End of paper prescription service
Electronic prescriptions are currently used by 70 per cent of surgeries in the UK, but from November the system will be rolled out nationally with a completion date of next summer. A patient can opt to have their medication details sent directly from the doctors to a local nominated pharmacy or for those who want a paper prescription, they can still request one but, under the new scheme, all prescriptions will be printed with a unique barcode, rather than a GP signature. The pharmacist will scan the barcode to download details of the medication. The medical information is held on a secure NHS database.
Child gambling a ‘growing problem’ – study
According to research by Cardiff University, two-fifths of 11 to 16-year-olds have gambled in the past year. The research formed part of the 2017 School Health Research Network Student Health and Wellbeing Survey in Wales. The most popular form of gambling was playing fruit machines, followed by playing cards for money with friends and scratch cards. The research found 41% had undertaken some form of gambling in the past 12 months. Boys were found to gamble more often than girls.
Average take home pay
Figures produced by the Office for National Statistics show workers’ pay is still lower than before the 2008 financial crisis. Average weekly take home was £525 before the 2008 crash and is £502 today.
At least 20 companies have been given a share of government money to develop products that can use data produced by smart meters. For example, EDF Energy is working with a data analyst company to look at ways to link Smart meters to Amazons’ Alexa devices.
Free call blockers
Following a pilot programme in 2017, up to 2000 free call blockers will be made available to people targeted by scammers on a first come, first served basis by the National Trading Standards Scams Team. The devices block all recorded messages, silent calls and numbers not identified by the homeowner. It is expected that local authorities and care providers will apply on behalf of victims, but individual applications from victims or family members can also be made.
BT has been charging customers extra to talk to call centre staff in the UK rather than abroad. If customers want guaranteed access to staff based in the UK and Ireland, they must sign up to the premium package. However, BT pledges that from 2020 all customer service calls will be answered in the UK and Ireland.
Long term mortgages
Data produced by Moneyfacts, a money comparison site, shows that homebuyers are taking out mortgage deals with a standard maximum term of 40 years. Traditionally, mortgages have been for about 25 years, but demand for longer-term deals has grown. A mortgage over a longer term allows a borrower to lower their monthly outgoings and gain access to larger loans, but they will incur more interest. Many borrowers may not pay off their mortgages until they are in their eighties.