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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Meningitis case GP's court ordeal drags on

Patient jailed for stalking GP

A woman who carried out a 'serious and prolonged' campaign of harassment against her GP and his wife has been jailed for three months.

Jane Welsh carried out 40 incidents of harassment against Dr Stephen Wedderburn, a GP in Aberdeen.

These included sticking love notes on his car and blaring her car horn outside his house.

Aberdeen Sheriff Annella Cowan said Welsh had caused obvious distress and anxiety to Dr Wedderburn and made allegations about him that would have amounted to 'both the commission of a crime and serious professional misconduct'.

10-minute consultations

GPs' average consultation length is around 10 minutes ­ far lower than the 14 minutes claimed by Health Secretary John Reid.

A survey by the RCGP and website doctors.org.uk found 42 per cent of GPs thought consultation lengths had gone up over the past three years.

Half of the 1,000 GPs questioned said increased use of IT systems during consultations gave them less time to deal with clinical issues.

GPC representation plea

The BMA is urging women, sessional and salaried GPs to stand for election to the GPC.

It wants to end the under-representation of certain groups of doctors on the committee.

GPs from minority ethnic groups are also being urged to put themselves forward in the regional elections in May. Those elected will serve until 2008.

Antidepressant is launched

GP depression experts have given a cautious welcome to a new antidepressant launched by US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly this week.

Duloxetine (Cymbalta), a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, is designed to treat a broad range of depressive symptoms including general aches and pains.

Dr Chris Manning, chief executive of Primary Care Mental Health and Education, said: 'There are a huge number of people with depression who should be on medication so this could be useful.'

But he warned that any new treatment for depression should be introduced 'very carefully'.

Criminal record deadline near

GPs in England have until February 1 to take part in criminal records checks, or risk removal from the list.

GPs who have not yet completed their application should visit www.disclosure.gov.uk for details.

PCTs have been advised to act with sensitivity and discretion where a certificate has not been granted. Checks for GPs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to follow soon.

Suicides in young men falling

The suicide rate for young men has fallen to its lowest level for almost 20 years, new Government figures show.

Since its peak in 1998, the suicide rate in men aged 20-34 has fallen by 30 per cent.

Overall deaths from suicide have fallen 6 per cent from baseline levels in 1995/7.

Health minister Rosie Winterton said legislation to reduce pack sizes of aspirin and paracetamol to prevent overdoses had contributed to the fall.

Primary Care Diabetes Society

The website for the Primary Care Diabetes Society was printed incorrectly in last week's issue. The address is www.pcdsociety.org

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