Doctors keep jobs despite sex offence convictions, cancer death rates to fall by 2030, and eye-clinics struggle with demand for 'sight saving drugs'
A round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 25 September
The GMC is in the headlines today as the Daily Mail reports that at least 31 men are practising as GPs, consultants and surgeons despite having convictions for assaulting women, possessing child pornography or soliciting prostitutes. According to the Daily Telegraph, the GMC has said it is unable to ban medics for being on the sex offenders' register as it had been advised that such a move would not be compatible with human rights legislation. Niall Dickson, the GMC's chief executive, said: ‘Cases of doctors convicted of sexual assault or child pornography offences are very rare and in the vast majority of these cases these doctors are struck off the medical register so they cannot practise medicine in the UK.' But a spokesman for the Council said the decision on whether to strike off a doctor was taken by an independent panel of experts and the GMC could not appeal against it.
However, there is some good news around this morning as the BBC and the Daily Mail report that death rates from cancer are set to fall by 17% by 2030. Better diagnosis and treatments are the main reasons for the change as well as the fact that fewer people are smoking, according to the charity Cancer Research UK. The BBC reports that 170 UK deaths per 100,000 of population were from cancer in 2010, and this figure is predicted to fall to 142 out of every 100,000. And the biggest fall is expected to be in ovarian cancer, with death rates dropping by 43%. Death rates for breast cancer are predicted to fall by 28%, for bowel cancer by 23% and prostate cancer by 16%, according to the Daily Mail. However the death rate for other cancers such as those of the liver and mouth will increase over the next two decades.
Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph also reports this morning that only half of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration are being seen within the recommended timeframe of two weeks, according to a survey of opthalmologists. Four out of 10 clinics say they are not adequately meeting demand, despite adding patients to clinics and putting on extra sessions at evenings and weekends. Winfried Amoaku, chairman of the Macular Interest Group, said that the NHS needs to ‘urgently consider how it will meet demand for this treatment. If it doesn't, patients will lose their sight unnecessarily.'