Daily digest 19 June 2015

Missed the news? Read our summary of the latest health stories here

GPs offered cash to move to least popular parts of the country

GPs will be promised extra money in an attempt to tackle a critical shortage of family doctors.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will today announce a national plan to recruit 5,000 more GPs, as well as practice and district nurses, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

British GPs are already the best paid in the industrialised world, with average earnings of more than £100,000. But one in 10 posts is empty, with family doctors saying they are ‘burning out’, with too many patients to treat.

Read more on the Telegraph website

Call for 'sugar tax' to curb childhood obesity crisis

A Tory health boss wants primary schools to weigh pupils regularly and tell parents if their kids are fat in a bid to tackle obesity, the Sun has reported. 

Chair of the Commons health select committee Sarah Wollaston also called for taxes on sugary drinks and she demanded a crackdown on cheap treats in supermarkets. 

The GP warned overweight children are ‘heading for an early grave’ and she told the newspaper it was ‘not unreasonable’ to expect pupils to be weighed a number of times throughout primary education rather than just at the start and end. 

(£) Read more on the Sun website

97% of drug trials back firm that paid for them

Patient safety may be put at risk by industry-sponsored medical trials that back the sponsor’s drug 97% of the time and are ‘marketing tools’ rather than scientific investigations, scientists have claimed.

As reported in the Times, researchers have found that head-to-head trials, in which one drug is tested against another for efficacy, are in the main paid for by the drugs companies and ‘systematically yield favourable results for the sponsors’.

John Ioannidis from Stanford University, who looked at 319 trials involving nearly 240,000 people for the study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, said that this was extremely worrying as these trials were often the ones used when deciding which treatments to prescribe. 

(£) Read more on the Times website

US scientists claim to have developed new chlamydia vaccine 

Researchers in the United States say they have developed a vaccine that can protect against chlamydia – the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world.

There have been no trials of a chlamydia vaccine since the 1960s, when a failed attempt led to some people actually becoming more vulnerable to infection, the Independent has reported.

However, experts at Harvard Medical School believe they have now worked out why the old vaccine did not work and have overcome the problem, to produce a vaccine that, in mice, could generate the immune cells needed to protect against infection.

Read more on the Independent website

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