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#GPnews: GP appointments being ‘rationed’, think-tank suggests

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14:30 Difficulty booking GP appointments may be a form of deliberate or inadvertent rationing by the NHS, according to a report from the King’s Fund.

The health think-tank’s analysis of the impacts to patient care from financial pressures on the NHS says that ‘the NHS – either deliberately or inadvertently – can put up barriers that make it difficult for patients to find out about and book appointments with local services’.

It adds that ‘an example of deterrence is the increasing difficulty patients are experiencing in contacting their GP surgery’, with this coming as the national GP Patient Survey found that 26% of people had experienced difficulties in getting through to their surgery on the phone in 2016, compared with 18% in 2012.

Other findings from the report included district nurses increasingly certifying deaths because of GP shortages in the out-of-hours service and rising waiting times for hip operations (now at 14 weeks).

The report also quoted Pulse, on the finding that a CCG has seen an increase in private referrals after encouraging GPs to ask patients if they have a private insurance policy.

 12:40 Policy makers wrongly assume kids become less active in adolescence but in actual fact physical activity tapers from age seven, researchers have found.

Newcastle University’s Human Nutrition Research Centre tracked physical activity levels of a representative sample of around 400 children taking part in the Gateshead Millennium Cohort Study from 2006 to 2015, reports ITV News.

Co-author Professor Ashley Adamson said: ‘There needs to be an improved understanding of the determinants of the different physical activity patterns, including an understanding of the importance of biological and environmental influences.’

09:35 People with children live longer than those who do not, a study has concluded.

The researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute used official data to find that at the age of 60, males had almost two years more life remaining if they had children, while women could expect to live 1.5 years longer.

For men, the effect was greater if they were unmarried, reports the Guardian.

The researchers suggested reasons could include children helping to look after their parents or arguing for better treatments.

They also considered that parents might have healthier lifestyles.