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Friday 5: top health stories of the week

Our first Friday five of 2018 sees the NHS in chaos, Waitrose banning energy drinks for under 16s and artificial intelligence with the capacity to save thousands of lives dominate the news.

NHS Cancels non-urgent surgery amid winter pressures crisis

The Health Secretary has defended the decision to postpone all non-urgent NHS surgery, which was announced this week. The decision was made in response to the growing pressures on hospitals, that have seen 16,900 patients kept in ambulances waiting for hospital care over the Christmas week in England. The announcement has been criticised as a ‘short-term fix’ which will not address the wider pressures on the NHS.

Read more on The Guardian

Patients accused of wasting £1 billion of public money

Patients have hit back this week at accusations that they are wasting £1 billion of public money by missing hospital appointments. Instead, they argue that hospitals are sending them appointment times by post which are either inconvenient or arrive too late. This comes after the Chief Nursing Officer, Jane Cummings, called for the public to be more responsible about wasting time and resources as the NHS is “under pressure as never before”.

Read more on The Times (£).

AI systems diagnose heart disease and lunch cancer more accurately than doctors

A team of researchers from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford have developed Ultromics, an AI diagnostics system that can diagnose heart disease more accurately than doctors. Whilst, Optellum, has is working on commercialising an AI system that diagnoses lung cancer. These systems could provide earlier diagnoses saving lives, and could save the NHS millions of pounds.

Read more on the Futurism.

Waitrose ban sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to under-16s

The supermarket has announced that they will be asking for ID when selling drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre. The company have stated that they are choosing to sell the drinks in line with the labelling guidance, which recommends that they are not consumed by children. The drinks have been “deemed safe” by the British Soft Drinks Association however have said that they are not marketed or promoted to under 16s.

Read more on BBC.

NHS must offer transgender men egg storage says British Fertility Society

New guidance published yesterday from the British Fertility Society sets out that women transitioning to be men must be offered egg storage on the NHS because they have the right to become parents. Experts called for ‘equity’ for members of the transgender community to freeze eggs, embryos or ovarian tissues. The NHS fertility services have yet to catch up with the rise in patient numbers.

Read more on The Telegraph.

Quote of the week – Kailash Chand on the future of the NHS:

“Our NHS needs a new model of healthcare. It needs proper transparency and accountability. If politicians are to remain involved at the heart of the NHS, then it should be to ensure it gets the funding it needs, not to ready it for an insurance-based system.”

Read more in The Guardian

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