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Thank God it's Friday?

MMR catch-up could spread

London's MMR catch-up campaign could be rolled out to other areas of the country after an encouraging initial response.

Half of parents offered the vaccine for their children have accepted. Early indications suggest 100,000 children will receive their first or second dose in clinics run in schools this term to try to prevent a measles epidemic in London.

Those children who need another dose will be asked to go to their GP in a month's time.

Visually impaired plea to GPs

More than a third of visually impaired people feel their GP is not fully aware of their needs, a survey by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association has found.

Two-thirds also felt their GP was unable to give them meaningful information on support services.

Staff awareness and the need for prescriptions in braille and large print were cited as areas where GPs could improve.

The charity also called for GPs to set up a flagging system on notes to alert staff that a patient might require assistance.

BMA fears for rural health

Health policies designed for urban areas are putting the health of rural people under threat, a BMA report finds.

Difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, remoteness and centralisation of facilities were blamed for poor health outcomes in rural patients.

The BMA said improving public transport, expanding use of telemedicine and encouraging students from rural backgrounds to apply to medical school would help improve primary care in rural areas.

Yellow card data on the web

Data on adverse drug reactions will be published on the web as part of a drive to improve access to safety information.

Researchers will be able to access more detailed yellow card data from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency after ethical approval.

The measures were announced by health minister Lord Warner as part of the Government's review of the yellow card scheme.

The Government will also ensure forms to allow patients to report adverse reactions are circulated to GP surgeries.

Did Shipman kill in training?

Harold Shipman may have killed up to 137 patients while training to be a doctor.

The final report of the Shipman Inquiry to be published this week will consider the deaths ­ which occurred while he was training at the Pontefract Infirmary in Yorkshire between 1970 and 1974.

The deaths, including those of four babies, were investigated after a health official voiced concerns. The sixth report will also deal with claims by a former inmate of Shipman's that he made a confession while in prison.

Scots GPs near flu target

GPs in Scotland hit 68 per cent uptake of influenza vaccine in elderly patients by the end of December ­ despite disastrous delays in vaccine supplies. Although the figure is still two points shy of the target, health officials are hopeful final March figures will hit 70 per cent.

New society for diabetes

The Primary Care Diabetes Society was launched this month. For more information, visit

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