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One in three GPs back A&E charges, increasing obesity in the developing world and how shingles before you are 40 raises the risk of stroke

A round-up of the health news headlines on Friday 3 January

Should patients be charged for using A&E? That’s the question on many of the front pages this morning, with widespread coverage of a Doctors.net.uk poll of more than 800 GPs which found that a third support a small charge.

The Daily Mirror says that many GPs believe making patents pay up to £10 each time they visit an A&E department would slash the numbers visiting with minor complaints; the Independent though points out that GPs who supported the move also said that the fee should be refunded if the attendance at A&E was found to be necessary.

The Daily Mail warns that ‘the findings will prompt anger among members of the public who feel they have no choice but to go to casualty because they can’t see their GP - especially at evenings and weekends’. It goes on to quote Pulse’s story yesterday about a dozen GP practices in London facing breach of contract notices for closing early over Christmas.

The BBC reports that the number of overweight adults in the developing world has almost quadrupled since 1980 and now stands at almost one billion.

The Overseas Development Institute - a think tank - has published a report laying out the scale of the global obesity crisis and warning that 34% of adults across the world had a BMI of more than 25 in 2008.

A ‘damning report’ by the Public Accounts Committee into clinical trials is covered in the Independent, with MPs concluding that drug companies ‘routinely and legally’ withhold the results of trials. According to the report, ‘trials which gave a favourable verdict’ were ‘about twice as likely to be published as trials giving unfavourable results’.

And finally, the Daily Mail covers a study published in the online journal Neurology which found that suffering a bout of shingles before you are 40 is linked to a 74% increased risk of stroke and a 50% increased risk of heart attack.

The study’s author, University College London’s Dr Judith Breuer, said: ‘Anyone with shingles, and especially younger people, should be screened for stroke risk factors.’

 

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