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Thousands of asthma deaths 'preventable', polio fears amid outbreaks and Indian doctors more likely to be struck off

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Tuesday 6 May.

Papers including The Times and The Telegraph are leading with a report from the Royal College of Physicians, calling for new measures to halt thousands of preventable asthma deaths.

The study is relevant to GPs, as researchers called for urgent reviews of any patient who has been prescribed more than 12 reliever inhalers in the last year, alongside other measures like designating a clinical lead to train staff in managing acute asthma.

Polio outbreaks in Asia, Africa and the Middle East have led to the World Health Organisation declaring an international emergency, and citizens of affected countries are being urged to carry vaccination certificates when they go abroad.

The BBC reports that 417 cases of polio were reported worldwide in 2013, however 68 cases had already been reported between January and April 2014, increasing from 24 in the same period last year. Bruce Aylward, WHO assistant director general said: ‘The international spread of polio to date in 2014 constitutes an “extraordinary event” and a public health risk to other states.’

Doctors from India practicing in the UK are four times more likely to be struck off the GMC register than those who trained in Britain, The Telegraph reports.

Figures showed that over the last five years 117 doctors trained in India and Pakistan were struck off – compared to 142 British trained doctors. They also showed that in 2013 75% of doctors came from abroad, up from 61% in 2009.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: ‘International medical graduates make a huge contribution to health care in the UK […]. However, we know that doctors coming here from overseas can find it difficult to adapt to different cultural norms and it is certainly true that in the past not enough was done to support them.’

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