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Independents' Day

Why a stiff upper lip will make you die in pain and the RCGP 'deals a blow' to the Government

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Friday 3 February

The stiff upper lip for which Britons often congratulate themselves is causing many to die in pain according to the Telegraph.

100,000 people a year are dying in unnecessary pain in hospitals when they could be home and comfortable because they and their doctors are too afraid to discuss a ‘good death', the chairman of the National Council for Palliative Care, Professor Mayur Lakhani, claims.

Professor Lakhani, a GP and former chair of the RCGP, has called for a ‘change in the philosophy' of the medical profession to allow for a greater acceptance of death including its ‘spiritual' dimension. GPs are currently being offered new training videos with advice on how to broach the subject of ‘end of life care', but when are GPs not being offered new guidance and directives?

You could argue that it's been a long time coming but the RCGP called for the withdrawal of the Government's health bill last night, dealing a ‘heavy blow' to David Cameron according to the Times (paywall).

The college made its announcement in the wake of amendments to the bill made on Wednesday, stating that the Health and Social Care Bill would cause ‘irreparable damage to patient care'.

Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the RCGP, said: ‘Competition, and the opening up of our health service to any qualified providers, will lead not only to fragmentation of care, but also potentially to a ‘two-tier' system with access to care defined by a patient's ability to pay'. Read Pulse's story here.

Doctors have devised a 21-question test, reprinted in the Mail, to help distinguish normal absentmindedness from the onset of Alzheimer's disease. The test, which scores respondents from 0 to 27, was devised by Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Arizona and is apparently '90% accurate'.

People who are worried they, or a loved one, may have the degenerative disease, answer yes or no to a series of questions, picking up points for each symptom they recognise. A score of 0 to four means no cause for concern, five to 14 means memory loss may be an early warning of Alzheimer's and 15 or above could mean that Alzheimer's has already developed. Questions range from ‘Do they misplace items more than once a month?' to ‘Do they have trouble recognising familiar people?'

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