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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Government blamed for case backlog

GP heads for election fight

GP Dr Ivan Benett looks set to stand as an independent candidate at the election after receiving support from scores of GPs.

Dr Alan McGhie, a GP in Aberlour, Grampian, said: 'Someone has to stand up for the NHS ­ count me as a supporter.'

Dr Anil Aggarwal, a GP in Huddersfield, added:

'He has articulated what most of us think. His voice needs to be heard amongst the masses.'

Although he has not yet reached 500 pledges of support from GPs, Dr Benett said growing public backing in the Withington constituency had almost made up his mind. But he said he was hoping for a final surge of GP support for his campaign, which included the Pulse manifesto for GPs, before the deadline on Tuesday.

To pledge your support for Dr Benett,

freephone 0800 015 0236 or email pulse@cmpinformation.com

Diabetes guidance published

Diabetes experts have published new guidance on the self-monitoring of blood glucose in a bid to stop wide variations in practice.

The guidance, drawn up by the Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose consensus group, advises that patients on conventional insulin therapy who are not stably controlled should self-monitor at least once daily. But patients with type 2 diabetes controlled by diet and exercise, metformin or glitazone treatment do not need self-monitoring, the guidance concludes.

Poor performers given time

PCOs must give GPs proper notice that they are considering removing them from the performers list and provide full details of any allegations, new GPC guidance states. GPs must also be given at least 28 days to respond.

Valid reasons for removal include if a GP is incompetent; inefficient; involved in a fraud case or fails to show a track record of delivering primary medical services.

Being found 'unsuitable' by an outside body, receiving a national disqualification or receiving a jail sentence of six months or more after a criminal conviction are also valid.

GPs reject aspirin advice

GPs have criticised expert advice that everyone over the age of 50 should consider taking aspirin daily to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers made their call after their 25-year Caerphilly study found 80 per cent of men aged over 50 had at least a 3 per cent risk of heart attack or stroke in the next five years.

The US Task Force on Aspirin advises 3 per cent as the threshold for daily aspirin use, but GPs insisted this would put patients at risk of GI events.

Confidentiality rules agreed

The Department of Health has finally published a new code of practice on confidentiality and the disclosure of patient information.

The code for GPs and PCTs sets down how and when practice data should be shared and how patient confidentiality is protected.

Talks between the GPC and the DoH began last October after problems emerged over GPs' quality visits. Some practices had put tape over their computer screens to mask patients' details.

Wider licence for anthrax jab

Anthrax vaccine can be used in the event of exposure to a bioweapon, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has decided.

The vaccine is currently only licensed for prophylaxis in circumstances where exposure to anthrax may be expected or anticipated.

But the JCVI ruled that the vaccine should be used in addition to antibiotics to try to reduce the risk of death after exposure.

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