When women got pills for hysteria and advice to keep vaginas clean

A new exhibition by the Royal College of Nursing showcases a series of strange, sometimes disturbing objects used in women’s healthcare. From pink pills to help women with so-called hysteria, to vaginal douches to keep them “clean”, the historical displays show how gynaecology has often been dominated by superstition and ignorance. Marvel Whirling Spray vaginal douche, circa 1900 In the early 19th century, vaginal douching was popular. Douching is the

Flu vaccine delays for NI over-65s

Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption The flu vaccine for some over-65s will be delayed until the end of next month The flu vaccine for those older than 65 will be delayed this year, the chief medical officer has said. Dr Michael McBride has said that “manufacturing constraints” would mean that for some people the jab will not be available until late November. However, he added that everyone eligible

Depressed? The places not to live if you need help

Image copyright Getty Images A flagship NHS mental health service is failing patients in one in seven areas of England, research by the BBC shows. People with conditions like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are entitled to psychological therapies, such as counselling. The NHS is meant to successfully treat half of the people it sees. But an analysis of official NHS data showed this was not the case in

Doctors ‘need to start early conversation with patients about dying’

Image copyright Getty Images Doctors need to get better at having difficult conversations with dying patients and not just in their final days, according to a report from the Royal College of Physicians. It says doctors should talk to people who could die within 12 months, who may be frail or terminally ill, and give them choices over their future care. But the report says that rarely happens and doctors

Children with problems or problem children?

Image caption Anxiety is a warning of perceived danger There’s nothing pleasant about being on the end of a child’s angry or aggressive outburst – whether you’re a parent or a teacher. And if that outburst happens in a classroom rather than the sitting room, the consequences for the child can be much more serious. But how can we tell if the child is just “being naughty” or whether mental

What is BSE (aka mad cow disease)?

Image copyright Getty Images The first case of BSE in Scotland in a decade has been confirmed after a cow died. In total, there have been 16 cases in the UK in the past seven years – but that’s a far cry from the thousands of cattle infected at the height of the BSE crisis back in the 1980s and 1990s. So what is it, what happened, and what’s the

Wakefield’s Pinderfields Hospital smokers shamed via loudspeaker

Image copyright The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Image caption Visitors can activate the messages which are played through speakers outside the hospital People who ignore ‘no smoking’ signs by the doors of a Wakefield hospital are being shamed through a loudspeaker. Staff, visitors and patients can activate the pre-recorded messages, which are then played through a speaker outside Pinderfields Hospital. “Hi, I’m Georgia, would you mind not smoking outside?

EpiPen shortage: Chemists told to quiz parents on children’s need

Image copyright Getty Images Chemists have been told by NHS England to check whether young children are in urgent need of adrenaline pens before dispensing the devices. Pharmacists must ask parents and carers how many auto-adrenaline injectors they have before deciding how many to give. Only children with no pens, including expired but usable ones, should get the standard prescription of two devices, the guidance says. It follows a shortage

Length of ring and index fingers ‘linked to sexuality’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Have you looked at the length of your index and ring fingers? Women whose left index and ring fingers are different lengths are more likely to be lesbians, a study suggests. Scientists measured the fingers of 18 pairs of female identical twins, where one was straight and the other gay. On average, the lesbians, but not the straight twins, had different sized index and

My cheating boyfriend gave me HIV – here’s how I got justice

Image copyright Diane Reeve Diane Reeve didn’t expect to find love again after her 18-year-long marriage fell apart. But in 2002, at the age of 50, she did. It turned out, though, that her new partner, Philippe Padieu, was sleeping around – and had given her HIV. I’d kind of given up on love, but then a couple of people convinced me I was too young to do that and