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GPs ‘plead’ for longer consultation times, the mother in labour for 20 days and the ‘hospital hopper’ gets an ASBO

By Nigel Praities

Our roundup of health news headlines on Thursday 3 June.

You would think that it would be hard for a newspaper to present longer GP consultations times as a bad thing.

But in a spirited effort, the Daily Mail has reported on GPs 'pleading' for longer consultation times ‘as ministers look for £20bn in NHS savings'. The story looks at a survey from Aviva UK health that shows two out of five GPs say shorter consultations affect their ability to make a diagnosis.

A Department of Health spokesman dismisses the call, saying that GP appointment times ‘have actually increased over the past 15 years'.

In a story that sounds like the script for a Tom Hanks film, the Guardian reports on a man who has been given an asbo for wasting NHS time and resources with fake illnesses.

The 41-year-old man - dubbed the ‘hospital hopper' – has been banning him from entering any NHS building in England or Wales unless he is in need of genuine medical attention, ending ‘a career of faking illness' thought to have lasted at least three years and cost the health service tens of thousands of pounds.

If you are pregnant (or responsible for someone being pregnant) then look away now. In the papers, a mother reveals she spent 20 days in labour after getting an infection. Amy Buck suffered contractions for three weeks before her baby Daniel was born, five months premature.

Patrick O'Brien, an obstetrician at London's University College Hospital, explained that Miss Buck's waters probably broke very early in the pregnancy and then resulted in an infection.

'At some point the infection would have triggered her to go into actual labour, although as she was already experiencing many of the symptoms it would be unclear when this was,' he said.

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

Daily Digest - 03 June 2010