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Union calls for minimum staffing levels on wards, Manchester the ‘heart disease capital’ and study finds smacking children does no harm if they know they are loved

Unison members have called for minimum staffing levels to protect hospital patients from the impact of the cuts, the BBC reports.

A poll of 1,500 midwives, nurses and healthcare assistants across the UK suggested services were under strain. 60% said they did not have enough time to deliver safe and compassionate care.

The union said the government missed an opportunity to implement minimum staffing levels, a proposal put forward by the public inquiry into the scandal at Stafford Hospital, but that was not agreed to by ministers in their response last month.

The government said hospitals needed ‘freedom and flexibility’ on staffing.

Manchester is famous for its football teams, the Gallaghers and now… heart disease.

Residents are three times more likely to die in the ‘heart disease capital’ than those in London, the Daily Mail reports.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has found that people who live in the Tameside borough in Greater Manchester area are more likely to die from coronary heart disease than anywhere else in the UK.

Every year in Tameside, there are 132 deaths per every 100,000 people, while in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea the figure stands at just 39 per 100,000, a BHF spokesperson said.

Ballymoney in Northern Ireland and Glasgow have the second and third highest death rates respectively.

Professor Peter Weissberg, the BHF’s medical director, said: ‘These latest figures expose staggering inequalities in deaths from heart disease across the UK. 

‘But it’s unacceptable that people continue to die from heart attacks, regardless of their postcode.

‘Coronary heart disease is not beaten yet - it remains the single biggest killer in the UK.’

Over at the Telegraph, a study found that smacking children does them no harm as long as they feel loved.

Researchers found the painful effects of harsh discipline, such as verbal threats or spanking, are offset by the child’s feeling of being loved.

The study of teenagers, published in the journal Parenting: Science and Practice, found being punished is unlikely to result in antisocial behaviour further down the line, as long as the child believes their punishment is coming from ‘a good place’.

But parenting groups and charities have reacted angrily to the findings, maintaining that a child can suffer long term damage from physical discipline.

A spokesperson for the NSPCC, who have campaigned for the practice to be illegal, said: ‘Smacking is not an effective form of punishment and undermines the trusting relationship between a child and their carer.’

They added: ‘It just teaches children to be violent. Young people tell us smacking leaves them feeling upset but often doesn’t deter them from doing what they were smacked for. We want to help parents use other more constructive methods to teach their children the difference between right and wrong.’