GPs implicated in clamp-down on antibiotics, gagging clauses controversy and how making drugs illegal is like banning Galileo
A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Wednesday 12 June.
British politicians will urge the G8 to agree a co-ordinated international approach to reduce the spread of drug-resistant microbes before ‘soaring rates’ of potentially lethal infections turn into a public health catastrophe, The Guardian reports.
Science minister David Willets is due to propose to the meeting that far-reaching measures are taken to clamp down on overuse of antibiotics by GPs and hospital doctors.
‘Across the G8, we should regard the spread of antibiotic resistance as a global challenge that is up there with climate change, water stress and environmental damage, and there are genuine policy consequences that follow from that,’ Willetts told The Guardian ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of science ministers at the Royal Society in London.
NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson has been accused of a ‘cover-up’ over NHS ‘gagging clauses’ by an MP. According to Sky News, there are refreshed calls for his immediate resignation after a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that hospitals have spent £2m on more than 50 gagging orders banning staff from speaking out.
Public Accounts Committee member and Tory MP Steve Barclay, who obtained the figures, said Sir David had either failed to ask questions about the orders or he was being ‘complicit in a cover-up’. Mr Barclay’s figures showed at least 52 staff were silenced by gagging clauses, under pay-offs worth up to £500,000.
The Guardian has published a letter from health secretary Jeremy Hunt where he repeats the line from speeches last month that it is his duty to raise the topic of out-of-hours care and that he never meant to solely blame the GP contract.
A 15-minute walk after each meal could stop the elderly getting diabetes, according to new research. A study suggested that the worst thing to do was to sit down to rest in the ‘risky period’ after eating, when blood sugars are elevated, the BBC reports.
The research from the George Washington University was the first into the effects of short bursts of exercise, its lead researcher said. It concluded that a small walk after eating controlled blood sugars as well as one long walk.
Meanwhile, over at The Independent, the Government’s former drugs advisor Professor David Nutt is making new ripples by claiming that a politically motivated stance against drugs has hindered research into treatments for debilitating conditions such as PTSD and depression.
In a paper published today with two other scientists in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Professor Nutt argued that the outlawing of drugs such as cannabis, MDMA and LSD amounts to the ‘the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo’ and that that drugs policy is being driven by ‘politics, not science’.