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Independents' Day

GP says contract chases grey vote

GPC defends retirement age

The GPC has passed a motion calling for doctors to retain the right to retire at 60. The move is in response to Government proposals to make 65 the standard retirement age from 2013.

The committee also said that existing members of the pension scheme should retain all other current benefits.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said it was a 'breach of contract' to make changes to a scheme that members had entered on a particular understanding.

Little benefit in infant flu jab

There is little evidence to suggest vaccinating young children against influenza is effective, Cochrane reviewers warn.

Some experts have called for a universal influenza vaccine campaign in UK children

after the US and Canada initiated programmes.

But a systematic review from the Cochrane Vaccines Field published in this week's Lancet has found there is no evidence that vaccination of young children is effective.

Get class to quit, says Reid

The best way to help people give up smoking is to 'make them middle-class', Health Secretary John Reid says. Giving evidence at the Commons health select committee inquiry on the Government's public health White Paper, Mr Reid stood by last summer's controversial comment that smoking was one of the few pleasures available to the working classes.

But he said 'the converse' was that becoming middle-class could help people quit. 'As horizons and opportunities extend, smoking drops,'

Mr Reid said.

Health Professions form fees

GPs should charge a fee for completing Health Professions Council forms for patients.

The GPC says completing the forms, which ask for proof of good health by any 'medical practitioner', is not a GMS obligation.

'When charging a fee, GPs should bear in mind the potential effect on the doctor/patient relationship,' the GPC advice adds.

Help smooth data sharing

GPs are being urged to take part in a Government survey to help reduce red tape arising from information sharing between the health and social care sectors.

The Cabinet Office wants GPs to help identify 'bureaucratic burdens' through an online questionnaire.

It can be found at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/ regulation/pst/projects/mad/data.asp

Heterosexual HIV on increase

The Health Protection Agency is warning that heterosexual transmission of HIV could be on the rise in the UK.

While overall number of infections did not increase between 2003 and 2004, the proportion diagnosed in heterosexuals rose from 55 to 57 per cent, new figures show. Eight out of 10 heterosexual infections were acquired abroad in high-risk countries.

Dr Valerie Delpech, consultant epidemiologist in the HPA's HIV and STI department, said: 'There are clear signs heterosexual transmission of HIV within the UK, is gradually increasing.'

Government cuts off 0870

The Government has finally announced a ban on practices using national rate 0870 numbers.

Health minister John Hutton said practices that use the lines must switch to local rate alternatives by April. NEG, which supplies the lines to around 300 practices, said GPs would not be affected financially.

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