News

Daily digest May 15 2015

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

Mentally ill patients vanish from hospital after cutbacks

Thousands of seriously mentally ill patients are absconding from care as underfunded trusts struggle to cope.

More than 15,300 mentally ill patients have walked out of hospitals in the past four years, figures released under Freedom of Information laws show, and the true figure is likely to be far higher, as only 26 out of 58 trusts agreed to provide information.

As reported in the Times, between 2011 and 2014 the number absconding rose by 5% and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, which the Care Quality Commission said ‘did not always protect people from known risks to their safety’, had a 90% rise in those absconding from 91 to 173. 

(£) Read more on the Times website

How private health firms receive key VAT incentives to undercut the NHS

Private healthcare companies have been accused of getting unfair tax relief when competing with the NHS to provide treatments such as chemotherapy for patients at home.

NHS trusts are increasingly trying to treat patients in their own homes, rather than making them travel to hospitals, and the service is often provided by private companies working under contract to the NHS, rather than directly by NHS nurses and carers, the Independent has reported.

The government argues that private firms may be able to do this cheaper than the NHS but it has now emerged that the competition appears skewed because, while private firms can recover the 20% VAT they incur on purchasing drugs, the NHS cannot.

Read more on the Independent website

How to add five years to your life: half an hour exercise six days a week

Just 30 minutes of exercise six days a week is enough to cut the risk of an early death, a study shows. 

The ideal is physical activity little and often, with even gardening and housework boosting health, according to the Oslo Study, which tracked vital measurements such as blood pressure and the weekly physical activity of 15,000 men between 1972 and 2000. 

As reported in the Daily Express, Ingar Holme, of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, said: ‘A mortality reduction of 40% was associated with a moderate use of time irrespective of whether the activity was light or vigorous.’

Read more on the Express website

Diabetes and prostate risk from too much testosterone

It may be linked with virility and sex appeal, but a high level of testosterone has a more serious side-effect, research suggests.

An increase in male sex hormone is linked to a raised risk of diabetes and an enlarged prostate gland, the Daily Mail has reported.

Saliva tests on 350 farmers of the remote Tsimane tribe in the Bolivian rainforest – where men generally have much less testosterone – found advanced cases of prostate enlargement were virtually non-existent and they also had relatively low amounts of glucose in their blood, reducing the risk of developing diabetes, according to the findings published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

Read more on the Mail Online website

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.