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It's discrimination, say small practices

BMA warns Blair on pensions

Doctors will leave the NHS in droves if the Government increases their pension age to 65, BMA chair James Johnson has warned Tony Blair.

Questioning the Prime Minister at a televised debate organised by the Kings Fund, Mr Johnson said doctors would 'leave and cash in their chips'. Mr Blair responded that he would continue talks over the issue. Ministers have been forced back to the negotiating table over public sector pensions after widespread threats of action by unions.

NHS 24 failing, say LMCs

'Failing' NHS 24, delayed enhanced service deals and 'nightmare' bureaucracy dominate this week's annual conference of Scottish LMCs.

The conference will discuss 14 motions on NHS 24. Dr Mary Peddie, chair of Forth Valley LMC, said it was 'the big issue'.

She said: 'The difficulty is accessing NHS 24. There's a suggestion people aren't getting through and are going to casualty.'

NHS bureaucracy will also come under fire from LMCs, with community health partnerships the focus of anger.

Childhood wheeze falling

The prevalence of respiratory symptoms in young children appears to have fallen in the last decade, a new study reveals.

Researchers identified significant downward trends for wheeze symptoms over the previous 12 months in two-year-olds and cough symptoms in two and four-year-olds.

The North West Lung Research Centre study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood (May), concluded the trend could represent a decline in illness or improvements in treatment.

More under-16s diabetic

Type 2 diabetes is significantly more prevalent among under-16s than previously thought. A study in east London identified 22 cases ­ recent figures had suggested there were only around 100 cases diagnosed in the whole of the UK.

The study, presented at the Diabetes UK annual professional conference in Glasgow, found 95 per cent of cases were in children who were overweight or obese.

PPI to stay prescription-only

Wyeth Consumer Healthcare has dropped its plans to make the proton pump inhibitor lansoprazole (Zoton) available over the counter. Wyeth said it had intended to switch the drug from prescription-only status last September, but delays meant the plans were not viable.

GPs lose health visitors

GPs in Morecambe Bay have hit out at PCT plans to take health visitors out of practices to cut costs.

The GPC this week discussed the proposal to centralise a core group of 20 health visitors.

Dr David Wrigley, GP representative for the north-west, accused Morecambe Bay PCT of being 'bankrupt and incompetent' because it had not consulted GPs. He said: 'The majority of GPs see them as a part of the team. What we're seeing is that this is being disintegrated.'

'GPs should treat mentally ill'

Patients and GPs disagree over who should be responsible for treating serious mental illness, according to a study published online by the BMJ.

The qualitative research found mentally ill patients regarded general practice as the 'cornerstone' of their care, whereas most GPs felt severe mental illness was too specialised for them to deal with.

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