BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 24 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:442

Health authority refuses referral: Solihull health authority has refused to approve the referral of Mandy All-wood, who is carrying eight fetuses, to a London hospital for maternity care. The authority said that she would receive just as good care if she was managed in Birmingham. The authority added that it is already under great financial pressure and approval could result in a significant loss of services for the rest of the population of Solihull.

Coroner links death to eating beefburgers: A coroner created a legal precedent by saying the death of 20 year old Peter Hall, who died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in February, was caused on the “balance of probabilities” by something like a beefburger infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy. He recorded a verdict of misadventure. All previous inquests of CJD cases have had verdicts of death by natural causes.

Guidance on BSE released: The first general guidance for all occupational groups who may be exposed to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the course of their work has been published by the Department of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food. It includes personal protection measures and recommends new ways of killing cattle.

Cigarette manufacturers forced to reveal ingredients: The governor of Massachusetts has signed into law a bill requiring cigarette manufacturers to reveal the nicotine and addictive contents of their products. The state also plans to publish an analysis of how addictive various brands are. The tobacco industry fought the legislation and is considering retaliatory legal action. New York will propose similar legislation next year.

More GPs become fundholders: More than 56% of all GPs in England will be in charge of their own budgets from next April, according to latest government figures. A further 1672 GPs have applied to join the scheme, bringing the total to more than 15 000.

More private hospital beds were closed than opened last year: Laing's review of private health care shows that the number of subscribers to private medical insurance dipped last year in England and Wales, with more private hospital beds closing than opening for the first time in a decade. The review also shows that NHS pay beds increased their share of the market last year to 15%.

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