Medicopolitical Digest

GPs should not have routine role in authorising handgunsJuniors issue guidance on “English clause”Minister says there are recruitment problems in general practiceBritish doctors returning from abroad and specialist trainingBradford GPs win out of hours awardSenior hospital doctors complain about manpower “black hole”GPs' staff should have NHS pensions

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7043.1424 (Published 01 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1424

In its evidence to the Cullen inquiry into the possession of handguns following the Dunblane massacre, the General Medical Services Committee says that the position of doctors as potential countersignatories of applications for shotgun and firearm certificates is unsatisfactory. The committee says that general practitioners should have no routine role in the process by which certificates are issued because of the lack of scientific evidence that such involvement would predict future violence. Doctors should be told when their patient has been issued with a certificate. Under the General Medical Council's guidance doctors are able to disclose information without consent if this would avert the risk of death or serious harm. The GMSC recommends that a confidential helpline should be set up at the Home Office, the Scottish Office, and the Welsh Office to allow doctors to disclose information about a perceived risk of violence through the use of firearms to a fellow professional.

Juniors issue guidance on “English clause”

The Junior Doctors Committee has issued revised guidance on when the “English clause” can be invoked. The terms of service provide that after 31 December 1996 higher specialist trainees may continue to contract for duties in excess of a 72 hour maximum average per week (though not more than an average of 83 hours) “providing proper support staffing exists and providing the duties are not harmful either to the trainees or to patients.” The doctors must be willing to do the extra hours, which should benefit their training. It will be …

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