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Brown accuses SNP of 'perpetrating a lie about NHS'

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has accused the SNP of "perpetrating a lie" about protecting the NHS with independence.

The SNP has suggested the NHS is at at risk due to health policies in Westminster, but Mr Brown said the Scottish Parliament already has powers to protect the service.

Gordon Brown accused the SNP of 'perpetrating a lie' about protecting the NHS with independence. Credit: PA Wire

Brown told a pro-Union event in Clydebank, "It is the SNP who are perpetrating a lie about what the NHS can and cannot do in Scotland."

The No campaign has seized on leaked documents that suggest the NHS in Scotland is facing a funding gap of up to £450 million and major changes will be needed.

Dentists 'can refuse to see particular patients'

Dentists do have the right to refuse to see particular patients, NHS England's Chief Dental Officer told Good Morning Britain.

Dr Barry Cockcroft said "there's no absolute right to see a specific dentist."

Consumer watchdog Healthwatch have found examples of patients getting "deregistered" from their dental practices for missing single appointments, in one case to take a relative for cancer treatment.

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Pervasive 'myth' that you can have only one dentist

There is a "myth" that you need to be registered with a dentist "in the same way that you are registered with a GP," the head of a consumer watchdog told Good Morning Britain, "but you don't."

This pervasive myth has allowed some dental practices to "deregister" patients, Anna Bradley, Chair of Healthwatch England, said, something that cannot technically happen.

Of the examples of people being "struck off" from their dental practice for missing a single appointment that the watchdog have found, in one case someone was deregistered for taking a relative for cancer care.

Search for an NHS dentist 'degrading'

Trying to find NHS dental care was "degrading", a pensioner has told a consumer watchdog.

The patient spoke to Healthwatch Kirklees and said: "I'm a 65 year old pensioner, I called up my dentist for new dentures. They advised me to call them every month to check if they were taking NHS patients...It's degrading ringing up lots of people."

Healthwatch England, a national body representing the 152 regional Healthwatch branches, has warned that many patients struggle to find NHS dental care.

I'm a 65 year old pensioner, I called up my dentist for new dentures. They advised me to call them every month to check if they were taking NHS patients, but they were only taking on private patients.

In the end I had to go private and pay £760 for new dentures and I am on pension credits. It's degrading ringing up lots of people, I shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get new dentures.

– Dental patient in Kirklees, west Yorkshire

Information about NHS dental care 'inaccurate'

Healthwatch England said many people struggle to find an NHS dentist Credit: PA

Information about NHS dental care is "confusing and inaccurate", a consumer watchdog has found.

Healthwatch England said some are travelling up to 40 miles for free treatment, while others end up paying for private treatment after a fruitless search.

The watchdog also warned that some NHS dentists are performing more basic treatments over more complicated, but potentially more beneficial, procedures, such as tooth extractions rather than fillings.

The situation is "simply not acceptable", the national organisation's chairwoman, Anna Bradley, said.

However, NHS England's chief dental officer, Dr Barry Cockcroft, said 93% of people who tried to get a health service dental appointment in the last two years were successful.

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Manufacturer 'disappointed' by Nice cancer drug ruling

The company behind a life-extending prostate cancer drug said they are "disappointed" by the decision not to extend its availability in NHS England.

Abiraterone will continue to be available only to those who have already undergone chemotherapy, Nice, the health service financial watchdog, ruled.

Dr Peter Barnes, medical director at Janssen, who manufacture the drug, said the decision will leave suffers no option but to accept chemotherapy "they may not necessarily need or want yet."

Nice said the drug is "not cost effective at its current price."

We are very disappointed with this decision which, if it stands, will leave thousands of men in England in the advanced stages of prostate cancer with no option but to accept chemotherapy - which they may not necessarily need or want yet - before being eligible to receive abiraterone routinely on the NHS.

These men will eventually be able to receive abiraterone on the NHS after chemotherapy anyway, but will be denied the option of taking it earlier on in their illness.

– Dr Peter Barnes

Prostate cancer drug decision 'a fiasco'

The decision by the NHS financial watchdog Nice not to offer a life-extending prostate cancer drug to sufferers in England until after they have undergone chemotherapy is "a fiasco", a leading charity said.

Prostate Cancer UK's chief executive Owen Sharp said that the ruling robs patients of the chance to delay chemotherapy and its severe side effects.

It's a fiasco. This decision is a kick in the teeth for men with advanced prostate cancer. For many this presented a vital opportunity for extra time with loved ones and a chance to delay chemotherapy and the debilitating side effects which come with it.

An inflexible Nice process plus the drug company's inability to produce all the requested data has led to this being just the latest in a string of hugely disappointing rulings on prostate cancer drugs. Once again men in England will have to take their chances with the Cancer Drugs Fund.

The current system is flawed. It is not fit for purpose and it is the very people it is supposed to serve who are bearing the brunt. This decision is unjust and it needs to be overturned so that men in desperate need can receive the most effective drugs, wherever they live.

– Owen Sharp

Prostate cancer drug rejected for wider NHS use

Nice's chief executive said the watchdog was 'disappointed' not to be able to extend the availability of the drug Credit: PA

A life-extending prostate cancer drug will continue to only be available to sufferers who have already undergone chemotherapy, the NHS financial watchdog said.

In final draft guidance reassessing the use in the NHS in England of abiraterone, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) ruled that to extend the availability of the drug was "not cost effective at its current price."

There is "clear evidence" that the use of abiraterone before chemotherapy gives patients "longer healthier lives," according to The Institute of Cancer Research, where the drug was discovered.

Nice's chief executive Sir Andrew Dillion said: "We know how important it is for patient to have the option to delay chemotherapy and its associated side affects, so we are disappointed not to be able to recommend abiraterone for use in this way.

"However, the manufacturer's own economic model demonstrated that the drug does not offer enough benefit to justify its price."

CQC: 'We don't want to close surgeries'

The chief inspector of GP practices says closing failing surgeries will be a last resort.

Professor Steve Field from the health watchdog Care Quality Commission has spoken to ITV News about a trial to give GP practices a rating.

Those which under perform could be placed in special measures and face closure if they do not raise their standards.

Professor Steve Field Credit: ITV News

In some surgeries with support the practices can improve and that's fine, but it might be that the doctor in the surgery is a clinician that's acceptable, but is struggling to manage the building and manage the business. It might well be that merging that practice with a local practice might be better or if that doctor worked in a bigger practice. NHS England would then be able to do other things about providing care for the patients, so it's not just about closure. We don't want to close surgeries. We need them, but it's about the care that's provided for the patient.

– Professor Steve Field, Care Quality Commission
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