Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Bupa International launches short term IPMI

Bupa International has launched a new flexible short-term international private medical insurance (IPMI) policy, called Bupa Flex. The product will allow customers to purchase IPMI, but on a 3-11 month basis and anywhere in between, down to the day they require.

Previously, people moving abroad for less than a year did not have the option to buy a short term IPMI product. Bupa Flex will allow these customers to choose the length of their policy, offering them value for money, as well as access to all the benefits of being one of Bupa's international health insurance customers.

Muriel MacCallum, marketing director, Bupa International, said: "We've listened to our customers and designed Bupa Flex specifically for their short term needs. If you are relocating abroad, or travelling on an overseas assignment through work, you don't necessarily want to take out a full year's policy, but you still want the comprehensive cover IPMI provides.

"This new product means that our customers will still have access to the appropriate care and treatment they need, wherever they are in the world (except the USA), through an insurance policy with a timeframe and price that suits their needs.”

Bupa International offers customers access to more than 200,000 medical providers worldwide and can settle bills directly with over 7,500 hospitals and clinics. Customers can contact Bupa International's doctors and advisers for medical advice and guidance, 24 hours a day, and have access to a second medical opinion at no extra cost.

More information about Bupa's short term international health insurance and quotes are available at www.bupa-intl.com/bupa-flex.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Not planning on using HRT? So what else can your doctor offer?

The menopause can trigger a whole host of symptoms, with hot flushes and night sweats being the most common and often most troublesome. If you can’t or don’t want to take HRT, there are other prescription medications that may help to relieve your symptoms. But you will need to ask your doctor what is available and whether these are suitable for your needs.

In the Summer 2012 issue of The Menopause Exchange newsletter, pharmacist consultant Dr Nuttan Tanna looks at the prescription medication alternatives to HRT for the control of hot flushes and night sweats. In her article, she discusses the clinical evidence backing the use of progestogens, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), gabapentin and clonidine.

“Not every woman can use HRT,” says Norma Goldman, founder and director of The Menopause Exchange. “In her article, Dr Nuttan Tanna gives women the facts about alternative prescribed medications so that women can make an informed choice. However, women should be aware that many of these medications on their own may not provide complete symptom relief.”

The Menopause Exchange is completely independent – it’s not sponsored by any companies and is funded purely by subscriptions from individuals and healthcare professionals. Other articles in the Summer 2012 issue of the newsletter include eating for the menopause, osteoporosis risk assessment and all about diabetes. We also have book reviews, news and our ‘Ask the experts’ page.

Take a look at Norma Goldman’s video ‘The Menopause – keep your cool’ on the home page of The Menopause Exchange website to hear general information on the menopause. Benefit from her top ten tips on how to cope with your symptoms, with information on HRT, complementary therapies and self-help lifestyle measures.

Visit The Menopause Exchange website at www.menopause-exchange.co.uk.

For more information on The Menopause Exchange, write to The Menopause Exchange at PO Box 205, Bushey, Herts WD23 1ZS, call 020 8420 7245, fax 020 8954 2783 or send an
e-mail to norma@menopause-exchange.co.uk

Monday, 23 July 2012

Benefit from Cranberries

A recent review article in Archives of Internal Medicine, a leading scientific medical journal, once again confirms that cranberry-containing products prevent urinary tract infections.

The review confirmed that women, suffering from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), had almost 50% reduction in incidence.

For children this percentage was even more striking. Researchers of the National Taiwan University, who performed the review, found a reduction of 67% of bladder infections. This is important, since benefits of prophylactic use of antibiotics in children is found to be small.

Moreover, prophylactic use of antibiotics results in resistance against these antibiotics as well as against other frequently prescribed antibiotics, which is of great concern.

The review included 13 placebo controlled clinical trials examining the effect of cranberry-containing products such as cranberry juice (9 trials) and cranberry supplements (4 trials).

The cranberry juice groups appeared to benefit more than the groups taking cranberry supplements, which can be explained by the effect of a greater fluid intake.
Drinking plenty of water is important to ward of an UTI.

Compliance of drinking several glasses of cranberry juice each day was difficult leading to quite a number of drop-outs in the cranberry juice groups. Besides ,a disadvantage of drinking cranberry juice is the sugar content of these juices.

The review supports the consumption of cranberry-containing products for preventing UTIs, especially in women and children suffering from recurrent UTIs.

Studies comparing cranberries with the standard therapy for prevention of UTIs (antibiotics) were not included in the meta-analysis. Only studies comparing cranberries with placebo were included.

