Daily digest March 19 2015

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

Tories have secret plan to cut the NHS, claims Ed Miliband

The Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the Tories of a 'secret plan' to slash the NHS as part of their 'colossal cuts' announced yesterday, despite George Osborne softening his austerity plan.

After a budget aimed at destroying Labour’s line of attack that the Tories wanted to return to 1930s levels of spending, both Mr Miliband and Ed Balls signalled that attacking Conservative cuts and protecting the NHS would continue to be at the centre of their election campaign, as reported in the Times.

It risks provoking fresh concerns that Labour will rely on a defence of the NHS to secure victory on May 7. Senior Blairites have already warned that such a campaign would risk repeating Neil Kinnock's failed bid for power in 1992.

(£) Read more on the Times website: click here

Pollution cloud over UK triggers health warnings

Britain has been placed on a health alert because of a potentially dangerous cloud of air pollution blowing over the country. Experts said the smog could cause fatal asthma attacks and have warned  older people and those with health problems to be cautious, the Guardian has reported.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said air pollution was blowing in from Europe and mixing with home-grown smog to create the problem. Officials have warned that this could trigger health difficulties for those with respiratory illnesses and older people, although it does not pose a health threat for the general population.

Read more on the Guardian website: click here

Patients in Wales urged to buy their own medicine

Patients in the Welsh NHS are being told not to use their free prescriptions – because of Labour's 'funding cuts'.

Hundreds of thousands of people who live in north Wales were urged by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board not to ask their GP to prescribe a range of medicines for minor complaints, such as painkillers, laxatives and hay fever treatments, as reported in the Daily Mail.

Instead, patients are encouraged to 'self-care' and 'purchase some of the simple and inexpensive products over the counter for the treatment of minor ailments'.

Read more on the Daily Mail website: click here

Morbidly obese should be given free flu jab, NHS is told

Nearly one million morbidly obese people should be given the free flu jab because they are so unfit they have a greater chance of picking up the disease, health advisors have said.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI ), which advises Public Health England, said morbid obesity should now be considered a serious risk factor, the Telegraph has reported.

The move to include nearly one million extra people in the annual vaccination programme could put severe financial and staffing pressures on the NHS and doctor’s surgeries. In 2012, doctors ran out of the jab because of demand from the ‘worried well'.

Read more on the Daily Telegraph website: click here


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