Friday Five

Cervical screenings, cannabis and Matt Hancock – this week’s Friday Five

Potent cannabis increases risk of serious mental illness, says study

Researchers from King’s College London looked at cannabis use by people in 11 EU towns and cities, including London, as well as one region of Brazil. They found that smoking potent ‘skunk-like’ cannabis increases your risk of serious mental illness, estimating that around one in 10 new cases of psychosis may be associated with strong cannabis.

Experts say people should be aware of the potential risks to health, even though the study is not definitive proof of harm.

Read more from the BBC.

NHS will always have a GP shortage

Without a shake-up of GP services, the NHS will no longer be able to care properly for patients. According to health experts, patients will have to see a pharmacist or physiotherapist, instead of a GP.

This harsh reality comes from the country’s three main health thinktanks, who argued the point in a report published on Thursday.

Read more on the Guardian.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock accused of “astonishing level of ignorance’ after he speaks about his prostate cancer risk

Matt Hancock has faced criticism from experts after claiming a controversial genetic test for cancer could have saved his life.

The health secretary was accused of showing an “astonishing level of ignorance” about the use of such tests, which he said could change the way the NHS works.

Read more in the Independent.

Capita loses cervical screening contract from the NHS

NHS chiefs are bringing the cervical screening service back in-house after expressing dissatisfaction at the way it has been performing.

Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens told MPs:

“That has been in recent years administered as part of the Capita primary care services contract. As you know, we have not been satisfied with the way in which that has been performing.”

“Indeed, as you also know, there was an issue last year that came to light when we were notified late by Capita about delays in letters going out. Therefore, today I’m announcing that we are bringing the cervical screening service back in-house to the NHS from Capita beginning June and then a phased transition through the rest of the year.”

Read more in the Guardian.


Quote of the week

“TB interventions offer one of the best value investments in global health today”

Our quote of the week comes from Professor Anna Vassall from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

This Sunday is World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, which marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB.

Prof Vassall added that, “With relatively modest sums of money we can prevent millions of deaths amongst the poorest and most vulnerable on this planet. Investment is affordable but will require the attention of policy makers, matched with financial co-operation and commitment between high- and middle-income countries. It is hoped that our work in analysing the capacity of countries to finance TB interventions will play a critical role in supporting this effort.”

Yesterday, The Lancet published a report on TB, which highlights that efforts must be focused on providing evidence-based interventions to everyone, and increasing research to develop new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent TB.

Read more from the Lancet.