In brief

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 15 December 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1384

Morning dialysis prolongs life: Elderly patients having regular dialysis for renal failure live longer if they get their treatment in the morning. Since 1988 researchers have followed 167 patients who had dialysis in the morning and 75 who had the procedure in the afternoon. Patients having dialysis in the morning lived on average about 1 year and 3 months longer than those treated in the afternoon (JAMA 2001;286:2690-4).

UK health spending must rise by £45bn to hit target: Prime Minister Tony Blair will fulfil his promise to match health spending in Europe by 2005 only if he increases spending on the NHS by £45bn ($63bn) a year, a report from the King's Fund has said. When Mr Blair made his promise last year, average European health spending was 8% of the gross domestic product, but by 2005 this will have risen to about 10.7% The report can be accessed at

Russian Orthodox church threatens excommunication for human cloning: The Russian Orthodox church has said that it will excommunicate any Russian doctors and scientists doing research into human cloning, as well as people who receive or use cloned stem cells for medical treatment.

Cancer charities to merge: Two British cancer charities, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign, announced this week that they are to merge. The new body will have an annual scientific budget of £130m ($182m).

New board for postgraduate training to be set up: Health minister John Hutton has announced UK government plans to provide greater consistency in postgraduate medical education by the creation of a single body, the Medical Education Standards Board. The board will supervise postgraduate medical education and training. Details are accessible at

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