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'Scandalous crisis' in elderly care, e-cigarette approved for prescription and four million Brits have diabetes

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

Winter deaths have jumped 65% in four years leading the Telegraph to warn of a ‘scandalous crisis’ in care of the elderly brought about by cuts to the care sector.

There were 43,900 ‘excess’ deaths in 2014/15 and a growing number of emergency admissions from care homes with 22,682, compared to 13,906 in 2010/11.

Barbara Keeley, shadow minister for older people, care and carers said: ‘The neglect of social care is a scandal that has gone on far too long – and it is clear that George Osborne’s funding plans are completely inadequate.’

E-cigarettes are one step closer to being available on prescription after the MHRA licensed one model for sale as an aid to help people stop smoking tobacco, the BBC reports.

The e-Voke, produced by British American Tobacco, could now be prescribed on the NHS, but GP leaders say more work is needed on the potential harms and it would be unreasonable for the NHS to fund people’s lifestyle choices.

The RCGP vice chair of external affairs Dr Tim Ballard said: ‘Potentially, there may be a place for the prescription of e-Voke as part of a smoking cessation programme, but GPs would be very wary of prescribing them [until the evidence was clear].’

And finally, the number of people in the UK affected by diabetes has passed four million for the first time, according to data from the charity Diabetes UK.

The Guardian reports that there are 3.5 million adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes, a 65% increase in the past decade, and up 120,000 on the previous year. There are also thought to be a further 549,000 undiagnosed cases of type-2 diabetes.

Diabetes-specialist professor Melanie Davies from the University of Leicester said the figures were ‘not surprising but quite alarming.’ She warned there were large numbers at risk of developing diabetes in the near future.

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