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'New class' of doctors on the cheap, mid-teen pot smokers more likely to be claim disability, and bank holiday BBQ spew warnings

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Friday 22 August.

Jeremy Hunt has announced a ‘new class of doctor’, who will see hospital patients but only have two year’s medical training, as part of a new plan to plug the gaping holes in NHS workforce, the Guardian reports.

The BMA is warning that the new posts should not replace doctors and patient groups are arguing that plans to open 200 physician associate training places a year amount to providing NHS care ‘on the cheap’.

Chief executive of the Patients Association, Katherine Murphy, said: ‘We are concerned that, as physician assistants are cheaper to recruit and pay, hospitals managers may become reliant upon them to bring up staff numbers on their wards.’

Men who have been moderate to heavy marijuana smokers before the age of 18 are 30% more likely to be claiming disability by the age of 60, the Daily Mail reports.

The study, conducted on a group of 50,000 men who had been conscripted to the army, found that the association remained when adjusting for socioeconomic factors, and other drug taking and psychiatric or health problems.

Lead researcher of the Swedish Team Dr Anna-Karin Danielsson said: ‘There is reason to believe that the associations found in our study develop over a long period of time and are intertwined with problems in the labour market, in the social security system, and with the individual.’

And finally, with the bank holiday looming and the prospect of scattered sunshine, health officials have launched a seasonal warning for the public to beware of poisoning themselves with unhygienic barbeques.

The Independent reports that the Food Standards Agency has said 94% of are at risk because of undercooked meats, and advise wannabe grillers to cook food in the oven first.

An FSA survey found that 19 per cent of barbecue cooks do not keep raw and cooked food on separate plates, 21 per cent do not wash their hands with soap after handling raw meat.

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