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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
good planning and hard work by staff.
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.
talkhealth would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year! We hope you’ve all had an enjoyable Christmas too.