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NHS money wasted, doctors demand 20% sugary drink tax and older women unaware of breast cancer symptoms

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

‘Profligate wastefulness’ in the NHS may mean as many as one in seven hospital procedures are being conducted unnecessarily, according to NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.

The Telegraph reports a substantial amount of NHS funding is wasted on overtreatment, which NHS England says amounts to 15% of medical and surgical procedures and costs of £1.8bn a year.

Sir Bruce said: ‘A substantial proportion of expenditure in our health care system and in other Western health care systems – ten, 15 per cent – is due to overuse of treatment… The waste is profligate in our system.’

Doctors are urging ministers to introduce a 20% tax on sugary drinks to ‘fight the obesity crisis’, the Daily Mail reports on its front page this morning.

In a report from the BMA, the clinicians say their proposed levy on fizzy pop and sugar-laden juice drinks should be used to subsidise the sale of fruit and vegetables.

The report estimates that poor diet costs the NHS £6 billion a year, and claims some 70,000 lives.

The Guardian reports that half of older women are unclear about the symptoms of breast cancer, as public health chiefs launch another awareness campaign aimed at those aged 70 and over.

A Public Health England survey found half of women in this age group cannot name a breast cancer symptom other than a lump – despite accounting for one in three breast cancer diagnoses.

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