Friday Five

Junk food ads banned, funding boost for young people’s mental health and the longest covid infection – this week’s Friday 5

Junk food ads to be banned from TV before 9pm

The UK government is to ban TV adverts for high calorie ‘junk food’ shown before 9pm. From the end of 2022, there will also be regulations for online advertising.

After proposals last year for a total ban on junk food advertising, the scaled-back restrictions are an effort to tackle rising rates of obesity in the UK.

Public health minister Jo Churchill said: “We are committed to improving the health of our children and tackling obesity. The content youngsters see can have an impact on the choices they make and habits they form. With children spending more time online, it is vital we act to protect them from unhealthy advertising.”

Read the full story in the BBC.

£40m funding boost for young people’s mental health

NHS England has announced £40m in extra funding for young people’s mental health services.

The funding boost aims to address increasing pressures by supporting specialist units and funding mental health training for staff working specifically with young people.

To tackle recent demand for eating disorder services, the funding will also be used for extra beds in inpatient units as well as improving access to eating disorder crisis and support services in the community.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.

More deaths than births for first time in 40 years

In 2020, more deaths than births were registered in the UK. This last happened in 1976 when previously deaths had not outweighed births since the 1890s.

This is partially explained by a rapid increase in numbers of deaths last year attributable to coronavirus. However, people have also been having fewer children throughout the last few decades, with birth rates falling since 2011.

Read the full story in the BBC.

Number of doctors retiring early triples

Following changes to NHS pensions in 2012, three times as many doctors are retiring early, according to the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The BMA cited tax regulation changes as one of the most significant reasons for doctors taking early retirement. Data indicated that there was a 22% increase in the number of senior doctors opting out of the pension scheme to avoid tax bills.

Vishal Sharma, BMA pensions committee chairman noted: “To make things worse, we know that the strain of working through the pandemic has left doctors exhausted and they continue to battle stress and burnout.”

Read the full story in the Telegraph.


Quote of the week

Dave Smith tested positive for coronavirus during the first wave of 2020. More than 10 months later he was still infected.

The longest active infection of Covid-19 to date, he was eventually given a mixture of antibodies, not currently clinically approved for use in the UK, and finally tested negative for coronavirus.

Here’s what he said:

“I’ll never be 100% because the Covid has destroyed my lungs, so I run out of breath quite quickly. But every day I live now is a bonus. I always say, when you’re lying down in the gutter, all you can see is the stars. I’ve been down to the bottom, and everything’s brilliant now.”

Find out more in the Guardian.