NHS prescription cuts ‘to hit low income families’

Image copyright Getty Images NHS plans to scrap prescriptions for common health problems have been criticised for hitting poorer families. Prescriptions for conditions including diarrhoea, thrush, acne and acute pain are among those up for review. NHS England said 18 treatments – such as homeopathy and some types of pain relief – cost the taxpayer £141m a year and generally should not be prescribed. But the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)

Boots faces morning-after pill cost row

Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption Levonelle can be taken within three days of having unprotected sex Boots has been accused of refusing to cut the cost of one of its morning-after pills for fear of criticism from campaigners. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which provides abortion care, wants Boots and other pharmacies to reduce the cost of emergency contraception Levonelle. Boots told the BPAS it wanted to

‘Mind-blowing’ cows hold clue to beating HIV

Image copyright Getty Images Cows have shown an “insane” and “mind-blowing” ability to tackle HIV which will help develop a vaccine, say US researchers. In a first for immunisation, the animals rapidly produced special types of antibody that can neutralise HIV. It is thought cows evolved a supreme immune defence due to their complex and bacteria-packed digestive system. The US National Institutes of Health said the findings were of “great

Half of pupils expelled from school ‘mentally ill’

Image copyright Getty Images Half of pupils expelled from England’s schools have a mental health issue, according to analysis of official data. The Institute of Public Policy Research suggests if excluded students with undiagnosed problems were included, the rate would be much higher. This figure compares with one in 50 pupils in the wider population who have a mental health condition. The government said it would be publishing plans to

Aids deaths halve as more get drugs

Image copyright Getty Images Deaths linked to Aids have halved in a decade, official figures shows. The condition, which is caused by HIV, used to be one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. A report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) showed deaths had fallen from a peak of 1.9 million in 2005 to 1 million last year. It said the “scales have tipped”, with

‘Too many’ patients locked in for mental health care

Image copyright Getty Images Too many patients are locked into mental health rehabilitation wards far from home, a review of England’s psychiatric services suggests. The Care Quality Commission said there were 3,500 beds in locked facilities across the country, but it believes more people could and should get care in residential settings close to home. The report said safety on mental health wards was another major concern. NHS England said

Nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk, study says

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Continuing to learn throughout life can strengthen the brain One in three cases of dementia could be prevented if more people looked after their brain health throughout life, according to an international study in the Lancet. It lists nine key risk factors including lack of education, hearing loss, smoking and physical inactivity. The study is being presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in

Tobacco firms ‘hamper anti-smoking push’

Image copyright Getty Images The tobacco industry is hampering efforts to introduce life-saving interventions in low and middle income countries, according to a report by the World Health Organization. Countries covering two thirds of the world’s population now have measures in place to encourage people to stop smoking. But tobacco still kills more than 7 million people every year. Tobacco companies say they are not opposed to “reasonable” regulation. The

Plan not to give HPV vaccine to boys causes concern

Image copyright DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY A decision not to vaccinate boys against a cancer-causing sexually transmitted infection has attracted fierce criticism. Reported cases of human papilloma virus (HPV) – thought to cause about 80% of cervical cancers – have fallen sharply since girls were given the vaccine. But the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) found little evidence to justify treating boys too. Critics said vaccinating boys

Quarter of babies born to foreign mothers in England and Wales

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The average age women become mothers is just over 30 in England and Wales More than a quarter of babies born in England and Wales in 2016 were to foreign mothers – the highest level on record, official figures show. This figure has increased every year since 1990 to the current 28%. Data from the Office for National Statistics also shows the rate of