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UK Government's Christmas present for GPs on GMS

The relatively new General Medical Services contract may have unilateral financial terms imposed by UK Government.

Another coxib withdrawn

Lumiracoxib withdrawn. November.

Appearance, but not substance in competition

Elsevier, a publisher, set up something that looks a bit like us, but their copyright model is muddled. David Rothman, a medical librarian, describes and comments well upon it. It is interesting to have produced something free which is valuable enough for people to start copying, and subtly twisting.

Good idea, no profits

Pfizer withdrew their inhaled insulin preparation. Not many people were using it.

MMC inquiry -Interim report

The Tooke enquiry lambastes all major contributors to MMC and MTAS and recommends UK medical training should aspire to excellence.

Statin wars take another turn

Pfizer press release undermines NHS generic simvastatin for other statin substitution policy.

Change of Health Ministerial Team

After declarations of no confidence in the previous administration by BMA conferences, the secretary of state for health and all but one of her ministers were replaced, by the new prime minister Gordon Brown, with a new team.

HPV Vaccine Given Go Ahead

The UK government accepted "in principle" advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommending that girls aged 12-13 should be offered the HPV vaccine Gardasil. The final outcome will depend on a cost-benefit analysis (at current prices, each injection cost approximately 80 pounds, and a course of three injections is required). BBC page

A first: Gene Therapy by injection into near-blind eye

Done at Moorfields Eye Hospital. The gene is RPE65 BBC report.

Major Security Breach affecting UK Doctors

Full personal and confidential details of some doctors applying for MMC posts via the Medical Training Application Service web site were freely available for all to inspect up to 5pm 25/4/07 according to Channel 4 news

PAC Report on NPfIT


Condemns the programme in concept and execution. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/17/npfit_slammed/

http://shorterlink.co.uk/12453 by Richard Bacon MP in the Telegraph

http://www.e-health-insider.com/news/item.cfm?ID=2617 which has a link to the report.

Drug withdrawal

30th March The American FDA today asked Novartis to stop marketing the drug “Zelnorm” otherwise known as “Zelmac” (tegaserod maleate) a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome as there had been reports of cardiac ischaemia.

Doctors Protest Against MMC

An estimated 12000 doctors marched in London while a smaller number gathered in Glasgow to protest at the flaws in Modernising Medical Careers

MMC glasgow rally.jpg

Mobile Phones

14 March. Health minister Andy Burnham announces that there is no reason for an outright ban on mobile phone use within hospitals. The MHRA recommendations (from 2004!) state use is acceptable so long as it is outside specialised areas that use interferences-susceptible monitoring equipment. See [Google collection of articles]

OpenKnowledge meeting

London, 17th March. This may be of some interest to users and editors. http://blog.okfn.org/2007/03/08/open-knowledge-10-nearly-here/

Junior hospital doctor/job allocation system failed

A massive revision of the structure of medical training and the recruitment of juniors was brought into operation despite being unfinished and perhaps incorrectly conceived. Chaos ensued. The department of health announced an enquiry would occur while proposing to proceed with the failing system. Simultaneously the DoH announced an effort to reduce the long waiting lists for hearing aids, thus allowing those who are currently deaf to hear what is going on around them sooner than hitherto. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6423307.stm

British Medical Regulation (21 Feb 2007)

The UK government's white paper Trust, Assurance and Safety – The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century proposes changes to medical regulation which are described by the British Medical Association as a "raft of proposals which together add up to the loss of professionally-led medical regulation".

Non-invasive Test for Down Syndrome

The Lancet publish (on-line) a study which used traces of fetal DNA found in maternal blood to detect Down syndrome.

NHS 'facing make-or-break year' (2 Jan 2007)

Right-wing think-tank Reform, were led by Professor Nick Bosanquet, has warned that failure to tackle rising costs or to invest in modern services has put the long-term future of the NHS in England under threat. See the story at the BBC website, or the full report.

Media (re)discovers another super-bug

Panton Valentine Leukocidin expressing bacteria are well-known, and not all are MRSA.

Bird 'Flu

January. An outbreak of Bird Flu at a Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Norfolk was identified as H5N1.[1] Initially 26,000 turkeys were culled in infected sheds. On confirmation a further 159,000 birds were culled. Workers associated with the cull were offered anti viral drugs as a precaution but no human cases were identified. One Vet involved became unwell but was shown not to have H5N1. DEFRA [2] have published a framework response plan for exotic animal diseases which is reviewed annually. [3]