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NHS staff encouraged to set up ‘mutuals’, GMC’s call on EU docs and the eight-hours-sleep diet

By Christian Duffin

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Wednesday 30 March.

Doctors, nurses and other NHS staff are being encouraged to set up 'mutuals' to contract with the NHS and provide patient care, the Guardian reports. These organisations will ‘run their own budget, lease NHS equipment and premises and decide how to organise care without reference to Trust managers.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley is quoted as saying: ‘By handing responsibility and power to the frontline, a variety of services will develop, which in turn will give patients a real choice about the kind of care they want to receive.' Mr Lansley is announcing a ‘right to provide' for staff across the NHS and is especially keen to see services in areas such as eating disorders, mental health and sexual health.

The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian highlight the GMC's call for minimum standards for doctors' training across all 27 European Union member states so that countries can develop greater confidence in each other's training quality. ‘What is a routine treatment or procedure in the UK, for example, may not be within the normal scope of a doctor trained in another European country,' the Guardian reports the GMC as saying as part of a response to a EU review of a 2005 directive that governs automatic recognition of the different systems .

The newspaper highlights the fact that member countries cannot test the competence or language skills of other doctors from EU states. The Daily Telegraph outlines GMC concerns that some doctors on its books are ‘unable to communicate in English'.

The Daily Mail believes it may have finally discovered the best way to lose weight – a good night's sleep. The newspaper refers to a study of 500 overweight Americans, which concluded that those most likely to lose at least 10 pounds were the ones who both had low stress levels and slept between six and eight hours a night.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know in the comments and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily digest Wednesday 30 March