In top news today, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced that, from December, all doctors will be given annual assessments and full five-yearly checks to ensure they are still fit to practice.
Jeremy Hunt describes the new system as being about identifying gaps in knowledge or skills, and giving doctors a ‘chance to put those issues right’. The move comes after discussions dating back to 2000, when the former General Medical Council president Sir Donald Irvine launched the revalidation proposals on the basis that the public assumed checks were made to ensure that doctors continue to be fit to practice but that this wasn’t the case.
Hunt said: ‘We want to have the best survival rates in Europe for the major killer diseases. Doctors save lives every day and making sure they are up to speed with the latest treatments and technologies will help them save even more. This is why a proper system of revalidation is so important.’
The BBC reports that the plans for revalidation herald the biggest shake-up in medical regulation for more than 150 years. However, it will be April 2016 before the vast majority of the first round of checks have been done.
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Exeter have discovered that young people who sustain brain injuries are more likely to commit crimes and end up in prison.
The researchers say that severe head injuries can lead maturing brains to “misfire”, affecting judgement and the ability to control impulses, potentially leading to serious social consequences.
In the report, Repairing Shattered Lives, Professor Huw Williams from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Clinical Neuropsychology Research, describes traumatic brain injury as a “silent epidemic”.
Finally, in the Telegraph today is has been reported that the Co-Operative Pharmacy chain is to sell the ‘five-day-after pill’ for £30, with no requirement for women to have had a doctor’s consultation beforehand.
The firm said it was taking the step to offer women greater choice, but critics said it would encourage ‘a more casual attitude to sex’ and contribute to rises in sexually transmitted diseases.
Called ellaOne, the pill is thought to work by preventing ovulation and fertilisation, and by making the lining of the womb less receptive to a fertilised egg.
Some 250,000 women use emergency contraception every year, overwhelmingly paid for by the NHS.