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Another NHS reform ‘refusenik’, the science of a good night’s sleep and a disgusting dentist

By Christian Duffin

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Monday 7 March.

The government's policy for the NHS could turn healthcare provision back to the ‘30s and the 40s', the chair of the BMAs hospital consultants committee told The Guardian.

Dr Mark Porter said that the advent of competitiveness will mean that the NHS will no longer be able to provide a comprehensive service, and warned private healthcare firms will ‘cherry-pick' patients who are easy to treat, Dr Porter said.

About 50 hospitals could close because of NHS cuts, the Independent report.

The paper pieced together information from a variety of sources, including the NHS Confederation, and calculations by the head of a ‘leading health management consultancy,' who did not wish to be named.

The key to a good night's sleep is explained in the Daily Mail, which draws on research by the United States National Sleep Foundation.

Switching off televisions, computers and mobile phones an hour before bedtime is crucial because artificial light causes the brain to be over stimulated, said one of the researchers, Dr Charles Czeisler from Harvard Medical School.

He said: ‘Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed suppresses release of the sleep promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts normal sleep patterns to a later hour.'

Scientists have developed a blood analysis that can tell expectant mothers if they are carrying a child with Down's syndrome, says the Guardian.

A team from the Cyprus Institute of Neurology developed the test, which is ‘cheap and simple'. Lead researcher Philippos Patsalis said: ‘I believe that in less than two years we can have this in clinical practice.'

A flatulent dentist has been struck off, for repeatedly breaking wind and belching, reports the Daily Mirror.

The General Dental Council said its decision to bar Shropshire-based Matthew Walton was for the protection of the public. He was also accused of making rude remarks about patients' disabilities and ethnicities, and for sticking up V-signs at them.

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

Daily digest