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Dr Ann McPherson dies, return of the fat cat and gardening a cure for low mood

By Laura Passi

Our round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 31 May.

Dr Ann McPherson, a GP and well known figure in general practice died on Saturday. She was a strong advocate for assisted suicide and also made Pulse's top 50 influential GP list. The Daily Telegraph reports today that the 65 year-old best selling author of the Teenage Health Freak books, died at home in Oxford four years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and surrounded by her family and close friends.

NHS fat cats make a return to the Daily Mail today. The newspaper is particularly annoyed with the gold-plated pensions of some Department of Health chiefs as the health system is under financial strain. They inform us that 'Sir Neil McKay has a pension pot valued at £2.59million while Sir Ian Carruthers' pension pot is valued at £2.58m. Both will receive pensions of more than £100,000 a year when they retire.' For a spot of perspective on this, 'average NHS worker retires with a pension of just £7,000.'

Elsewhere the Daily Mail reports the results of the long awaited Post Office Travel Insurance survey, which found that long hours and heavy workloads mean we need to take a break at least every 62 days to avoid burning out. Apparently those who 'wait more than two months between holidays more likely to become anxious, aggressive and ill'.

Fortunately the same study found that most people de-stress as soon as they start their holiday and over half feel 'fully refreshed' after just a day or two away from the office.

NHS is trialing a scheme for adults with depression, anxiety or low mood where they are prescribed a course of practical and theoretical lessons from a gardener. According to the Daily Mirror each two hour session covers different plant types, soil testing and growing your own and patients can also take home the fruits of their labour. The aim is to boost morale and is expected to help those not able to take their two month holidays.

And finally The Independent reports that 'energy drinks make children fat not fit'. Same goes for sports drinks according to the study.

'Doctors found that caffeine in energy drinks could be in quantities up to 14 times greater than in other soft drinks, taking them to a level considered toxic, according to the study'' And sports drinks contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and flavouring, intended primarily to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweating. But the report warned that except for the most serious adolescent athletes, energy drinks are unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Dr Holly Benjamin, a lead author of the report said that water is fine.

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

Daily digest