Hello and welcome to the first 2017 edition of the news summary blog. I hope you all had a good Christmas break and wonderful New Year! This edition will cover the key stories in health news from 19th December to 8th January. The number of urgent operations cancelled in November reached a record high and research was published that indicated a link between dementia and living by a major road. Additionally, committees of MPs have called for a cross-part review of social care and data released indicates that children in the UK are eating half their daily sugar allowance before 9am.
Research published recently has indicated that people who live near major roads may have higher rates of dementia. The Canadian study found that people who lived within 50 metres of a busy road were more than 7% more likely to develop dementia than those who lived 300 metres or more away from a busy road. The study that included 6.8 million people adds to previous research that has indicated heavy traffic may have an effect on dementia. Although the reason for the link remains uncertain, further research will need to be conducted into the link of traffic and air pollution on the development of dementia.
Over the Christmas period it was announced that the number of urgent operations cancelled in England has hit an all-time high. The NHS cancelled 446 urgent operations in November along, almost double the number cancelled in November 2015. Opposition parties are saying that the figures give an indication of the government’s failure to fund the NHS and social care. In addition to operations being cancelled, NHS England figures show record levels of bed occupancy. MPs are concerned that hospitals in their areas are close to breaking point with NHS demand expected to stay high throughout the winter months.
Three committees of MPs have warned that the social care crisis is at breaking point and have urged Theresa May to call for a cross-party review. The review would assess the long-term future of health and social care systems as bed occupancy is at a record level. Many beds are currently being occupied in the NHS due to patients waiting for a care home. Theresa May has told local authorities that they can raise council tax to increase investment into the help of the elderly but experts have called for a more fundamental, long-term solution to be found.
Information gathered from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey has found that many children in the UK are consuming half of their daily sugar allowance before 9am. Sugary cereals, fruit juice and some spreads are to blame for the high sugar consumption. By the end of the day children are consuming three times more than their recommended daily allowance of sugar. Public Health England has launched an app called Be Food Smart which allows parents to scan bar codes to determine how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in the product.
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