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Pulse’s NHS Direct exclusive goes national, white coats are back in fashion in the NHS and why time travel might improve your health

By Christian Duffin

Our roundup of health news headlines on Thursday 10 February.

Pulse’s exclusive story that some patients will have to book GP appointments via the 111 NHS Direct number has been followed up by national newspapers. The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Guardian and others have all described a pilot scheme for appointment booking to be tested by 20 practices in Surrey. Some doctors believe the new system will speed up booking procedures, while others argue that patients will find it frustrating and impersonal. Unison is concerned about job losses among receptionists.

The Daily Telegraph quotes Dr Joe Gilligan, a GP in Surrey, who backs the pilot scheme: ‘People complain about telephone services in GP surgeries all the time. We only have a fixed number of lines.’

Scientists have unlocked the genetic secrets of prostate cancer, which could allow patients to have their own ‘mutation charts‘ and determine the best drugs to treat them, the Daily Mail reports. Researchers at Harvard Medical School in the United States decoded the entire DNA of cancerous prostate tumours in seven patients.

Doctors’ white coats, ‘banned in the battle against superbugs‘ says the Daily Mail, are to make a comeback after research showed they are not a contamination risk.

The Guardian reports advance extracts from a speech by deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, in which he promises to end Labour’s ‘rigged market’ in the NHS, and that he will not allow the health market to be ‘skewed’ in favour of the private sector. The extracts are from a speech to the Guardian public services summit in St Albans.

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has promised to ‘move time‘ to improve the health of the nation, reports The Independent. Clocks will go forward to summer time as normal in spring but not change back to winter time in the autumn. This will reduce stress and illness, Mr Medvedev claims. ‘It’s irritating. People either oversleep or wake up early and don’t know what to do with the hour.’

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

Daily digest