Friday Five

£3bn sugar and salt tax proposals, NHS app reform and ‘triple whammy’ surge in winter viruses – this week’s Friday Five

National Food Strategy calls for £3bn tax on sugar and salt

In efforts to tackle obesity and other food-related illness, The National Food Strategy has called for the government to levy a £3bn sugar and salt tax and for GPs to start prescribing fruit and vegetables.

The review claims the UK’s addiction to junk food places an unsustainable burden on the NHS and contributes to 64,000 deaths each year. It has been criticised, however, for being a regressive policy that would hit the poorest communities hardest.

Mr Dimbleby, co-founder of the fast-food chain Leon, commented: “Our high obesity rate has been a major factor in the UK’s tragically high death rate,… we must now seize the moment to build a better food system for our children and grandchildren”

Read the full story in the BBC.

Reluctance to bother doctors blamed for cancer deaths

MPs this week were informed by experts that the UK’s cancer survival rate is linked to UK patients’ reluctance to bother GPs and subsequent delayed diagnosis. The UK’s cancer survival rates are about 10-15 years behind comparable countries.

The NHS has announced a £20 million push to speed up cancer diagnosis. Now, 55% of cancer cases are diagnosed at stage one or two, but the NHS cancer leaders have set out a target to diagnose 75% of cancers at these early stages by 2028.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, former national cancer director, commented: ‘people in this country were much more worried about worrying their doctor or wasting the doctor’s time than they were in other countries… I remember we presented this to the other countries and they just raised their eyebrows at that and said, ‘Isn’t that what it’s all about?’”

Read the full story in The Times.

Medics fear a ‘triple whammy’ of surge in winter viruses alongside Covid

A report by leading medics has warned about a surge in flu and other respiratory viruses which could put pressure on the NHS this year.

Last winter, due to lockdown, the UK population wasn’t exposed to any of the usual seasonal viruses but as restrictions lift and society opens up, they are expected to make a comeback.

Professor Azra Ghani, from Imperial College London said “Compared to a normal flu year, we could see somewhere in the region of an epidemic that is one and a half to two times that normal year. In a normal year, according to the estimates from Public Health England, there’s between 10,000 and 30,000 deaths from flu. So this again could present a substantial impact on the NHS as we head into winter.”

Read the full story in The Independent.

20% of people have deleted the NHS Test and Trace app 

A new poll has suggested that one in five people have deleted the NHS Test and Trace app. As ‘Freedom Day’ approaches, the NHS Test and Trace app could either become a key weapon in the Covid battle or be ditched entirely.

The poll suggested that it was young people who were giving up on the app in greater numbers – a third of 18-34-year-old users said they have already deleted it.  Ministers have suggested this is due to the app sending out too many “pings” and some reform to the technology is being discussed.

The Department of Health released a statement which said: “The app is, and has always been, advisory… In the context of rising cases, it is vital people are aware of their personal risk so they can make informed decisions on their behaviour to protect those around them.”

Read the full story in the BBC.


Quote of the week

In April 2020, Claudia-Rose Moor, 23, was critically injured in a car crash and sadly died a few days later. Despite the pandemic affecting the number of organ transplants, Miss Moor gifted her heart, liver, and kidney.

Her mother, Nichola Moor, said:

“She would give anyone anything, she was so generous, and her lasting legacy is giving life to three other people… She treated strangers as friends and that’s what’s so poignant about her being a donor… we are so incredibly proud”

Find out more from the BBC.