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Five-a-day 'not healthy enough'

File photo dated of a bowl of fruit on a table. Credit: Chris Young/PA Wire

Five helpings of fruit and vegetables a day may not be enough, new research suggests.

Seven portions every day could have a more protective effect, experts said.

The NHS recommends that every person has five different 80g portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The suggested intake, based on World Health Organisation guidance, can lower the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity, according to NHS Choices.

But a new study suggests that eating seven or more helpings of fruit and veg a day can reduce a person's risk of dying of cancer by 25%.

Eating this many portions can also reduce a person's risk of dying of heart disease by 31%, the authors said.

TRAVEL: Merseyrail delays

Disruption on Merseyrail between Liverpool Central and Southport due to broken down train at Hightown.

Mainly affecting Northbound trains towards Southport at the moment. Trains may be delayed by up to 40 minutes, and some will be cancelled.

Mersey Rail don't currently have an estimate for when normal service will resume.

Concern over palliative care deaths in the region

The way hospitals record deaths in the region could be covering up poor treatment says a new report.

Figures from Dr Foster show a dramatic rise in the number recorded as needing "palliative care" at the end of their lives, with some saying more than 35% of their patients die this way.

  • 38.03% (610 deaths) at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust were palliative in 2012 - almost double the 19.24% in 2008.
  • The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust also jumped from 1.35% palliative deaths in 2008 to 29.23% in 2012.

Experts fear hospitals could actually be hiding the fact patients were admitted for failed treatment. Data from health analysts Dr Foster shows that, across England in 2012/13, 36,425 deaths were coded as palliative these deaths are not included in the hospital standardised mortality ratio.

"Poor quality data is harming patients because you can't see where things are going wrong and you can't see where there are issues.

"If the data is not being recorded consistently and, moreover, if that isn't picked up because of a lack of auditing there is a risk that poor patient care is being disguised, and the public misled.

"We're worried this issue is not being given sufficient priority. The bottom line is it could increase the possibility of failing to identify another Mid Staffs and potentially cost lives."

– Roger Taylor, director of research at Dr Foster

"Hospitals are clearly fiddling these figures and that frightens me. Hospitals are just not open enough to admit what is happening - instead they dream new ways to disguise it. All the talk of transparency is just that - talk."

– Joyce Robins from Patient Concern

A Department of Health spokesman said: "The NHS needs high-quality mortality data. We would expect that all NHS Trusts have robust auditing systems in place."

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