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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Bodies exhumed in GP murder inquiry

GPs better with hypertension

GPs are becoming more successful at treating hypertension, according to new Department of Health data revealing an overall fall in the nation's blood pressure.

The Health Survey for England found mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures had fallen between 1994 and 2003 as the proportion of patients receiving treatment went up.

But the survey revealed significant differences between the sexes, with 43 per cent of hypertensive women receiving treatment but only 37 per cent of men.

GP community hospital deal

GPs in mid-Wales have won a landmark new contract for community hospital work.

The agreement, between Powys local health board and GPs across 10 community hospitals, allows them to drop out-of-hours work, defines in-hours work and gives a significant pay rise.

GPC Wales chair Dr Andrew Dearden said the deal could be a benchmark for the rest of the UK and would double the rates for many GPs working in community hospitals.

'If it works there it will work anywhere ­ for all areas of the UK, not just Wales,' he said.

Flu rise triggers antivirals

Influenza rates have increased to the level where GPs can consider the use of antivirals in suitable patients, the Health Protection Agency has warned.

Rates of infection have now reached the threshold of 30 consultations per 100,000, according to the HPA's latest weekly flu bulletin.

MPs to examine White Paper

The Commons health select committee has announced an inquiry into the Government's White Paper on public health.

MPs will examine whether the proposals will enable the Government to achieve its public health goals and whether they represent value for money. They will also scrutinise the existing public health infrastructure to ensure it is sufficient to implement the proposals.

GPs honoured by the Queen

Three GPs have been named in the Queen's New Year Honours list.

Dr Kishori Agrawal, a GP in Sandwell, West Midlands, was awarded an OBE for services to health care.

Dr Iain McNicol, a GP in Appin, Argyll, and Dr Mark Porter, a GP in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and a broadcaster, were each awarded an MBE for services to health care.

The Department of Health's Dr Phillip Leech, principal medical officer for primary care, was also awarded an OBE.

GPs shun 'unpaid leave' offer

Salaried GPs are giving the cold shoulder to a primary care trust that encouraged them to take unpaid leave to stave off its financial troubles.

North Somerset PCT, which is facing a deficit of £10 million, sent letters to all its staff offering 'voluntary career or education breaks, retirement or reduction of hours'.

No GPs have taken up the offer.

Stephen Mercer, chief executive of Avon LMC, said: 'Our view was that this was not on.'

Campaign to ease GP workload

A new campaign to free up GPs' time by getting rid of unnecessary paperwork has been launched by the Department of Health.

Posters will be made available to every practice telling patients they do not need to get a GP to countersign passport applications or provide sickness certificates for short-term sick leave of under seven days.

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