'Double cash for premises'
'SSRIs not safe for children'
The European Medicines Agency has finalised its review of SSRIs and confirmed none of the drugs should be used in children, including fluoxetine (Prozac).
Fluoxetine was the one drug in its class the UK authorities had allowed for use in under-18s after clinical trials showed SSRIs could make some children feel suicidal or become hostile and aggressive. But the EMEA this week ruled that no SSRIs were safe for children and recommended the inclusion of strong warnings to doctors and parents about the risks.
Health inequalities widen
The Government has failed to halt widening health inequalities, a study has found.
Despite ministers' pledges to reduce inequalities, variations in life expectancy between social groups has risen to levels unseen since Victorian times, the research by Bristol and Sheffield universities concluded.
The paper in this week's BMJ reported that the difference between the local authority with the lowest life expectancy among men (Glasgow City) and the highest (East Dorset) had grown to 11 years. The widening gap between rich and poor did 'not bode well for future trends in health inequalities', the authors said.
COPD spirometry to go
The GPC has hinted that sprirometry for COPD will be dropped from the next draft of the quality and outcomes framework.
Dr Mary Church, joint-chair of the Scottish GPC, told the Scottish LMCs conference in Glasgow that some indicators would be 'redundant'.
She said: 'Spirometry for COPD is one that will be looked at. I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't in the new QOF when it comes out.'
Scots GPs get IT choice
GPs in Scotland will be able to opt to change their IT systems from next month, following an agreement between the Scottish GPC and the Scottish health department.
The deal brings Scottish IT policy in line with Connecting for Health in England and could spell the end of the dominance of the much-criticised GPASS system.
GPs will have to make a business case, setting out the benefits of changing systems, to secure funding. New software must meet certain criteria, including the ability to store records on a central server.
Rosuvastatin dose refined
GPs can start patients on rosuvastatin (Crestor) at 5mg or 10mg, the European drug regulator has ruled.
But the European Medicines Agency recommended that the starting dose for patients with predisposing factors for myopathy, of Chinese or Japanese ancestry or over 70 should be 5mg. The EMEA investigated the benefit-risk ratio for alternative starting doses of rosuvastatin following a request by the UK.
GP care standards reviewed
The GMC has commissioned a review of the standards of care that should be expected from GPs and other specialties.
It said the review, carried out in conjunction with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, would ensure there were 'clear, demonstrable, and broadly consistent' standards for each specialty.
The review will also investigate how standards should link to the evidence doctors should include in folders for appraisal and revalidation. It will also consider how 'actual serious impairment' could be measured for each specialty.