Results of studies which did compare cranberries with standard therapy (Amsterdam AMC – Dundee) showed similar results in reducing recurrent UTIs as the studies included in the meta-analysis (40 to 50%), although antibiotics were twice as effective as cranberries in the Amsterdam study.

While antibiotics are obviously effective, growing concern has arisen about the emerging antibiotic resistance in primary healthcare, which can occur within a month after a single cure and can last up to one year in cases of more frequent cures.

Furthermore many women worry about the adverse side effects of taking drugs.

In an editorial article in Future Microbiology [5] Dr. Suzanne Geerlings of the Amsterdam University AMC stated that “premenopausal women with recurrent UTIs are commonly recommended to take low-dose antibiotics. However, this may lead to resistance of not only the causative microorganisms, but also of the indigenous flora”.

In the study of the Amsterdam University with younger women, the number of recurrent UTIs in the cranberry group changed from 7 in the year before the study to 4.2 in the study year. Almost 25% of the women in the cranberry group experienced no UTI at all in the study year.
This was not much different from the 29% of the women in the antibiotic group who remained free of an UTI.

More information:
In the AMC study a cranberry supplement was used with a special production method and composition. For this specific supplement all the vital parts of the whole cranberry are used: skin, seeds, pulp, juice and fiber. All the active ingredients are present in their natural state.

The patented manufacturing process provides a bioactive protection to all parts of the cranberry avoiding destruction by gastric acid. In addition, it gives the cranberry concentrate a regulated release. Not all available cranberry supplements have these functional characteristics.

This study used cranberry specialty Cranaxil supplied by Springfield Nutraceuticals, The Netherlands

Cranaxil cranberry concentrate 500mg.
Available from good health stores, independent drugstore and www.thenutricentre.co.uk.
The RRP is £13.95 for 30 capsules or £26.95 for 60 capsules.

Cranaxil cranberry concentrate is safe to take, also by children.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Don’t Bite Me! Patch. Beats summer holiday biting bugs

It harnesses the powerful effect of Vitamin B1 to put off biting insects that can’t stand the smell. Luckily for humans, the scent of Vitamin B1 is barely noticeable and not unpleasant. One patch works for up to 36 hours to help keep mosquitoes, ticks, midges, sand fleas and all manner of pesky, biting insects at bay.

How Does It Work?
The Don’t Bite Me! Patch delivers a thiamine (Vitamin B1) based formula into the blood stream through its transdermal delivery. This then circulates around the body and is released through the skin’s pores creating a ‘barrier’ of Vitamin B1 that shields the user from mosquitoes and other biting insects. In addition, the Don’t Bite Me! Patch delivers aloe vera into the bloodstream. This speeds the absorption of the Vitamin B1 and acts as an anti-inflammatory in the rare event of a bite and helps reduce any reaction.

Don’t Bite Me! Patch
• Is DEET-free
• Protects skin often missed with a spray, such as ears and scalp
• Is waterproof - no need to re-apply after swimming or exercise
• Works within two hours of application

Not Just For Holidays
Most people think of protecting against biting insects when packing for a holiday abroad. But mozzies and biting pests attack us at home too. So don’t limit your Don’t Bite Me! Patch protection to holidays – here are key groups of people who will welcome it throughout the ‘biting’ summer season.
• Business travellers
• Campers
• People who work and/or play outdoors
• Outdoor sportsmen and women
• People who love the water and ‘messing about in boats’!
• Young children (half patch): no spray and no chemicals – perfect!

How to buy the Don’t Bite Me! Patch
Don’t Bite Me! Patch costs £5.99 for 5 patches, £9.99 for 10 patches and £16.99 for 20 patches from http://www.dontbiteme.co.uk

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Ipswich Hospital Trust introduces end-to-end patient safety & complaints management using Datix

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, which employs 4,000 staff and provides healthcare services to more than 356,000 people, has deployed Datix patient safety software. Ipswich Hospital is taking advantage of the web-based capabilities of Datix to create a fully integrated framework that manages adverse incidents, risks, claims and complaints across the organisation. In principle, Ipswich Hospital can track end-to-end progress of a patient from their initial incident to their contact with PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) through to making a complaint and then a claim.

The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust originally installed Datix patient safety software to meet the increasing demand from other parts of the Trust to have greater involvement in managing the complaints process. Over time, the Trust has expanded the Datix implementation to accommodate changing business requirements.

