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Crackdown on NHS bribery, baby boomer boozing risking health, and teenage girls worry parents not focussed on mental health

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

The Telegraph reports that GP commissioners and senior doctors in hospitals will have to be more stringent in declaring donations or gifts from pharmaceutical company reps to avoid falling foul of new bribery rules that could have criminal sanctions.

The story follows an investigation by the paper on lobbying by drugs firms, which Mr Hunt said forced him to implement a new transparency, or ‘Sunshine rule’, which will be mandatory from next year and impose disciplinary action on any staff member who doesn’t declare full details of perks they receive.

However, as one eagle-eyed reader in the comments section points out, ‘the NHS already has rules on bribery for senior officials, going on to suggest that Mr Hunt has previously attempted to rebadge existing policy as new’.

One in five of Britain’s baby boomers are putting their health at risk through excessive drinking, and may be missing out on support as GPs are ‘less attuned’ to spotting drinking problems in the elderly, a BMJ study has found.

The BBC reports the riskiest drinkers are middle-class males over 65, as the survey of almost 30,000 (half of them men) London patient’s health records found men made up 65% of the risky drinkers, with the top 5% drinking more than a bottle of whisky a week.

Study author Dr Mark Ashworth, said: ‘Very few GPs are switched on to the idea that their older patients could be drinking at these levels - we all look out for it in younger patients, but we are less attuned to it in the elderly.’

And finally, the mental health of teenage girls may be being overlooked by parents more concerned with spotting signs of risky drug or alcohol abuse, the Guardian reports.

The Girl’s Attitudes survey by Girlguiding UK found most girls (58%) aged 13 to 21 believed mental health was a serious concern, while more than a third (37%) said they were worried about cyberbullying.

When asked about their parents’ concerns, two out of five said drug use was a concern, 33% said alcohol was a concern, and 29% were concerned about smoking. In the 16 to 21 year old group pregnancy was the biggest worry (42%).

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