NICE approves Lucentis and the rest of today’s news

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  • NICE approves controversial blindness drug
  • Full details of David Cameron’s announcement on care quality
  • Trust uses debt recovery agency to chase staff it overpaid

4.16pm The NHS Alliance, which represents GPs, has criticised prime minster David Cameron’s plans to roll out the friends and family test to primary care.

In a statement chair Mike Dixon said: “In principle, as a patient-centred organisation which has long felt that patient perception and involvement should be taken more seriously, the NHS Alliance supports the need for a simple mechanism for patients to offer their experience of general practice.

“However, the friends and family test is not the mechanism we need. It is vital to ensure that patients have the opportunity to explain why their experience was good or bad; otherwise the test will be both useless and meaningless. There are already methods available to deliver feedback, and the friends and family test won’t add anything new, or tell patients what they want and need to know.”

3.12pm Plans for some newly qualified nurses to act as “caremakers” and go into hospitals and care homes to spread compassionate nursing care were also backed by Mr Cameron today. However, they received a less than enthusiastice reaction from commentators on HSJ’s sister Nursing Times website.

2pm Barts and the London Trust overpaid staff by £1m over each of the past two years and had to employ debt recovery agencies to chase them, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

One document revealed a medic was paid a £4,000 monthly on-call supplement he was not entitled to for three years before payments were halted.

9.54am HSJ reveals full details of David Cameron’s announcement on improving quality of care, due later today. He backs the roll out of the friends and family test in primary care and community services, promises a dementia nurse specialist in every NHS organisation and reveals the Care Quality Commission has been asked to carry out a “root and branch” review of health care assistant induction programmes.

6.00am A controversial drug that was at the centre of a legal row over its cost could soon be available on the NHS after the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence moved to approve it. Novartis launched legal proceedings against a primary care trust cluster which was encouraging clinicians to prescribe a cheaper alternative to its Lucentis product last year. The case never went to court after the company reached a price cutting agreement with the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth cluster. However, NICE has now issued a final appraisal determination recommending the the drug which can help prevent blindness, for use in some patients with diabetic macular oedema. If no parties contest the recommendation it will be approved. Novartis claims an additional 25,000 people could be eligible for the treatment but a spokesman for the Macular Society warned ophthalmology clinics were already struggling to cope with demand.