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Militant nurses, over-eager dentists and wasteful pharmacists

By Michael Klimes

Our round-up of the health headlines on Tuesday 12 April.

Patients are seeing dentists too often, according to an article in The Guardian this morning. The article refers to a Department of Health briefing, sent out to all dentists, that shows 71% of patients are being recalled with in a nine-month period, which is in breach of their contract.

Higher doses of vitamin D could help the elderly protect their eyesight says a paper published in the Archives of Ophthalmology. Reported in The Telegraph today, the researchers say their study shows women aged between 50 and 79 who took an average of 18mg of vitamin D a day were less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration compared with those who took less than 3mg a day.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail published a story where the quality of nursing in Britain is questioned, by nurses. President of the Royal College of Nursing Andrea Spyropoulous is reported as saying that some nurses 'just don't deliver good care'.

Addressing the RCN annual meeting yesterday, Ms Spyropoulous said: "To take back our pride in nursing, we must start by accepting that all is not well. There are pockets of small care and we have to change that.'

Also from the headline-grabbing conference, the Independent reports that nurses could take industrial action for the first time against cuts to NHS services.

The article has a case study of the nurse, Denise McLaughlin, who works with adults who have learning disabilities. The case study says that her workload has increased by 25% over the past year. She said: 'Andrew Lawnsley came to speak to us last year and promised that frontline staff in the NHS would not be affected by the Government's cut backs. But in my experience, that has not been the case.'

Also in The Independent, we have a cheerful story showing that the NHS is dumping an estimated 1,500 tonnes of unused medicines every year at a cost of £370 million to UK tax payers. The newspaper says this is because drugs that leave pharmacies cannot be sent back, even if they are unopened, and patients are sent automatic repeat prescriptions, whether they need the drugs or not.

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

Daily Digest