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At the heart of general practice since 1960

'Final word on the MMR/autism myth'

GPs urged to run interaction checks

GPs should regularly run searches on their computer to check for patients who could be on potentially hazardous drug combinations, according to the latest RCGP safety bulletin.

It advises GPs to focus initially on the big problem

areas, such as the use of ß-blockers in asthma, the combined contraceptive pill in women with a history of thromboembolism and non-selective NSAIDs in patients with a history of peptic ulcer.

Ministers dilute mental health plans

The Government has watered down proposals to detain mental health patients who do not comply with their treatment. Its new draft Mental Health Bill has set stricter criteria for patients who can be detained and conceded that compulsory treatment beyond 28 days would only be authorised by an independent tribunal.

But the Royal College of Psychiatrists criticised the Bill for emphasising coercion and failing to distinguish patients with neurological disorders such as epilepsy or substance misuse problems.

New NHS plan to overhaul efficiency

The NHS Modernisation Agency has identified 10 'high-impact' ways to overhaul NHS efficiency and quality of care.

A new 100-page guide outlines measures such as reducing the number of queues, making greater use of day surgery and using templates to optimise patient flow.

According to the guide, implementation of the changes across the whole of the NHS would save hundreds of thousands of clinician hours and wasted appointments and virtually eliminate waiting times.

U-turn on Choose and Book initiative

The Government has done a U-turn on its pledge in the Choose and Book initiative to offer all patients a choice of four to five providers at the point of referral by a GP.

In a policy document released last month, the Department of Health gave PCTs the option to offer fewer choices 'for some treatments with real capacity constraints'.

But PCTs have been told they need to seek strategic health authority approval before offering what the department calls 'reduced menus'.

The document also concedes that this wide choice of four to five hospitals may not be appropriate for all services.Other exemptions include paediatric services and treatment needed at short notice such as emergency admissions.

Public still find GPs trustworthy

General practice is the most trusted profession in the UK, according to a Committee on Standards in Public Life survey on public attitudes.

The survey found that 92 per cent of respondents trusted family doctors to tell the truth.

In contrast just 44 per cent of respondents said they trusted senior NHS managers.

The report said: 'People express higher levels of trust in frontline professionals and those whom they perceive to be impartial or independent than they do in senior managers and administrators and those whom they perceive to be politically motivated.'

Among other trusted professionals are judges, school head teachers and local police officers.

Journalists, estate agents and government ministers are among the least trusted.

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