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GP fights for more parking

Will IT program be an improvement?

The Government has failed to produce evidence that its IT modernisation program will have a positive impact on the NHS, according to an influential think-tank.

A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research said better use of IT could lead to better health care.

But after examining 40 IT projects, including pilots of electronic health records and electronic booking of referrals, it concluded little evidence had been produced that these projects improved patient satisfaction, value for money, trust or outcomes.

Topical NSAIDs only work short-term

Topical NSAIDs used to treat osteoarthritis are only effective as a very short-term treatment, a review of the available data shows.

The evidence, taken from 13 randomised controlled trials, showed that in trials lasting up to four weeks topical NSAIDs were only superior to placebo for the first two weeks. In the first week of treatment topical NSAIDs were also inferior to oral NSAIDs and produced more local side-effects such as itching, burning or rashes.

Poor coding hits chronic disease care

Poor-quality morbidity coding in general practice may hamper efforts to improve the management of chronic disease, according to a new study.

A systematic review of coding practices in primary care found the quality of recording varied for different diseases, and was poor for heart disease but good for diabetes. Accuracy and completeness of computer records varied substantially between practices for some conditions, including asthma, hypertension and rheumatoid arthritis, the study in Family Practice (August) found.

BMA condemns 'scandal of STI failure'

BMA chair Mr James Johnson has criticised the Government's 'scandalous' failure to tackle the epidemic of sexually transmitted infection, after new statistics revealed another sharp rise.

The figures, released by the Health Protection Agency, showed that in 2003 chlamydia cases rose 9 per cent to 89,818 and syphilis by 28 per cent to 1,575. There were small falls in gonorrhoea and genital herpes.

Civil service purge may hit contract

GPC negotiators are concerned the planned cull of civil service jobs could further disrupt new contract talks.

Negotiators have already attributed 'teething' troubles over implementation to job cuts at the Department of Health where many staff with expertise on the contract have gone. They fear further cuts could affect the ability of the new NHS Employers Organisation to take over talks in October. 'The first things we want to get moving on are the reviews of the allocation formula and the quality framework,' said GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum.

New GP guide on medical certificates

The GPC has released guidance on medical certificates and reports, with information on GPs' obligations under new contracts. It covers GMS and PMS GPs' statutory obligations, particularly in relation to certificates issued by the Department of Work and Pensions.

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