||Last Updated: Nov 17th, 2006 - 22:35:04
Mental health units should not be exempt from smoking ban
Exempting mental health units from the ban on smoking in public places would worsen health inequalities for people with mental health problems, warn doctors in this week's BMJ. Smoking is the largest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in the United Kingdom, with 106,000 people dying of smoking related diseases in 2002, and more than 10,000 dying each year as a result of passive smoking. The Health Act 2006 will make all enclosed public and work places in England and Wales smoke-free environments, but may exclude some mental health settings.
Aug 25, 2006, 19:43
NHS may be buying surgical equipment unethically
The NHS may be buying medical equipment unethically and exploiting developing countries, it has been claimed in an article published on bmj.com today. Unlike the campaigns for fair trade of goods like bananas and coffee, there have been no such campaigns for medical commodities, says Dr Mahmood Bhutta, a specialist registrar in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
Jul 30, 2006, 02:56
Is it time to give NHS more independence?
In April this year, BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee called for an independent NHS run by a board of governors responsible for managing health care within a set budget and a broad political framework. In this week’s BMJ, four opinion leaders give their views on whether it is time to give the NHS greater independence from government.
Jul 30, 2006, 02:49
Experts Comment on New Blood Pressure Guidelines
It is unusual for NICE to consider reviewing its guidance ahead of its planned review date. In this case however, because significant new data became available, we took the decision to consider that data as part of a limited review of the existing NICE guideline. It is important to emphasise that the review was limited to the pharmacological aspects of managing hypertension. The original guideline also covered other aspects of managing the condition, such as lifestyle interventions, and these remain crucial to a proper holistic approach to controlling blood pressure.
Jun 29, 2006, 01:52
New Guideance will Result in Better Control of Hypertension - BPA
The UK's blood pressure charity, the Blood Pressure Association (BPA), heralded 28 June, 2006 launch of the updated NICE guideline on the clinical management of hypertension as a major advance in the treatment of the condition. For the first time, NICE and the British Hypertension Society have reached a clear consensus on the best way of treating raised blood pressure, and the BPA strongly endorses this new guideline.
Jun 29, 2006, 01:45
NHS care for older people is still patchy
Good, respectful NHS care for older people is still too patchy, argue senior members of the British Geriatrics Society in this week's BMJ.
May 19, 2006, 20:02
NHS could save £78m by improving staff productivity
Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, highlighted recommendations from an NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement’s report, showing that £78m could be saved by the NHS by driving down agency spend and improving staff productivity.
Apr 30, 2006, 23:40
Have targets improved performance in the English NHS?
The star rating system for English NHS trusts seems to have improved performance, but systems need to be put in place to minimise gaming and ensure targets are not causing problems elsewhere, warn researchers in this week’s BMJ.
Feb 17, 2006, 19:05
Denying Joint Replacements Based On Prejudice
A decision by NHS trusts in Suffolk to deny replacement joints to obese patients seems to be based on prejudice or attribution of blame, argues a senior doctor in a letter to this week's BMJ. In fact, no evidence supports withholding joint replacement from obese people, even on utilitarian grounds, says Nicholas Finer, a consultant in obesity medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. For knee replacement, there is “no evidence that age, gender, or obesity is a strong predictor of functional outcomes,” while a UK health technology assessment of hip replacement concluded that obese patients could benefit from surgery and are not noticeably at increased operative risk.
Dec 19, 2005, 15:48
NHS needs to do more to provide need based health care
The NHS needs to do more to provide health care according to need, argue researchers in this week’s BMJ. They analysed the availability of primary care according to deprivation and health need in Scotland. Their study was based on a sample population of 5.35 million people served by 1,050 general practices and divided into ten groups of equal size according to deprivation. They show that ill health is two and a half times greater in the most deprived group compared to the most affluent, but the number of whole time equivalent GP principals is distributed evenly across the population. However, including non-principals and doctors in training, there are 11% more GPs in the more affluent compared with the more deprived half of the population. Although they found larger numbers of practices in the most rural and deprived areas, this reflects the higher proportion of single handed and small practices in such areas, say the authors.
Dec 19, 2005, 15:44
UK's Ageing Population Will Impose Huge Healthcare Burden
New figures published by Dr Foster in this week’s BMJ predict that the UK’s ageing population will impose considerable workload and financial pressures on the NHS. The number of people aged 65 and over is predicted to increase by about 53% between 2001 and 2031. This is likely to lead to an increase in the number of people who have chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Researchers examined the possible impact of the ageing population on the expected number of people with three cardiovascular disorders: coronary heart disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm).
Dec 12, 2005, 16:05
Nurses key to restore public confidence in UK hospital care
Nurses are the key to restoring public confidence in UK hospital care, argues an expert in this week’s BMJ. Nurses led the transformation of hospitals in the 19th century. So, why after a century of outstanding success, is the future of the large general hospital in question? asks Professor Nick Black of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Hospitals are partly a victim of their success, he says. Developments in pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology now offer alternative ways of delivering care. And when patients do need to attend hospital, they are less likely to stay overnight. These changes are generally welcomed by the public, healthcare professionals, managers, and politicians. But negative reasons also threaten the future of large hospitals, arising from changes over the past 20 years in management, nursing, and building strategy.
