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#GPnews: Heart failure remains as deadly as it was 20 years ago

16:35 There has been no improvement in the survival of middle-aged sufferers of heart failure since almost two decades ago, a study has found.

University of Oxford researchers studied survival rates from 1998 to 2012 and found that heart failure still kills a fifth of those diagnosed within a year, half within two years and two thirds within 10 years.

They said this compares to a doubling of cancer survival rates in the last 40 years, reports the Telegraph.

Dr Clare Taylor, a primary care researcher said: ‘Getting an accurate estimate of heart failure prognosis is vital for those who commission healthcare services, so resources can be allocated appropriately.

‘Perhaps more importantly this allows patients to make more informed choices about treatments and possible end-of-life care.

‘While the survival rates were better than other studies, we disappointingly didn’t see any improvement over time.

‘We plan to do more work to examine why this might be the case and find ways to improve the outlook for patients with heart failure in the future.’

13:20 Regional plans for overhauling the NHS around England do not propose realistic plans for how they will save required billions, the BMA has warned.

The BMA’s review into the 44 STPs concluded that ‘despite the widespread expectation of savings by providing more care in the community, many plans fail to make clear how over-stretched GPs will be funded to take on the extra work’.

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said: ‘It’s hard to find anything convincing about how existing services can be provided within the heavily constrained future funding.

‘And doctors, patients and others are discovering that where the gap is joined by reducing or eliminating services, the plans have been made without adequate or even any proper consultation.

‘The tragedy of the unravelling plans is that the Government appears to have nothing to put in their place.’

11:20 Former shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has tabled a motion in the House of Commons that would throw out the Government’s Brexit Bill, the Guardian reported over the weekend.

Ms Alexander’s motion, which is backed by 18 fellow Labour backbenchers, suggests MPs cannot support the Prime Minister’s plan to take the UK out of the EU’s single market.

The motion comes as the BMA has called for the Government to urgently secure the future of NHS workers from EU nations in Britain.

11:00 Campaigners are staging a protest against cuts to health visitors in Yorkshire. The number of full time equivalent health visitors will fall from 51.3 to 38.64, while school nurses will be cut by three per cent to just over six full time equivalent roles, at the Humber NHS Foundation Trust, warns Unite the union.

Under plans under consultation, the trust will be cutting £500,000 from the specialist public health nursing budget.

Unite regional officer Malcolm Hancock said: ‘Over the course of a year health visitors and school nurses working for Humber NHS Foundation Trust help thousands of families throughout the area.

‘Because of the trust’s deep cuts this support and specialist help for families in greater need will be reduced alongside support for issues like domestic violence and safeguarding.

‘It’s a totally self-defeating move which will harm children’s health and end up costing the trust more in the long run because of a reduction in preventative health measures.

‘Coming at time when child health in the UK is falling behind many other European countries, we would urge the trust to think again and ditch its plans to slash this vital service.’

The protest is taking place on Wednesday morning outside the trust’s headquarters.

09:40 Stomach and oesophageal cancer can be diagnosed with 85% accuracy using a simple breath test, according to a new study.

Imperial College London researchers tested the breath of over 300 patients to reach the results, and are now planning to expand the study.

The breath samples measured levels of butyric, pentanoic and hexanoic acids, and the chemicals butanal and decanal, reports Sky News.

Researcher Dr Sheraz Markar said: ’At present the only way to diagnose oesophageal cancer or stomach cancer is with endoscopy. This method is expensive, invasive and has some risk of complications.

‘A breath test could be used as a non-invasive, first-line test to reduce the number of unnecessary endoscopies. In the longer term this could also mean earlier diagnosis and treatment, and better survival.’


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