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Surge in hoax 999 calls, GPs forced to postpone flu vaccines, and Cameron faces backlash against NHS cuts

Another day another hoax 999 call.  According to an article in today’s Guardian there has been asurge in the number of ludicrous or hoax 999 calls which it says is causing a genuine emergency, putting enormous pressure on overstretched staff following budget cuts.

Cleveland police alone report a 35 per cent increase in the year to July 2012, and Devon and Cornwall reports that peak-time calls were up by 40 per cent last month.

In the East Midlands, for example, a man rang to ask for help with a pigeon suffering from breathing difficulties and other cases among the 1,800 hoax or inappropriate calls last year included the caller who said he hadn’t slept for two days, the man bleeding because he had squeezed a spot, and the incompetent person wanting help to change a battery in a remote control.

Elsewhere the Independent says GP surgeries across the country are having to postpone flu jabs for patients because of a shortage of the vaccine.

Crucell, the global pharmaceutical company based in the Netherlands, said it had stopped all supplies because of ‘an unexpected test result’.

The Department of Health said: ‘We are aware of some unexpected delays to one supplier’s deliveries of the flu vaccine and advise GP practices to contact alternative suppliers if they are having problems.’

The Daily Telegraph writes that David Cameron faces a growing backlash against NHS cuts and the closure of A&E departments as it emerges that specialist dementia, mental health and geriatric wards are also under threat.

More than 140 senior doctors attacked the policy in an open letter to Mr Cameron this weekend, claiming that the spate of A&E closures would put the lives of vulnerable people at risk.

Finally the BBC reports on a call by the National Cancer Intelligence Network for GPs to speed up referrals for X-rays in patients suspected of having bone cancer. The network says survival rates for the cancer have remained unchanged for 25 years.