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At the heart of general practice since 1960

'Trust is using my accident to deny me premises cash'

Fluoxetine ruling overridden

The UK's drug regulator has overridden European advice on SSRIs and insisted that fluoxetine (Prozac) is safe for use in children.

The European Medicines Agency last week ruled SSRIs should only be used in children within their 'approved indications'. No SSRIs are approved to treat depression in children.

But the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, while claiming its advice was consistent with the EMEA's, said fluoxetine was 'effective' in the under-18s. It said the balance of risks and benefits was 'unfavourable' for all other SSRIs.

'Complaints overhaul vital'

The GMC has acknowledged the complaints system needs overhauling after GPs complained they were being investigated by the council for 'frivolous' complaints.

In a letter to Pulse, Professor Sir Graeme Catto said the GMC shared GPs' concern. He said the cases supported the GMC's demand for a single complaints 'portal' to better direct patients.

Sir Graeme added the GMC was hamstrung at the moment by its statutory responsibility to consider all complaints it receives.

Sir Graeme was responding after two GPs told Pulse they were being investigated over what they believed were 'frivolous' complaints.

·Letters, page 28

Medical advisers sought

Connecting for Health is asking the BMA, RCGP and other medical representative bodies to nominate members for a new advisory group.

The move is aimed at increasing consultation with clinicians about the IT modernisation programme. The group, which will have around 30 members, will meet every two months.

Dr Gillian Braunold, a GP in west London and a national clinical lead for Connecting for Health said: 'This is not just about having confidence in Connecting for Health but enabling doctors to contribute to it.'

Advisory groups for nurses and allied health professionals will also be established.

Vaccine label warning

The Government has issued safety advice on the packaging of pre-school and teenage boosters after 93 school children were given Repevax instead of Revaxis.

The National Patient Safety Agency and Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said PCTs must ensure safety procedures were in place and staff were aware of packaging changes. Stocks of Repevax are being over-labelled as 'pre-school booster'. The packaging will be redesigned to distinguish it more clearly from Revaxis.

Clinical governance move

The RCGP is setting up an 'innovation unit' in an attempt to bolster its clinical governance role.

The unit will 'harvest ideas' from international primary care organisations and academia and develop and pilot quality GP initiatives in co-ordination with bodies such as NICE and PCOs.

Dr Mayur Lakhani, chair of the RCGP, said: 'In this way, we can drive up standards of patient care even more. This will help us ensure the systematic application of innovation and learning.'

Sharp rise in child obesity

There has been a sharp rise in childhood obesity in the last decade, Government figures reveal.

In 2003, 13.7 per cent of children in England aged two to 10 were obese, compared with 9.9 per cent in 1995.

The proportion of children who were overweight rose from 22.7 per cent to 27.7 per cent over the same period.

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