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GORD: where are we now?

Statin effect continuous

Statins cut the five-year incidence of major coronary events and stroke by about one-fifth per mmol/l reduction in LDL cholesterol, concludes a new meta-analysis.

The study, published online by The Lancet this week, also concluded there was ‘no evidence' the drugs increased the incidence of cancer.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and Australian colleagues examined data from 14 randomised trials covering 90,056 individuals.

GPs worth £197.50/hour

The BMA has increased its suggested fees for the majority of non-NHS work by 12 per cent.

The move takes the price of an hour of GP's time up to £197.50 from £176.50.

Suggested fees for simple certificates without examination have risen by more than 20 per cent, from £11 to £13. Other fees agreed with the Treasury and other authorities have also been updated.

Full list, page 74

Scots' health inequality

The greatest increases in Scotland's 20-year growth in health inequalities have occurred in the last decade, according to a new study published online in Social Science and Medicine.

‘Increases have been particularly great in remote rural areas and among the rural elderly,' according to Dundee-based researchers. They argue for more careful monitoring of indicators relevant to the elderly.

Pulse aids White Paper

The Department of Health is to use the Great Pulse Patient Survey to inform its forthcoming primary care White Paper. The survey of almost 10,000 patients, demonstrated the high value people place on the continuity of care traditional general practice offers.

Epilepsy drugs withdrawn

Two epilepsy drugs have been discontinued in the UK in the space of a week. Zarontin and Emeside capsules, both forms of ethosuximide, are to be withdrawn and there will no longer be a solid oral formulation. GPs are recommended to use liquid formulations instead.

Flexible retirement plan

The Government is considering ‘flexible' retirement for public sector workers between the ages of 60 and 70. The plans will be contained in a framework agreement on pensions, expected at the end of the year.

The framework will set the tone for talks between the BMA and NHS Employers on GP pensions. The BMA has campaigned against a rise in the retirement age to 65. But a source close to ministers said the BMA ‘would be wrong' to think the delay in reaching a deal meant it was softening its position.

New syndrome definition

The International Diabetes Federation has newly defined the metabolic syndrome to help identify people at high risk of CVD and diabetes.

The definition outlines criteria that must be at least partially met, with central obesity, measured by waist circumference, top of the list.

UK worst on hep C care

The UK is the worst country in Europe at diagnosing and treating Hepatitis C, a report from the Hepatitis C Trust concludes. The charity said only 14 per cent of people infected were being diagnosed and 100,000 lives were being put at risk.

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