know just as well how harmful it is. These new results make way for a more substantial change we can have in our diet. Quite often we have been told we must eat meat for protein and iron, however perhaps we have not been sourcing our diets in the right way due to poor health information.

In fact it is known that raising cattle, and beef is more harmful to our environment that anything else in the world. And so a lot of the headlines are still choosing to phrase that we should not eat sausages and bacon which is quite often pork. Due to the amount of money (and damage already done) that is made from beef.

The same can be said for highlighting just ‘processed’ meat, and not meat as whole.

Although raising all animals in agriculture is harmful, and all red meat is harmful to our bodies, we should take this news report welcomingly. To monitor our own health and make a concious effort to see how our diet guides our health and our life.

Let us know your thoughts.

[1] IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat. (2015). 1st ed. [ebook] World Health Organisation, pp.1-2. Available at: [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].

Patients Need Medically Trained Staff and Not Call Centre Trainees Says Primary Care People

Patients Need Medically Trained Staff and Not Call Centre Trainees Says Primary Care People

An investigation by the Daily Mail has revealed that call centre staff, often with just three weeks of training and not qualified as medically trained practitioners, have been advising people on the NHS Out of Hours Hotline.

The hotline, which replaced NHS Direct, was set up to deal with urgent cases and the newspaper reports on the tragedy of two young children who died owing to mis diagnoses by people who missed serious symptoms and who were following a computer tick box system rather than referring worried parents to a nurse or doctor.

The investigation also discovered a worryingly few number of nurses were on standby for 2.3million people and over half a million sick patients couldn’t reach anyone at all, resulting in 75% of calls going unanswered.

Hertfordshire based medical recruitment company Primary Care People has been recruiting and providing nurses and doctors for the NHS since 2013. Tawhid Juneja the company’s founder and MD says “The investigation is truly shocking and will worry patients throughout the UK who depend on the services of the NHS, especially for their children and the sick and elderly. It’s no secret that there has been a shortfall of nurses and doctors in the NHS for some time and never moreso than for out of hours services.

“We completely understand the enormous pressures that NHS staff have to cope with and the genuine concerns of patients who urgently want to get the services they need.

With this in mind, some time ago we set up a 24/7 out of hours service, which covers weekdays and weekends, so that we can always provide nurses and doctors on call at relatively short notice. We have very strict medical criteria for the doctors and nurses we have on our database and in an emergency we can provide help for practices and centres who may be understaffed and under pressure.

“The only long term solution is for the NHS to ensure that across the board there are enough Out of Hours staff to cope with demand and not just in A&E departments which are already overloaded. It’s neither fair on patients nor for the call centre staff who are not medically trained to take responsibility for sometimes life and death decisions, as we have seen in the papers today.”

The RCGP Has Something To Say to Jeremy Hunt

Mr Hunt is not in many peoples good books that work in the healthcare industry after his ultimatum he gave in his speech at The King’s Fund yesterday. Mr Hunt claims:

“There will now be 6 weeks to work with BMA union negotiators before a September decision point. But be in no doubt: if we can’t negotiate, we are ready to impose a new contract.” [1]

This has left little choice for those consultants that disagree with the health secretary. Although he took a patient care approach it is needless to say we are all aware of the real issues that face Dr’s and the help staff that work in these environments.

This has led us to think about the Primary Care sector, alongside RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker who has something to say to Mr Hunt. They believe that GP’s will also be attacked next, as the government has already promised that every patient will have access to a GP appointment from 8am to 8pm weekdays and at weekends by 2020.

Dr Maureen Baker instead argued that:

“Many GP practices are already running extended opening hours but forcing GPs to do this would present a massive risk to patient safety by creating exhausted and overworked GPs…We also fear that it could precipitate a mass exodus from the profession, and it is our patients who will bear the brunt.” [2]

Instead she proposes more focus should be on the already existing out of hours service which is 24/7. If they had better resources to make the public aware of their services there would be more access to better GP’s.

Let us know what your thoughts are.

[1],. ‘Onmedica – News – Health Secretary Gives Doctors Ultimatum On Seven-Day Service’. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 July 2015.

