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GPs put patients before strike action, moderate alcohol safe in pregnancy and the breast cancer dangers of the night shift

A round-up of the health news headlines on Wednesday 20 June

One of the most prominent health stories in today's papers is one broken by Pulse on waning support among doctors for Thursday's strike. The Daily Mail is among those who report on figures we obtained from primary care organisations that of 1,256 GP practices, only 22 per cent confirmed they would definitely take part in a walk out. Dr Mark Sandford Wood, executive chairman of Devon LMC said: "A lot of my colleagues feel passionately about pensions but have decided to put patients first. Some of the senior GPs in my practice are really struggling with their conscience. It's a question of which child do you love more, your pension or your patients? That's why some of my colleagues who supported industrial action have decided to carry on providing the same service they always provide." Also, read the Guardian's story here.

 

Also leading the news across many papers this morning is a report that an alcoholic drink a day during pregnancy is safe. BBC News online has covered the Danish research published in the BJOG which found low to moderate drinking – classed as one to eight drinks a week – was not associated with harm. Lead authors Ulrik Schiøler Kesmodel of Aarhus University and Prof Erik Lykke Mortensen of the University of Copenhagen, said: "High prenatal exposure to alcohol has consistently been associated with adverse effects on neurodevelopment. Areas such as intelligence, attention and executive functions have been found to be particularly vulnerable. Our findings show that low to moderate drinking is not associated with adverse effects on the children aged five."

 

Elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph reports that working nights is a cause of more than 500 deaths from breast cancer in Britain. Researchers from Imperial College London report in the British Journal of Cancer that 1,960 cases of breast cancer – about one in twenty – can be attributed to night shift working. They also warned that the number of women working night shifts had increased in the past 20 years. Nurses and flight attendants are the two main occupations with the highest risk of developing night-shift related breast cancer, said study leader Dr Lesley Rushton.

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