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New shadow health secretary on the attack, smokers’ woes and the 20-year old embryo

By Laura Passi

Our roundup of health news headlines on Monday 11 October.

The Independent delivers a warning from John Healey, the new shadow health secretary, that the ‘NHS to be privatised by the back door' because of the Government's plans to give GPs control of the NHS budget.

In his first interview since his appointment, he told the newspaper: 'The problem with the reorganisation is not that it gives GPs more influence over the services in their area, but giving GPs a budget of £80bn which is nearly twice as much as the £45bn defence budget. GPs trained as doctors, not managers or accountants.'

The Daily Telegraph reports an agreement by ministers that the ‘Electronic patient record 'must be easier for patients to opt out of' by sending opt out forms with the introductory patient pack. And that the information in the record will be minimal, including ‘basic demographics, allergies and medicines which had been considered the most vital data doctors need in an emergency.'

Greedy hospitals' (vaguely oxymoronic?) to ‘hike car park charges 150%.' These results come from ‘A Sunday Mirror survey shows NHS parking costs across the UK have shot up by as much as 150% since the summer - despite hospitals making £102million last year.'

To make anyone who lived excessively this weekend feel concerned, The Guardian tell us ‘Smokers 'more likely' to binge drink eat badly and face mental illness.' A study by Cardiff University and Ash Wales found that ‘smokers have unhealthier lifestyles than either non-smokers or those who have given up. And they are ‘much more likely than non-cigarette users to drink heavily, have a poor diet and develop mental health problems.'

Some news to make you go ‘awww', just because it involves a baby. The Daily Mail presents a ‘Scientific breakthrough: Healthy baby born from frozen embryo that is TWENTY years old' The embryo in question ‘was created with four others when a couple were having successful IVF treatment In 1990. When one was successfully implanted, they donated the other four for 'adoption' and they were frozen'. Two survived the de-freezing process, one of which became a baby boy, born in May last year. Cute.

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

Daily digest