 [2],. ‘RCGP Fears Gps Are Next As Hunt Threatens To Impose Seven-Day Consultant Contract | Gponline’. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 July 2015.

Primary Care People Supplier for IC24

Primary Care People are excited to announce we have been appointed as the preferred supplier for IC24. As the UK’s fastest growing Primary Care recruitment specialist, we will share best practice and innovative ideas through a partnership approach and strategic working to assist IC24 achieve their goals and deliver world class services.

This also means we are guaranteed to have work available for candidates.

If you are interested in joining the Primary Care People team and working within any of the IC24 services, please contact us on 0203 137 2114

Will The NHS Ever Recover?

Every day the media still manages to find another hole in the NHS that needs covering, and another party manages to propose an answer to all the problems. But will the NHS ever truly be in a stable state again?

With GP and Nurse shortages running high along the news stories also, the moral panic for the healthcare system is at an all time high.

But there is reason this time to be wary of the NHS’s future. The Kings Fund charity has ran its regular report on how the NHS is performing and noted that the finances have shown an “alarming deterioration”. And furthermore, that there is “considerable scepticism” regarding the achievability of the £22bn target for productivity improvements outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

It would appear that hospitals and NHS providers have overspent by £800 million. And we wonder why there’s financial problems…But like most economic situations, it’s a vicious cycle. Therefore all we really know for certain when it comes to the NHS, is that the struggle is true and will be long.

What we all need to do is find a solution. If patients can have an accessible place to go with their primary care problems, then staff can work in the environment where they are performing the work they signed up to do. Although healthcare environments will never be calm, or easy, there hopefully can be less pressure placed on the staff.

Instead of wanting to retire at the end of the day, GP’s and Nurses will just feel satisfied in their hard work.

However the health charity warned of no such luck to progress in the next 2 years.

This quarter’s survey of NHS provider finance directors and CCG finance leads revealed that:

  • for the third consecutive quarter, staff morale tops trust finance directors’ lists of concerns
  • fewer than half (45%) of trusts feel confident that they will achieve the productivity targets for 2015-16
  • 90% of trust financial directors and 85% of commissioners are concerned about the financial state of their local health economies
  • there is a mismatch in expectations about demand for services between providers and commissioners; for example, 80% of trusts expect emergency admissions to rise this year, while 60% of CCGs expect them to fall
  • about three-quarters (75%) of trusts and two-thirds (68%) of CCGs think there is a high or very high risk of failing to achieve the productivity gains over the next five years outlined by the NHS five year forward view.

Richard Murray, Director of policy at The King’s Fund warned: “The health service enters the new financial year facing some of the biggest financial and performance challenges in its recent history. If last year was the most difficult for some time, this year promises to be much worse, with little confidence that the alarming deterioration in NHS finances can be arrested.”

He added: “Looking further ahead, while there is still significant scope to improve productivity in the NHS, efficiencies are becoming harder to generate and there is considerable scepticism that the £22bn in productivity improvements outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View can be achieved.” [1]

Whilst this doesn’t leave much room for improvement, and certainly a lack in positive attitude, we must prepare ourselves for many more months of panic and unhappy healthcare staff.

If you have any comments or advice for what you would suggest please get in touch!

[1],. ‘Onmedica – News – NHS Faces Greatest Challenges In Recent History’. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

Has Your Vote Been Swayed Medically?

With the election looming the parties have decided to take on the subject of the NHS and GP shortages to get all our attentions. These have been hot topics for the media and the country the last year. For parties to use this as a bribe is something we must all be skeptical of. But, has it swayed your vote? And, do you believe a certain party could make a difference?

Labour has pledged £2.5bn to pay for 8,000 more GPs, guaranteeing appointments within 48 hours. Mr Burnham said the last Labour government had introduced an extended-hours scheme which, in 2009, funded 77% of surgeries to open on evenings and weekends.

Whereas Labour’s Mr Hunt said figures were wrong, because they did not take into account the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, which covers 1,100 practices and helps 7.5 million patients see a GP in the evenings and at weekends. “We are extending this scheme to cover over 1,400 additional practices, helping 10 million extra people by this time next year,” he said, adding that a Conservative government would deliver “a truly seven-day NHS”.

