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NHS operation backlog, polypill 'lifesaver' a step closer and middle-age hypertension and dementia warning

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Tuesday 5 August.

NHS bosses have been told to catch up on 100,000 operations over the summer, in an effort to clear a backlog of operations in people who have been enduring long waits for routine procedures, the BBC reports.

Nearly 200,000 patients currently on waiting lists have now waited longer than the official target of 18 weeks, 65,000 of whom have been waiting over half a year and 500 more than a year.

Ministers said they want the NHS to prioritise treatment of those who have been waiting for a year in particular.

But Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council, said: ‘It is right to prioritise patients who have had to wait the longest for treatment, but this announcement tries to wash over the fact that more patients will have to wait longer for an operation because the government, in effect, is having to ration care.

‘This is yet more evidence that the NHS is buckling under extreme pressure and that patient care is being compromised.’

The Daily Express says efforts to introduce a ‘lifesaving’ polypill for prevention of cardiovascular disease could be a step closer, after scientists reviewed evidence for its use and found it ‘slashes’ people’s risk of dying prematurely and is ‘an effective way to ensure people keep taking their drugs while lowering costs’.

The researchers, led by Professor Valentin Fuster at Sinai Hospital in New York, concluded: ‘Gradually, the role of the polypill in cardiovascular prevention is being defined.’

‘Further research of the polypill is needed with the collective results having the potential power to change the face of health care across the world.’

Finally, the Daily Mail reports scientists believe people should start treatment for hypertension earlier in mid-life according to researchers who say it contributes to a decline in cognitive function.

Lead researcher Dr Rebecca Gottesman said: ‘Our own study supports midlife blood pressure as a more important predictor of – and possibly target for prevention of – late-life cognitive function than is later life blood pressure.’


 

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