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Medical News, July 19, 2015

Welcome to this week’s Medical News Summary Blog. This post will cover the main news stories relating to health news from the 11th July until the 19rd July 2015.

This week it has seen an announcement by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt to replace consultant’s current contracts negotiated under the labour government. Hunt aims to reduce overtime payments in the hope of increasing the number of staff working at weekends. Under the current terms of the contract hospital consultants can refuse to do non-emergency work during both the evenings and the weekends. If consultants do agree to work these hours they are paid “time and a third” for those hours. David Cameron wants to introduce a “truly seven day NHS” following research that has suggested that death rates in hospitals are higher during the weekends. The Health Secretary has given the British Medical Association six weeks to negotiate the terms of the contract or face a new contract imposed on them by the conservative government.

A team of researchers at King’s College London have discovered that the chance of returning to normal weight after becoming obese is thought to only be one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women over one year. The data is suggestive of a lack of effectiveness of current weight loss strategies. Currently, patients are offered weight management programmes with their GP. The research was completed by tracking the weight of 278,982 men and women for 10 years via electronic health records. The chances of weight reduction for those who are morbidly obese was found to be even lower. The data showed that more than a third of people examined went through cycles of weight gain and weight loss. The research has highlighted the need for improved public health strategies to reduce obesity in the population.

The British Medical Association (BMA) have urged that sugary drinks should carry a 20p tax and the money raised should be used to subsidise healthier options such as vegetables. The BMA have suggested that imposing the tax could reduce the prevalence of obesity within the UK by 180,000 people. The BMA have also said that they would like to see a ban on the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks to young people. A sugar tax was ruled out by Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt last year.

Doctors are calling for urgent action to be taken to reduce the number of children needing to have teeth removed due to tooth decay. In 2013-2014 nearly 26,000 children between the ages of five to nine were admitted to hospital to have teeth removed under general anaesthetic. This figure has risen by 14% since 2011. Many hospitals are struggling to manage the increased number of children and are reaching crisis point. The Royal College of Surgeons have stated how £30 million was spent on hospital-based tooth extractions for children aged 18 years and under in 2012-2013. A national dental health survey published last May has also shown that almost a half of eight year olds in the UK have signs of decay in their milk teeth.

The number of amputations carried out due to diabetes has reached a new high with 135 amputations per week. The charity Diabetes UK have said that although there has been a big focus on preventing these amputations the rise in cases could be due to the huge increase in the number of people developing diabetes. The data has been calculated by using Public Health England data. Figures show that the annual number of diabetes related amputations in England is more than 7,000. The charity believes that up to 80% of these amputations can be avoided if people with diabetes were given the necessary care.

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