£25m investment in maternity services, CMO bashes homeopathy and a tool to calculate your 'new' BMI
A roundup of the health news headlines on Thursday 24 January
Homeopathy has been dismissed as ‘rubbish’ by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, according to the Daily Mail.
Dame Sally said she was ‘perpetually surprised’ it is available on the NHS and voiced concerns about homeopathic ‘peddlers’.
The bashing occurred while she was giving evidence to the House of Commons’ science and technology committee, where she said that homeopathy does not work past the placebo effect.
Her concerns come despite the fact that it has been endorsed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who in 2007 signed an early day motion backing its use on the NHS. The health service spends £4 million a year on homeopathic hospitals, prescriptions and referrals.
NHS maternity units are to share a £25 million fund to cope with the baby boom and improve the experience of childbirth, the Guardian reports today.
More than 100 hospitals in England will share the £25 million to purchase extra birthing pools, more family rooms for dads to sleep over and extra midwife-led units.
Some hospitals will install en-suite facilities for expectant mothers, as well as rooms where relatives can mourn the loss of a baby.
Despite a decade-long baby boom with births at their highest rate for 40 years, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has previously warned that maternity services across the UK are at a ‘tipping point’ because the NHS has 5,000 fewer midwives than necessary to cope with the rising number of births.
RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said the investment would results in ‘positive changes’ up and down the country. However shadow health minister Dianne Abbott warned that NHS maternity services were still ‘dangerously fragile’ and that £25 million alone would not change that.
Over at the BBC we find news that will make women want to stub out their cigarettes. The changing habits of female smokers, such as starting earlier and smoking more cigarettes, mean women are far more likely to die as a result of smoking than they were in the 1960s.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine looking at data from more than two million women in the US found increased risks of lung cancer and death rates catching up with men.
Medical records from women between 2000 and 2010 showed they were 25 times more likely to die from lung cancer than a non-smoking friend. This compared with medical records of women in the 1960s which showed they were only three times more likely to die than their non-smoking peers.
It follows a similar pattern in men, who reached a similar level in the 1980s.
Speaking after that study, Professor Sir Richard Peto, from Oxford University, put it bluntly. ‘If women smoke like men, they die like men,’ he said.
And finally, the Telegraph provides us with a handy tool to calculate our ‘new’ BMI, after researchers at Oxford University found a flaw in the current formula measuring the relationship between height and weight.
Under the revamped formula, researchers said shorter people could be ‘fatter than they think’, and could gain a point.