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The Doctor will see you now: For 9 minutes

British patients see their family doctor for less time than patients in many other European countries.

According to a study carried out by Cambridge University, the average average appointment time here is 9.22 minutes.

That's shorter than in Spain, Sweden or Lithuania. In fact it's shorter than 28 of the 67 countries they analysed

The authors wrote that a recent survey of GPs, including some from the UK, found that over a third were "dissatisfied" with the time they could spend with each patient.

Bittern numbers booming

The distinctive boom of the 'Bittern' is becoming more common, with record numbers heard this year.

The RSPB says the bird has flourished despite a drier than average winter and loss of habitat due to some coastal flooding.

Bittern numbers increasing Credit: RSPB

Bitterns are highly secretive wetland birds and live most of their time within dense stands of reed, making them very difficult to survey.

However, scientists count bitterns by listening for the male's foghorn-like booming call, which can reach more than 100 Decibels in volume.

In the UK the RSPB recorded 164 'booming' males this year, 8 of those were at Lakenheath Fen.

Nearly half of the UK bitterns breed within Special Protection Areas designated under the EU Birds Directive.

"In the late 1990s, the bittern was heading towards extinction once again in the UK. But, thanks to conservation efforts to restore and create its preferred habitat of wet reedbed, the bittern was saved and we're delighted to see another record year for this amazing bird."

– Simon Wotton, Senior Conservation Scientist at the RSPB


Airlander moves outdoors as 2018 shapes up to be a good year for blimp

The world's largest aircraft is in final preparations for its second phase of test flights.

The Airlander 10 has been built in a huge hangar in Bedfordshire - but it's starting to outgrow its home at Cardington Airfield.

Next year, it will move to a new site - Sarah Byrd's been finding out where it might be going.

Ambulance demand rises 40%

As temperatures drop the region's ambulance service is asking people to do what they can to avoid calling 999

Last winter it got more than than 370,000 emergency calls - that's the equivalent of the populations of Cambridge, Ipswich and Harlow combined.

Increase in ambulance calls Credit: ITV Anglia

Bosses say that figure could be lower if people get prepared for winter with flu jabs, stocking the medicine cabinet and servicing their cars.

Demand has gone up almost 40 per cent since the winter of 2010/11 when the Trust received almost 270,000 calls from the beginning of November to the end of February.

"Winter is a really busy time for the ambulance service and we are prepared. We will be there for patients who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses and injuries this winter. We always prioritise our response to those with the highest priority need so ask that we are only called from emergencies where other health advice and support is not appropriate."

– Kevin Brown, Director of Service Delivery for EEAST


Sixteen-year-old boy sentenced to ten years

A Luton teenager has been sentenced to 10 years in a Youth Offenders Institute after being convicted of six violent offences.

The 16-year-old boy, who can't be named, was convicted of:

- Two counts of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent

- One count of robbery

- One count of threatening to harm a witness with intent

- Two counts of a possession of a blade or a sharply pointed article in a public place

His violent spree began in September last year when he has slashed a man with a knife in Dunstable.

A few months later on 19 February he used a knife to stab a man in the back.

On both occasions the victims required hospital treatment for their injuries.

Then on 28 February he robbed a man in Dunstable, threatening him with an axe.

Police pursuit in which girl died was 'justified'

Wanessa Lewandowska Credit: Bedfordshire Police

A police pursuit of a speeding car involved in a crash in Luton that caused the death of a teenage girl was justified and proportionate, an IPCC investigation has concluded.

On 9 August, 2016, a Volkswagen Golf crashed into a TV repair store after hitting a speed bump at 80mph while being pursued by a police car along High Town Road, Luton, Bedfordshire.

Passenger Wanessa Lewandowska, 15, sustained fatal injuries in the crash and died at the scene. A second passenger and driver Michael Fludgate fled the scene on foot.

Mr Fludgate was given an eight-year jail sentence for causing death by dangerous driving in September 2016.

During the investigation the IPCC spoke to witnesses, including Mr Fludgate, as well as consulting CCTV and recording equipment within the police vehicle.

The investigator was of the opinion that during the pursuit the officer maintained a significant gap between his vehicle and the Golf and at no point did the vehicles come into contact.

The investigation also looked at the actions of the officer following the crash.

The crashed VW Golf

The officer gave chase to the fellow passenger as he fled the scene before he checked the vehicle on his return and became aware Miss Lewandowska was still in the vehicle in a critical condition.

The investigator concluded this action was not according to correct policy but did not amount to misconduct as the officer was genuinely unaware Miss Lewandowska was in the vehicle when he initially gave chase.

This was a tragic incident in which a young girl lost her life. Specialist officers have supported the family throughout the investigation and our thoughts remain with them and her friends.

We co-operated fully with the Independent Police Complaints Commission and support their findings that the actions of the officer involved were justified and proportionate. Our officers work incredibly hard to protect the public and fight crime often in very difficult and challenging circumstances.

Michael Fludgate was given an eight-year jail sentence in September 2016 for causing death by dangerous driving . We hope his time spent behind bars will give him time to reflect on his actions which had such devastating consequences.

– Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth

Villagers stage car protest against planned incinerator

Around 200 cars took to a country road in Bedfordshire on Saturday to protest at plans for a new waste incinerator.

Villagers in Stewartby believe a new waste plant could see a similar number of HGV movements to the site each day.

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