16:30 Against what is commonly believed, those who are overweight or obese have a lower risk of dying in hospital after a heart operation than those with a healthy weight, according to a new study looking at data on 400,000 UK adults.
Current guidance is for people to reduce their weight before surgery, but the British Heart Foundation-funded study, carried out at the University of Leicester, found that 4.4% of healthy weight patients died, compared to only 2.8% of overweight patients and 2.7% of obese patients.
Some 8.5% of patients who were underweight died in hospital after heart surgery, with the researchers suggesting underweight people should put on weight before surgery, reports the Guardian.
Gavin Murphy, BHF professor of cardiac surgery at the University of Leicester, said: ’We saw a 25% reduction in death by being overweight as opposed to being normal [healthy] weight. That’s a bigger effect on mortality than statins.’
’It changes one of the most basic approaches behind surgery, which is that people need to lose weight before surgery. Obese patients are generally considered unfit for surgery.
’This study shows the very morbidly obese – with a BMI greater than 40 – did not have a greater risk. It shows that no patient should be rejected for surgery on the basis of body mass.’
14:45 A Norfolk hospital had to take out a court order to remove a patient who refused to vacate his bed for two years, reports the BBC.
The unnamed patient, who had been deemed safe for discharge, has now been moved to accommodation in the community.
Anna Hills, James Paget University Hospital’s director of governance, said: ’The gentleman repeatedly refused all offers of appropriate accommodation organised by our local authority and social care partners, despite being fit for discharge.
’As a last resort, the trust had to apply to the court to allow us to remove the gentleman from the hospital.
’The decision to go to court was not taken lightly but our priority has to be considering the needs of all our patients.’
13:35 Health committee chair – and former GP – Dr Sarah Wollaston says the Government is failing to understand how general practice works.
Meanwhile, commenting on the latest NHS data, Labour’s shadow health minister Jonathan Ashworth said: ’The Prime Minister can’t keep dismissing this as a ”small number of incidents”.
’Her response has been derisory and she needs to set out what action she is going to take to make sure patients can access the services they need.
’Labour is calling for urgent investment in social care and a commitment to put the NHS on a long term sustainable footing in the March budget to avoid a winter like this again. Quite simply the Government’s policy of underfunding and mismanaging the NHS has left hospitals on the brink.’
11:00 The number of A&E attendances dropped from 376,000 to 347,000 last week (ending 15 January), amid repeated calls to patients to stay away unless their condition was life-threatening.
However, despite this, record number of A&E departments ordered ambulances to be diverted to other hospitals, reports the Telegraph.
In all, 52 departments did so, almost double the number in the same week last year. Bed occupancy also continued to rise – to 95.8% – although emergency admissions fell from 90,000 to 88,000.
Meanwhile, there were 20.3 GP consultations per 100,000 people, according to the official NHS statistics.
An NHS England spokesperson said: ’Demand moderated somewhat last week, but A&E departments remain under pressure, with flu cases set to increase and norovirus still higher than last year.
’As flu increases we would remind the public that if you’re otherwise healthy, usually you can manage flu symptoms yourself at home and there’s no need to see a GP. Most people feel better within a week.’
09:35 New scanning equipment trialled in UK hospitals is the ‘biggest leap in decades’ in prostate cancer testing – nearly doubling the number of aggressive tumours caught.
A study published in the Lancet, based on trials including 576 men, found that advanced MRI testing could reduce the numbers requiring a biopsy by a quarter.
The trial ran at 11 UK hospitals, using a multi-parametric MRI on men with high levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in their blood.
NICE is already reviewing whether the technique can be rolled out more widely across the NHS, reports the BBC.