By Ian Quinn
Our roundup of the news headlines on Tuesday 16 February.
Yet more grim news about the state of hospitals today as they stand accused of ignoring NHS safety warnings which could prevent patient deaths.
Many of the national papers focus on information released by the Department of Health, showing how hospitals have turned a deaf ear to alerts from the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), failing to improve hygiene, increase the safety of medical procedures or even ensure that operations are performed on the right part of the body.
In all, 81 hospitals and NHS care providers were found not to have taken the required actions detailed in safety alerts about the use of painkilling medicines, while 10 NHS trusts had not acted on a 2005 alert on feeding tubes, which can be wrongly inserted into the lungs and caused 11 deaths before the alert came out.
Peter Walsh, chairman of Action against Medical Accidents, which dug out the information, described the findings as ‘shocking.’
Right on cue, today’s Daily Mail carries a must-have ‘survival guide’ for patients making the trip to hospital, including handy tips to make the experience less dangerous – from taking an apple with you, so long as its washed first, to dosing up on aspirin before you go.
Patients are even advised to make sure they take a photo of their doctor, presumably so they can be tracked down later if he or she maims or kills them.
All in all it looks best to avoid hospital if you can help it – NHS cost-cutting will soon take care of that anyway – and preferably stay outdoors if the dismal British weather ever allows.
Today’s papers report high levels of vitamin D cut the chances of older people suffering heart disease and diabetes by almost half.
Researchers at the University of Warwick looked at 28 studies into the benefits of vitamin D, involving 99,745 people. Experts recommend eating a healthy diet including fatty fish and going out in direct sunlight for half an hour twice a week to keep vitamin levels topped up.
Alarming news for older women, however, with a report that one in four British women aged over 35 never has sex.
But the funniest story of the day award must go to the Conservatives who have blamed a poor office junior for an ever-so-slight error in a report condemning Labour’s public health record.
The report, Labour’s Two Nations, claims no less than three times that 54 per cent of young girls in the ten most deprived areas become pregnant before they are 18.
In fact the true figure is 5.4% but the Tories tell today’s Times that it makes no difference to the report’s conclusions that Labour is basically rubbish. What’s a few hundred thousand deprived babies between friends after all?
Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…