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‘Hooked on a hooka’ and other health stories

By Alisdair Stirling

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Wednesday 23 February.

The news that the NHS is set to lose more than 50,000 doctors, nurses and other key staff makes headlines in many of today´s papers. A survey by the union-funded website False Economy reveals that in England alone 24,000 posts will be lost in hospitals, another 10,000 in PCTs and 6,000 will in mental health trusts as trusts struggle to save 20 billion from their budgets.

The Telegraph says nearly every trust in the country will bear its share of the cuts over the next four years with some losing up to one in five employees. The Guardian says the cuts – revealed by a Freedom of Information request – could revive voter anger as coalition MPs had campaigned to save services during the election.

Nick Clegg put the future of Kingston Hospital in south-west London at the heart of his campaign, touring the maternity wing with his wife. Last week, the hospital cut 500 jobs, the paper says. The Express takes a markedly less hostile stance, reporting that the Government has denounced the claims as ‘scaremongering’. While covering the cuts story, the Daily Mail also highlights a survey showing that NHS staff are ‘rude, arrogant and lazy’.

The survey of 12,000 patients by the website Patient Opinion found many of those treated by the health service complained that they were dehumanised, humiliated and embarrassed by the doctors and nurses who were supposed to be looking after them.

And still on personnel, The Independent picks up on the grassroots revolt brewing among GPs against the NHS reforms. It focuses on motions to next months emergency BMA meeting – already reported in Pulse – calling for the association to switch from its policy of ‘critical engagement’ to one of outright opposition.

Back at the Mail, the story of a ‘middle class’ 13-year-old girl who has become addicted to smoking shisha is reported with obvious relish. The girl has been frequenting illegal Bedouin-style back street dens – in Blackburn, Lancashire – to smoke hookahs which supply flavoured smoke and unfiltered tobacco through a water pipe. With a session costing around £6, the girl, who remains anonymous, is reportedly spending £60 a day on the habit. The headline? What else but ‘Hooked on hookah’?

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

Daily Digest