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GPs strike off complainers

Increasing numbers of GPs are removing patients who make complaints, a Healthcare Commission report shows.

Its monthly report on complaints cited the issue as a major source of cases relating to primary care services.

The Commission said it was still missing its target to handle 95 per cent of complaints within six months but had made progress on the backlog of cases.

One in five complaints should have been dealt with at local level, the report said.

Bowel Ca screening to start

Bowel cancer screening will be rolled out from April next year, the Government has announced.

Home faecal occult blood testing kits will be sent out to all people aged between 60 and 69 and individuals over the age of 70 will be screened on request.

The screening programme could reduce mortality from bowel cancer by 15 per cent in those tested, the Department of Health said.

Initially screening will only cover a quarter of the UK but will be rolled out nationwide by 2008. Eligible individuals will be tested every two years.

GP's widow to sue PCT

Dr Stephen Farley's widow is to sue the PCT and strategic health authority which carried out an investigation into his referral rates.

Dr Farley hanged himself in January last year after suffering stress as a result of the three-year investigation by Charnwood and North West Leicestershire PCT and Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland SHA.

Marion Farley believes the probe led to her husband's death. She said she was bringing the action after Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland SHA asserted it had not owed her husband a duty of care.

Alert over cholangitis

The Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin has warned GPs to be on the lookout for cases of acute cholangitis.

A DTB review found one in 11 patients admitted to hospital with gallstone disease has the infection, which can be fatal and requires emergency treatment.

The review urges GPs to consider the possibility of infection even in patients not displaying classical features of the disease.

Counterfeit drug warning

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is recalling thousands of packs of Lipitor after detecting counterfeit products in the supply chain. The 004405KI batch imported into the country in February will now be withdrawn, and patients taking drugs with this batch number are being advised to contact their pharmacist.

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