Alison Davis, Risk Management Co-ordinator at Ipswich Hospital commented, “Technology is key to supporting our vision for excellence. Over the years, we have worked closely with Datix to create a robust, integrated patient safety framework that places patients at the heart of everything we do by managing adverse incidents, risks, claims and complaints across the whole organisation effectively, at the click of a mouse.”

Ipswich Hospital has noticed significant benefits since deploying Datix especially in terms of simplifying the organisation’s complaints management process.

All those involved with a complaint now have instant access to all details provoking a much fuller and faster response than before the web-based Datix system was implemented, when only the complaints co-ordinator handled the investigative process. The Datix system is now set up so that expert practitioners, such as medical specialists, can see what complaints are coming in and comment on them without having to complete the whole complaints management process themselves.

Culturally, the Datix system has played an important role in encouraging senior clinical staff to engage more actively in the continual improvement process by enabling them to comment on complaints in real-time.

Similarly, Datix has provided the Trust with an invaluable tool for proactively monitoring risk across the organisation. Each business unit holds its own risk register within Datix and can use the unique dashboard facility to flag up high risk items that demand priority attention. The introduction of Datix for risk management has developed an excellent process for what Alison Davis refers to as “horizon scanning” whereby the Trust’s Board of Directors and Risk Management Committee members can see at a glance the status of all risks.

Jonathan Hazan, CEO of Datix, concluded, “NHS organisations today are under increasing pressure to maximise their resources, meet ambitious targets for complaints resolution as well as deliver everyday patient care and confidentiality of the highest quality. With decades of experience developing watertight solutions for NHS organisations, Datix provides the perfect vehicle for Trusts like Ipswich Hospital who strive for excellence and put patients at the heart of everything they do. Our technology enables best-practice ways of working that demonstrably support the management of incidents, risks and complaints across the organisation.”

The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust provides healthcare to more than 356,000 people who live in and around the city of Ipswich and East Suffolk. The hospital covers 46 acres, employs 4,000 staff and serves more than 4,000 patients and visitors every day.

The Trust strongly believes that the hospital belongs to the community which plays a vital role in the life of the organisation. Staff are supported by an enthusiastic team of 400 volunteers, local people who generously give their time to provide extra help including running the hospital’s very own radio station, Hospital Radio Ipswich. In addition, the Trust’s own big band – The Ipswich Hospital Band – has raised many thousands of pounds for health related charities throughout the years.

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust’s vision is to be the hospital of choice by placing patients at the centre of everything it does, based on principles of quality and safety, access and accountability within a continuously improving environment. For more information, please visit: www.ipswichhospital.nhs.uk

Datix has been a pioneer in the field of patient safety since 1986 and is today the leading supplier of software for patient safety, risk management, incident and adverse event reporting. Datix aims to help healthcare organisations build a culture and practice that drives excellence in patient safety. It recruits and retains people committed to the healthcare sector and continually invests in its software and services to ensure that it integrates best practice and learning.

Datix is focused on the health and social care sector. Its customers include public and private hospitals, primary care providers, GP surgeries, mental health and ambulance service providers. Its clients also include organisations delivering care home and domiciliary care services. Within the UK this includes more than 70% of the National Health Service. Internationally the Datix client base is growing rapidly and includes large scale deployments in Canada and the USA as well as clients in Europe and Australia.

Datix is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. To learn more, visit www.datix.co.uk or call +44 (0)20 8971 1971

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Fitness Barre none, new Pilates method developed in UK

Following huge success in the USA, Pilates instructors across the UK are being invited to learn the new ballet inspired 'BarrePlus' method under the tuition of Dame Kelly Holmes’ personal Pilates instructor, Sandrine Walker.

Developed and trademarked by Sandrine, founder, owner and qualified Master Trainer of Pilates at Sandrine's Pilates, BarrePlus is an intensive total body workout - a fusion of Ballet, Pilates and Aerobics. This intensive, fun, body sculpting workout has been adapted from a Ballet Barre fitness concept using Sandrine's 16 years experience of Pilates as well as a background in ballet dancing and fitness.

As a workout of choice for celebrities like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow to Pippa Middleton and Olympians, Dame Kelly Holmes explains why Sandrine’s Pilates, located in Tunbridge Wells, is her studio of choice: “I am really impressed by Sandrine’s knowledge, enthusiasm, professionalism and her ability to adapt each session to include elements of challenge, learning and development. Believe me when I say one of Sandrine's sessions makes you alert and gets you switching on your core muscles!”

