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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP sets up private out-of-hours service

Diabetes to soar over obesity

The rising incidence of obesity will lead to a 54 per cent increase in the number of cases of diabetes by 2023, according to new Department of Health projections.

The department also predicts there will be increases of 28 per cent in hypertension, 18 per cent in heart attacks and 13 per cent in angina.

Danila Armstrong, a nutritionist at the department, unveiled the projections at the British Cardiac Society meeting in Manchester this week. She warned that unless the increases in obesity are reversed, the rates of chronic disease would continue to rise.

Complaints portal rejected

The GPC has objected to the concept of a single 'portal' through which patients would direct all complaints about NHS services.

In a submission to the Chief Medical Officer's review of revalidation and medical regulation, Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said it would prefer patients to be able to decide where to direct a complaint. A portal was recommended by Dame Janet Smith in her final report to the Shipman Inquiry and is supported by the GMC.

The GPC also warned that introducing 'intimidating undertones' into revalidation, such as making the process something doctors pass or fail, would harm recruitment.

Charity planning GP clinics

A charity has announced plans to set up three GP clinics in east London to provide essential services for migrants, homeless people and other vulnerable groups, saying it wanted to improve access to mainstream health care and advice.

Karen McColl, director of Médicins du Monde UK, said some GPs had already volunteered to staff the clinics. She said: 'This project is not in any way meant to undermine the work of the NHS.'

The Healthcare Commission is assessing whether to grant the charity a licence to practise.

Curing 'sick man of Europe'

More emphasis on local primary care services is essential if Scotland is to shrug off its reputation as the 'sick man of Europe', a study for the Scottish Executive has concluded.

The report, which sets out a 20-year plan for the NHS in Scotland, recommended a 'preventive and anticipatory' approach, targeting deprived areas to reduce health inequalities and encouraging patients to self-care.

Author Professor David Kerr, a cancer specialist, also advocated a national IT system including electronic patient records, more diagnostics in primary care and concentrating complex care in fewer sites.

Obsessive disorders guide

NICE has published the second set of draft guidelines for consultation on obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder.

The consultation sets out a role for GPs and practice nurses in detection of the disorders, in educating patients and in discussing treatment options. It also provides guidance on providing support to patients and families and referral to other services.

The draft guidelines can be viewed at www.nice.org.uk

Heart death inequality wider

Inequalities between ethnic groups in deaths from heart disease are widening in the UK, an editorial in this week's BMJ warns.

Dr Sandeep Gupta, a consultant cardiologist at Whipps Cross University Hospital in London, said much more needed to be done to tackle heart disease in south Asians.

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