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How to shed the pounds - whether you're the NHS or a junk food addict

A round-up of the health news headlines on Monday 9 July

Today's news brings doom and gloom about cuts and savings in the NHS. Alarmingly, a study by the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons has found that only one in seven operating theatres used for keyhole surgery meets the highest safety standards.

The study was carried out after research by the National Patient Safety Agency in 2010 found that surgeons were failing to notice complications following keyhole surgery.

The Telegraph notes that while you'll find an HD TV in most living rooms, almost a quarter of hospitals still do not have high-definition imaging screens.

Professor Timothy Rockall, who led the study, said: ‘You can't buy a non-HD television on the high street even if you wanted to and yet in our hospitals we see old and poor quality television screens being used for complex operations.

‘We hope the result of this audit encourages surgeons and management to discuss upgrading their equipment to improve standards and to reassure patients that the best service is being provided.'

Also in the Telegraph, a letter expressing concern that the Liverpool Care Pathway, in which fluid and drugs are withheld from dying hospital patients in their final days, may be being used to cut costs.

The letter, from six doctors specialising in elderly care and written in conjunction with the Medical Ethics Alliance, warns that informed consent is not always sought from patients while they are still in full control of their faculties. The doctors have noted a subsequent increase in patients carrying cards to inform doctors that they do not wish to be placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway.

Dr Gillian Craig, a retired geriatrician and a signatory to the letter said: ‘If you are cynical about it, as I am, you can see it as a cost-cutting measure, if you don't want your beds to be filled with old people.'

But finally, news that could bring hope to some: the so-called ‘flab jab' that could help you lose weight even on a junk food diet, in the Daily Mail.

The obesity ‘vaccine' tricks the immune system into making antibodies against the hormone somatostatin. Somatostatin can cause the metabolism to slow down and weight to pile on.

In tests, mice lost 10% of their body weight over just four days after a single injection – even while eating fatty foods. But don't ditch the salad just yet – the drug is still at least seven to 10 years away from the market.

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