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Daily Digest: 9 September 2009

Today's round-up of the GP and other health stories making the headlines.

The BMA's call for a ban on all alcohol advertising in a bid to tackle binge-drinking is the big health news in many of the papers today. ‘BMA calls time on adverts for alcohol', reports the Independent, pointing out that the new campaign has echoes of the anti-smoking drive. Most of the papers have their own spin on the story – the Mirror has an interesting twist under the headline ‘Alcodrops', suggesting that taxes on low-strength alcohol could be slashed to encourage people to switch to weaker drinks.

The Mail and the Telegraph both report the case of Sarah Capewell, a mother whose premature baby was left to die when it was born at just 21 weeks and five days – doctors at the James Paget Hospital in Norfolk allegedly told her they were following national guidelines that intensive care should not be given to babies below 22 weeks gestation.

A study from Surrey University reported in the Mail and by the BBC suggests that sleeping in separate beds could be the key to a long and happy marriage – according to Dr Neil Stanley, ‘poor sleep is bad for your physical, mental and emotional health'.

The Independent leads on page 2 with a story on a leading cancer consultant, Ramon Niekrash, who is to claim in a whistleblowing employment case today that he repeatedly raised concerns about the health and safety of patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Trust, but had his warnings ignored.

A number of papers cover with a certain amount of glee the news that the French health ministry has warned people to stop cheek-kissing – ‘La Bise' – as a measure to prevent the spread of swine flu. It is, as the Sun has it, a ‘Pecks Ban' (sadly, we couldn't find a direct link).

And finally, the Telegraph reports that exhausted doctors in Australia's northeast state of Queensland have been advised by the Government in a 102-page ‘fatigue management strategy' to, well, drink more coffee. Let's hope they don't give civil servants over here any clever ideas...

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