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Seven-day service is 'utopian', NHS-approved apps may do more harm than good and Lyme disease breakthrough

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

The Government’s ‘utopian’ plan for a seven-day NHS is doomed to failure due to a lack of doctors, money and diagnostic testing services, the leader of England’s hospital doctors has warned.

In an interview with the Guardian, president of the Royal College of Physicians Professor Jane Dacre said: ‘I certainly have concerns about our capacity – not our capability – but our capacity to deliver some of the manifesto promises, particularly in an environment where we’re constantly being told how difficult it’s going to be financially.

‘This idealised utopian NHS where you can have seven-day services, access to care seven days a week … sounds brilliant, but I suppose the best predictor of future performance is past performance.

‘And it’s difficult to see how that vision is achievable in the length of time that we’ve been given to achieve it. There are an awful lot of things that need to be fixed before we can start moving onto the big picture,’ Dacre said.

The majority of depression apps recommended by the NHS have not been tested and could do more harm than good, according to health experts.

The online NHS Library lists 14 computer and smartphone apps for mental health including Hands Up Therapy, Black Rainbow and Mindlogr, the Telegraph reports. The health service claims that that all have a ‘proven track record of effectiveness in improving mental health outcomes’.

Yet a review of studies by the University of Liverpool found just four of those listed on the site have been found to be effective through rigorous evaluation.

The researchers claim that the NHS ‘seal of approval’ may lead patients to wrongly believe the apps are of clinical benefit.

An injection protecting against Lyme disease could become a reality, after a team of scientists identified an antibody that targets the bacteria responsible for the debilitating illness, the Daily Mail reports.

Researchers at UMass Medical School’s MassBiologics hope their breakthrough will result in a jab that offers seasonal protection.

 

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