A shortage of senior radiologists around the UK is causing delays for patients, and affecting cancer and other medical care. Radiologists' leaders say the situation is unacceptable and must be tackled by ministers. Figures suggest their workload of reading and interpreting scans has increased by 30% between 2012 and 2017. But the number of consultant radiologists in England has gone up by just 15% in that time. The number of these senior posts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has remained static over that period.
Babies conceived in winter are more likely to develop learning difficulties, a major study suggests. Scientists think lack of exposure to sunlight in the early stages of pregnancy may affect brain development. A study of more than 800,000 school children in Scotland showed 8.9 per cent of children conceived in January to March had learning disabilities, compared to 7.6 per cent of those conceived between July and September. One in five people in Britain have low levels of the vitamin D - which is produced by the skin when it soaks up the sun's rays. The vitamin is particularly important during pregnancy, and is already known to affect the way a baby's bones grow in the womb.
Research by BBC News has found the NHS across the UK is missing key targets for cancer treatment, A&E and planned operations. After analysing the data for each of the country's four nations, it can be seen that the health services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have failed to hit one of their three key targets in the past 18 months. Scotland hit its A&E target three times in the past 12 months. Figures show patients are now twice as likely to wait longer than four hours in casualty than they were four years ago. The proportion of people waiting more than 62 days for cancer treatment has risen by a third in the past four years.
Some hospitals and GP practices in England and Scotland are failing to carry out recommended HIV checks, a BBC investigation has found. Experts suggest patients in areas with high rates of HIV ought to be offered a test when they register with a GP or are admitted to hospital. But research carried out for BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme suggests many NHS providers are not doing this. Health officials said the prevention of HIV infection remained a priority. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently reviewing its guidance on HIV testing and is due to release its findings in December.
Children as young as five will be able to get help for mild depression through apps on their smartphones after the NHS's treatment advisers recommended the use of such devices in their care. Under-18s in England and Wales will in future be able to use digital cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) through mobile phones and computers to help them manage their feelings of low mood. It will help them avoid potentially long delays to see a therapist and reduce the pressure on NHS child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), according to new guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). While CBT is already routinely available to adults with some mental health problems, this is the first time NICE has recommended it as helpful for five-to-eight-year-olds. The institute advises the NHS what treatments are most clinically effective and represent the best value for money.