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Patients discharged in the night to free up hospital beds, and can alcohol help with brain teasers?

The latest hospital scandal to feature in the lay press comes courtesy of a freedom of information request by the Times (firewall), which has shown that thousands of patients are being sent home from NHS hospitals in the middle of the night to free up beds. The BBC reports:  ‘100 NHS trusts sent 239,233 patients home last year between 23:00 and 06:00.’ The findings were described as ‘concerning’ by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh. He said: ‘Patients should only be discharged when it’s clinically appropriate, safe and convenient for them and their families.’

‘Alcohol sharpens the mind’ is the bold claim in today’s Telegraph. Psychologists at the University of Illinois have discovered that men who drink two pints of beer are more able to tackle brain teasers than those who are sober. The report’s author was quick to point out that this rule only stood for those who were ‘slightly merry’ – so getting plastered before a day at the office is not advised.

The Daily Mail reports that the number of toddlers with ‘flat head syndrome’ is on the rise. The paper says that children being spotted in plastic foam helmets will soon be the norm, rather than an occasional sight.

The paper says: ‘The rise of Flat Head Syndrome has already been directly linked to the campaign for children to sleep on their backs rather than their fronts. Although this has dramatically reduced the incidence of cot death, it has also meant that babies spend much more time face up than they did a generation ago — putting more pressure on their developing skulls.’