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  1. One sugary drink daily creates diabetes risk

    Many people could dramatically cut their risk of developing diabetes simply by replacing one sugary drink a day by water or unsweetened tea or coffee, researchers reveal today.

    The single lifestyle change would cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by between 14% and 25%, according to a study in Norfolk, UK.

    The findings come from a major project studying the lifestyle of more than 25,000 people.

    Researchers were able to study the eating habits of these people over 11 years - during which 847 people were diagnosed for the first time with type 2 diabetes.

    This found that for every extra 5% of energy intake in the diet provided by sweet drinks, the risk of diabetes increased by 18%.

    The study , reported in the journal Diabetologia, linked soft drinks and sweetened milk beverages to increased diabetes risk.

    Researcher Dr Nita Forouhi, of Cambridge University, UK, said: "The good news is that our study provides evidence that replacing a daily serving of a sugary soft drink or sugary milk drink with water or unsweetened tea or coffee can help to cut the risk of diabetes, offering practical suggestions for healthy alternative drinks for the prevention of diabetes."

    Diabetologia 1 May 2015

  2. Out of hours care "worse" when commercial

    Commercial companies that provide out of hours GP services have mostly failed to make patients happy, according to a major analysis published today.

    Researchers found the commercial providers have lower patient satisfaction scores than services provided by the NHS or not-for-profit organisations.

    The findings come after years of controversy over the impact of GPs being allowed to opt out of provider 24-hour cover.

    The death of one patient led to revelations about how companies were using locum doctors imported from European countries.

    Researchers studied the responses of 80,000 patients who used out of hours services over a six month period in 2012.

    Researcher Professor John Campbell, of Exeter University Medical School, Devon, UK, said the results were "interesting" and should lead to more investigations.

    He added: "It is important to exercise caution in interpreting the results. Although commercial providers scored lower overall, the best commercial providers scored higher than many of the NHS and not-for-profit providers.

    "There are variations and examples of good practice among all providers, but the overall trend is that patients report less positive experiences with commercial providers, and we now need to understand why that is the case.”

    The British Medical Association said its own GP surveys raised similar concerns.

    Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of its GP committee, said NHS services often used local GPs and involved them in decisions about the delivery of services.

    He said: “Politicians of all parties need to learn lessons from this growing body of research and move away from greater private sector involvement in the NHS. We also need policy makers to address the serious problem of inadequate funding for GP out of hours services which has been frozen or cut for the best part of a decade despite steadily increasing patient demand.

    "The BMA’s survey found that seven out of ten GPs working in out of hours care felt that their level of workload was negatively impacting on patient care."

    Characteristics of service users and provider organisations associated with experience of out of hours general practitioner care in England: population based cross sectional postal questionnaire survey.BMJ 1 May 2015 [abstract]

  3. Call for Europe to tackle asbestos disease

    Call for Europe to tackle asbestos disease Europe needs to step up efforts to eliminate diseases caused by asbestos, a continental summit said yesterday.

    Nearly 15,000 people a year die from these diseases across Europe, according to the World Health Organisation.

    The summit heard that asbestos is responsible for about 50% of cases of cancer caused by work.

    Some 16 European countries, including Russia, still allow some use of asbestos - and even when it is banned, it needs to be safely removed and disposed of "without delay," according to WHO.

    The figures were revealed at WHO's conference on the environment and health held in Haifa, Israel.

    Regional director Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab said: “We cannot afford losing almost 15,000 lives a year in Europe, especially workers, from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos.

    "Every death from asbestos-related diseases is avoidable.”

  4. Special measures for GPs

    Three GP practices are facing special measures after the latest round of inspections by the Care Quality Commission.

    Some 47 practices were rated as good and one as outstanding as reports were published on 59 in total yesterday.

    Another eight practice have been told they need some improvement.

    The commission said two of the "inadequate" practices were in Barnsley, citing failures in paperwork for the decision to put them into special measures.

    The Wombwell Medical Centre was not "safe and well-led," it said - although it gained a "good" rating for standards of care.

    Inspectors said concerns and incidents were not always investigated and patients sometimes waited too long after their appointment time.

    It said the practice must make improvements in areas such as medicines management, safeguarding of patients and protection against healthcare associated infection.

    Inspectors said there were similar problems in handling complaints and concerns at the Caxton House Surgery.

    They said the practice should ensure staff get CPR training - and should follow safeguarding and infection control policies.

    Sue McMillan, a deputy general practice chief inspector, said: “At both these practices we found caring services and patients spoke highly of the care and treatment they received. However, we also found some significant areas of concern and improvements are needed to assure safe, effective, responsive and well led services.

    “I do not believe that either practice is likely to resolve its challenges without external support. This is why we are placing both into special measures."


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