Sandrine's Pilates, is one of the few studios in the UK to integrate a Barre Method class into its already comprehensive range of Pilates classes and Sandrine now also offers training courses to teach other instructors her own BarrePlus™ method. Sandrine is the first and only trainer to represent PhysicalMind Institute in the UK by holding certification programs in her studio.

As a Ballet Barre class is mainly taken standing, it uses the body's own weight to isolate, strengthen and sculpt all the major muscles and Sandrine's BarrePlus™ method works predominantly at the Barre which makes it unique. A one hour class will consist of 15 minutes of upper body strength, 15 minutes of Pilates on the mat for core stability and 30 minutes at the barre. {{The combination of Ballet and Pilates, using small controlled isometric exercises, leave the body lean, strong and realigned.}} Sandrines's BarrePlus™ method integrates the fat-burning element of interval training with muscle shaping isometrics to quickly and safely reshape the entire body while the non-impact workout targets all the major muscle groups and improves posture.

Sandrine Walker comments; "I call BarrePlus™, 'Pilates with attitude' because it's a high intensity workout, which combines weight loss elements of interval training with essential core stability and posture. Being low impact, it suits everyone from pregnant women to seniors to athletes and the results are amazing giving you sculpted arms, flat abs, a lifted seat and elongated thighs. I am offering personal trainers, qualified dance and Pilates instructors nationwide to join me for a comprehensive BarrePlus™ training course on 23rd September to learn my method."

She explains her inspiration for developing the BarrePlus™ Pilates workout; "After giving birth to my 4th child I pulled my hamstring and it took me three years to recover. As a competitive runner I was missing my cardiovascular exercise my lean body and skinny legs. From studying and working in the States, I knew of a few Barre classes, but was finding them too slow and 15 minutes at the barre wasn’t enough for me. I started designing my own method for my clients at my UK studio introducing Ballet for posture strong legs and butt, Pilates for abdominals and Aerobics for fat burning and fun. In less than six months we have moved nearly all our mat classes to BarrePlus™ classes as the response was so fast. People have been hooked on BarrePlus™ as they could see definition in less than a month."

To book a place on the comprehensive BarrePlus™ Method instructor training day course at the Tunbridge Wells studio on Sunday 23rd September go to www.barreplusmethod.com or call the studio on 01892 618493

Three courses will be available; the comprehensive course; BarrePlus™ with accessories and BarrePlus™ Cardio. Price of each course is £250.

For further information on any BarrePlus™ classes go to: http://www.sandrinespilates.co.uk/

Private Patient Group Directions, supply selected POMs without prescription

Private Patient Group Directions (PGDs) are taking off as never before. They have been around for many years to allow Pharmacists to supply selected POMs without a doctor's prescription. In the past training has been disjointed and spread between different providers. This is no longer the case.

With the NHS in flux some PCT approved PGDs have lapsed. Private PGD providers have moved to fill the gaps.

One provider in particular has developed a comprehensive range of PGDs. Pharmacy PGD from Red Box Healthcare Ltd puts its PGDs online and makes sure the training is as good as it gets. For each of its PGDs there are training pages and an online test of learning.

It is free for Pharmacists to register and access the training materials. Once Pharmacists have trained they download the forms and quick guides they need during consultations with customers. Each PGD comes with its own patient information leaflet. The cost averages £50.00 per PGD per year.

Ease of organisation is important when it comes to delivering PGDs. It is all very well to have a well written patient group direction. They also need to be accessible and useable. Pharmacy PGD provides everything Pharmacists need in one simple to use system.

The www.pharmacypgd.co.uk website is proving very popular. 1,400 Pharmacists have signed up and are using PGDs in 500+ organisations. Large national multiples are using the service, as well as many single community pharmacies.

The big advantage Pharmacy PGD has over other PGD providers, apart from the range of Private Patient Group Directions available and the price, is the strength of its online system for training and management of PGDs. Each Pharmacist is linked to an organisation and each organisation can see which of their Pharmacists is up-to-date with training. This ‘double lock’ is ideal for governance and oversight. There is no confusion about which Pharmacist is trained for which PGD. There is no confusion about when training needs renewing. Reminder emails are sent prior to expiry of PGD rights.

Pharmacy PGD started 18 months ago by providing PGDs for Malarone and doxycycline for malaria prophylaxis and a PGD for the erectile dysfunction drugs. There are now PGDs for ten different drugs including, influenza, hepatitis B and meningitis vaccines, cystitis antibiotic, contraception and others.

