BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 25 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:758

Midwives vote to end strike ban: Members of the 36000 strong Royal College of Midwives have voted to amend the college's constitution, which bans strike action. More than 16000 returned ballot papers and 80% voted to change the policy. They will now decide what action they are prepared to take in protest at their pay offer, which included up to 2% to be negotiated locally.

GPs and junior doctors support nurses' claim: The BMA's General Medical Services Committee and the Junior Doctors Committee both endorsed motions supporting nurses in their stand against locally negotiated pay. Nursing unions have rejected a management offer to delay the powers of trusts to change conditions of service to allow local pay.

US patients die in hepatitis trial: Five patients have died from an experimental liver drug given at the National Institutes of Health in 1993. Fialuridine had shown promise against hepatitis B but seven of 15 patients given the drug suffered severe side effects—two survived after liver transplants.

UK health secretary breached rules on propriety: The Cabinet secretary, Sir Robin Butler, has ruled that the health secretary, Mrs Virginia Bottomley, breached government rules on propriety because civil servants published a party political speech in a government funded magazine that was sent to 20000 general practitioners and health authorities.

Call for British abortion law to extend to Northern Ireland: A motion in the British House of Commons calls for the 1967 Abortion Act to be extended to Northern Ireland, where women whose health would be damaged by pregnancy are not guaranteed the right to abortion. The motion is supported by the Northern Ireland Family Planning Association.

Fundholders in UK save £120m: General practice fundholders in Britain have been able to save nearly £120m from allocations made to them since the scheme began in 1991; in 1993-4 the saving was £74m, sufficient to pay for 15000 hip replacements, said MP Alan Milburn, who obtained the information from parliamentary questions.

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