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NHS whistleblowers ‘need more protection’, coeliac sufferers go undiagnosed and how everyday soap chemicals are denting male fertility

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Monday 12 May.

England’s chief nursing officer says the NHS needs to undergo ‘radical changes’ in order to act on staff concerns about patient safety and protect whistleblowers, The Telegraph reports this morning.

Jane Cummings says nurses should be able to speak out about poor care or patients being put at risk because of staff shortages.

Her message comes as a Parliamentary inquiry into the treatment of whistleblowers in the health service is due to hear evidence this week from safety campaigners and the NHS ombudsman.

Ms Cummings says in an article for the paper: ‘We need to up the pace of radical change if we are to truly respond to the lessons of Mid Staffordshire, Winterbourne View and the needs of our population.’

Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports that half a million people in the UK are suffering with coeliac disease without knowing it.

Apparently research from the University of Nottingham has shown less than a quarter of people with the condition are diagnosed – despite a four-fold rise in the diagnosis rate over the past two decades.

Sarah Sleet, chief executive of charity Coeliac UK, said ‘urgent action’ is needed to address the low diagnosis rate.

She said: ‘Of course, increasing numbers with a diagnosis is good news and will inevitably mean that there will be an increased demand for gluten-free products in supermarkets.’

‘But the three quarters undiagnosed - around 500,000 people - is a shocking statistic that needs urgent action.’

Finally, The Independent has front page news warning that supposedly ‘non-toxic’ chemicals in household products may be a cause of rising male infertility.

Scientists found one in three chemicals in everyday products such as soap, sun screens and plastic toys directly impair the swimming behaviour of human sperm and cause them to prematurely release enzymes needed to penetrate and fertilise the egg cell, the paper reports.

Lead author Professor Niels Skakkebaek, from Copenhagen University Hospital, told The Independent: ‘In my opinion, our findings are clearly of concern as some endocrine-disrupting chemicals are possibly more dangerous than previously thought. However, it remains to be seen from forthcoming clinical studies whether our findings may explain reduced couple fertility which is very common in modern societies.’

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