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Why broody women should avoid coffee but not avocados and how to get private hospital care

A round-up of the health news headlines on Wednesday 4 July

Wait over 18 weeks for a non-urgent operation on the NHS and you'll be put up in a private hospital, Lansley promised yesterday as part of sweeping reforms of NHS care.

Cancer patients will have the right to demand a consultation with an ‘alternative provider', including private doctors, if they've waited more than a fortnight for NHS care.

The Telepgraph reports that the plans will be announced as part of an NHS mandate in which hospitals, traditionally judged on upfront markers such as waiting lists, will now be judged against different outcomes related to the success or failure of treatment.

Some of these outcomes include the number of people dying after being diagnosed with different cancers, improving care for those with long terms conditions such as dementia and recovery after medical emergencies.

Women hoping to conceive should kick their caffeine habit, The Telegraph reported today, as Danish researchers find that drinking five cups of coffee halved their chances of giving birth to a baby.

Dr Ulrik Kesmodel, of Aarhus University Hospital, described the adverse impact on IVF success as "comparable to the detrimental effect of smoking".  The researchers weren't clear on whether caffeine is to blame, but if so, drinking ten or more cups of tea a day is to be avoided.

So coffee and tea are out, but eating avocados and salads dressed with olive oil could help women trying to conceive, said The Daily Mail. US researchers found that women who ate the highest amounts of monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds were 3.4 more time as likely to have a child after IVF than those who ate the lowest amounts.

The NHS needs to reconsider what services should remain free as if faces the tightest four year period in the last 50 years, a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said. The NHS would need an extra  £20b a year by 2020 to meet patient demand, says the Daily Mail.

The report concludes that ‘serious thought' must be given whether reconsidering which services should be free, or whether taxes need to be raised to finance the service in the future.

The authors said that continuing the freeze on NHS spending between 2015 and 2017 would mean cutting spending on other public services by an average 2.4 per cent a year.

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