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Independents' Day

LMCs attack PCT for villifying GPs

Bid to cut admissions

The King's Fund is to produce a toolkit to help GPs better target patients most at risk of emergency admissions.

The move aims to address the lack of combined health, social services and demographic data held by PCTs.

The King's Fund said such data was vital to improve targeting of patients and criticised past reliance on GPs' clinical knowledge to identify

at-risk people. Techniques used in Evercare pilots, such as targeting over-65s who had had five or more admissions in the previous year, were also criticised as inaccurate.

Diabetes education go-ahead

NICE guidance specifying that all patients with diabetes should get 'high-quality structured' education is to be implemented from January 2006.

The Department of Health had delayed implementing the NICE technology appraisal made in 2003 to allow trusts to make their own decisions about the speed of implementation.

But it said the publication of a document with examples of good practice this week meant trusts now had all the tools to go ahead.

PCTs warned on GP contract

Poor practice by PCTs in dealing with the new GP contract 'cannot be tolerated', NHS chief executive Nigel Crisp has argued.

PCTs' role and function needed to be clearly defined and a 'fitness for purpose' review would be carried out in each area, he told the NHS Confederation conference.

This would lead to a smaller number of PCTs able to operate more effectively, he said.

Sir Nigel said he had been told of 'consultants paid £200,000 by the taxpayer with no obvious objectives and of very differing approaches to the GP contract in different PCTs'.

Complementary therapy plan

The Prince of Wales's new Foundation for Integrated Health is inviting GPs with an interest in combining orthodox and complementary medicine to become associates.

The foundation wants to establish a network of GPs interested in 'integrated' care, as well as 'exemplar' practices to spread the concept of combining the two disciplines.

An inaugural conference of GP associates will be held in October. GPs interested in becoming an associate should visit

Small changes to lower CHD

Small changes in UK cardiovascular risk factors could halve coronary heart disease mortality, new research finds.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool calculated that modest additional reductions in cholesterol and smoking already achieved in the US and Scandinavia could postpone 51,270 deaths by 2010.

But 'optimistic' changes in obesity, diabetes and physical activity would have relatively small effects.

The paper was published in the July edition of Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.

UK warned on US mistakes

The NHS needs to avoid making the same mistakes as the US by moving too far towards private health provision, former President Bill Clinton's Health Secretary has warned.

Donna Shalala told the NHS Confederation annual conference that the NHS 'should not get hung up on organisational mergers as a way of achieving clinical integration'.

This had not worked in the US, she said, as neither managers nor doctors had been taught to design and organise an integrated care system.

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