Junior doctors strike

 Hospitals in England are facing major disruption as junior doctors have gone on strike in a dispute with the government over a new contract, the BBC reports.

The doctors are providing emergency cover only during the 24-hour walkout, which got under way at 08:00 GMT.

The NHS has so far postponed 4,000 routine treatments, while appointments and tests are also being hit.

NHS chiefs said plans were in place to protect patients, despite David Cameron warning they could be put at risk.

In a last-minute plea for junior doctors to call off the action, the prime minister said the walkout would cause "real difficulties for patients and potentially worse".

Junior doctors' strike: hospitals forced to postpone 4,000 operations

Thousands of patients will have planned operations or check-ups in hospital cancelled on Tuesday as junior doctors strike for the first time in 40 years in the start of a concerted series of protests against plans to impose a new contract on them, the Guardian reports.

The show of strength has forced hospitals in England to reschedule about 4,000 non-urgent operations while thousands of other patients will have to see their doctor on another day because hundreds of outpatient clinics have also been called off.

The walkout by junior doctors on Tuesday is the first since November 1975.

It will see many of the NHS’s 45,000 junior doctors – medics below the level of consultant – picketing hospitals across England from 8am after last-ditch talks last week to find a solution ended in deadlock.

UTI treatment without appointments

Women aged 16-64 who live in the Borders can now visit a local community pharmacist when they have symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI), without the need to make an appointment with their GP, The Southern Reporter has reported.

The service is currently available at 15 community pharmacies in the Borders with more being made available over the next several months.

The pharmacists have been trained to diagnose and treat uncomplicated UTIs, thereby saving both GPs and their patient’s time and resources.

Adrian MacKenzie, lead pharmacist for NHS Borders said: “Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common and can be very painful and uncomfortable but usually pass within a few days or can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics.”

Police spotted at Newington Pharmacy in Ramsgate

Mystery surrounds the presence of police outside a pharmacy in Ramsgate. The Newington Pharmacy in Newington Road has been at the centre of police activity since 9am, the Kent Online reports.

Owner of IT Service Centre, who is two doors down from the pharmacy, Neil Hopkins said: “Lots of police have been taking everything out in bags all day.” P

olice spokesman Amanda Wills said: "We can confirm officers were in Ramsgate earlier today carrying out warrants. “The matter is ongoing and we hope to have an update in the morning."

Care homes failing to train staff about dysphagia

As many as 50% of care home residents struggle with dysphagia making tablets difficult or impossible to swallow, a new report by the Patients Association has revealed.

‘Survey of medicines related care of residents with dysphagia in care homes’ has found that, despite the number of people affected by swallowing problems in care homes, only 10% of the homes surveyed had a specific protocol to guide staff in administering medication to people with dysphagia.

Only 20% had arranged training in this important area.

The report is based on a recent survey of 30 care homes which found that on a daily basis, staff are crushing tablets and mixing them with food to make medication easier to swallow.

First children diagnosed in DNA project

The first children with debilitating "mystery" diseases have finally been given a diagnosis as part of a huge scheme to analyse people's DNA, the BBC reports.

Four-year-old Georgia Walburn-Green's damaged eyes and kidneys and her inability to talk had baffled doctors.

She is one of the first to have her precise genetic abnormality identified through the100,000 Genomes Project.

Her parents said the day Georgia was finally diagnosed was one of the biggest of their lives.

Sugar tax should be 50% say experts

A sugar tax of 50 per cent is needed to drastically change drinking and eating habits, the Independent reports.

Health professionals on the National Obesity Forum said the 20 per cent rate recommended by Public Health England would be an “insufficient” deterrent for buying sugary drinks.

It means buying a 330ml bottle of coke from a supermarket would rise from 99p to £1.49.

The advice comes as David Cameron hinted last week that the Government could soon introduce a levy on fizzy drinks this year after promising a “fully worked-up programme” for tackling soaring obesity rates in the UK.