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Archive for March 22, 2013

Beer and Cheddar Soup with Kielbasa Sausage

Beer and Cheddar Soup with Kielbasa Sausage


  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 ounces lager (such as Brooklyn Brewery)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mild yellow cheddar, grated
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound link kielbasa sausage, cut into 6-8 pieces
  • 1 apple, cored, sliced


  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add butter and stir until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until beginning to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Whisk in broth, beer, and cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cheese a handful at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes to ensure cheese is melted. Working in batches if needed, transfer soup to a blender and purée until smooth (alternatively, use an immersion blender in the pot). Season with salt and pepper.
  • Using a paring knife, score sausage, spacing cuts 1/2 inch apart. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausages, turning occasionally, until browned and crisp in spots, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • Toss apple in remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a small bowl. Cook in same grill pan until softened and slightly charred on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  • Divide soup among bowls; top with sausage and apple.

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Appchronicles –

Healthy growth for health sector


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s health travel sector generated RM571mil while exports of its pharmaceutical products earned RM562mil in 2012 alone, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

This was due to the Government’s efforts in promoting medical tourism through improved customer experience, proactive alliances and niche marketing.

“Through 13 Entry Point Projects (EPPs), the National Key Economic Areas for health aspire to contribute RM32.4bil to Malaysia’s gross national income by 2020,” he said at the Economist Conferences’ 4th annual Healthcare in Asia 2013 here yesterday.

Under the pharmaceuticals EPP, Liow said the industry was leveraging on the patent expiration of major “blockbuster” drugs by pursuing generic export opportunities.

He said these projects would have a direct impact on Malaysia’s healthcare infrastructure and indirectly result in greater quality care for patients.

“For example, the increase in hospital beds, doctors and nurses due to the growth in the industry will reduce waiting times for patients, shorten the turnaround time on diagnostic and radiological services and improve the quality of patient outcomes,” he said.

Liow added that the Government had taken various steps to attract and retain human resources through fixed time-based promotions for doctors, dentists and pharmacists and by increasing on-call and specialist allowances.

Scholarships and the intake for master’s programmes for doctors had been increased to 800 from 600 per year to address the shortage of medical specialists.

“Malaysia aims to achieve a doctor-population ratio of 1 to 500 by 2018,” he said.

Liow stressed that health and healthcare were viewed as investments and not costs to the country.

As such, he said access to healthcare was now available to the whole population with about 90% of the population living within a 5km radius of a static health facility.

The Star –

Liow: Malaysia recognises 2 medical schools in Shanghai

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (centre) speaking at a press conference in Putrajaya on Wednesday.
Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (centre) speaking at a press conference in Putrajaya on Wednesday.
PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has recognised two medical schools in Shanghai, China, under the Medical Act 1971, its minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said on Wednesday.

The schools are Shanghai Jhiao Tong University School of Medicine and Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University.

Liow said the recognition was given after the accreditation panel found that the medical courses offered by the two schools were able to help meet the demands of medical services in Malaysia.

“With the recognition, medical graduates from the two universities need not sit for medical qualification test in Malaysia. They can register directly at the Malaysian Medical Council and become medical practitioners.

“Besides, they will also have bigger chances of returning to the universities to pursue specialist courses in the future,” he told a press conference here on Wednesday.

At present, 375 institutions offering medical courses have received the recognition from the Malaysian Medical Council.

Meanwhile, Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Public Service Department (PSD) had also recognised the Bachelor’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine issued by Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine and Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“In line with the development in traditional and complementary medicines in Malaysia, the government will also offer two scholarships for students pursuing Master’s degree in acupuncture anesthesia in surgery at the universities in China beginning this year,” he added.

The Star –

NHS remote monitoring ‘costs more’

Nurse with stethoscope
Nurses can monitor a patient’s health without having to visit

Remotely monitoring patients with long-term conditions is less cost effective than usual care, a UK trial suggests.

The British Medical Journal study, involving almost 1,000 patients, indicated the total costs for those using “tele-health” were higher.

It follows a recent study suggesting the use of such technology fails to improve patients’ quality of life.

But the Department of Health said it had already addressed problems raised by the research.

Tele-health uses technology in patients’ homes to monitor their condition and send data back to medical staff. For example, tracking changes in blood pressure or blood-sugar levels.

The principle is that it reduces the need for hospital visits while allowing clinicians to keep an eye on a patient’s condition.

Butt the researchers said most of the previous studies into the technology’s use came from the US, used very small numbers of patients or were funded by industry.

