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The England-Scotland healthcare divide, fresh polyclinic plans and at last, the ‘Elixir of Youth’

By Craig Kenny

Our roundup of the headlines on Wednesday 20 January 2010.

Being an English patient is a mixed blessing, according to differing coverage of a new report by the Nuffield Trust, which compares the NHS in the four countries of the UK. While the Guardian reports that patients in England receive the fastest treatment, the Mail notes that Scotland’s nurse-to-patient ratio is almost double that of England’s.

But things could get worse in London, where the SHA plans to axe more hospitals and A&E departments to cope with the financial squeeze. Sam Higginson, NHS London’s assistant director of strategy, told the Guardian that patients would be diverted to community GP surgeries and polyclinics.

Meanwhile, in a possible bid to improve big pharma’s reputation, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, Andrew Witty, pledges in the Guardian to publish details of 13,500 compounds that may potentially cure malaria.

Elsewhere the quest for youth and beauty continues. The Telegraph claims to have found the ‘Elixir of Youth’ in fish oils, reporting that omega-3 fatty acids can prolong the lifespan of cells by preventing damage to telomeres.

But a quarter of women have tried ‘dangerous’ slimming pills, rather than dieting or exercising, to lose weight, according to a study reported in The Sun.

Daily Digest