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GPs will be providing fit notes instead of sick notes to get staff back into work from April 6th.

GPs will soon be providing fit notes, that state what duties a patient can do.

The new notes will state the duties a worker can carry out. It is then up to employers to accommodate the staff member so they can perform those parts of their job.

The principal is that work aids a person’s recovery and prevents isolation and social exclusion.

The fit notes will apply to people who are off work for seven days where a doctor believes extra support would help them return to work quicker.

I wonder how this will apply to psychiatric conditions like stress and depression.

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Last week the so called Dr Death entered the UK for the purpose of providing “Safe Suicide Workshops”, he did so as a climate of fear hit doctors after new guidelines stated that doctors could be prosecuted for assisting their patients with suicide.

New guidelines on assisted suicide have put doctors at risk of prosecution

The guidelines which were released last month provide a list of circumstances which will be taken into account when deciding if cases should be brought.

So where do the new guidelines leave doctors?

Well the new proposals include a section arguing in favour of the prosecution of doctors, which was not included in the original proposals.

Also if someone is unknown to a victim and assisted by providing specific information to assist someone in committed suicide, then a prosecution is more likely.

Furthermore it is more likely if someone gives assistance to more than one victim who are not know to one another.

So not only do these guidelines risk prosecuting doctors who run workshops on suicide but it also places the average general practitioner in a very difficult position.

Patients could ask doctors for advice about suicide, they must not engage in discussion or prosecution could potentially be brought.

Also patients with chronic or deliberating illness may require a medical report before they can travel. If they are requesting this so they can travel to a country where euthanasia is legal then the doctor has effectively assisted their suicide and could be prosecuted.

Dr Nick Clements head of medical services at MPS told Pulse Magazine:

“We are advising GPs who have even the slightest suspicion that their patient may be planning an assisted suicide to proceed with extreme caution and not to comply with requests for medical or travel reports in these cases.”

But will the risk of prosecuting doctors not lead to further problems? Doctors have a position of trust, if they are constantly questioning the chronically ill whenever they want to travel out of the country is it not going to create more harm than good?

By Yvette Martyn

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Antibiotic resistance is on the rise

GP’s have yet again been warned to cut back on the prescription of antibiotics to prevent the emerging antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics became resistant in a process very similar to Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. Lots of bacteria populated inside a person, random mutations occured in the bacteria’s DNA and one day antibiotics were given and the random mutation lead to the bacteria being able to fight off the antibiotic.

Just like the giraffe with the long neck which reached the leafs enabling survival, this bacteria found a way to get around the process the antibiotic used to kill it.

Staphylococcus Aureus did it (hence the superbug MRSA, Methicillin Resistant staphylococcus Aureus). Methicillin is an antibiotic, one day the drug was given to a person with the infection which attacks skin and wounds and the bacteria fought it off.

So is MRSA incurable?
No, great big corporations exist in this world called drug companies and they find other antibiotics which can take the place of resistant drugs and fight off the resistant bacteria. In MRSA’s case we have good old Vancomycin. But they find them quite slowly hence the need to prevent antibiotic resistance.

How do we prevent antibiotic resistance?
If doctors give out too many antibiotics it increases the chance that those sneaky bacteria will find a way to stop the antibiotic killing them. For example some antibiotics kill bacteria by preventing the bug generating food in a specific pathway.

If a doctor gives lots of antibiotics out it’s increases the chance that one day a bug will exist which will find another way to generate food, the antibiotic won’t work and furthermore the “superbug” will multiply in that person and then be passed onto another person, etc, etc.

But the drug companies will find new antibiotics?
Wrong, drugs aren’t actually that easily found, hence why we continue to use Sir Alexander Fleming discovery, penicillin. Which was found all the way back in 1928.

But it’s just bacteria, right, not viruses like that swine flu?
Wrong, viruses can become resistant to antivirals too, this might mean if you’re young and healthy and catch swine flu, health care professionals could be unwilling to give you the antiviral medication.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net