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PCTs may contract out immunisations

Wales sets QOF milestone

Welsh health minister Dr Brian Gibbons has set a 'milestone' for 80 per cent of practices in Wales to be scoring 700 quality points this year.

The target is part of a new 10-year strategy launched by Dr Gibbons, a former GP, this week.

The strategy, Designed for Life, proposes new primary care 'resource centres' which will include beds for people who need long-term or respite care.

Another milestone is for patients to expect to wait less than six months from GP referral to operating table by 2009.

Mumps epidemic will last

The current mumps epidemic could last for more than a year, the Health Protection Agency is warning.

Professor Elizabeth Miller, head of the agency's immunisation department, said if the current catch-up campaigns were successful the epidemic should decline 'by about this time next year'.

But she added it would depend on success in reaching the target groups, as experience had shown that coverage in university students was only 30 per cent.

More people quit smoking

The number of people giving up smoking in England has risen sharply.

From April to December 2004, 170,600 people had given up at the four-week follow-up, compared with 116,200 in the same period in 2003.

The quarterly report of NHS Stop Smoking Services showed that of 313,100 smokers who set a quit date, 54 per cent were still not smoking four weeks later.

Some 79 per cent of those setting a quit date received nicotine replacement therapy, 7 per cent received bupropion only and 1 per cent received both NRT and bupropion.

PCT chief quits over deficit

The chair of Kensington and Chelsea PCT, Terry Stamford, has quit after the trust reported a £14.5 million deficit ­ up by £9 million from a report published in March. He said: 'Those at the top have to accept responsibility for the failure.'

Some £4.2 million savings already been identified by the trust. GPs are almost certain to be hit by further cuts in premises and enhanced services. Former GP Dr Lise Llewellyn, chief executive of Brent Teaching PCT, will take over as interim chief executive.

GPs to direct access talks

Two former GP leaders are to join a new advisory board to shape the future direction of the organisation responsible for rolling out advance access.

Dr John Chisholm, ex-GPC chair, and Dr David Haslam, ex-RCGP chair, will join former NHS Confederation negotiator Mike Farrar on the advisory board for the National Primary Care Development Team (NPDT).

Professor Chris Ham, a former director of the Department of Health strategy unit, will also sit on the board, which aims to direct the NPDT as it takes on new work in other public services such as education.

Hib booster timing on way

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is to rule on the timing of introduction of a Hib booster.

The Health Protection Agency said the JCVI would examine new data indicating that a booster for Hib was needed.

The JCVI is expected to recommend a booster in the second year of life, although the HPA said the success of catch-up campaigns in 2003 meant its introduction was not urgent.

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