Yet, the Lib Dems also pointed to a £50m GP Access Fund, which they say helped 1,147 practices to extend their hours last year. Party election spokesman Lord Scriven said: “The Liberal Democrats are the only party prepared to commit to spending the £8bn extra the NHS says it needs to survive.”

But who is really interested in the NHS and GP’s? Is politics even the answer? What do you think?

Pharmacists Could Improve GP Surgeries

We were skeptical when we heard about the pharmacists to help out GP surgeries; could it be just another rouse to throw over a problem?

However after considering the benefits that could be reaped, and understanding the direction GP surgeries will be taking, this step could have been inevitable. And, quite possibly, maybe the only choice the NHS has right now.

Although, despite all of this, pharmacists could also truly improve GP surgeries with their expertise.

Ravi Sharma spoke about her assistance as a pharmacist within a GP surgery. The article discusses the numerous benefits pharmacists can bring towards helping in these surgeries.

They say that the move will improve patient safety and care and, crucially, reduce waiting times for GP appointments.

GP surgeries will be expanding in the future as A&E needs to have stress taken off of their services. However, since there has now been a shortage in GP’s there needs to be an incentive for studying doctors to pursue primary care. There also needs to be extra help in the surgeries, WIC, and UCC’s. One realistic first step is to have pharmacists help out. Most pharmacists are located next to/near a GP surgery, therefore this seems like an idea that could potentially have a long term success.

It is believed that practice based pharmacists could relieve pressures and make a real difference to patient care.

Currently with an over-stretched GP workforce, this could be a solution that would benefit those who seek medical remedies and monitoring of long term illnesses.

“Pharmacists can also work with GPs to resolve day-to-day medicine issues and with practice teams to provide advice on medicines to care homes, as well as visiting patients in their own homes when needed…It’s a win-win situation for everyone concerned. The NHS simply can’t afford to wait any longer to create capacity in the system. We must be more strategic and change the services on offer to make best use of the NHS workforce.” [1]

A consensus that has been reached seems to be that patients could start receiving high quality care through the help of Pharmacists. Therefore perhaps this really is the correct step to take at this point for the sake of patients.

A lot of patients already use A&E as their go-to, but really most patients could be seen by a GP, and more often-than-not, a Nurse, and now also a Pharmacist.

In regards to the shortages of General Practitioners, The RCGP is calling for an increase in the NHS budget for general practice to be increased to 11% by 2017 – it is currently just over 8% – and for 8,000 more GP’s in England by the end of the next parliament.

Please let us know your thoughts.

[1] Medical News Today, (2015). Pharmacists set to work in GP surgeries in radical move to ease pressures on general practice and improve patient care, UK. [online] Available at: 

Cure The Common Cold With a Hug a Day!

It has been proven that a hug a day can do many positives things for the body. The release of endorphin’s from feelings of comfort can boost mood levels, allow others to maintain happiness with consistency of hugs, and now it can even help prevent the common cold.

Everyone manages to get ill over the Christmas and winter period – the common cold being the biggest culprit of all. But, there is no fear, for a recent study has shown it can prevent the virus. It has been shown in the past that those who deal with a lot of stress and conflict are less able to recover quickly from the virus. Those who do have support from others are less likely to suffer from stress, and depression.

Therefore, the connection was linked to see if stress does not occur, then the illness may not be as severe when others are supported.

Medical News Today ran this story, and heard from the lead author Sheldon Cohen, the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA said:

“We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection,” [1]

The study consisted of questioning 404 healthy adults, then exposing them to the virus of the common cold. Those that were given more support through conflicts were not as likely to be infected, and a third of this reasoning was because of hugs. The same candidates also displayed less severe symptoms than those without.

Cohen also stated that:

“The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy. Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.”

Therefore – if you feel a cold coming on this Winter, get hugging and feeling the happiness. We can support each other!

[1] Whiteman, H. (2014). Could a hug a day keep infection at bay?. Medical News Today. Available at: [Accessed 22 Dec. 2014].