News In Brief


BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 22 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:604

X ray waiting times fall in English hospitals, but feedback delayed: Waiting times for radiographs and other scans in English hospitals have fallen significantly, by up to one third for some tests, according to a report published this week by the Healthcare Commission. But one in four trusts took more than 10 days to report examinations requested from outpatient clinics. Two out of three doctors and nurses taking part in a survey for the report said that imaging reports were not available when they needed them (

Doctor who poisoned terminally ill patient gets suspended sentence: A doctor charged with fatally poisoning a terminally ill patient has been found guilty, but given only a one year suspended sentence (BMJ 2007;334:555, 17 Mar, doi: 10.1136/bmj.39153.492789.DB). The doctor, Laurence Tramois from Perigueux, in southwest France, had been accused, together with a nurse, of killing a 65 year old patient who was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer by giving a lethal dose of potassium in August 2003. The nurse was found not guilty.

English survey highlights poor communication between staff during labour: A national survey of almost 3000 recent mothers has shown that although most women were happy with the care they received, one in 10 felt that staff did not communicate well with each other during labour and birth. More than three quarters of women found their carers “supportive” and “kind,” but some reported that staff were “rushed” (16%) and “bossy” (12%). Women from ethnic minority backgrounds accessed maternity services later and were more likely to report feeling they were not always treated with respect by their carers. Recorded Delivery: National Survey is available at

New guidance on UK funding of continuing care: New eligibility guidance on patients' rights to funding for continuing care will be published in June, the Department of Health has announced. The department was responding to a report published by the Health Service Ombudsman on retrospective claims for continuing care and redress. It criticised the government for its “inconsistent” guidance, which has left many people inadequately compensated for money they had spent on their own care, but which the NHS should have paid. See

UK Tory leader promises to improve NHS: The leader of the UK Conservative Party, David Cameron, promised to improve the NHS and to get rid of targets that “are destroying the service,” in a speech to the party's spring conference this week. He claimed that the current government has turned the NHS into a “vast inhuman machine” and that his party would stop “pointless reorganisations” and “put people back at the heart of the NHS.”

UK government resumes giving formularies to medical students: The UK government has reversed its recent decision to stop supplying free copies of the British National Formulary to medical students after pressure from the profession. BMA representatives and medical academics had written to the Department of Health warning about the possible consequences of removing funding for such an important resource.

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