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NHS workers threaten strike over pay, fast-track drugs boost for patients and pharma, and fast-food living and commuting makes you fat!

Kicking off in The Independent today, the news that healthcare workers are threatening strike action after the health secretary’s errant boot caught them square in the teeth during a swift U-turn on the recommendations of its independent pay review body

Some staff will get the below inflation, 1% pay rise recommended by the pay body, but 600,000 NHS employees  – including 70% of nurses – will get less still and the healthcare union, Unison, has said it will petition it’s 100,000 members about striking. Christina McAnea, Unison’s head of health, said: “This Coalition Government has taken a scalpel to the Pay Body’s report […] It’s a disgrace that 70% of nurses and midwives will not even get a pay rise this year.’

More about how this will affect GPs here.

The Guardian reports that, today, Jeremy Hunt will unveil a ‘fast track’ scheme for severely ill patients to access promising drugs prior to licensing, even if the patients don’t meet the clinical trials criteria.

The health secretary argued this would be a win-win, providing ‘cutting-edge medicines earlier’ but also encouraging pharmaceutical companies to relocate and run trials in Britain. He said the scheme would: ‘Give hope to patients and their families and save lives. And as part of our strategy for life sciences it will create more jobs and opportunities for people, helping secure a better future for our country.’

And finally, researchers call for the Government to limit the number of fast food outlets in an area after revelations that those who live or work near large numbers of takeaways are more likely to be obese, The Telegraph reports.

Researchers found that people exposed to 49 or more takeaway outlets near their home or on their commute ate 40g more fat each week, and those exposed to the highest daily dose of junk were 80% more likely to be obese. Lead author Dr Thomas Burgoine of Cambridge University’s diet and activity research centre said: ‘Taking steps to restrict takeaway outlets in our towns and cities, particularly around workplaces, may be one way of positively influencing our diet and health.’

The research did not go on to discuss the religion of the Pope or the toilet habits of bears.