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Rotavirus campaign begins, patients left in ambulances and the secret lurking in pies and pasties

The rotavirus vaccine makes the top health story on BBC News this morning, as parents are informed of the extra vaccination to be offered to babies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from today.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhoea in children under five and nearly every child gets the condition, but now experts hope the oral vaccine given to babies and two and three months old will halve the number of cases, says the BBC. The bug is responsible for 130,000 GP visits a year.

Meanwhile the Daily Mail has investigated the number of patients kept waiting in ambulances outside A&E departments, concluding that there is a lack of beds in A&E. A Freedom of Information Act request to eight of England’s 10 ambulance trusts showed that 3,424 patients were waiting for at least two hours in an ambulance last year, compared with 2,061 the year before, 96 of whom waited four hours or more.

Potentially further inciting the row over out-of-hours care, the article says senior doctors have described A&Es as ‘war zones’ becoming ‘increasingly overwhelmed with patients let down by GP out-of-hours services and the frail elderly’.

Meanwhile, over the weekend the Sunday Times reported reported on an investigaton revealing that people in the UK could be munching away on pies and pasties containing bovine tuberculosis. The paper said tens of thousands of cattle slaughtered after testing positive are being sold for human consumption by the Department for Environment, Food and rural affairs and the food and farming ministry.

The raw meat is banned by most supermarkets and burger chains but is being sold to caterers and food processors finding its way into schools, hospitals and the military or processed into products such and pies and pasties, as well as pet food, the newspaper claims. But Defra, which made £10m from the sales, said the risk of infection from eating the meat was ‘extremely low’.