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New 'tougher' hospital inspection regime, doubts over the care cost cap, and could a pill give you your daily dose of exercise?

A round-up of the health news headlines on Thursday 18 July.

A ‘small army’ of doctors, nurses, patients and carers will be hired to carry out inspections of hospitals and give them a rating, the new chief inspector of hospitals has said.

Professor Sir Mike Richards said the system used by the CQC until now has been flawed and too narrow in focus. He will increase the size of inspection teams from about five people to more than 20, and they will include patients as well as clinicians.

The previous system, which involves carrying out themes inspections, will be replaced by one that looks at the hospital in its entirety, he added.

Under the new regime, due to start next month, hospitals deemed inadequate could also face being put into ‘special measures’, which involves teams of external experts being brought in to make sure changes are made.

Sir Richards said: ‘I want to start building a small army of inspectors,’

‘These inspectors need to come from different walks of life: some of them will be practising clinicians who will come and do two or three inspections a year, some others will be retired clinicians, but importantly we are also seeking patients and carers and we will provide training.’

Over at the Telegraph, Government officials have admitted that only one in eight elderly people will ever qualify for the cap on the cost of care.

As care minister Norman Lamb announces details of how the £72,000 cap on the cost of care bills will be implemented, official estimates reveal that by the time it has been in place for 10 years, the proportion of pensioners benefiting from it could be as low as one in 200.

Charities said the cap had been set at a level which means it will have limited effect, only helping people already in crisis.

Lastly, a pill that gives us our daily dose of exercise might sound to some like it’s too good to be true, but the Daily Mail reports that scientists are one step closer to developing one.

A study, published this week by researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, found that a compound affected levels of a protein called REV-ERB in muscles when injected into mice.

RE-VERB has been shows to boost metabolism, normalist cholesterol levels and affect how much we sleep.

Experts hope that in future the compound could help disabled people get the benefits of exercise without having to move.

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

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