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GP gets revenge in letter

Contraindications for cox-2s

All cox-2 inhibitors are now to be contraindicated in patients with ischaemic heart disease or stroke, the European Medicines Agency has announced as part of its ongoing safety review.

Etoricoxib is also to be contraindicated in hypertensive patients with uncontrolled blood pressure.

Final regulatory action will be announced in April 2005.

GPC fears on confidentiality

The GPC has asked the BMA to hold an extraordinary conference to address confidentiality and safety concerns over the National Programme for IT. In a letter to BMA chair Dr James Johnson, the GPC said there was 'distinct lack' of Government and BMA policy, particularly in relation to the NHS Care Record.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said: 'There are some tensions, particularly between GPs and public health doctors, on the appropriateness of more information being available.'

Many more quit smoking

The number of patients successfully quitting smoking has increased dramatically, according to Department of Health figures.

Quarterly smoking cessation data for April to September 2004 showed 107,800 smokers had successfully quit at the four-week follow-up date, up 49 per cent from the previous year.

Four-fifths of patients had managed to quit with nicotine replacement therapy alone, 8 per cent were prescribed bupropion and 1 per cent were prescribed both.

Knowledge tests not axed

The RCGP has rebuffed reports that it has 'sidelined' its proposals for knowledge tests to be used as a prerequisite for revalidation.

The college said it was prepared to consider the tests, which are part of the MRCGP exam, as part of a set of measures geared towards determining fitness to practise.

Reports that it had 'sidelined' them had been based on an out-of-date document, a spokesman said.

Hospitals' perverse incentive

The Government needs to overhaul its plans for practice-based commissioning and payment by results because they will lead to perverse incentives for hospitals to increase activity, the GPC has argued. A critique of the proposals also claims they will put patient safety at risk.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC primary care development sub-committee, said: 'We have evidence that payment by results does incentivise secondary care activity.'

Essex GPs in formal dispute

GPs in Essex have launched formal dispute proceedings against a PCT that is attempting to fund Saturday morning surgeries and PRIMIS coding work as enhanced services.

South Essex LMC chair Dr Michael Alawi branded the move by Billericay, Brentwood and Wickford PCT 'a joke'. He said: 'As far as we know no other PCT is trying to do this. Saturday morning surgeries are emergency out-of-hours work. Also PRIMIS is not an enhanced service.'

GPs key to 'can do' culture

The GPs of the future will have a 'crucial role' in getting people on incapacity benefit back to work, Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson has claimed. Mr Johnson said: 'The doctors of tomorrow have a crucial role in changing the "can't do" culture to a "can do" one by helping people focus on work.'

GPs have hit out at Government plans to scrutinise their sickness certification record.

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