The number of unpaid carers in England and Wales has risen to 5.8 million

Unpaid carers rise to 5.8 million

The number of unpaid carers in England and Wales has risen to 5.8 million, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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More bananas and less salt 'will reduce stroke risk'

Millions of lives could be saved every year if people ate more potassium-rich foods such as bananas and cut down on their salt intake, health experts have said.

People who have a high potassium intake have a 24% reduced risk of stroke, according to a new study.

Bananas contain high levels of potassium. Credit: PA

And increasing levels of potassium - which can be found in many foods including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, milk, fish, beef, chicken, turkey and bread - can help to reduce high blood pressure, the results indicate.

Researchers also said that increased levels of the chemical do not have an adverse effect on kidney function in adults.

Previous studies have suggested that older people are at an increased risk of harm from potassium because as people get older, their kidneys may become less able to remove potassium from their blood.

The Department of Health advises that older people should not have potassium supplements unless advised to take them by a doctor.

It says that adults need 3,500mg of potassium a day - which people should be able to get from eating a balanced diet.

The research, published on, analysed data on potassium intake and health concerning 128,000 participants, who took part in 33 trials.


Every child should get support, says health minister

Every child should have the opportunity to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

Family nurse partnerships play a major role in supporting children in some of the most disadvantaged circumstances to have the very best start in life.

Around 11,000 families are already benefiting from personalised support from family nurses, but I am determined that we should go further, and that is why we will expand the programme to support 16,000 families by 2015

– Health minister Dan Poulter


New mums to get one-to-one support

About 5,000 more families will benefit from the extension of a programme to give first time mothers one-to-one support, health minister Dr Dan Poulter has said.

Thousands of disadvantaged young mothers will get more support while bringing up their babies, health officials have said.

Mums will be offered one-to-one support. Credit: PA

The Family Nurse Partnership scheme sees specialist nurses or midwives regularly visit first time mothers under the age of 20 during their pregnancy and until their baby is two years old.

The nurses help the new mothers, and fathers, to prepare for labour; offer advice on looking after babies and toddlers, and help plan for the future.

Dr Poulter has announced that ministers plan to extend the current programme to include 16,000 families by 2015.

He said that he hopes the move will help more vulnerable children get a better start in life.

Less than one in five have their diabetes 'under control'

Less than one in five people with diabetes in England and Wales have their diabetes 'under control', a leading charity has warned.

Diabetes UK has said that the number of people failing to manage the condition properly could lead to a 'public health disaster' unless the Government steps in.

Less than one in five people with diabetes are failing to manage the condition, the charity has warned. Credit: PA

The charity is calling on the Government to increase the number of people with diabetes getting nine annual health checks and to hold poor-performing areas of England and Wales to account.

Without proper control, diabetes can lead to serious complications including kidney failure and stroke.

Controversial NHS reforms come into force

The biggest shake up of the National Health Service in England, since its formation more than 60 years ago, comes into effect today.

One of the biggest changes is the move from primary care trusts (PCTs) to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which will be led by GPs and other clinicians who will take on responsibility for commissioning care.

The biggest shake up of the National Health Service in England, since its formation, comes into effect today. Credit: PA

The move will see 211 CCGs replace 151 PCTs across England. The CCGs will be supported by health professionals, such as local hospital doctors and nurses.

The teams will decide on which health issues are a priority in their area, and where to send patients for treatment in NHS or private facilities.

They will control around 60 percent of the NHS budget in England but will not be in charge of major services like complex surgery and rare cancers.

Read: Huge NHS shake-up: How you will be affected

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