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GP caught charging for out-of-hours visits, women with womb cancer given hope of having babies and good news for those on death row

By Laura Passi

Our roundup of health news headlines on Wednesday 29 September.

‘GP charged sick pensioner £1,300 for out-of-hours care’ is a headline in the Daily Mail this morning, relating the case of Dr John Stephens, who has been suspended by for four months after a GMC fitness-to-practise panel found he had accepted money for out-of-hours home visits to a couple in Hertfordshire.

The patient’s wife is quoted as saying: ‘Maybe we were naive but we didn’t realise we did not have to pay for calling the doctor out. The first time it happened I thanked him for coming and said “How much do I owe you?” and he mentioned an amount.’

‘Almost 100 care homes and home-help services in England were shut down or closed voluntarily’, reports The Times today (no link as it’s behind the paywall). Problems such as bullying of patients and staff shortages prompted the CQC to investigate care homes – and they found cases of abuse to patients, soiled rooms, and the use of trafficked immigrants to look after residents.

The Daily Telegraph reports ‘Women with womb cancer given hope of having babies‘, after American researchers discovered ‘interuterine devices, commonly known as coils, that release small doses of hormones can be used in conjunction with injections to shrink and halt the growth of tumours in the womb’. The positive news could allow ‘younger women to be treated for their cancer without the need for a hysterectomy and so they may be able to have children’, we’re told.

And finally, good news for people who have been, er, sentenced to death. The Guardian reports that the production of Pentothal, an anaesthetic and ‘one of the three drugs combined in the lethal cocktail that makes up the most common form of death penalty in the US today’, has been suspended due to the lack of availability of an active ingredient.

The shortage has led to a dilemma in Oklahoma where two death row inmates are ‘awaiting execution but the state only has enough sodium thiopental to kill one of them. That has led to a flurry of activity by lawyers for the two men forcing the courts to intervene to decide which of the two should die.’

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

daily digest