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NHS in 'critical' condition, rethink 'unrealisitic' exercise targets, and new guidance on chicken pox in pregnancy

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

The Telegraph reports that the NHS is rapidly approaching ‘critical’ condition as waiting time targets slide nationwide.

New figures from a King’s Fund monitoring report show that, in addition to four hour and 18-week wait targets, cancelled operations are on the rise, and waits are growing for cancer operations and inpatient surgery.

Speaking at a Public Accounts Committee on cancer services, Sarah Woolnough, director of policy at Cancer Research UK said waiting times were now “consistently” being missed.

The Government must rethink its ‘unrealistic’ 150 minute weekly exercise target, which researchers say may be too much for some people, the BBC reports.

Researchers say the benefits of promoting lighter exercise should not be overlooked, and that doctors should advise these small increases in activity instead.

Writing in the BMJ, in the second article Prof Phillip Sparling of the Georgia Institute of Technology, says GPs should discuss ‘realistic options’ with patients over 60 – such as moving around during TV commercial breaks.

And finally, the Independent reports that guidance on chicken pox in pregnant women has been updated in a bid to avoid complications which affect 3 in every 1,000 births.

Pregnant women who develop symptoms are told to immediately seek out their GP and should be referred to a specialist if they develop a rash. Women who haven’t had the virus are advised to avoid infected individuals.

Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the new guidance and said the new guidance should be particularly discussed with new migrants who may not be aware of whether they’ve previously had the virus.

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