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NHS to target 12 month waits at expense of 18 week target, new mothers suffer 'baby brain' for four months, Birmingham to get national sperm bank.

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Monday 04 August.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has started his week with a challenge to the NHS to cut the number of patients waiting more than 12 months for an appointment, the Guardian reports.

The drive will be backed by an injection of £250m and GPs could see an upturn in irate patients, as the health secretary warned that the focus on longer waits will see achievement of the 18 week decrease.

Ina speech today, Mr Hunt is expected to say: ‘No one, except in exceptional circumstances, should have to wait more than a year. We need targets that help patients get treatment when they need it, not targets followed blindly with no regard for the impact on individuals.’

New mothers should be cautious in picking their date to return to work, as researchers have demonstrated that half of mothers were still excessively tired, four months after giving birth.

The Telegraph reports that mums were suffering from ‘baby brain’ despite reporting stable sleep patterns, and the authors of the study – published in the journal PLOS One – say lawmakers should consider the findings when determining the length of parental leave.

Dr Ashleigh Filtness, of Queensland University of Technology in Australia: ‘Sleep disruption strongly influences daytime function, with sleepiness recognised as a risk-factor for people performing critical and dangerous tasks.’

She added: ‘This brings into question whether four months parental leave is sufficient to ensure daytime sleepiness has diminished to a manageable level before returning to work.’

And finally, the BBC reports that a national sperm bank is to be set up in Birmingham to address a UK-wide shortage of donors and an increasing demand for donated sperm.

The Department of Health has awarded the project £77,000 pounds and the project will be based in Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, and the trust said they hoped a national centre would cut the number of patients using unregulated services.

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