'Train NHS staff' to plug doctor gaps, bosses say

Nurses, paramedics and pharmacists should be trained to fill in for doctors and help the NHS in England cope with demand, the BBC reports.

Management body NHS Employers has given the plan the green light after advisers said there were a range of extra tasks they could do with more training.

A Nuffield Trust review found examples of nurses filling in for hospital doctors and pharmacists for GPs.

But unions warned against using it as a quick fix for problems in the NHS.

Tampon tax: Major supermarkets pledge to pass on tax cut to customers

Major supermarkets have pledged to pass on tax cuts for women’s sanitary products, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports.

Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff, whose campaign against the ‘tampon tax’ recently saw the government forced to amend the Budget in order to provide for a zero-rate of VAT on women’s sanitary products, has unveiled a deal with Britain’s largest retailers which will see them guarantee to pass on the tax cut in full to female consumers as soon as the government implements the cut.

The agreement was reached with Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Morrisons, Waitrose and Boots, all of whom have now provided Ms Sherriff with formal written pledges to pass on the price cut in full.

The five supermarkets between them have 76.9% of the UK grocery retail market share, while Boots UK is Britain’s largest pharmacy group.

Magic mushrooms lift severe depression in clinical trial

Magic mushrooms have lifted severe depression in a dozen volunteers in a clinical trial, raising scientists’ hopes that the psychedelic experiences beloved of the Aztecs and the hippy counter-culture of the 1970s could one day become mainstream medicine, The Guardian reports.

A clinical trial, which took years and significant money to complete due to the stringent regulatory restrictions imposed around the class 1 drug, has found that two doses of psilocybin, the active substance in the mushrooms, was sufficient to lift resistant depression in all 12 volunteers for three weeks, and to keep it away in five of them for three months.

The size of the trial and the absence of any placebo means the research, funded by the Medical Research Council and published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, is a proof of principle only.

Gardening should be prescribed on the NHS, report says

Gardening enthusiasts have long sung the praises of digging and weeding as a way to keep fit and healthy, The Telegraph reports.

A new reports claims that gardening should be recommended by doctors for people showing early signs of dementia and heart disease.

The NHS should capitalise on Britain’s “love affair with gardening”, the King’s Fund think-tank said, as its authors called on health boards to set up new horticultural projects for patients.

“Gardens are an extraordinary national resource,’ the report said. “Nearly 90 per cent of UK households have a garden and half the population are gardeners.”

Concern as another NHS provider pulls out

Health professionals and campaigners say they are concerned that another provider of NHS services has pulled out of Leicestershire, the Leicester Mercury reports.

Central Nottinghamshire Clinical Services (CNCS), which provides medical cover when GP surgeries are closed, announced on Thursday it had gone into administration.

The social enterprise was also responsible for running the Loughborough urgent care centre.

In March, Danum Medical Services Ltd, which ran the Bowling Green Street and Asquith GP surgeries in the city, also went into administration.