Have you kept up to date with the health news this week? New waiting time figures have been published by the NHS, which also warns about the general health of the nation’s adults. And Sport England has surveyed children to find out how active they are.
NHS GP waiting times published
The NHS has published monthly waiting times for people visiting GP surgeries for the first time. The figures, which were collected from 6,354 surgeries around the country, show that in October 2018 one in five people had to wait 15 days or more to see their doctor. One in 20 (over one million people) had to wait for more than 28 days.
The Guardian’s article states that “the government pledged in 2015 to increase the number of GPs in England by 5,000 by 2020. But numbers have actually fallen by 1,000 since then.”
The Guardian has the story.
talkhealth has a growing collection of free support programmes to help people improve their physical and mental health and boost their confidence. You can ask questions to experts in our monthly online clinics and Ask the Experts, and anyone can share their experiences and discuss health conditions on the forums.
NHS Digital warns of unhealthy lifestyles
More than half of all adults in England are so unhealthy they’re risking their lives, according to a new BBC article, which summarises a survey from NHS Digital. The organisation surveyed 8,000 adults and 2,000 children about their lifestyles.
It found that almost 90% of adults in Britain have one of the unhealthy traits of smoking, drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week, eating fewer than five portions of fruit and vegetables, obesity or having low rates of physical activity. Around a third of men (33%) and a third of women (31%) have two of these traits but, overall, around 50% have two or more of them.
Read the full story on the BBC website.
Sport England surveys activity levels in children
The BBC extended its continuing message about the dangers of inactivity and being overweight to children in another article this week. This time, it underlined the findings of a survey into child inactivity from Sport England.
The government recommends that children are physically active for one hour per day. However, the sports body, in its survey of 130,000 five to 16-year-olds, found that one in three are only active for 30 minutes per day. On average, boys are more active than girls, and children generally get less exercise once they reach their teenage years. Children from poorer families were also found to get less exercise than those from wealthier ones.
“Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity,” said Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive at Sport England, in the article. “This research is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a big wake-up call for all of us.”
Visit the BBC to find out more.
Breakthrough for 100,000 Genomes Project
The 100,000 Genomes Project, led by scientists in Cambridge, has completed the world’s largest gene sequencing project in healthcare, according to news on the BBC this week. Before now, it could take years for parents of children with rare genetic conditions to find out the cause of their problem. During this ground-breaking project, a quarter of participants with rare diseases received a diagnosis for the first time.
All of the sequencing was carried out by the Wellcome Sanger Institute, near Cambridge, and overseen by Genomics England – itself established in 2013 to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project.
“The sequencing of 100,000 whole genomes marks an extraordinary UK achievement that is transforming the application of genomics in our NHS,” said Professor Mark Caulfield, chief scientist at Genomics England.
It took 13 years to sequence the first human genome, in 2003, for a staggering £2 billion. The costs have since shrunk significantly: a genome’s worth of DNA can now be sequenced in only 30 minutes, for just £600.
Learn more on the Guardian website.
News from talkhealth
Did you know you can see the full schedule for our online clinics and Ask the Expert sessions for 2019 on our website? Just visit talkhealth online clinics and scroll down. On the left, in blue, you’ll see the list of online clinics, which start in February. On the right, in green, are the Ask the Experts, which run once every month.
Wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful weekend!