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Friday 5: the top news stories of the week

This week, a blood test to diagnose cancer, the new Minister for Loneliness and the flu continue dominated the news.

DNA Blood test could diagnose early stage cancer

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in the USA have had successful trials for a new blood test which can detect cancer. The trials have so far only been on patients known to have cancer, and in samples from 1,005 patients, the test detected between 33-98% of disease. This test is a breakthrough in five key cancers that currently have no screening tests: ovarian; liver; stomach; pancreatic; and oesophageal cancers, of which 69-98% were detected.

Read more on The Guardian

Theresa May appoints Minister for Loneliness

Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport and Civil Society has been given responsibility for loneliness, building on the work of Jo Cox. The government has accepted recommendations from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, who’s research shows that more than 9 million people always or often feel lonely; more than 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month; and up to 85% of young disabled adults (18-34) feel lonely.


Britain’s flu season worsens

Britain is in the midst of the worst flu season since swine flu, with thousands more cases diagnosed last week. GP visits increased by 42%, hospital visits went up by 11% and 17 people died, bringing the confirmed death toll to 120. Public Health England’s medical director declared “this is the most significant flu season since the winter of 2010-11”.

Read more on The Times (£)

National Audit Office says NHS bail-outs could become “new normal”

The NAO has said that repeated bail-outs of the NHS could become “new normal”, after extra funds intended for transformation were used to shore up finances. The injection from the Sustainability and Transformation Fund has helped the NHS improve its finances from £1.488m deficit in 2015-16 to £111m surplus in 2016-17.

Read more on BBC

David Behan steps down as CQC chief executive

Sir David Behan has announced he will step down as chief executive of the CQC in summer. Sir David has worked at the CQC since 2012, and in healthcare for 40 years. Recruitment for a successor is to begin imminently.

Read more on HSJ (£).

Quote of the week – Jen Sinconis on going bankrupt by giving birth in America to premature twins:

“Being a parent to a sick child is incredibly tough. It stresses the limits of marriage and friendships and personal strength. It’s heartbreaking that some parents will have to deal with critically ill children, but no parent should have to worry that they cannot afford the medical care to keep their child alive and help them thrive.”

Read more in The Guardian

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