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NHS deaths, funding plans, medical cannabis, and video gaming addiction- this week’s Friday 5

Incorrect prescribing of painkillers shortened the lives of more than 450

A “disregard for human life” at Gosport War Memorial Hospital led to the shortening of 456 lives an independent panel has found. The ‘institutionalised regime’ of prescribing dangerous and clinically unjustified amounts of medication was blamed for the deaths, which occurred between 1989 and 2000. Another 200 patients may have suffered a similar fate the panel said, taking into account missing records. The Prime Minister has called the events ‘deeply troubling’, whilst Jeremy Hunt has announced that the Crown Prosecution Service would be examining the report for evidence in considering “whether criminal charges should now be brought”.

Read more on BBC News.


Uncertainty around the Government’s spending plans for the NHS

Since announcing her plans to increase NHS spending by £20bn earlier this week, the Prime Minister has continued to face calls to explain in greater detail where the funds will be coming from. As part of this, the Institute for Government has said that the Government has not been “entirely straight” with the public, styling the ‘Brexit dividend’ as “purely illusory”. The think tank also called for an independent body, such as the Office of Budget Responsibility, to be able to scrutinise government spending plans to ensure better delivery of services.

Read more at The Huffington Post.


Government announces a review into the use of medicinal cannabis

Following the high-profile coverage of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell’s fight to use cannabis oil to ease the effects of his epilepsy, the Home Secretary has announced a review into the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. In announcing the review, Javid stated that ‘it’s not satisfactory for the parents, it’s not satisfactory for the doctors, and it’s not satisfactory for me. I have now come to the conclusion that it is time to review the scheduling of cannabis’. The Home Secretary, however, was quick to reaffirm that the review would in no way lead to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.

Read more at The Guardian.


Addiction to video gaming classified as a mental health condition

In the eleventh edition of its International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organisation has defined ‘gaming disorder’ as a new mental health condition.  Dr Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, the body which recommended the diagnosis, said that the announcement followed, ‘the trends, the development, which have taken place in populations and in the professional field’. However, some experts have disagreed with the classification, calling it ‘a little premature to label this as a diagnosis’.

Read more on CNN Health.


A ‘clear link’ between financial issues and health

A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that those with disabilities, long-term illnesses, and mental health problems are more than likely to have financial problems than those without any such conditions. The IFS notes that ‘four in ten people aged 25 to 54 with a mental health problem have an income which is less than 60% of the average’, compared to 18% of ‘healthy’ people in the same age bracket. The findings came as StepChange, a not-for-profit debt advice organisation, released its own research showing that one-in-five people who they had helped had an ‘additional vulnerability’ as well as their financial difficulties.

Read more at The Huffington Post.


Quote of the week-

Our quote of the week is from Mark Haddon on being thankful for the NHS and why we should be more positive, indeed proud, about how it is financed:

“I love the NHS because we pay for it with our taxes, and because the care we receive is the same whether we’ve paid a million pounds or nothing. If we want to save the NHS, we need to celebrate tax. We need to think of it not as money the government steals from us, but as our contribution to a safe and just and healthy society.”

Read more on The Guardian.

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