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Call for councils to provide more allotment spaces

Credit: ITV News Anglia

Spending time at an allotment can boost your mood and help maintain a healthy weight.

Researchers at the University of Essex are now urging councils to provide more allotment spaces, especially in urban areas where waiting lists are growing.

Credit: ITV News Anglia

Out of 269 people surveyed, 47% of gardeners were overweight but this jumped to 68% for non-gardeners.

Just spending half an hour a week outside on an allotment can improve your physical and mental health - reducing feelings of tension, depression and anger.

"It's a completely different world to the one we live in so it isn't all phones and emails. Growing your own food is a great thing to do and the benefits of that are quite considerable. And it's one thing you can be in charge of yourself. In many ways it builds into a simplier life that we were all built for really."

– Dr Murray Griffin, University of Essex

East Anglia one of the worst areas in the UK for skin cancer diagnosis

Experts from Cancer Research UK say surviving any form of the disease is a "lottery". Credit: PA

A report has found that East Anglia is one of the worst areas in the country for early diagnosis of melanoma skin cancer.

Experts from Cancer Research UK say surviving any form of the disease is a "lottery" depending on which part of the country you live.

While this region was one of the worst for patients with skin cancer, it has a good record of early diagnosis for bowel cancer.

"We don't know for sure why there's such variation across England and it's likely that a lot of factors are coming into play. These might include patients not going to their doctor as early as they could with possible cancer symptoms, and GPs sometimes failing to suspect cancer or not referring patients for diagnostic tests promptly."

– Dr Jodie Moffat, Cancer Research UK

Royal College of Nursing: Number of training places needs to 'significantly increase'

The Royal College of Nursing says there needs to be more training places. Credit: PA

The number of nurses being trained in this region needs to "significantly increase" if the demands of the health service are to be met, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

Significant cuts to student nursing places - known as commissions - were made by the Government in 2010, affecting the whole of the UK.

Despite that, there's still a lot of interest from students wanting to be nurses with many courses oversubscribed.

Some in Bedfordshire are receiving 30 applications for every place, while it's a similar case in Essex.

It currently takes three years for trainees to qualify, which is affecting the amount of nurses able to work now.

"Generating a larger 'home-grown' nursing workforce should be a major priority in our region and across the UK as a whole.

Nurses from overseas - both from Europe and further afield - play a vital role in plugging gaps in our workforce and our hospitals and care homes would not be able to operate without them.

But targeting these nurses for recruitment often means we are taking staff away from countries with their own significant challenges providing healthcare.

If we were to train more nurses in the UK this would go a long way towards filling vacancies in our workforce and prepare for the challenges we face in the years to come providing services to an increasingly ageing population."

– Karen Webb, Royal College of Nursing Eastern Region Director

'Super tomatoes' could help fight disease - but don't expect to eat them anytime soon

Scientists in Norfolk have invented "super tomatoes" they think can fight cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's.

Experts at the John Innes Centre in Norwich say their GM tomatoes are packed with industrial quantities of disease fighting plant chemicals - although you won't find them on your supermarket shelves anytime soon.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Natalie Gray


Election underway to fill Norfolk hospital governor vacancies

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

People in Norfolk are being asked to put their name forward to be a governor of the county's flagship hospital.

The election is underway to fill five vacancies - one for Norwich, one for Broadland, two for Breckland and one for a new constituency called "the rest of England" which is open to people living outside of Norfolk and Waveney.

The council of governors provides a direct link between the hospital and the local community.

Governors, who must be aged 16 or over, serve for a term of three years and can then be re-elected.

Potential candidates have until November 6 to return their completed election forms and the results will be announced on December 18.

Patients' views on Norfolk hospital sought ahead of inspection

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital will be inspected by the Care Quality Commission in November. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals wants patients to tell him about the care they have received at Norfolk's flagship hospital.

The information would be used to help the Care Quality Commission (CQC) decide what to look at when they assess the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital next month.

The watchdog is due to carry out a formal inspection beginning on Tuesday November 10.

It will be the first time the trust has been assessed under the CQC's new regime which will see the hospital given a rating from "outstanding" to "inadequate".

"We know there is too much variation in quality - these new in-depth inspections will allow us to get a much more detailed picture of care in hospitals than ever before.

"This is your opportunity to tell the team what you think, and make a difference to the NHS services in the local area."

– Prof Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals.

A meeting to gather opinions from patients and the community will be held on Tuesday November 10 at The Space Norwich at Roundtree Way from 6pm.

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