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Health Service Journal

View all stories from this issue.

  • 24hr helpline could ease A&E pressures

    A London health authority is using pounds195,000 of winter pressures money to launch what may be the first 24-hour nurse-led helpline to divert patients from casualty wards.
  • Aims and values

    The aim of the standing advisory group is to ensure that consumer involvement in the NHS R&D programme improves the way research is prioritised, commissioned and disseminated.
  • All our Yesterdays

    16 January 1948
  • Always read the label:

    Always read the label: a patient gets to grips with half-a-dozen types of medication at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. It is breaking with 25 years of NHS operating procedure by allowing patients to take their own medicines in hospital instead of confiscating or destroying them on admission. Pharmacists check the medicines and dispense supplementary drugs under the pilot scheme, which should save UHW pounds5 per inpatient - about pounds250,000 a year. David Roberts, principal ph
  • Angel and death

    Angel and death: Marlene Dietrich, the German actress transformed into a screen icon in the 1930 film The Blue Angel, shows how smoking was once portrayed as the height of sophistication. The image comes from Cancer Wars, a four-part Channel 4 documentary starting on Sunday. The first programme focuses on lung cancer and includes the story of Janet Sachman, a model who advertised Lucky Strike cigarettes in the 1940s, but now has to speak without her larynx. It was removed in an operation for
  • Baby deaths case doctors want GMC hearing halted

    Barristers for three doctors who face misconduct proceedings following the deaths of babies after heart surgery will this week call for the cases against them to be thrown out.
  • Bulletin

    What is the first thing you do when you arrive at work?
  • BY CHRISTINE HANCOCK Party to a vision of the future

    If nothing else, 1998 will be a landmark for the NHS. Its year- long 50th birthday party starts this month, even though the balloons and birthday cake will have to wait for the celebrations which will mark the first 'NHS Week' in July. The mood is deliberately upbeat, but for staff and managers who feel ground down and demoralised, will all the celebratory hullabaloo ring hollow?

    Moves to establish common waiting lists could have positive financial implications for the NHS.
  • Community spirit

    One of the UK's smallest community trusts and its local GPs have set in motion a proposal to merge and create the UK's first primary care trust. Patrick Butler reports
  • Consuming passions

    A Department of Health initiative could start a consumer revolution in healthcare research, claim its supporters. Annabelle May reports
  • Crisis, what crisis?

    Why has the predicted winter crisis failed to materialise?
  • Derbyshire inquir y: police examine case notes

    A police investigation into deaths of patients at a psychiatric hospital in Derbyshire is examining the case notes of 26 people who were cared for on a single ward.

    I read with interest Professor David Cox's letter (6 November). As vice-chair of the West Yorkshire education and training consortium, I am proud that it works extremely well in education commissioning and collaborative working.
  • Events


    There is little with which we would disagree in John Mahoney's analysis of community care services for severely mentally ill people (Letters, 18 December), the principal focus of the Zito Trust's campaign being precisely those areas and issues he describes.
  • Head start

    Pharmacists in one city are being allowed to prescribe head lice treatments. Pat Healy asks whether the idea will catch on
  • Health board workers asked to repay cash

    More than a dozen employees of Tayside health board have been invited to repay money to which they were not entitled.
  • Health secretary Frank Dobson

    Health secretary Frank Dobson chats to patient Jean Boyle after officially opening Huddersfield Royal Infirmary's pounds1m critical care unit last week. Because of funding problems, the eight-bed unit has been running half-empty since it started accepting patients 18 months ago. The four intensive care beds at the unit have already been used to treat more than 250 patients, but four high-dependency beds have been standing empty, despite appeals for funds to Calderdale and Kirklees health auth
  • Hospital project is 'proof' of new co-operation in NHS

    An agreement between a health board and two trusts to build a new children's hospital in Scotland was hailed last week as proof of a new climate of co-operation in the NHS.
  • How Tony's welfare roadshow packs a punch BY MICHAEL WHITE

    Shortly before Christmas I heard from a forceful woman lobbyist of my acquaintance for the first times in ages. She was outraged that Customs & Excise had quietly slipped VAT back on categories of incontinence products which had escaped from the taxman's grip via a court ruling under the wicked Tories.

    The deaths of as many as 24,000 people a year may be accelerated by the short-term effects of air pollution, the Department of Health's committee on the medical effects of air pollutants has concluded. But it noted that most of the deaths occurred among people with existing, long-standing illnesses.

    Director-general of fair trading John Bridgeman has announced that he will ask the Restrictive Practices Court to overturn its 1970 decision allowing drug companies to fix the price of branded, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. The decision has angered drug companies and pharmacy pressure groups who claim the abolition of re-sale price maintenance would drive small chemists out of business.
  • In person

    Leicestershire Mental Health Service trust has appointed John Boyington (above) as chief executive. A general and psychiatric nurse, he has been on secondment to the top post at the trust for the past six months and has been formally appointed to take charge until decisions are made about a merger with Fosse Health trust in 1999. Before his secondment, Mr Boyington worked at the Department of Health, leading the development of funding for the 13 dental hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales
  • In sickness, not in health

    Which NHS staff group smokes the most, and which drinks the least? And why are sickness absence rates so high? Mark Crail reports on a Health Education Authority survey

