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Clarkson’s climb down; anti-landmine/anti-tumour; don’t let the bed blocks bite

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Friday 2 December.

Why the long face, Jezza? Jeremy Clarkson’s equine features grace the front page of every newspaper this morning in light of his apology to striking public sector workers whom he suggested should be ‘shot in front of their families’.

Orthopaedic surgeon and consultant, David Goodier, didn’t quit his job at Bart’s Hospital, London for fear of Jeremy Clarkson, he quit in protest against ‘dangerous’ NHS cuts, according to the Independent. The Royal College of Surgeons has launched an inquiry following Dr Goodier’s resignation and an email he sent to colleagues lamenting the ‘dangerous’ shortage of surgical facilities at the hospital.

Anti-landmine technology is the gift that keeps on giving, according to an article in the Mail this morning. British scientists have created a ‘revolutionary breast-screening system’ using anti-landmine technology which ‘can detect cancer in seconds’ and is safer than traditional mammogram x-rays which carry a radiation risk. The new technology, named Maria, is also cheaper than a mammogram and can be used on women of any age. The Mail says that ‘the most appealing aspect for women is pain-free examinations, with an end to having the breast squeezed between two x-ray plates’.

Bed blocking, whereby hospitals fail to promptly discharge elderly people, is on the rise again after six year of decline, costing the NHS £500,000 a day, according to the Telegraph. The rise is down to the increasing shortage of space in care homes for the patients to be transferred to. NHS figures estimate that bed blocking, which grew by 16% this year, has cost £239 million since August 2010.

The Guardian devotes an entire page to the closure of the 13-month enquiry into ‘the biggest scandal of NHS care in years’, the needless deaths of possibly as many as 1,200 patients at Stafford hospital between 2005-2009. The inquiry which heard from 181 witnesses and included over a million pages of evidence concluded yesterday with ‘severe criticism’ of ‘almost the entire NHS for not realising earlier what was happening at the hospital’. Patients suffered ‘neglect, indignity and shoddy care’ and ‘understaffing meant the hospital’s A&E unit often posed a risk to the patients’ safety’.