North/ south divide, IVF, drugs, loneliness, social media and sin taxes

Date: 07/08/2017 Written by: Rosie 4 minutes to read.
This week's news review

A study has found that those living in the North of England are more likely to die early than those in the South, IVF services are under threat following West Essex CCG's savings plan, a drug ban has led to underground distribution and loneliness has been found to increase the chances of an early death. Below, we've given an overview of some of the news stories which have caught our eye over the past couple of weeks to save you the time of looking yourself!

People in North of England 20% more likely to die early than those in the South, study finds

A study stretching over a 50 year period has recently revealed that people who live in the north of England are 20% more likely to die prematurely than those living in the south. The study, conducted by the University of Manchester, show that 1.2 million more people have died under the age of 75 in north the country as opposed to the south. Ian Bunchan, the lead researcher on the project, has claimed the reason for this is down to the economic and social inequalities faced in this region. This reflects the 2012 findings by The Economist, which argued that the gap between the north and the south in life expectancy, political inclinations and economics trends was growing to the extent that they were almost separate countries.

Read Kelly's blog on this research here:


IVF services under threat after clinical commissioning group announces savings plan

West Essex CCG have announced their plans to make cuts to their IVF and specialist fertility services. The decision has been met with debate, some claiming that the cuts are necessary as infertility is not a life threatening condition, whereas others argue that the cuts impact human rights and that placing a cost cap on the service will be much more efficient. Thirteen areas across England have also announced plans to cut spending on IVF treatment, some halting the service altogether. It has been 39 years since Britain became the first nation to successfully deliver a baby through IVF treatment.

Read the full article here:


Children consuming online time 'like junk food'

Parents have been criticised for allowing children to consume their time online like junk food. In an interview with the Observer, Anne Longfield, the children's commissioner for England, expressed her concern over the way social media platforms entice youngsters into an excessive amount of online usage, with children between 5 and 15 spending an average of 15 hours per week surfing the web. She goes on to stress the importance of parents balancing a child's time spent online, as they would balancing a child's diet. She states "You wouldn't want your kids to binge on sweets, so why let them binge on the internet?".

Read the full article here:


Spice ban ‘puts prisoners and homeless at risk’ as street drug goes underground

The ban on psychoactive substances, most notably Spice, otherwise known as 'the zombie drug', has driven distribution of the highs underground. Now a class B drug, dealers are targeting vulnerable members of society including the homeless and prisoners. The substances now available are deemed to be stronger and more dangerous. Prior to the Ban, these were only sold in headshops, most of which have been closed permanently as a result of the ban on so called 'legal highs'. Public services are said to be overwhelmed by callouts related to the use of the drug.

Read the full article here:


Study suggests Loneliness can increase the chances of an early death by 50%

Researchers in the USA have released findings which reveal lonely people have a 50% chance of dying before their average life expectancy whilst those who are obese have a 30% chance of dying before the age of 70. The study was conducted using data from 218 different studies on the health effects of social isolation and loneliness involving nearly four million people. Lead author Dr Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University, Utah, has said “Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need—crucial to both well-being and survival”. Campaigners have stated that this should be regarded as a major issue in the UK, with 3.9 million elderly people revealing that they see the television as their main source of company.

Read the full article here:


Smokers 'are good for the economy' think tank finds

Research conducted by Think Tank has revealed that smoking provides an additional £15 billion to the economy due to the tax revenue and early deaths caused by the habit. It has always been argued that smokers, drinkers and obese citizens have always been a strain on public services, but this study suggests that altogether they contribute an additional total of £24.7 billion in revenue which is a huge benefit to public finances. Think Tank criticises the government for scapegoating these people for the revenue gained in 'sin taxes'.

Read the full article here:
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