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#GPnews: Doctors ‘have no time to get a drink of water’

16:00 People who are genetically more prone to putting on weight benefit equally from weight loss programmes as other people, researchers have found.

Some 16% of the population are thought to have a gene combination which makes it more likely that they will gain weight, but this doesn’t mean they can’t lose it, reports the Guardian.

Newcastle University researchers trialled diet, exercise and drug interventions on groups of overweight people who did and did not carry the high-risk gene combination, finding that it did not impact on their weight loss success.

The result of the trial was welcomed by anti-obesity campaigners.

14:00 The Government’s pledge for parity of esteem between mental and physical health ‘is a laudable ambition’ but pressure on the NHS budget ‘will make it very difficult to achieve’, an influential committee of MPs has warned.

The Public Accounts Committee enquiry into access to mental health services further concluded that it is ‘difficult for people to access the support they need because the way mental health services are designed and configured is complex, variable and difficult to navigate’.

‘There are many different ways in which people can come into contact with mental health services. Referrals often start as a result of contact between a patient and their GP, but people can then face a complex process of diagnosis, referral and treatment involving multiple clinical staff in different health settings.

‘This can make it more difficult for people to get the treatment they need,’ the report said.

12:45 The UN’s 193 member states have agreed to sign a landmark declaration to fight antimicrobial resistance.

This is only the fourth ever UN declaration on a health issue, reports the BBC (following HIV in 2001, non-communicable diseases in 2011 and Ebola in 2013).

The Department of Health said the commitment follows ‘a worldwide campaign led by the Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies and health secretary Jeremy Hunt’ that has highlighted the threat of antimicrobial resistance to modern medicine.

The nations have committed to:

  • develop surveillance and regulatory systems on the use and sales of antimicrobial medicines for humans and animals;
  • encourage innovative ways to develop new antibiotics, and improve rapid diagnostics;
  • raise awareness among health professionals and the public on how to prevent drug resistant infections.

Mr Hunt said: ‘Antimicrobial resistance is perhaps our biggest global health threat – it could nullify the progress of over a century of modern medicine and kill millions. So I am proud that this country has led the charge and rallied the international action necessary to tackle the problem.

‘We are determined to build on our domestic achievements – thanks to the hard work of NHS staff, hospital acquired infections have been halved, and GPs prescribed 2.7 million fewer items this year compared to last – but we’ll couple that with global leadership as together we face up to a huge challenge.’

11:47 The Government has defended its childhood obesity plan against criticism, arguing that it is ‘world leading’.

Its statement comes in response to a major charity’s campaign for people to email their MP to call for the plan to be strengthened.

Echoing the sentiment of GPs, Cancer Research UK said the Government’s plan was a ‘missed opportunity’.

Cancer Research UK said: ‘Being overweight or obese is the single biggest cause of preventable cancer in the UK after smoking. And it’s linked to ten types of cancer. If we’re going to reduce the number of people being diagnosed with cancer every year, we need to tackle the preventable causes of the disease…

‘You can help us tackle children’s obesity by emailing your MP today asking them to put pressure on the Prime Minister to extend restrictions to junk food TV advertising before 9pm.’

But the Government said: ‘Our plan is world leading – no other country in the world has attempted such a comprehensive set of measures to tackle obesity. However, we know everyone has a part to play in helping children improve their diets and lead healthier lives.

‘We will measure progress carefully and do not rule out further action if results are not seen.’

9:20: A new report from the Royal College of Physicians has released a new report on the NHS titled ’Underfunded, Underdoctored, Overstretched’, which found that doctors in training don’t have time to eat or drink.

The report concluded: ’The NHS needs a new plan – no more quick fixes or temporary solutions, but a plan designed to meet the UK’s health and care needs in the long term. We need urgent action to address the immediate impact of an underfunded, underdoctored and overstretched NHS on patient safety and staff morale. As a bare minimum, patients and communities need an honest debate about the true choice that we face: increase funding or cut care.’

But most shockingly, it found that hospital doctors in training were under such pressure, they were left short of sleep, food and water.

In a survey of 498 trainee doctors, it found: ’One-quarter of doctorsin-training report that their working pattern leaves them feeling short of sleep on a daily or weekly basis. Yet, despite compelling evidence showing the benefits to patient safety, many doctors are actively discouraged from taking naps during night shifts.

’Three-quarters (74%) of doctors-in-training go through at least one shift per month with insufficient hydration, and over one-third (37%) do not drink enough water on seven shifts per month. Over one-quarter (28%) have worked four shifts per month without a meal, while over half (56%) have worked at least one shift per month without a meal.’

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