Group of people on devices

News in brief

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More choice in treatment for AXA Health breast cancer patients

We’re switching medical policy to give members receiving breast cancer care more choice over their treatment.  

Members with one of the BRCA genes who’ve had one breast removed may choose to have the other breast removed (and reconstructed) to reduce their risk. Where the treating specialist recommends this, our plans already authorise this choice. 

We’re now extending the option of a second breast removal and reconstruction to all women and men requiring mastectomy surgery, so long as their specialist believes it is clinically appropriate to carry out the extra procedure. 

John Burke, AXA Health Medical Policy Director, said: ‘I think this is a really good example of AXA Health wanting to do the right thing by our members.  

‘It reflects the increasing understanding of other genes that drive risk (such as PALB2) and the complex personal circumstances that can elevate an individual’s breast cancer risk. 

‘We know that breast cancer in the other breast is relatively rare, and guidelines suggest surgeons should only carry out one of these contralateral mastectomies in a small number of cases. Added to that, there is no national database that can guide us on uptake for this procedure. 

‘But we wanted, for the relatively small number of members who may receive this recommendation from their specialist, to give them as much control, choice and support as possible for their cancer treatment.’ 

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Patient safety: private healthcare conference to tackle insurers' role

AXA Health Deputy CMO Pallavi Bradshaw will join experts discussing ‘What Private Medical Insurers (PMIs) can do to improve patient safety’ at the Laing Buisson Private Acute Healthcare Conference 2022, taking place in London this October. 

She’ll be appearing alongside speakers from market analysis company Laing Buisson, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and other private insurers. 

Pallavi said: ‘Ensuring patients receive safe treatment calls on all of us in private healthcare to work together. There’s traditionally been a focus on what individual clinicians and hospitals can do to improve patient safety, but insurers have a vital role to play in sharing relevant information and changing the culture of private healthcare to promote collaborative working to avoid preventable harms.’ 

Pallavi is speaking on this topic at the CORESS Safety in Surgery Symposium this month. 

Other sessions at the Laing Buisson conference will cover data trends and the state of private healthcare; the Competition and Market Authority’s reiterated call for more data sharing; digital healthcare and the evolving nature of PMI. 

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AXA Health supports patient safety with charity board appointment

CORESS, a charity aiming to promote safety in surgical practice in the private sector and NHS, has appointed Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, AXA Health Deputy Chief Medical Officer (Medicolegal), to its advisory board. 

In this role Pallavi will analyse confidential incident reports received from surgeons and theatre staff. CORESS, which stands for ‘Confidential Reporting System for Surgery’, asks surgeons to recognise and report ‘near misses’ or adverse events, anonymously. The advisory board, which includes clinicians from across a wide range of specialisms, will then make comments and extract lessons to be learned. These are published on the charity’s website

Before joining AXA Health, Pallavi worked in strategic lead roles for the Medical Protection Society and has supported and advised healthcare professionals and organisations across the globe, developing and delivering education and risk management training. She has written and presented extensively on patient safety issues and co-authored the ‘Open Disclosure’ chapter in Oxford Professional Practice: Handbook of Patient Safety, ed. Lachman et al (OUP, April 2022). 

Pallavi said: ‘I’m delighted to be joining the advisory board of CORESS. As a clinician I’ve spent my career working to improve healthcare by encouraging the sharing of information when adverse incidents occur. Every stakeholder in the clinical world has a responsibility to move the culture away from blame and towards understanding, and I’m pleased that AXA Health, as a medical insurer, can also play a part in this work.’ 

On Friday, 15 July, Pallavi will present a session on the role of the private medical insurer in patient safety at the annual CORESS Safety in Surgery Symposium, chaired by Lord Ribeiro, past president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. You can register for this event here:


Awards shortlist for AXA Health digital MSK service

COVER Magazine has shortlisted AXA Health's digital MSK service in its Healthcare Innovation Awards, to be announced on June 30. This digital service, managed by HBSUK, ensures our members see the right MSK clinician - physio, advanced physio or specialist - at the most appropriate stage of their journey. It's better for patients, better for clinicians and better for us, too. (You can read about those benefits by clicking on the button below).

Sarah Taylor, Head of Specialist and Practitioner Relations, said she was delighted. 'We're transforming MSK delivery, which has been unchanged for decades, into a service fit for the future. So I'm delighted we've been shortlisted for this award, which recognises innovation in healthcare.'

Woman in lab with microscope

Medical Policy Director podcast on cervical screening

Listen to Dr John Burke, AXA Health Director of Medical Policy, in this podcast on the importance of cervical screening, recorded by insurance brokers Aston Lark. John is joined by Julien Brady, Clinical Cervical Cancer Adviser from Check4Cancer, the screening company which manages diagnostic pathways in skin, breast and prostate cancer for AXA Health members.