BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 06 July 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:8

Australia's euthanasia law may fail: The world's first voluntary euthanasia law, which came into force in Australia's Northern Territory this week, seems doomed to failure. Leaders of the three main political parties oppose the ruling; a bill will be introduced in the federal parliament in September to strip the state of its power to allow euthanasia, and the law will be challenged in the Northern Territory supreme court.

NHS Executive and BMA collaborate on confidentiality: The NHS Executive is to set up aworking party with the BMA to review all uses of patient information outside direct care and research. This will address the BMA's concerns about confidentiality issues, such as contract datasets and item of service claims.

British patient sues because he did not die: Mr Cyril Smith, who was told in 1992 thathe had cancer and only months to live, has been granted legal aid to sue doctors because he did not die, claiming loss of earnings and unnecessary mental anguish.

Chinese birth control rule extended: Chinese women who live in Shenzhen on the border between China and Hong Kong must abide by the “one child” policy even if they are marriedto Hong Kong men and their first child has moved to the British colony. They will be forced to undergo an abortion if less than seven months pregnant.

Cot deaths come down in US: The death rate from the sudden infant death syndrome fell in the United States by 30% between 1993 and 1995, the government reported last week. Onereason is a campaign which encouraged parents to place sleeping babies on their backs.

More people now detained under Mental Health Act: Between 1989-90 and 1994-5 the number of formal admissions to all facilities under England's Mental Health Act rose by 55% from 17 400 to 27 100.

League tables for primary care: Three quarters of general practices in England have a practice charter, according to the first NHS performance tables to cover primary care. Nationally 95% of children have received a course of immunisations for diptheria and 91% for measles, mumps, and rubella.

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