Confederation calls for guidance on expensive drugs

The NHS Confederation has called for central guidance on the use of expensive drugs in the wake of a survey by Maudsley Hospital which showed that 45 per cent of responding health authorities deny the drug clozapine to patients with schizophrenia. Chief executive Stephen Thornton said HAs that did make the drug available did so within very limited resources. 'There needs to be clear guidance from the centre that is based on evidence of what works and what is affordable,' he said.

NI assembly urged to move early on acute hospitals

Southern Health and Social Services council has urged the Northern Ireland assembly to take an 'early decision' on the future of acute hospitals. Council chair Fionnuala Cook said recommendations drawn up by Southern health and social services board after a review had been with ministers for eight months, but 'nothing has happened'. Ms Cook described the delay as 'unacceptable' and said the uncertainty made it 'difficult' for small, rural hospitals to function.

Galbraith finds£10m for Scottish GP computers

Scottish health minister Sam Galbraith has found£10m for new computers in Scottish GP surgeries. The money will be used to make the general practice administration system for Scotland available to all GPs who want it within two years. The system is already used by 80 per cent of Scottish GPs. Earlier this year,£13m was allocated to provide 1,100 practices with secure links to Scottish hospitals and health boards.

Huge discrepancies in practice managers' salaries

Practice managers earn vastly varying salaries - anything from£7,700 to£37,000 - according to a survey by Pay and Workforce Research. The survey showed that pay was considerably higher in larger practices and that fundholding practice managers tended to earn more than non-fundholders. Almost one-third of those surveyed held a diploma or certificate in practice management, some held a degree or business qualification, but 16 per cent had no qualification at all.

GP Practice Managers: pay and role analysis. Pay and Workforce Research, 01423-842695.

Scotland 'well on the way' to waiting-list targets

Scotland is 'well on the way to hitting waiting-list targets', according to Scottish health minister Sam Galbraith, after figures released last week showed the biggest quarterly fall in a decade. A total of 84,931 people in Scotland were waiting for inpatient or day case treatment at the end of September, down almost 3,800 on June. Mr Galbraith announced a further£8m to reduce waiting lists 'even further' last week.

Research shows blood donors are still altruists

Research for the National Blood Authority has found that giving blood has 'escaped' an 'overall trend' away from altruistic attitudes and behaviour in society. However, interviews with 100 current, potential and non-donors found that publicity about the continual need for blood and 'making donation easy... is vital to turn altruistic intention into practical action'.

Altruism and Blood Donation: qualitative research report. NBA,

01923-486800. Free.

Drug trial fraud GP struck off after GMC hearing

A London GP who defrauded drug companies by making false claims in clinical trials has been struck off after a hearing at the General Medical Council. James Bochsler, of Gipsy Hill, was found guilty of 'clear and systematic deception' after the GMC heard he had submitted forged consent forms for two research trials and produced dispensing lists showing patients had been given drugs they had not received.