In brief

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 29 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:710

First increase in NHS hospital beds since 1970: The number of general and acute hospital beds in the NHS increased by more than 700 during the past year, from 135080 to 135794, the Department of Health announced last week. It said this was the first recorded increase since 1971 and the largest since records began in 1960.

Belgian government to reimburse patients infected with AIDS through transfusions: The Belgian government has set aside BF60 million (£93m; $1.4m) for compensation payments to patients who became infected with AIDS after blood transfusions between 1985 and 1986. It is estimated that about 100 people are affected.

Hospital criticised over treatment of hip fracture patients: The Mayday Healthcare NHS Trust, Croydon, south London, has been criticised by the Commission for Health Improvement for its unusually high number of deaths among patients with fractured hip. National guidelines say that such patients should be operated on within 24 hours. Some patients at Mayday wait for five days. The report can be found at

Ireland to spend £31m on research in health service: The Irish government is to pump IR40m (£31m; $47m) into health research directly within the health service, over five years. Research and development officers are also to be appointed to promote research activity at local and hospital levels.

Audit highlights poor information gathering on treatments in Scotland: The health service in Scotland is being urged to review the management of outpatient services. This follows a report from Audit Scotland which highlighted inadequacies in information gathering systems. It found that data on treatments used and their outcomes were patchy and not always reliable. The report, Mind the Gap, can be accessed at

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