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Senior NHS staff quaking at prospect of reforms, health monitoring gets under the skin and can mothers-to-be drop the vitamin D?

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Wednesday 20 March

 

More than three-quarters of senior NHS staff are worried the health service is not ready for the reorganisation in two weeks, the Guardian reports. The paper’s survey of 1,100 clinical and management staff found that 76% believe the NHS is ‘not ready’ to take on its new role from April, while 16% said they ‘Don’t know’ and only 8% said it is ‘ready’.

Two-thirds also thought that CCGs are not prepared, and more than half that neither the NHS Commissioning Board nor local authority Health and Wellbeing boards are ready to take charge. ‘I cannot think of a single sector of the NHS that is ready for change. God help the NHS and its patients,’ one respondent reportedly said.

Forget clunky monitors and laborious lab testing – GPs may soon be able to do instant blood checks using a new microchip that sits under the skin, the BBC reports. The Swiss developers of the device say it can simultaneously check blood levels of five substances, including cholesterol and glucose, which are then transmitted to the doctor wirelessly.

The chip sits in the interstitial tissue beneath the skin of the abdomen, legs or arms and can be left in for months at a time. The team is first going to start testing the device in intensive care patients and hopes it will be ready to hit the market in four years.

Meanwhile, the Independent reports that pregnant women may not need to take vitamin D supplements after all, at least as far as the bone health of their offspring is concerned. A study published in The Lancet of nearly 4,000 pairs of mothers and their children revealed that maternal vitamin D levels were not related to the child’s bone mineral content at age nine to 10 years.

The paper says this could challenge official guidance, but NHS Choices warns that such a cohort study cannot prove whether or not the mother’s vitamin D status directly influenced their child’s bone mineral levels. ‘Given the surprising results of this study, randomised controlled trials are hopefully being planned,’ it says.

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