In brief

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:723

Prescription charges rise in UK: Fees for NHS prescriptions are to rise by 15p, from £5.65 to £5.80 per item, from 1 April. The increase is the first introduced by this Labour government, which, when in opposition, criticised the charge as a tax on ill people. Prescription charges, which will raise £365m a year, are being examined in the government's comprehensive spending review.

Sexual harassment widespread in US medical profession: More than a third of female doctors in the United States have been sexually harassed, according to a survey of 4501 women aged 30-70 (Archives of Internal Medicine 1998;158:352-8). Younger doctors reported higher rates of sexual harassment than older ones, and medical schools were the most common site.

Key workers needed for sick children: A report into children with life threatening illnesses in England has concluded that the NHS should appoint special managers and key workers to plan and coordinate help for sick children and their families. Health minister Baroness Jay said the report had her full support and believed it would act as a force for change.

Organ transplant policy revised in the US: The current regional system in the United States of allocating donor organs will be replaced with a national plan in which the sickest patients get priority regardless of where they live.

Italy has drafted a three year health plan: The Italian health minister, Rosy Bindi, has drafted a plan that for the first time specifies targets that must be achieved by 2000. Among other things, the plan covers obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and vaccination rates.

Research finds biological basis for dyslexia: Magnetic resonance imaging has shown that dyslexic readers display underactivity in posterior regions and overactivity in the anterior region of the brain compared with normal readers (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1998;95:2636-41).

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