Dec 12, 2005, 16:00
NHS waiting list falls below 800,000 for the first time
The number of people on NHS waiting lists in England has fallen below 800,000 for the first time, new figures released today by the Department of Health have shown.
Dec 4, 2005, 10:03
Reforms are threatening the future of district general hospitals
Government reforms are threatening the future of district general hospitals, says an expert in this week’s BMJ. Given the iconic status of hospitals in the eyes of the public, government risks huge unpopularity in dealing with the consequences.
Dec 2, 2005, 19:24
New NHS patient choice policies take no account of limited resources
The Government’s current NHS reform programme could lead to patients being charged for access to healthcare, argues a paper in this week’s BMJ.
Dec 2, 2005, 19:22
Examining NHS reforms: Health care in the market place
The Government's use of private health care in the NHS is a much more open and aggressive version of the "internal market" tried by the Conservatives in the 1990s, says an article in this week's BMJ - the first of a series examining NHS reforms.
Nov 12, 2005, 20:08
Nurse and pharmacist prescribing powers extended
Patients will be able to get quicker and more efficient access to medicines thanks to extensions to nurse and pharmacist prescribing announced today by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt at the Chief Nursing Officer’s conference in London. From spring 2006, qualified Extended Formulary nurse prescribers and pharmacist independent prescribers will be able to prescribe any licensed medicine for any medical condition – with the exception of controlled drugs.
Nov 11, 2005, 00:52
Orphan drugs and the NHS: should we value rarity?
The growing number and costs of drugs for rare diseases (orphan drugs) are straining healthcare budgets. Should the NHS continue to pay for them and how will this affect other health services, ask two articles in this week’s BMJ. Orphan drugs are often expensive to produce and benefit only small numbers of patients. Historically, the NHS has paid for them because treatments for these diseases were so rare that the effect on health services was negligible.
Oct 29, 2005, 15:04
Meeting MRSA Targets Largely Down To Chance, Says Expert
Chance makes it impossible to assess reliably whether hospitals are meeting government targets to reduce MRSA infections, argues a statistics expert in this week’s BMJ. The UK government has set a national target for reducing the rate of MRSA infection by 50% by 2008, but David Spiegelhalter, a senior scientist at the MRC Biostatistics Unit Cambridge, warns that setting these targets for individual hospitals is fraught with difficulties.
Oct 29, 2005, 14:53
Call for an independent regulator for NHS
The NHS should have an independent regulator like other public utilities in the UK, argues a senior doctor in this week’s BMJ. Many public utilities have independent regulators to see that commercial interests and unfair pricing do not disadvantage the public.
Oct 21, 2005, 15:51
Cost effectiveness of complementary treatments in the United Kingdom
More doubts are cast over the cost effectiveness of complementary medicine in this week’s BMJ.
Oct 14, 2005, 21:43
Services for liver disease in the United Kingdom need immediate improvement
Liver services in the United Kingdom need better funding and better staffing, argues a senior doctor in this week’s BMJ.
Oct 14, 2005, 21:43
Hewitt fulfils commitment to NHS workers
Thousands of staff working in the NHS are set to benefit from a new agreement that will bring cleaning, portering, catering and other similar “soft facilities management” services provided by contractors into line with the NHS Agenda for Change pay deal, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced today.
Oct 8, 2005, 05:52
Day surgery rates continue to rise in UK
New figures published by Dr Foster in this weekâ€™s BMJ show that day surgery rates continue to rise, yet there is still considerable scope for improvement. These findings support a recent Healthcare Commission report showing that day surgery units are not being used to their maximum capacity.
Oct 7, 2005, 21:16
Reforming the NHS in England - Views
The NHS is being taken over by big business so that money that could go towards clinical care is diverted to corporations and their shareholders, warn two senior doctors in this weekâ€™s BMJ.
Oct 7, 2005, 21:16
Is the private finance initiative dead in NHS?
Government enthusiasm for the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the health service - private sector investment in hospital building projects - may be dropping because of its high cost, says an editorial in this weekâ€™s BMJ.
Oct 7, 2005, 21:16
National consultation on NHS-funded infertility treatment
A national consultation on NHS-funded infertility treatment aimed at improving equality of access across Scotland was launched today.
Sep 10, 2005, 23:11
PCT patient survey is proof of high standards in primary care services
The NHS Confederation, which represents 93 per cent of primary care trusts (PCTs), says that the key findings of the Healthcare Commission’s PCT patient survey are good news for NHS patients.
Sep 9, 2005, 15:51
NHS Confederation calls for debate on NHS drug costs
The NHS Confederation is calling for an urgent debate on rapidly increasing NHS drug costs following today’s Audit Commission report about the financial implications of implementing NICE guidance on new medication and surgical procedures.
Sep 9, 2005, 15:49
'Guaranteed' appointments with your GP
Patients will be guaranteed the choice of being able to book an advance appointment with a GP under measures to improve access to family doctor services announced today by Health Minister Lord Warner.
Sep 8, 2005, 01:31