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Medical News Summary, 29 March 2016

Hello and welcome back to this week’s edition of the Medic Portal’s News Summary blog. This time, I’ll be covering the key highlights from the UK’s health and medical news from the 20th to the 27th March. Interestingly, over the past 7 days we’ve seen further development in the junior doctor contract dispute, as well as a scheduled virtual reality operation.

Junior doctors taking more strike action

Junior Doctors to go on another strike
Junior Doctors strike news: another one planned, photo credit: Ms Jane Campbell / Shutterstock

The British Medical Association has escalated its dispute with the government over new contracts being enforced on junior doctors. The British Medical Association (BMA) had planned to provide emergency cover during the planned strikes on the 26th and 27th of April, however, this week they have announced that there will be a “full withdrawal of labour”.

In  this latest piece of junior doctors strike news, junior doctors will not attend work on the dates stated above. This is the first time in the history of the NHS that there will be a withdrawal of emergency cover. Junior doctors will not provide care in accident and emergency, intensive care or emergency surgery departments.

The strike will affect 45,000 doctors who are trained below consultant level. Surveys asking the public have showed that around two thirds of the UK support the junior doctor strikes however, there is concern as to whether this figure will fall if the public are affected by a lack of emergency cover.

The strikes are a response to the planned imposition of a new contract affecting out-of-hours structuring and pay, created by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. An additional walkout is scheduled for the 6th to the 8th of April, however during these days emergency cover will be covered by junior doctors.

Cancer treatment surgery to be live-streamed using virtual reality technology

Operation to be live-streamed with virtual reality technology
Operation to be live-streamed with virtual reality technology

A British patient is scheduled to undergo an operation to treat his cancer that is to be live-broadcast around the world. The operation at The Royal London Hospital will take place on the 14th April and is expected to last between two to three hours.

Viewers will be able to watch the operation as it will be live streamed using virtual reality technology. This is a groundbreaking innovation in the realms of surgery and education, as it allows viewers to gain a sense of what it’s really like in the operating theatre.

The 70-something year-old patient is said to be very excited at the prospect of thousands of people watching his surgery. The surgery itself is part of the patient’s treatment for colon cancer and is being performed by Shafi Ahmed, who has an interest in virtual reality.

The surgery broadcast will run a few minutes behind real time to take into account dealing with unforeseen circumstances.

Salt consumption in the UK has fallen

How much salt do you eat?
How much salt do you eat?

Data published this week has shown that salt consumption in the UK has fallen, but the average is still above the recommended daily intake. The data has been published by Public Health England and is based on the average daily amount consumed by 689 adults.

The study showed that the amount consumed has fallen by almost one gram, to eight grams per day. However, this is still higher than the recommended daily consumption, which is six grams.

High salt diets can raise blood pressure. This has implications on the risk of cardiovascular disease. Three quarters of the salt consumed is thought to come from pre-packaged foods, which has resulted in a push for food manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt in their products.

Uploaded by Joelle on 29 March 2016

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