Counting the cost

In the latest Department of Health funded trial, researchers looked at 965 patients with heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes.

They were selected for the trial by their GP and received either usual care or were provided with tele-health equipment.

After a year, the researchers found that taking into account all costs, including those to both health and social care, the tele-health scheme was not cost-effective.

The cost per quality-adjusted life year – a combined measure of quantity and quality of life – of tele-health was £92,000 when added to usual care.

This is way above the threshold of £30,000 that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has set.

Some patients do not want to lose that face-to-face contact”

Prof Martin KnappResearcher

A best-case scenario taking into account that the price of equipment was likely to fall over time and that services were not running at full capacity during the trial, saw the probability that the service was cost-effective rise from 11% to 61%.

The government has been keen to promote tele-health as a way for the NHS to cope with an ageing population with multiple long-term conditions.

Initial results from the Whole System Demonstrator trial of the technology seemed very positive, with fewer admissions to hospital.

In the current financial climate it is difficult to see how health care commissioners could justify investment in tele-health on the basis of this research”

Dr Mike KnaptonBritish Heart Foundation

But recently, more work from the trial showed no measurable benefit to quality of life, and the latest work suggests that claims tele-health will produce dramatic savings for the NHS were premature.

Study author Prof Martin Knapp, from the London School of Economics and Political Science, said there was likely to be a place for tele-health, but there remained a question about how to target patients who would most benefit.

“We need to use the evidence to give us an indication of who does better. It is about how we use it and what it is we are using.”

He added: “Some patients do not want to lose that face-to-face contact.”

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “Tele-health and tele-monitoring could potentially improve the quality of life for patients living with long-term conditions such as heart failure.

“However… in the current financial climate, it is difficult to see how healthcare commissioners could justify investment in tele-health on the basis of this research.”

Cathy Moulton, Diabetes UK clinical adviser, said detailed research was needed on the impact of tele-health on diabetes as a stand-alone condition to see if any savings were possible.

“While tele-health may suit some people with diabetes, it is extremely important that everyone with diabetes has access to individualised care which is tailored to their specific needs.”

The Department of Health said: “This is only one part of a much wider study carried out between 2008 and 2010.

“The whole study showed that using tele-health reduces mortality by 45%, A&E attendances by 15% and emergency admissions by 20%.

“This part of the study confirms that to introduce the technology in isolation, at high cost and in low numbers does not bring the cost reductions we believe are there to be made.

“That is why our approach, known as the three million lives initiative, is different. It is about bringing in tele-health at scale and will create improvements in services, care and costs.”


Warning over ‘struggling GP system’

The GP system needs looking at, the Patients Association says

By Nick TriggleHealth correspondent, BBC News

Patients in England do not feel safe relying on GP out-of-hours care and are struggling to get access to doctors during normal hours, a leading patient group is warning.

The Patients Association said the government needed an urgent review of the “complex and convoluted” system.

Its report said if the problems persisted, the service would lose the trust of the public completely.

The warning comes after it surveyed 3,000 of its members and supporters.

The Patients Association said it had been prompted to investigate the GP system after a rising number of calls to its helpline.

Four out of every five of those polled said they would not feel safe relying on the NHS out-of-hours service for a potentially urgent medical problem.

Nearly half of those who had used an out-of-hours provider in the past two years said they were not satisfied with the service they had received.


Some 61% said they had had to wait longer than 48 hours to book an appointment with a GP.

And more than a third had had to take a day off work to attend.

Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said: “We need an NHS in every community that operates effectively, safely and compassionately during and outside of office hours.

The local NHS has a legal requirement to make sure high quality out-of-hours care is in place”

Lord HoweHealth Minsiter

“Keeping people out of hospital and living independent, healthier lifestyles means delivering more integrated and accessible community-based care.”

She said as the government’s changes to the NHS settled in – they come into force on 1 April – it was essential the GP system was reviewed to ensure the problems did not mount.

She also suggested clinical commissioning groups, which will get control of the bulk of the budget, should raise awareness about the options available to people when GP surgeries are closed.

Dr Laurence Buckman, of the British Medical Association, said: “GPs across the country are working extremely hard to see as many patients as possible as quickly and promptly as possible.

“Nearly nine out of 10 patients reported that they had a good overall experience in the most recent GP patient survey that was answered by close to a million respondents.”

But he added: “Many GP practices are struggling to cope with a combination of government targets, falling resources and rising workload.”

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “The local NHS has a legal requirement to make sure high quality out-of-hours care is in place.

“If this is not happening, it is totally unacceptable and we expect action to be taken immediately to improve these services.”


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