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Expert Witness : Medico Legal

Imperva says staff training is essential when medical records are concerned

Your Expert Witness Rob RachwaldCommenting on reports that healthcare and IT experts warned the US Congress earlier this month about security concerns surrounding the increasing use of EHRs (electronic health records), Imperva says that media reports and research points to a lack of understanding within healthcare organisations as to why EHRs need protecting.

According to Rob Rachwald, director of security with the data security specialist, recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 64 per cent of staff working with EHR data were unaware of whether – or not – their firm had suffered a data breach within the last two years (http://bit.ly/sS0NmX).

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:22

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Breast cancer drug refused on the NHS

Your Expert Witness breast cancerA new breast cancer drug that can extend the lives of sufferers cannot be provided on the NHS, the drugs rationing body has announced.

The drug, Faslodex, may help women with breast cancer to live for a further three years but will not be provided on the NHS, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence has ruled.

The drug costs £500 a month, up to 84 times more than alternatives already available, and the evidence it works any better is 'uncertain', a spokesman for Nice said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:24

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Circle in deal to run Hinchingbrooke NHS hospital

 

Hinchingbrooke NHS hospitalA groundbreaking £1bn, 10-year deal for a private firm to run a struggling NHS hospital has been confirmed.

Circle, which is part-listed on the London Stock Exchange, is to take over Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, from 1 February 2012.

The deal will see Circle assume the financial risks of making the hospital more efficient and paying off its debts but the hospital will stay in the NHS.

The company must maintain services but unions fear staff numbers could be cut.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:03

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Call for halt on plastic surgery tax

 

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Bo-Tax is fine, argue surgeons, but ‘subjective’ VAT on surgery is an ethical minefield

 Over 90% of procedures deemed ‘cosmetic’ are non-surgical treatments such as injectables and lasers, and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (www.baaps.org.uk) agrees with the Government’s decision due out this month that in the current climate they should be taxed with VAT. However, they warn that bundling surgery such as breast reductions, tummy tucks and children’s bat-ear ops under this umbrella term will present an ethical minefield. They call for a debate with the relevant bodies and a halt on this initiative which endangers patient confidentiality, leaves the public vulnerable to arbitrary postcode lotteries and will encourage risky ‘surgery holiday deals’ abroad.

HMRC guidance to health professions states that services are only exempt of VAT if the purpose is to ‘protect, maintain or restore the health of the person concerned’. The BAAPS argues this subjective approach places a value judgment on treatment, fails to recognize the extensive scope and purpose of most plastic surgery procedures and does not provide enough clarification in terms of medical, psychological and social welfare of the patient. It will also require general finance/accounting and audit staff – unqualified to determine what could be ‘medical’ need – to have access to patient records in order to validate criteria.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:49

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Glowing brain tumour trial begins

 

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The idea of making brain cancers glow to help surgeons operate is being tested in the UK.

Patients will be given a drug, 5-amino-levulinic acid (5-ALA), which causes a build-up of fluorescent chemicals in the tumour.

The theory is that the pink glow will clearly mark the edges of the tumour, making it easier to ensure all of it is removed.

More than 60 patients with glioblastoma will take part in the trial.

They have cancerous glial cells, which normally hold the brain's nerves cells in place. On average patients survive 15 months after being diagnosed.

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