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Pensions fury, the fry up myth and GP end-of-life care

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A round-up of the health news in the papers for Wednesday 25 January

Pulse's report on the gathering storm over pensions is picked up by the Daily Telegraph, which warns of a ‘go-slow' by angry doctors.

The paper quotes the senior BMA Council member who told Pulse that doctors could refuse to ration NHS resources, and says the BMA will hold an emergency meeting next month on whether to ballot for industrial action over changes to pensions.

Work-to-rule measures could see GPs becoming very cautious and referring vast numbers of patients to hospital or refusing to fill in forms and even treating only emergency cases, the paper says.

Also in the Telegraph, we read of the ‘myth' that regularly eating fried foods causes heart attacks, as long as you use olive oil or sunflower oil.

A new study published in the British Medical Journal, found no association between the frequency of fried food consumption in Spain - where olive and sunflower oils are mostly used - and the incidence of serious heart disease.

Spanish researchers followed more than 40,000 people, two-thirds of whom were women, from the mid 1990s to 2004.

At the outset they asked them how often they ate fried foods, either at home or while out. They then looked to see whether eating fried foods regularly increased the likelihood of falling ill from having coronary heart disease, such as a heart attack or angina requiring surgery.

Dividing participants into four groups, from lowest fried food intake to highest, they found no significant difference in heart disease.

However, the British Heart Foundation warned Britons not to "reach for the frying pan" yet, pointing out that the Mediterranean diet as a whole was healthier than ours.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail reports that GPs must ask the elderly with serious health problems if they want ‘do not resuscitate' orders put in their files, according to senior doctors.

They should also find out if patients want to die at home and whether they would rather refuse certain drugs or treatment in their final hours.

Dr Adrian Baker and researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen and Stirling are calling for more GPs to draw-up ‘end of life' plans for seriously-ill patients.

The researchers – whose recommendations are backed by the RCGP and published in the British Journal of General Practice - say asking people to draw up plans for how they want to be treated in their final days can halve the number of unplanned hospital admissions

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