This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

More elderly patients deprived of their liberty, one in 40 people suffer gout and is 20% of NHS work unnecessary?

A round-up of the health news headlines on Thursday 16 January.

The number of elderly patients in care homes and hospitals who are subject to restraint is soaring, the Telegraph reports.

New figures from the CQC reveal there has been an 85% rise since 2009/10 in the number of applications to deprive those over 75 of their liberty, with more than 7,000 such applications in 2012/13 - more than half of which ended up being authorised.

Care workers are supposed to restrict the liberty of the most vulnerable only if it is required to protect them, and hospitals are supposed to inform regulators if such steps are taken. But they did not to do so in two thirds of cases, thus breaking the law, the CQC report found.

Rates of gout in the UK are rising rapidly, the BBC reports, with one in 40 people now affected.

Research published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal looked at the number of new and existing cases of gout in the UK between 1997 and 2012, and found the prevalence of gout rose by 64% over that period. By 2012, some 116,000 people of the 4.5 million on the database had gout.

Researchers said access to medication remained a problem, with fewer than one in five patients prescribed medication within six months of their diagnosis.

The BBC also trails a major speech by Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford, who will later today claim that up to a fifth of the NHS’s work does not benefit patients and could even cause them harm.

Mr Drakeford will outline plans for the Welsh health service to do less, and adopt a policy of ‘prudent medicine’ in order to prioritise resources. Changes could include not offering patients tonsillectomies, limiting the drugs used in chronic pain management and reducing antibiotic prescribing by GPs, the BBC said.

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

Have your say