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Private GP OOH services ‘worse than NHS’ and NHS managers struggling to save money should consider home births

Pulse´s story revealing that private companies providing GP out of hours services are "worse than NHS" is highlighted in this morning´s Daily Telegraph.

Private services are more expensive and perform poorly when compared with NHS and co-operative style services which are provided as not for profit services by GPs, an analysis by the Primary Care Foundation showed.

The analysis looked at five indicators across 81 out-of-hours services, 32 provided by not-for-profit organisations, 27 in house by the NHS and 22 by private firms – 12 by Harmoni.

Private providers were paid an average of £8.11 per head compared with £7.39 for not-for-profit organisations and £9.10 for NHS providers.

But just 59.5 per cent of private services were rated good or very good by patients, compared with 65 per cent for not-for-profit services and 64.7 per cent for the NHS.

The Telegraph also reports that the NHS could save millions of pounds by encouraging women to give birth to their second or third child at home.

The paper features a study published online in the BMJ which found that home births were around £300 cheaper to provide than hospital deliveries for women at low risk of complications.

The research which examined the outcomes of 64,000 births between 2008 and 2010 in various settings in England was a follow-up analysis from an earlier study on the safety of giving birth at home, in a stand-alone midwifery unit, a hospital unit staffed by midwives or in a full hospital maternity unit with on-site obstetricians.

For first time mothers, even those assessed as at low risk of complications, there were more problems for the baby if they gave birth at home compared with a delivery in an hospital with obstetricians, the study found.

But women having their second or third babies, who were classed as low risk, were just as safe at home or in a midwife-only unit as they were in a hospital unit with specialist obstetricians.

NHS managers struggling to save money should consider promoting home births as part of any changes to maternity services, it was concluded.

The Daily Mail reports on a study that sheds new light on how aspirin may protect against cancer.

The paper says researchers from Canada, Scotland and Australia have now focused on salicylate - a compound that aspirin breaks down into after it's ingested.

According to the Mail, study co-author Professor Grahame Hardie from the University of Dundee, applied salicylate to cultured human kidney cells. He found this ingredient activated an enzyme called AMPK which is involved in how the body breaks down fat and plays a role in cancer and diabetes suggesting it is salicylate and not aspirin itself that switches on the key cancer-preventing enzyme.

This paves the way for new drugs that give cancer protection but without the dangerous side-effects of aspirin, such as the increased risk of stomach bleeding, the paper says.