    Nick Mears says that deaf people do not get equal opportunities in healthcare, especially information translated in sign language, which is almost nil (Letters, 6 November).
  • Keep your eye on the ball

    So not only does England only ever win the World Cup under a Labour government, but the weather is better, too. Even under the present regime no spin doctor has yet had the brass neck to claim cause and effect. But it does seem that health secretary Frank Dobson and his colleagues have escaped a stern test of their stewardship of the NHS this winter thanks to an unseasonally warm early January and the vagaries of viral mutation (See News Focus, page 9).
  • Key Points

    By establishing separate timetables for senior house officers and registrars, an obstetrics and gynaecology department has been able to reduce out-of-hours work while offering training relevant to the doctors' proposed careers.
  • Key Points

    More than 20 years after the publication of the Butler report which led to the establishment of medium-secure units, many of its recommendations have not been implemented.
  • Leaders signal merger of primary care lobby groups

    Primary care leaders last week signalled their willingness to enter talks about a possible merger of the three main lobby groups.
  • Managers believe there are too many trusts

    Most managers believe there are too many trusts and that services need to be reconfigured, a survey shows.
  • Managers will be able to do their job 'more efficiently'

    Managers will be able to do their job 'more efficiently' thanks to a new national e-mail system that will be created through NHSnet to link health authorities, trusts, the NHS Executive and the Department of Health for the first time, health minister Alan Milburn has announced. He said the system, which will cost 'less than pounds1m' to set up, will speed communication and 'end much of the wasteful bureaucratic paperchase which currently goes on in the NHS'. It would also help doctors and nur
  • Measures will help NHS fraud crack-down

    Health authorities will be given access to GPs' accounts so they can investigate suspected fraud more easily, health minister Alan Milburn has announced.
  • Mental health in Scotland is still institution-based

    Scottish adult mental health services are still largely based in hospitals, according to an Accounts Commission for Scotland study.
  • Monitor

    It's the Patients Association wot tells it how it is, apparently. Or at least, Monitor assumes, the organisation led by novelist and agony aunt Claire Rayner was aiming to reflect the language of the street when it put out a press release about a conference encouraging people to make better use of local chemists. The following sentences were particularly eye-catching: 'The main aim of the conference is to listen to the public as to what they think and expect of local chemists... Earlier in Ju
  • NHS par t-timers' pension appeals could land Treasur y with huge bill

    Thousands of part-time health workers could win better pensions under a series of test cases to be heard in the House of Lords next week.
  • Night vision

    Can junior doctors' night hours be reduced without threatening their training?
  • Nursing regulations 'must protect the public'

    Radical suggestions for changing the way in which nurses, midwives and health visitors are regulated have been set out in a report commissioned by the four UK health departments.
  • On the record

    JUDY WILSON became the first director of the Long-Term Medical Conditions Alliance in September 1996. Previously she led the Nottingham self-help team, wrote books about self-help groups and was a non-executive director of Nottingham health authority. She is an NHS Charter adviser.
  • Only a quarter of bids for HAZ status will get approval

    Four times more bids for health action zone status are expected than the government plans to approve this year, the Journal has learned.
  • Pilots need a soft landing

    'There is now an enthusiasm in the NHS for joint work with other agencies where at times in the past there was little more than trepidation and distrust'

    1 Butler R. Report of the Committee on Mentally Abnormal Offenders. London: HMSO, 1975.

    1 Hobart A. Report on hours of work and medical staffing. JDC Annual Report 1997. BMA.
  • Safety measures

    A survey of medium-secure units for mentally disordered patients reveals wide variations in staff-to-patient ratios. James Rooney considers the implications
  • Share and share alike

    Health workers in Glasgow are setting out to win a bigger share of NHS resources from richer areas. Barbara Millar investigates
  • Staff absence costs trusts pounds1.8m a year

    Sickness among nurses and midwives can cost individual trusts as much as pounds1.8m a year, according to research.
  • Sur vey confirms health inequalities

    A national survey confirming substantial health inequalities is set to inform ministers' decisions on the location of health action zones.
  • Survival practice

    A former contracts manager for a health authority, Murray King finds his current job as manager of a

    So public health minister Tessa Jowell wants to criminalise those smokers aged 16 and 17, who can presently be legally sold tobacco products (News Focus, page 10, 4 December).
  • VOL 108 NO 5587 THURSDAY 15 JANUARY 1998


    Every week 11,000 volunteers at 300 hospital radio stations broadcast more than 10,000 hours of programmes. It is quite an achievement, and one which, in an era suffering not from any shortage of entertainment but rather from media overload, seems at first utterly anachronistic.
  • Welsh NHS will not go same way as England

    Differences between the direction of the NHS in Wales and England are expected to be unveiled today with the publication of the white paper on the future of the Welsh NHS.

    The views expressed by Patrick Duffy of NHS Supplies (Letters, 4 December) are endorsed and, indeed, voiced repeatedly by the state-registered dietitian. The evidence for the positive contribution of nutrition to clinical outcomes is well documented; however, patients still go hungry in hospital.
  • Work set to begin on biggest PFI hospital

    The government has given the go-ahead for construction work to begin on the biggest hospital being financed through private funds.

    Hugh Love (Letters, 4 December) is right to raise the problematic issue of VAT and its effect on affordability in private finance initiative schemes.

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