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The waiting game

Light-sensitive retina grown from stem cells, ambulance stops to pick-up hitchhikers, and World Cup licensing jeopardises A&E

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Wednesday 11 June.

Thousands of patients at risk of losing their sight to retinal diseases can take hope from a new experiment which has created a light-sensitive retina from stem cell cultures, the Telegraph reports.

The advance, published in Nature Communications, could benefit the 500,000 patients in the UK who have lost their sight to macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the over-50s.

Lead researcher Dr Valeria Canto-Soler, told the Telegraph: ‘We have basically created a miniature human retina in a dish that not only has the architectural organisation of the retina but also has the ability to sense light.’

The BBC reports that an investigation has been launched into claims that an ambulance rushing an elderly patient to A&E with a life-threatening blood clot stopped to pick-up a pair of hitch hikers.

Glenn Buscombe, 60, told the BBC he was in ‘terrible pain’ when the ambulance came to an abrupt stop and a girl was ushered into the back of the ambulance with Mr Buscombe and the paramedic.

Mr Buscombe said: ‘It was a race against time to save me and my leg and yet the driver was messing around giving people lifts - it’s just not on.’

And finally, the country’s leading A&E doctor has said that issuing extended opening hours for pubs during England’s World Cup games is an ‘unwelcome’ sign for A&E departments which sets a worrying precedent.

President of the College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Clifford Mann warned that allowing pubs to open until 1am ‘sets a precedent that those with vested interests can use to encourage the exception to become the norm.’

Dr Mann said: ‘British society does not deal well with alcohol, and as a consequence it pays a very high price in terms of lives damaged and healthcare costs’. 

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