Occuptional Health news in brief

Live long and prosper

Older people are living longer, healthier lives than they did 10 years ago, according to a government report. Not only has life expectancy for those aged over 65 increased, but healthy life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy at age 65 have increased too, said the Department for Work and Pensions study.

Chocolate tax rejected

A Scottish GP has called for chocolate to be taxed in the same way as alcohol and cigarettes, to tackle increasing levels of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Dr David Walker, a GP in Lanarkshire, put the proposal to a conference of the British Medical Association in March, although the idea was subsequently rejected by delegates.

Weight-loss surgery

The amount of “bariatric surgery” carried out by the NHS on obese people to help them lose weight increased by 40% in 2007-8, according to figures from the NHS Information Centre. Overall hospital admissions for obesity also increased, reaching 5,018 in 2007-8, a 30% increase on 2006-7 and almost a seven-fold increase on 1996-7, it added.

Hospital infection control

The Scottish Executive is to appoint a “superbug supremo” to check on hospitals’ infection control. The chief inspector will be appointed this month and lead a new Care Environment Inspectorate, which will carry out random inspections of every Scottish acute hospital to check on infection prevention and cleanliness.

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