London hospital trust heading for biggest overspend in NHS history

The biggest hospital trust in the country is set to run up a £134.9m deficit this year – by far the largest ever overspend in the history of the NHS, The Guardian reports.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs four hospitals in east London, employs 15,000 people and serves an area containing 2.5 million people, is on course to have failed to balance its books by that margin when the NHS financial year ends on 31 March. Its overspend is 69% bigger than the trust’s £79.6m overspend – also a record at the time – in 2014-15.

Its grim financial predicament has been revealed in a parliamentary answer by the health minister, Alistair Burt, to Sadiq Khan, Labour London mayoral hopeful.

Liverpool GP practices could be open until 8pm, seven days a week ‘within a year’

GP surgeries in Liverpool could be open until 8pm every day of the week within 12 months, a city NHS chief said, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Dr Fiona Lemmens said Liverpool’s medical centres are already working “flat out” but will be offering even more services within a year.

Dr Lemmens is a GP at the Aintree Park Group Practice and governing body member of the Liverpool clinical commissioning group, which has an annual budget of £730m to fund NHS services in the city.

Prime Minister David Cameron said before last year’s General Election that GP surgeries should be open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week by 2020.

Swine flu jab plea after 150 new cases are reported in Northern Ireland

In 2009 an outbreak of swine flu killed almost 30 people here, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) said that during the last month, 187 flu cases have been reported, of which 80% were the H1N1 strain - swine flu.

Official figures show the number of GP consultations for flu has increased but the number of positive cases dropped slightly during the last week in January.

The flu can be dangerous for vulnerable people and those with underlying conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, or serious kidney disease.

NHS to get £4bn in drive for 'paperless' health service

The government has launched its latest attempt to improve the use of technology in the NHS in England, the BBC reports.

The aim is to create a paperless service that would be more convenient for patients, and help doctors to provide faster diagnoses.

More than £4bn has been set aside for areas such as electronic records and online appointments, prescriptions and consultations.

But Labour said the NHS was "going backwards" under the Conservatives.

Poultry farmers 'using more antibiotics linked to resistant food poisoning bugs'

Antibiotics that were banned on US chicken farms a decade ago over links to the spread of potentially deadly bacteria in humans are being used in significantly increased quantities by the British poultry industry, the Independent reports.

Industry figures obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism show that UK poultry producers raised their use of a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones by 59 per cent in the latest 12-month reporting period – despite evidence that they could be fuelling drug resistant forms of dangerous food poisoning illnesses in humans, including campylobacter, salmonella and E.coli.

The antibiotics are used on factory farms where chickens and other poultry are intensively reared in crowded conditions that can encourage the spread of disease.

But serious problems arise because the same class of drugs are also used in human medicine to treat people who suffer severe cases of foodborne infections.