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GP heroics, compulsory whistle-blowing, and why you should measure your telomeres

Our round-up of the health headlines on Tuesday 26 June.

It's good to have friends but even better to have GP friends, as one man found out. Harry Parkin was saved by his cricket playing GP team mate after having a heart attack during the game. Mr Parkin was saved by the quick thinking action of Dr Richard Mejzner who had a defibrillator in the boot of his car.

Want to know how long you're going to live? Well measure your telomeres. For £500 scientists in Spain will take blood samples and using cutting edge microscopes measure telomeres, the tiny structures that protect every chromosome in your body. According to the Mail, scientists can tell by the length of someone's telomeres roughly how old they are and what their rate of ageing is.

The NHS may be facing huge cuts but there is some happiness floating around the health service. Altrincham is getting a brand new four-storey hospital in its city centre. The BBC says NHS North West England approved the plans on Monday, with work expected to begin nest summer.

A natural substance could be used to stop the spread of brain damage in stroke victims according to the Telegraph. Alpha-B-crystallin which is produced by the body during stress acts to slow the immune system. Scientists claim it could act as a sponge to ‘soak-up' molecules that cause brain damage.

Waiting until he's gone to launch his attack, Sir Roger Boyle has accused health secretary Andrew Lansley of: 'Acting like a man without an electoral mandate.' Sir Boyle, who retired as the Government's national director of heart disease over the weekend said Mr Lansley was throwing out the old and bringing in the new without seeing what worked well.

A university professor who wrote a tranquilliser report for the Government received funding from two drugs companies that produce the drugs. Professor John Strang did not declare the funding he received and has now been accused of having a conflict of interests. Ministers are now being pressured to withdraw the up-coming tranquilliser addiction strategy.

The House of Commons Health Select Committee has warned that doctors and nurses who don't blow the whistle on sub standard care in the NHS should be struck off. A huge rise in the number of complaints against individual health professionals has lead to the organisation to demand a change. It wants whistle blowing to be seen as a obligation and not a choice.