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2,500 NHS data breaches a year, see the pharmacist before bothering your GP, and NHS 'cracking' under cancer strain

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

The BBC reports that the NHS is committing nearly 2,500 data breaches a year, including data lost or stolen, or even personal data being posted to social media.

A study by the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch found 7,255 recorded incidents between April 2011 and April 2014, leading to 66 resignations.

Emma Carr, the director of Big Brother Watch, told the BBC: ‘We’re not saying this is an epidemic, but it is important that this kind of report is put in the public domain as more and more people have access to medical records. Overall their record is good, they’re dealing with incredible amounts of information’.

The Guardian reports that health secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged patients to visit pharmacists instead of GPs or A&E this winter as part of a bid to alleviate pressure on the health service.

NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said: ‘In other parts of Europe pharmacies are very well used. Our GPs, frankly, during the winter feel really under strain with people coming in with coughs and colds. A lot of that strain could be relieved if people use pharmacies more.’

This comes as Government announced an extra £300m in funding for the winter pressures scheme, of which just £25m will go to general practice.

And finally the Daily Mail reports ‘cracks are beginning to show’ in the NHS  and will get worse if efforts to push up cancer diagnoses continue at the same pace, with 1,000 new cases likely to be diagnosed a day by 2016.

The study by Macmillan Cancer Support show that 100,000 more people are being diagnosed each year than in 1996, with 361,000 people in Britain likely to be diagnosed next year.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of the charity said: ‘Cracks in the NHS are already beginning to show. Whichever party is voted in at next year’s election, they will face a colossal challenge to make sure the NHS is ready’.

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