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Civil servants find work depressing, while one doctor gives a new meaning to the term ‘working from home’

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Thursday 26 January

The medical Royal Colleges have ‘continuing concerns' about  the Government's health reforms, the Daily Telegraph reports this morning.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has met to discuss the Coalition's changes to the NHS after several high profile organisations have called for the Health Bill to be withdrawn.

It comes as David Cameron was forced to defend the reforms during a furious row in the Commons, saying they would improve the NHS and have the support of thousands of doctors.

The Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives have now joined the BMA and the RCGP in outright opposition, the Telegraph says.

Pressure has been mounting on the Academy to make a similar statement but the paper reports that the 20 individual Colleges are still divided.

The case of a GP who ran a London out-of-hours service from his home in Norfolk also features in today´s Telegraph.

The paper says Dr Savi Sondhi was guilty of ‘a shocking series of failings' that involved letting down his patients, duping colleagues and withdrawing £100,000 without permission.

An MP last night called for a police inquiry into the disgraced GP, whose actions were described as ‘a major abuse of the Health Service'.

Dr Sondhi, who had his own practice in Croydon, was responsible for out-of-hours care for a large part of south-west London through the independent company Croydoc.

The report by NHS South West London found that he repeatedly failed to answer his telephone when on call and took between one-and-a-half and three hours to respond to urgent requests for help. The target is 20 minutes.

Most of the papers report on a halving of heart attack deaths in eight years due to fewer smokers, better diet and improvements to care.

The conclusions come from a study by researchers in the Department of Public Health at Oxford University and published in the BMJ which found the death rate from heart attacks between 2002 and 2010 fell by 50% in men and 53% in women.

The Daily Mail says the researchers were attempting to discover whether the drop was driven by prevention through lifestyle changes or treatment once a heart attack happened.

They analysed data on 840,000 victims either admitted to hospital in England for a heart attack or who died suddenly from one, and found that lifestyle and treatment played an almost equal role in preventing fatalities.

The Independent is among the papers reporting that working for 11 or more hours a day makes you twice as likely to suffer from major depression.

More than 2,000 middle-aged Whitehall civil servants were studied for nearly six years and a robust link was found between regular overtime and depression – even after factoring in risks related to lifestyle, physical health and alcohol. Data from the study has already found that overtime leads to a 60% higher risk of heart disease, the Independent says.

The study, published in the online journal PLoS ONE, found employees with long working hours were more likely to be men, married or cohabiting and from higher occupational grades than employees with standard working hours.

They also tended to drink alcohol above the recommended limits. After factoring in those differences, people working 11 hours or more were still 2.5 times more likely to have had at least one major depressive episode after six years. None of those in the sample group had previously suffered from any mental health problems.

The study was carried out by scientists at two London universities and colleagues in Finland.