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Weekly News Summary – 4th September 2017

Hello and welcome back! This week’s news summary blog will keep you up to date with all the latest health news stories. This edition will cover the key stories from 29th of August to 3rd of September. This week figures released indicate that one in three sick notes are for mental health conditions and hundreds are dying as families block organ donation wishes. UK citizens concerned about air pollution levels are also monitoring local air quality.

Almost one third of sick notes issued by GPs in the UK are for mental health conditions, a new NHS report has shown. This makes psychiatric problems the most common reason for people to be off work, overtaking musculoskeletal diseases. Last year there was a 14% rise in fit notes relating to stress and anxiety in comparison to 2015-16. This study was the first time that data on sick notes has been collected. The fit notes written for psychiatric problems were also issued for longer periods of time than other types of illnesses. The data shows how mental health is a leading health problem in the UK and should be at the front of healthcare initiatives.

Over three families every week are saying no to organ donation even when their relatives have signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. Meanwhile, hundreds of patients are dying whilst waiting for transplants. The donor card demonstrates a legal decision to donate but families can veto this decision. Usually families decide against organ donation as they are unsure and decide it is safer to say no. To overcome this, the NHS Organ Donor Register are encouraging people to speak to their families about their wishes to be an organ donor.

With the increasing concern about UK air pollution levels, UK citizens are taking air pollution monitoring into their own hands. A growing number of citizens are concerned that official figures are not capturing dangerous pollution levels in their area. Friends of the Earth are supplying at home testing kits which 70 local groups are now using. The environmental charity have been surprised in the uptake of at-home testing and are concerned about pollution levels in both rural and urban areas.

Words: Joelle Booth

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