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BMA organ harvesting proposal and the Lib Dems threaten backlash over bill

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Monday 13 February

According to a story in the Daily Mail this morning, ‘ministers will pay close attention to any recommendations from a body as influential as the BMA'. Unfortunately however, we're not talking about the health bill. Instead, the BMA has floated the idea that ‘brain-dead' patients should be kept artificially alive for ‘as long as is necessary' to allow for organ donation.

Known as ‘elective ventilation', the practice was ruled as ‘unlawful' by the DH in 1994, but is legal in Spain and the US. It was trialled at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in 1988 where it led to a 50% increase in donations.

The health bill seems to be at the very edge of acceptability for the Lib Dems, according to a report in the Telegraph. Senior sources within the coalition's junior partner have said Prime Minister David Cameron needs to ‘get a grip' or else they'll stop supporting the reforms.

Nick Clegg is thought to be growing increasingly concerned that Conservative unease could trigger a ‘major Lib Dem backlash'. The Telegraph's ‘well-placed' source within the party said: ‘Every day that our grassroots wake up to bad headlines, the more likely it is that open season will be declared on the bill.'

‘Nick is simply not going to be able to keep the party onside unless Conservative support for the bill is shored up, by the Prime Minister.'

Medical schools could lose millions of pounds worth of Government funding if they fail to attract more women to top posts, according to the Times (paywall).

Research by the newspaper found that, although 42% of British doctors are female, less than a quarter of clinical academics and only 14% of clinical professors are women.

Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, has issued proposals under which support for medical research will be allocated only to university departments with a ‘significant record' in promoting gender equality.