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300,000 call loneliness helpline, patients wait 35 hours in A&E, Mail hedges on health headlines

A helpline to help elderly people cope with loneliness has taken over 300,000 calls in its first year of operation, the BBC reports.

More than half of callers to the Silver Line, founded by Esther Rantzen, were calling because they had no one else to talk to, but some called to report neglect or abuse and the scheme will now work with the CQC to target poor care.

Dorothy Mills, 85, from Lancashire, told the BBC: ‘You can’t see it or smell it. But you feel it. Loneliness is like a deadness… now I have a weekly call, and I so look forward to it. We can chat about anything.’

The Telegraph is running an analysis on NHS winter pressures ahead of a ‘damning’ CQC report on Kent and Medway Foundation Trust where patients are spending up to 35 hours waiting in A&E.

Katherine Murphy chief executive of the Patient’s Association said: ‘It is really appalling to see safety standards falling so low, and patients forced to endure such long waits in A&E.’

And finally, a selection of bet-hedging headlines from the Daily Mail which asks ‘could 5:2 diet help to ward off cancer?’, ‘Could coconut oil fight ageing?’, and ‘can frenemies harm your health’?

The Digest salutes this new cautious tone, and offers supporting evidence on the latter study which claims just mentioning a frenemies (friend-enemy) can cause a spike in blood pressure. As we’re sure many GPs experience similar results when reading the Mail.