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In Brief

Darzi review criticised; Secondary uses review; Over-the-counter Pill plea; Infection control orders for GPs in Wales; 'Lambing ear' alert for rural GPs; Hospital distance factor in MI deaths

Darzi review criticised

A key adviser to health minister Lord Darzi has criticised his review of the NHS, saying it has caused practice-based commissioning to stagnate and that proposals for polyclinics resemble a ‘straitjacket' for GPs.

Dr Dixon, who Lord Darzi made head commissioning lead on his advisory panel last month, also pointed out that there had only just been a review of the health service under the last Secretary of State, telling the British Journal of Healthcare Management that politicians must not ‘keep searching for a holy grail of perfect reform that may not exist'.

Secondary uses review

The Government is to review the Secondary Uses Service – a key part of plans for the Summary Care Record – amid concerns on consent and confidentiality.

Responding to a health select committee inquiry, the Department of Health said it would set up a new National Information Governance Board to oversee the use of patient data in the SUS.

• Summary Care Record loophole, page 10

‘Scrap scripts for the Pill'

Women should not need a prescription from their GP for oral contraceptives, according to Baroness Finlay, president of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Baroness Finlay is pushing for MPs to table an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to make the contraceptive pill available over the counter.

Infection control plea

GPs in Wales are to be asked to implement a series of infection control measures as part of plans to reduce the number of patients with resistant infections who are admitted to hospitals. Under the plans, practices will need to record infections such as MRSA, C. difficile, norovirus and flu, and embed infection control.

GP alert on ‘lambing ears'

Rural GPs are being warned to look out for a new skin disease plaguing sheep farmers, dubbed lambing ears.

Ears become initially hot, itchy and sore but soon develop painful blisters. No other parts of the body are affected. Symptoms disappear once the lambing season is over. Dermatologists believe it may be caused by exposure to ewes' amniotic fluid as it does not affect the same farmers during shearing. The first case reports on the disorder have been published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

MI risk in hospital distance

Distance from home to hospital is a major predictor of a patient's risk of dying from a first myocardial infarction, say UK researchers.

They used data from 10,541 patients in Tayside who suffered an MI between 1994 and 2003. People living more than nine miles from the hospital were more than twice as likely to die as those who lived within three miles, according the study published online in Heart.

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