Each week, talkhealth summarises the key health stories of the week. This week it’s all about wasted GP appointments, sugar and children, children and screen time, how the NHS is coping better this winter and the challenges the NHS will face in 2019.

Wasted doctor’s appointments cost the NHS millions

Wasted GP appointments is costing the NHS millions of pounds each year. Over 15 million GP appointments are being wasted every single year. This is because patients either just don’t turn up or fail to tell their surgery that they will not be attending.

Each appointment costs the NHS an average of £30. This puts the total cost at more than £216 million pounds on top of disruption for staff and fellow patients. To put this into perspective, this would pay for over 58,000 hip replacements, treatment for over 216,000 people with Alzheimers or cover the annual salary of over 8,000 nurses.

Your can read more about wasted GP appointments on the NHS England website here.

Children consuming more than the recommended amount of sugar 

Many of us are now thinking about our New Year Resolutions. Whether it’s exercising more, reducing our alcohol intake or eating more healthily. And so it’s poignant that Tuesday’s health headline was all about children exceeding the recommended sugar intake. By the age of 10, children have consumed what an 18 year adult has consumed.

Children are consuming too much sugar

Children consuming excess sugar

The excess is around eight sugar cubes a day. This translates into a massive 2,800 excess cubes every single year. So concerned are Public Health England (PHE) that they have said there should be a pudding tax. The tax could be considered if food manufacturers fail to reduce the amount of sugar in their products.

You can read more about this story on the PHE website, and how they are launching a new Change4Life campaign to help families cut down on sugar.

Parents can worry less about screen time

A study, published in the British Medical Journal, has examined the evidence of harms and benefits relating to time spent on screens for children and young people’s health.

Parents can worry less about their children's screen time

Parents can worry less about screen time

The study demonstrates that parents should worry less as long as they have gone through a checklist on the effect of screen time with their child. This is because the research found weak evidence that small amounts of daily screen can be harmful. However, the recommendation is for screens to be turned off an hour before bedtime.

You can read more about the effects of screen time on children’s health here

Hospitals are coping better with winter

Over the festive period there were fewer A&E closures and ambulance delays against the same period as last year according to data released by the NHS.  Also, flu and the vomiting bug Norovirus were lower too.

NHS England said the improvement was a result of

NHS coping better this winter

NHS coping better this winter

good planning and hard work by staff.

You can read more about how hospitals are coping better this winter here

What challenges will the NHS face in 2019?

The long-term plan for the NHS in England was due to be published by the end of 2018. However, it was delayed due to the government’s work-load connected with Brexit. The hope is to release the plan during January. The plan could set out the road map for the next 10 years.

Read more about the proposed long term plan for the NHS in 2019 here

talkhealth would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year! We hope you’ve all had an enjoyable Christmas too.




This is the talkhealth blog spot, where we post on a wide range of health conditions, topics, issues and concerns. We post when we see something that we believe is of interest to our visitors. Our posts do not reflect any particular view or standpoint of talkhealth, but are merely to raise attention and awareness.

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