Daily digest July 3 2015

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

Gene therapy hope for people affected by cystic fibrosis

A breakthrough treatment for cystic fibrosis has offered hope for thousands of patients.

Cystic fibrosis affects 10,000 people in the UK. There is no cure and many will not survive beyond the age of 40.

The findings from a UK study show that a treatment for cystic fibrosis that repairs faulty genes significantly improved the working of patients’ lungs and prevented them succumbing to chest infections.

A team of scientists from Oxford University and Imperial College London has developed a treatment which works by repairing this faulty gene by adding a healthy gene on top to correct it.

Read more on the Mail Online website

NHS providers set to fall £2 billion into the red, warns think tank

The NHS needs another funding boost this year or patient care could suffer, health experts have warned.

Researchers from The King’s Fund found that an unprecedented nine out of ten hospitals in England are predicting an end-of-year deficit, with estimates suggesting that NHS providers could go £2 billion into the red.

The stark warning from the respected think tank, which comes ahead of next week’s budget, also undermines some of the government’s flagship NHS pledges. The Kings Fund briefing states that an £8 billion funding increase for the NHS in England by 2020 (announced before the election) is a bare minimum and cannot pay for David Cameron’s promise of seven-day working across the NHS. 

Read more on the Independent website

Pregnancy tests via smartphone

Women could soon be able to use their smartphone as a mobile pregnancy testing kit.

Smartphones may also be able to monitor diabetes thanks to a sensor that can measure body fluids such as blood, urine, saliva, sweat and breath.

The sensor uses an optical phenomenon known as surface plasmon resonance (SPR), which occurs when light causes electrons on the surface of a thin film to jostle. This detects the composition of a liquid or the presence of particular biomolecules or trace gases.

Kort Bremer of the University of Hanover in Germany, said: 'We have the potential to develop small and robust lab-on-a-chip devices for smartphones. So surface plasmon resonance sensors could become ubiquitous now.'

Read more on the Mirror website

Millions unable to get GP appointment

Millions of people could not get an appointment to see or speak to a GP or nurse the last time they tried, according to a national survey.

More than one in ten people polled by NHS England for its GP patient survey, published yesterday, said they had failed to book an appointment when they contacted their surgery.

Of those who were offered an appointment, almost one fifth had to wait a week or more to be seen, the research found. The percentage of patients waiting more than a week – 18% – was up from 16% in 2013, suggesting that millions more patients are struggling to find appointments.

One quarter of the 850,000 people polled by the NHS also said they were unhappy with their GP’s opening hours.

The figures added fuel to the fire in the row over seven-day GP access. The Department of Health says: 'Patients want to be able to see a doctor in the evenings and at weekends.'

(£) Read more on the Times website

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