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New hospital doctors will be forced to work weekends, teenage birth rate at lowest and call for ‘mindfulness’ to be taught in schools

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

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to say later today that he is prepared to impose seven-day working on hospital doctors, reports the BBC.

Mr Hunt will attack the BMA for being out of touch in his bid to force weekend working. He is expected to set a September deadline to agree a new contract but if an agreement cannot be reached he will force different arrangements on new consultants.

In a speech in London today Mr Hunt will claim 6,000 people die each year because patient care at weekends does not match the level given during the week.

Elsewhere, the Independent reports that the teenage birth rate is at the lowest level since the 1940s.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 25,977 women aged 19 and under gave birth in England and Wales last year – this is around the same level last recorded in 1946 when 24,816 children were born, Overall, the numbers of births have fallen, with 695,233 births being recorded in 2014 – a decrease of 3,279 on the previous year.

Finally, the Daily Mail reports that the meditation-technique ‘mindfulness’ should be taught in schools to keep teenagers away from drink and drugs.

A nationwide pilot involves nearly 6,000 young people aged 11 to 14 across 76 schools, including some inner-city comprehensives. Half the schools will teach mindfulness and the other half standard PSHE – personal, health and social education – lessons. 

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, one of the team carrying out the £6.4 million trial, said mindfulness could be particularly helpful to teenagers, whose brains are more vulnerable to taking part in harmful activities.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Hats off to Hunt. He's trying to make hospital medicine so miserable that doctors might consider doing general practice again .

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  • Lol 10:05 you might be right. But doctors don't have to do what Mr Hunt says they have the choice of another country. What an idiot that man is making of himself, but insults won't work with him, he knows he is the fall guy, or if he doesn't he ought to know.

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