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#GPnews: Smoothies should only count as ‘1 of your 5-a-day’

Top headlines 

GPs no longer want to work five days a week, says health minister

BMA calls crisis conference to prevent health service ‘collapse’

16:35 Public Health England has warned that smoothies and fruit juice should not be relied on in meeting the recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, the Mail Online reports. 

The updated health guidelines state that the drinks should be limited to a single 150ml glass a day and count as only one portion – however, many of the popular manufacturers sell the drinks in 250ml bottles, claiming to contain ‘two of person’s five a day’.

But according to the Mail Online, the new guidelines will mean some retailers will be forced to change their labelling to ensure it isn’t ‘misleading’, as some are very high in sugar and calories while low in fibre and vitamins, the report said. 

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE said: ‘On the whole, cutting back on foods and drinks that are high in saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories would improve our diets, helping to reduce obesity and the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease and some cancers.

‘A smoothie, together with fruit juice, now only counts as 1 of your 5 A Day and should be drunk with a meal as it’s high in sugar.’

15:03 The College of Emergency Medicine has elected Dr Taj Hassan as its next president.

Dr Hassan, consultant in emergency medicine at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and an associate medical director at NHS Improvement, will take over from Dr Clifford Mann in September.

Dr Hassan said the manifesto on which he was elected was focused on improving working conditions for emergency doctors to improve retention and recruitment, as well as making sure emergency systems are tailored to whether they are urban or rural.

13:42 The Government should shortly be able to end the VAT charge on women’s sanitary products, ITV News reports.

It said the news, first unveiled on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, might stave off a ‘Commons revolt’ among Tory MPs demanding an end to the so-called ‘tampon tax’.

Chancellor George Osborne told the radio station that he believes the Government is on the verge of reaching agreement with EU legislators on a deal that would make this possible.

According to ITV, this is ‘part driven by a determination by pro-Brexit MPs to embarrass the Government over the role of the EU in setting VAT’.

12:15 Up to four patients are losing their eyesight every week because hospitals are struggling to keep up with the demand for appointments, according to a leading expert. 

The Telegraph reports that Professor Carrie MacEwen, president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said follow-up appointments were being delayed for months or even years – partly because NHS targets only relate to the initial consultation.

She went on to say that urgent action needed to be taken to address the ‘perfect storm’ of increasing demand caused by an ageing population requiring more long-term care, adding that the mounting pressure on hospital eye services can no longer be ignored. 

10:55 This morning we are leading on a claim made by the head of the Welsh health service that ‘older GPs should not be expected to work five days a week’. 

prof mark drakeford 330x330

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, the Welsh minister for health and social services Professor Mark Drakeford said that this was one of the reasons why the Welsh health service is organising GP practices in clusters where older GPs can develop portfolio roles.

Read the full interview here 


9:45 Commuters who cycle to work weigh 5kg less compared with those who drive to work, a new study has found. 

The study – which was published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal has revealed that people who cycle to work have less body fat, and also a lower BMI, compared with drivers, the Evening Standard reports.  

It also revealed that cyclists’ BMIs were 1.71kg/m2 in men and 1.65kg/m2 in women, while an average 53-year-old man who cycles to work was likely to see a 5kg difference in weight to someone the same age and gender who drives. In women, however, the difference was 4.4kg.

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