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Weekly News Summary – 16th November 2017

Scotland Alcohol Prices

Welcome back to the weekly edition of the news summary blog. This blog gives you the key stories in health news that occurred from 5th to 15th November. This week Scotland has announced that it will become the first country in the world to introduce a minimum pricing on alcohol. The FDA have approved a traceable pill that can be digitally tracked through the body. Figures released this week indicate that the number of NHS patients waiting six months or more for surgery is increasing.

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Following unsuccessful appeals from the Scotch Whisky Association, Scotland is set to become the first country in the world to set a minimum price for alcohol in a bid to improve public health. The law would mean that a unit of alcohol would have to cost at least 50p so the price of a bottle of spirits would be at least £14 and a bottle of wine £4.69. Ministers are pushing through the legislation as quickly as possible and it is scheduled to come into effect early next year.

The US food and drugs administration (FDA) have approved the first ever pill that can be tracked digitally through the body. The Abilify MyCite apripiprazole tablets are taken for the treatment of schizophrenia and manic episodes. Having the digestible sensor means that health professionals can record whether or not the medication has been taken. Patients taking the medication wear a patch that transmits information to their smartphone which can be sent by the patient to their prescribing doctor. Manufacturers of the medication hope that the trackers will improve compliance, however no clinical trials have yet been conducted to show whether this is the case.  

The Royal College of Surgeons say that 151,710 patients in England are waiting more than six months for non-urgent operations. This figure has increased by 40% since last year. Non-urgent operations include cataract removal and hernia repairs. The report also showed that as many as 21,033 patients were waiting over nine months for surgery. The figures are raising concerns as to how the NHS will cope with the increased pressure over the winter period.

Words: Joelle Booth

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