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Overworked surgeons, sleep deprived patients and how to whaff a lemon tart



By Alisdair Stirling

Our roundup of health news headlines on Thursday 27 January.

The Guardian reports that surgeons are facing increasing workloads and long hours. Join the club, I hear you say. A report from the Royal College of Surgeons says almost three-quarters work significantly longer than the 48-hour European working time limit. And seven out of 10 surgeons say they are expected to undertake elective operations when they are supposed to be on call for emergencies.

John Black, the college´s president said: ‘It is a matter of concern that so many surgeons are being expected to undertake elective operations while on call. Other studies have shown this leads to delays in them getting to emergencies as they cannot be in two places at once.’ Sound familiar?

More worryingly, nearly a third of the population are suffering from insomnia which is affecting their health, according to the Mirror. A survey of the nation’s sleeping habits has found that 30% are severely sleep deprived, putting them more at risk from serious mental health and relationship issues.

The Mental Health Foundation says that job and money worries keep us awake. And experts now want GPs to promote sleep therapies. It says here. Hmm… Taking these two studies together you´d expect about half of overworked surgeons to suffer from insomnia…

It´s a light news day health-wise. Could that be why a mere soufflé of a story made it into the Daily Mail? Whaffing is the latest food fad which involves breathing food-flavoured air instead of actually eating it. Unsurprisingly, each breath or whaff contains hardly any calories so you can have as much as you like without gaining weight. Stick a straw into what looks like a cloud of smoke emerging from a goldfish bowl and tuck in to your hearts content. Demonstration flavours include lemon tart and you can even whaff alcohol. Perhaps GPs should prescribe it – in moderation – for sleep-deprived surgeons…

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

Daily digest