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Women on the pill ‘live longer’, sales reps on maternity wards and the ‘statin’ with no side-effects

By Nigel Praities

Our roundup of the news headlines on Friday 12 March.

The Times covers research published in the British Medical Journal that shows women who take oral contraception can expect to live longer, along with a number of other newspapers.

The RCGP-backed study, involving 46,000 British women over nearly 40 years, showed younger women have a ‘slightly higher risk' of suffering heart attack, stroke or breast and cervical cancers while taking the pill, but this effect is negligible when compared with the wider benefits.

Hospitals have been accused of being given money to allow commercial companies to flog their products to new mothers on maternity wards. The Times reveals hundreds of hospital trusts have contracts that offer private firms access to new mothers in exchange for fees or commission.

‘Sales reps are allowed to talk to women at their bedside, even if they have just given birth or are recovering from surgery' says the report.

The Daily Telegraph reveals that NHS managers are planning to close hospital wards and allow patients to directly email consultants in order to improve patient care and, of course, save cash.

The mad-cap idea has been dreamt up by PCT managers in Birmingham, who are already directing patients with long-term conditions to nurse-manned phone lines to reduce hospital admissions.

Dr Agnelo Fernandes is published in the Telegraph saying that GP federations are key to getting rid of the current postcode lottery of care.

And in a story that smacks of oversell, the Daily Mail says a new statin has been found ‘with no side-effects'. The report comes from a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine looking at the drug eprotirome.

The newspaper claims the drug rapidly lowers cholesterol, but works in a different way to statins and so does not have any of the common side-effects seen with statin treatment.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily Digest 12 March 2010