In brief

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 25 August 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3459

US workplace suicides rose by 28% from 2007 to 2008: Of the 5071 deaths that occurred in the workplace in the United States in 2008, 251 were suicides, up from 196 the year before, figures from the US Department of Labor show. Redundancies, reduced working hours, and financial distress as a result of the recession have been blamed for the rise in suicides. The total number of workplace deaths in 2008 was the lowest number since tracking began in 1982, largely because of a fall in fatal injuries among construction workers, again because of the recession, the department says.

GP is found guilty of “hazardous” prescribing: Jane Barton has been found guilty by the General Medical Council of widely prescribing powerful painkillers and sedatives to elderly patients under her care at Gosport War Memorial Hospital that were “inappropriate, hazardous, and not in their best interests.” The GMC’s fitness to practise panel will decide next January whether Dr Barton is guilty of professional misconduct.

China cuts list of essential drugs by 85%: China’s health ministry has cut the number of drugs on its essential medicines lists from 2033 to 307, in a bid to curb costs and implement a key part of its health system reform package, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, has reported. State owned health facilities must give priority to these drugs.

NHS spends £74m on smoking cessation services: The number of people who successfully quit smoking (self reported as not smoking for four weeks) through NHS stop smoking services was 337 054 in 2008-9, says the NHS Information Centre ( This was a decrease of 4% on the 2007-8 number but an increase of 5% on 2006-7. The NHS spent £74m (€85m; $122m) on its stop smoking services in 2008-9, 44% more than in 2006-7. The cost per person quitting was £219, excluding the cost of drug treatments.

Number of primary liver cancer cases in UK has tripled in 30 years: The number of cases of primary liver cancer in the UK rose from 865 in 1975 to 3108 in 2006, show figures from Cancer Research UK. Experts attribute this rise to increases in alcohol consumption, obesity, and the prevalence of hepatitis C.


Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3459

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