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In Brief: Pulse extends its lead

Pulse is still the best-read weekly medical publication, according to the latest official industry readership survey. The JICMARS survey showed 73 per cent of UK GPs read Pulse in the six months to November 2006 – four percentage points ahead of GP, seven points ahead of the BMJ and 12 points ahead of Doctor.

Thank you to all our readers for your support.

Malaria advice update

A series of changes have been made to the Malaria prophylaxis advice on Pulse's travel vaccination charts (pages 52-53) and online Travel Clinic.

The changes, which affect a series of countries including Brazil, India and Vietnam, follow new guidelines released by the Health Protection Agency.

Emergency bed day cuts

The Department of Health has met its 2008 public service agreement target to cut emergency bed days by 5 per cent one year early.

Emergency bed days have fallen by 5.4 per cent since 2003/04. The department has launched the Combined Predictive Model to identify frequent users of hospital services and help with case management.

Returning GPs guidance

GPs wishing to return to practice should ask a PCO

for a 'conditional inclusion' on the performers list if they cannot be fully included, new GPC guidance advises.

Conditional inclusion allows the GP to work in

a supervised setting. GP returners should also seek advice from their deanery, the guidance recommends.

Risks of PCT cost-cutting

PCT cuts in community services risk disengaging clinicians and patients from NHS reforms, the Institute for Public Policy Research is warning.

Its report, The Future Hospital, also raised fears the Government's patient choice and plurality of provider agendas could lead some local hospital services to close because of competition from independent sector treatment centres.

Late flu drive in Scotland

GPs in Scotland are set to be vaccinating patients against flu well into the New Year after practices finally received sufficient supplies of vaccine.

Scotland's chief medical officer last week urged patients to continue to come forward to see their

GP – insisting it was not too late to benefit from vaccination.

NICE faces first legal case

NICE is facing its first judicial review after two drug companies, Eisai and Pfizer, began legal proceedings.

The companies formally applied to the High Court for permission to request a review of the institute's ruling on dementia drugs.

Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: 'We consider their claim without foundation–- it will require us to divert energy and funding from the work we do to support patients and health professionals.'

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