The wind has picked up and the nights have cooled down since our last health news round-up, but we’re still enjoying the odd sunny hour or two at talkhealth headquarters, too. The week’s health news has been as mixed as the British weather. Feel free to have your say on any of today’s stories in the Comments field below.
NHS considers changing A&E system
For many years NHS England has had a target to see 95% of A&E patients in four years. But this could all be set to change. According to the Guardian newspaper, the NHS has been looking at how Denmark operates its A&E services – there everyone except for the most ill of patients needs to call to book appointments before they can be seen.
The newspaper reports that NHS England’s director of acute care, Professor Keith Willett, would like to switch to a new appointments system. Such a huge transformation would mean that the A&E’s annual 22 million visitors would have to pre-book before arriving.
The health service is currently undertaking a huge review before publishing its upcoming 10-year plan. In it, some of its most ambitious targets may be relaxed in the near future.
Read the full story in the Guardian.
Enhanced flu jab ready for winter
With winter on the way, Public Health England is raising awareness about an enhanced flu jab for elderly people. The organisation believes it will help to save as many as 700 lives this winter. They think it should also significantly reduce the burden on the NHS by lowering GP appointments by around 30,000 and reducing the number of people needing hospital care by 2,000.
Prof Paul Cosford, from Public Health England, told the BBC: “This looks like it is going to be is a significant improvement and quite a step in our battle against flu each winter.”
Flu jabs are well known to be less effective for people in old age although flu is far more dangerous for them.
Find out more on the BBC News site.
Yoghurt sugar warning
If you love your yoghurts, be warned that they might not be as good for you as you’d like to believe. Many are full of sugars, say researchers who assessed almost 900 different ones on British supermarkets’ shelves.
The team, led by Leeds University, found that organic yoghurts are often the biggest culprits – some contain more sugar per 100g than cola. Yoghurts containing the least sugar – as those of you who carefully read the labels will know – are the natural and Greek-style varieties.
The government is clamping down on yoghurt makers who put too much sugar in their pots and Public Health England wants to see healthier options in the shops soon.
Read the story on the BBC News online.
Controversial cholesterol research
A controversial piece has appeared in the Daily Mail Online. According to the article, 17 physicians have joined forces to claim that despite what we’ve all been told for over 50 years, high levels of bad cholesterol do not cause heart disease. So convinced are they with their research that they’ve even asked doctors to stop providing stains to people – further fuelling a hot debate in the medical world.
However, the newspaper does state, ‘Experts do agree that for people who already have a high heart risk – particularly those who have already had a heart attack or a stroke – statins are proven lifesavers, slashing the chance of a second attack.’
Heart Matters, the online news site of the British Heart Foundation, has also published an article about the research, which studied 70,000 people. This piece quotes Colin Baigent, of the University of Oxford, who describes the study as reaching “completely the wrong conclusion. In fact, we know that cholesterol is just as important as a cause of heart disease in older people as it is in the young. We know this because of the evidence from all the randomised trials of statin therapy, which collectively have studied substantial numbers of older people.”
News from talkhealth
You might be aware that this week is National Eczema Week (17-25 September). Many children and teenagers are unfortunate enough to suffer from the skin condition, so we’ve designed a FREE support programme, myeczemachild, for young patients. The 24-week programme provides additional support to help them and their parents to better manage the condition. Head over to our support programmes page to find out if it could make your life a little easier.
Wherever you are in the world, enjoy the weekend!