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Nursing cuts, silent epidemic of post-natal depression and a new fat tax

Our round-up of the health news headlines on Monday 3 October.

One in twenty nurses expects to lose their job in the next year, the Guardian reports, while a similar proportion expects to have their hours cut back.

The findings, extrapolated from an Royal College of Nursing poll of 8,000 members, have prompted renewed claims that the coalition is not honouring its promise to protect the NHS frontline from cuts.

Dr Peter Carter, the RCN's chief executive and general secretary, told the paper: ‘All these short-term measures are likely to leave patients with longer waiting times, poor care and a worse NHS. It is absolutely critical that trusts make sure they have the right numbers and balance of staff to deal with this.'

New research on post-natal depression seems to have uncovered tens of thousands of ‘silent' victims. Both the Guardian and Telegraph report that, of the 2,000 mothers surveyed by the charity 4Children, 49% who suffered PND did not seek professional help. First-time mothers were less likely to ask for help than those who had already had a child.

Almost a third of women in the survey who had the condition did not realise their symptoms were postnatal depression, and 60% did not believe at the time that their symptoms were serious enough to warrant treatment. Some 70% of sufferers were prescribed antidepressants by their GP, while 41% had access to a talking therapy.

Lastly, something is rotten in the state of Denmark. The home of delicious breakfast pastries has imposed a ‘fat tax' on foods that are high in saturated fat such as butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed food.

It follows in the footsteps of Hungary, who imposed a ‘hamburger tax' on soft drinks, pastries, salty snacks and food flavourings in September. The outgoing conservative Danish government planned the tax as part of a goal to increase the average life expectancy of its countrymen, but some would argue that a life without saturated fat is not one that's worth extending. Have your say below.