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New evidence of NHS cuts, child heart surgery shake-up and why vascular screening ‘may waste resources’

Our roundup of the news headlines on Monday 26 April.

In what we suspect is going to become a depressingly regular feature for Daily Digests over the coming months, we start the week with a round of stories on NHS job cuts.

The Telegraph is one of several papers to report a survey from the Royal College of Nursing suggesting that at least 5,600 jobs are at risk across 26 trusts as part of the health service's drive to make up to £20 billion of efficiency savings.

It comes, as the Telegraph points out, just a few days after Pulse's poll of GPs ‘suggested cuts to frontline NHS services were already happening'. And while one swallow may not make a summer of cutbacks, for Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb at least, the signs are compelling.

‘There is now overwhelming evidence that significant cuts to NHS staff and services are underway,' he said.

The Telegraph and BBC cover a report into children's heart surgery units by the NHS National Specialised Commissioning Group.

The review, launched in 2008 by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, calls for several of England's 11 paediatric heart units to be amalgamated in a bid to improve patient safety and care.

The BBC covers research published in the BMJ yet again questioning the value of the Government's vascular screening programme.

Researchers at Cambridge University concluded the scheme, expected to cost about £250 million, may be a waste of resources, and argue that targeting only higher-risk patients rather than everyone aged between 40 and 74 would be more cost-effective.

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

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