This site is intended for health professionals only

PM’s five NHS pledges, new cancer drugs unveiled, and the latest stress-busting fruit

By Ellie Broughton

Our round-up of the health headlines on Monday 6 June.

Prime minister David Cameron will put his reputation on the line with five new NHS pledges to be announced tomorrow, the Telegraph reports today. The PM will promise to keep waiting lists low, maintain spending, not to privatise the NHS, to keep care integrated and to remain committed to the 'national' part of the health service.

His 'five guarantees' are designed to show the Government is committed to the NHS, and 'he is hearing what is being said', according to one source. Mr Cameron's promise on integrated care is designed to ensure patients receive continuity of treatment, without having to explain their condition from scratch each time to different doctors.

Two new drugs to treat skin cancer have been unveiled at a conference in Chicago, reports the Daily Mail. Trials show the drugs ipilimumab and vemurafenib both prolong survival, with the best results suggesting that the number of patients alive three years after diagnosis could be almost twice the level in those receiving standard treatment. Findings from trials on both drugs were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago yesterday.

Dr James Larkin, consultant medical oncologist at London's Royal Marsden Hospital, who worked on trials of both drugs, said there had been no improvement in melanoma treatment since the 1970s. 'It's unprecedented and very exciting that, after all these years without any developments for patients with advanced melanoma, we have two new treatments offering dramatic benefits in terms of prolonging their lives.'

Lastly, the broadsheets are all over the suggestion that pomegranate juice reduces stress levels. The study found that having the drink every day resulted in lower stress hormones and a reduction in blood pressure.

Researchers at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh studied the physiological effect of daily consumption of 500ml of pomegranate juice over a two-week period and they found 60 volunteers reported being more enthusiastic and less distressed after having the drink. The Independent and the Telegraph both report the results of a study – nice to see quality health journalism is still alive and well…

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

Daily Digest