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Squaddies prepare for Everest challenge at Leeds Beckett University

A team of British soldiers are being put through their paces by sport scientists at Leeds Beckett University as they prepare to attempt to climb the North Face of Everest.

The north face of Everest

A team of six regular and reserves serving soldiers, along with their team medic, will depart from the UK in April to attempt the feat.

As part of their preparations for the conditions that they will face, they are taking part in a research study led by Leeds Beckett PhD student, Mark Cooke, and supervised by Dr John O'Hara, Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology, and Visiting Professor Lt. Col. David Woods.

The University experts are putting the team through a pre-acclimation protocol, allowing the expedition team to experience and acclimatise to the physiological challenges of climbing at a high altitude.

The aim of the research is to enhance the likelihood of the team reaching the top of Mount Everest.

"At high altitude, pulmonary diffusion and oxygen transportation are limited, meaning the body is in a state of oxygen deficiency.

"The body tries to compensate for this, and through acclimatisation, this situation can be improved.

"However, at extreme altitudes such as on Mount Everest, the body cannot completely compensate, which makes such a challenge very hard and potentially life threatening.

"Therefore, we hope that this training prior to the expedition will help them acclimatise more effectively whilst on the mountain and enhance their performance.

" In conjunction with outdoor activity specialists Carnegie Great Outdoors, we have a strong history of working with military expeditions in preparing for such challenges and feel strongly that this research will assist them in summiting Mount Everest."

– Dr John O'Hara, Leeds Beckett University

During the training, the Army team are spending prolonged periods of time each day in the University's environmental chamber, which simulates high altitude conditions through the manipulation of the fraction of inspired oxygen at sea level.

The scientists will be testing the team both before and after the training to measure effectiveness of the pre-acclimation protocol, as well as assessing the effectiveness of the training on the expedition.

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Department of Health defends use of private sector

The Department of Health have issued statement in response to today's anti NHS privatisation march.

Department of Health say private sector accounts for just 6% NHS

"Use of the private sector in the NHS represents only 6% of the total NHS budget - an increase of just 1.7% since May 2010. Charities, social enterprises and other providers continue to play an important role for the NHS as they have done for many years. The NHS will remain free at the point of use and patients can already choose where they have NHS treatment."

– Department of Health

Protestors fear healthcare will only be available to rich

Protestor calls for an end to NHS cuts

Leeds Hospital Alert say 80% of England's hospitals are already in financial deficit and struggling to cope with rising demand. They are expected to reduce hospital admissions and send patients into 'the community' while the share of the health budget for GPs has been cut, spending on social care slashed by 20%, and the number of district nurses halved in the last ten years

"We must not allow a return to pre July 5th 1948 when only the rich could afford health care. It is our NHS. We must make crystal clear at the election that the NHS is not for sale."

– Beatrice Rogers, Chair of Leeds Hospital Alert

Leeds MP blasts NHS England as 'cowards' in fight for drugs

An MP from Leeds says he is "disgusted" at the way NHS England have acted towards families, charities and ministers after senior officials failed to attend a meeting.

Greg Mulholland MP met life sciences minister George Freeman MP yesterday, and took along representatives from several charities and drugs companies.

He said that despite receiving a face-to-face assurance from NHS England official Anthony Prudhoe that he would be present at the meeting, NHS England failed to show up.

Mr Mulholland said he is "disgusted at NHS England cowards for failing to be answerable for their own mess."

He added that during the meeting yesterday, it emerged that NHS England had clearly been misleading the life sciences minister.

The MP has also tabled a parliamentary motion calling on Jeremy Hunt to use his power and intervene.

We have ministers saying the decision is not down to them, but rather NHS England. But NHS England are repeatedly failing to reply to letters or even turn up to meetings despite Anthony Prudhoe telling me they will attend, and ministers are wrongly claim they are unable to intervene when their power to do so is set out clearly in black and white.

I am disgusted at the NHS England cowards for failing to be answerable for their own mess, and for completely letting down the 180 people who desperately need treatment. Ministers absolutely must intervene, and with people's lives at stake, they must do so now.

– Greg Mulholland MP

Mr Mulholland is campaigning for NHS England to announce interim funding for the just 180 people across the UK who are affected by the ultra-rare diseases such as Morquio disease - which affects Mulholland's six year-old constituent Sam Brown from Otley.

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Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust to find out future

One of region's hospital trusts will find out tomorrow if it has done enough to come out of special measures.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been under the scrutiny of the health watchdog for almost two years.

Ahead of that decision we've have been given access to some of the departments that were most criticised, to see their improvements.

James Webster reports:

Hull GP placed into special measures following regulator's inspection

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has placed a Hull GP into special measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A specialist team of inspectors rated the service provided by Dr AH Tak, Dr EG Stryjakiewicz and Dr M Sadik as Inadequate for being safe, effective, responsive and well-led, and Requires Improvement for being caring.

The practice has been given an overall rating of Inadequate. A full report of the inspection has been published here.

Parents call for junk food ads to be banned before 9pm

New statistics show the majority of parents in Yorkshire and the Humber believe stopping children being exposed to junk food adverts could cut childhood obesity.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) polled 2000 UK parents and found 57% of parents in the Yorkshire region believe that stopping children being exposed to junk food adverts could help towards tackling the obesity crisis in children.

The charity is delivering a 30,000 strong petition to Downing Street calling on the government to ban the ads before 9pm.

Junk food companies are exploiting legal loopholes in the regulatory system, allowing them to continue bombarding children with junk food adverts. Over 30,000 people have backed our campaign to ban these adverts before the 9pm watershed. By protecting young people against the sophisticated marketing techniques of junk food advertisers we can help tackle the obesity crisis which threatens the heart health of future generations. We urge the UK Government to heed the public's clear call and take immediate action.

– Mike Hobday, Director of Policy at the British Heart Foundation

Patients condemn 'whitewash' report into contaminated blood

Patients who contracted potentially fatal diseases from infected blood in the 70s and 80s have described as "a whitewash" the latest report into what happened. An inquiry, published in Scotland, admitted there could have been better screening for hepatitis C but said all that could reasonably have been done to identify HIV was done. The Prime Minister has apologised to those affected - but it's not enough according to one patient from our region who's been speaking to James Webster. His report contains flash photography.

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