Pharmacy PGD is particularly interested in PGDs with a commercial value for pharmacies. PGDs for travel medicines, malaria drugs, travel vaccines and antibiotics for diarrhoea are already online. New PGDs are being developed all the time, often at the request of Pharmacists themselves.

Pharmacy PGD has experienced doctors and Pharmacists developing its PGDs. The doctors have decades of general practice experience. This helps them to know which services can be provided safely from pharmacies. Safety and governance are always prime concerns. PGDs should augment primary care and integrate with it. Some PGDs include a requirement for completed forms to be copied to doctors’ surgeries.

Pharmacy PGD is not the only private PGD provider. It does have the most advanced software mechanism for PGD delivery and the largest range of PGDs. There are none at a lower cost.

Increasing the use of PGDs fits well with the move to extend the role of community pharmacy. Pharmacists find the extended role rewarding. Online training contributes to continuing professional development (CPD). Patients appreciate the ease of access to new services. This is a field which will grow and grow.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Train for Excellence with New Balance at SportsDirect.com

Sports Direct
When it comes to running shoes, everything has to be taken into account. Breathability, comfort, weight, stability and design all play a huge part in deciding which training shoes match the needs of the runner, and when it comes to excellence there is no room for compromise.

The range of New Balance running shoes and trainers from leading sportswear retailer SportsDirect.com offer an outstanding selection of high quality footwear designed to enhance every element of a running regime to ensure runners are always training at their best.

New Balance bring to the table an array of technologies which can help improve performance in training, including the N2 Cushioning technology seen in the New Balance 1080v2 Running Shoe. The N2 technology gives runners a more lightweight shoe, with the same amount of cushioning as a traditional running shoe, helping to improve speed without compromising on comfort.

New Balance also offer the Stability Web in a selection of their running shoes; including the 1260 Ladies Running shoe- perfect for runners who require stronger arch support without adding extra weight to the trainer. Ideal for female runners with a higher in-step.

With online retail prices for New Balance starting at just £15 at SportsDirect.com, there is no better place to look for quality running gear at great value prices. Whether it’s for recreational running, training or even P.E and sports lessons, New Balance running shoes are the ideal choice for any runner.

To view the full range, log on to www.sportsdirect.com today or keep up with the latest running offers on the official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Team E-Lites complete epic Round Britain voyage

Team E-Lites Round Britain challenge
The Team E-Lites powerboat crew returned home to a heroes’ welcome in Salcombe after completing their epic 2,000-mile Round Britain Charity Challenge in some of the worst weather conditions the country has seen.

During their 11-day voyage, the team handed out over £7,000 to nine children’s hospices around the UK. A £3,500 starting donation from E-Lites, the UK’s leading electronic cigarette manufacturer, was doubled by fundraising along the way, including the auctioning of rides in the powerboat and a windfall of unexpected contributions from well wishers who greeted the crew at overnight stop-off points.

But the venture wasn’t without drama, as torrential rain, huge waves and fierce gusts conspired to blow the 38ft BananaShark powerboat off course.

During the violent storm in the North East last week, the crew’s support vehicle came to the aid of an ambulance caught in flash floods and towed it to safety – before speeding off to rescue the family that had called the ambulance in the first place.

Team E-Lites leader John Cooke said: “We had some wonderful times at sea and other times where it was horrendous, but what never changed was the warmth and generosity of the people we encountered when we came ashore. The coastal towns and cities we visited offered incredible support, which really kept us going. We always knew we’d make it to the end, no matter what, but it’s nevertheless a great feeling to reach the end of this adventure, in the knowledge it has helped many hospices to keep up their great work.”

The Team E-Lites Round Britain Charity Challenge was devised after the postponement of this year’s historic RB12 land, sea and air race. The team refused to stand still, and instead launched their own phoenix mission.

Between 21st June and 1st July, Team E-Lites set off from Salcombe and visited Newlyn, Swansea, Stranraer, Troon, Inverness, Edinburgh, Hull, Chatham and Portsmouth, before returning home on the final leg.

The charities that received donations were Little Bridge House in North Devon; Children’s Hospice South West; Ty Hafan, near Cardiff; Rebecca House Hospice, in the Isle of Man; Friends of the Beatson, in Glasgow; Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS); St Andrew’s Children’s Hospice, in Grimsby; Demelza Hospice Care for Children, in Kent; and Naomi House, in Winchester.

Navigation technology to support the Team E-Lites Round Britain Charity Challenge was provided by Raymarine, while video specialist Veho supplied cameras to film the journey.