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Items previously on Current_events, and others.



Fears of a human pandemic of H5N1 Influenza grew, but although a number of human casualties of direct infection with avian Influenza occurred, a human variant had not been noted by the end of the year. Worries were not abated however into 2006


Affected university students. A catch-up programme to give them a second dose of MMR was instituted.

Civil Servants to ignore ministerial promises on funding

According to [Observer], an email "written by Sarndrah Horsfall, the chief medical officer's chief of staff ... tells officials that the NHS finance director, Richard Douglas, 'has imposed an embargo on all programme staff'. ... Even if ministers say they are going to spend money on a particular area, their officials are not to ...". On pain of discipline.

Most of the NHS' costs are in personnel. The NHS has successfully bought increased care from General Practice over the last year. There is as yet no announcement that managerial and administrative numbers or costs are to be reduced as part of the plan to arrive at budget.

Hemel Hempstead Fire and Data Loss

Later reports revealed that the resilient solution provided to the Trusts involved did include two data-centres, each able to take over if the other went down.

They were positioned in the same building! The building was inconveniently close to the huge explosion and fire which first broke many of the contents of the building, and then shut off power including the backup generators.

This is on the one hand the same mistake that is made over and over again, duplication that does not eliminate a common point of failure, and on the other hand a failure to include what actually happened in the threat model against which the NHS customers were protecting themselves and protected by their supplier. There has to be some level of disaster against which one does not prepare on grounds of cost, unlikelihood, and absence of anyone around afterward able to use what survives - giant asteroid strike comes to mind - but this falls short of that level of thought, planning, and preparation.--Midgley 12:13, 22 January 2006 (CET)

Outsourced NHS IT Data Loss in Hemel Hempstead

Curiously, 5 Trusts whose IT systems were hosted at a data centre in Hemel which was damaged by the explosion and fire appear to have lost service, and data from Friday to the Sunday of the blast. An argument for removing servers from General Practices, which have looked after them very successfully for up to 30 years, is that there will be resilience such that outages at the data centre would not cause a loss of service or data. No comment on that has yet appeared from CfH.

Hemel Hempstead fire 11/12/05

There was a large explosion and fire in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, UK.

Advice and guidance about the fire is available via the Health Protection Agency website here.

England's Paediatric Intensive Care Full

Reportedly, for the first time, all Paediatric ITU beds were filled, in the whole country. Although some beds existed without a patient in them, they were unstaffed or unstaffable. The Meteorological Office had predicted a rise in child admissions, and on 6th December reported the weather conditions associated with that had passed, as should the peak.

Influenza Immunisation and supplies

An effort by the Department of Health to blame GPs for early exhaustion of the late supplied Influenza vaccine was not wholly swallowed by the Press, and was rejected by the Opposition.

ganfyd in LinuxMedNews

LMN is the Open Source in Healthcare newspaper of record. Article I expect we will be visited and visiting there again.

UK Medical Unemployment

In 2005 significant numbers of SHO grade doctors from UK medical schools were unable to find acceptable jobs for the first time since the 1980s. Various factors were implicated in this, including changes to the training grades.

Influenza Pandemic Fears

Unprecendented uptake of Influenza immunisation in the UK caused a shortfall of supply relative to the sum of the population defined as at risk and the population for whom immunisations had otherwise previously been ordered. Deputy CMO Dr David Salisbury and Health Minister Patricia Hewitt declared this to be GPs' fault. Newspapers differed. GPs fumed.


First cousin marriages increase the risk of some adverse genetic conditions. Discussion surfaced when a Labour MP from Bradford suggested legislation to ban them. Consanguinity [BBC] [| BMJ followup with references and data]


Was started.


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