In brief

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 09 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1465

EU recognises oncology qualifications: The European Commission granted automatic recognition of medical oncology and medical genetics qualifications throughout the European Union on 3 March. After at least five years’ training in the first discipline and four in the second, doctors will be able to practise almost anywhere in the EU without meeting further formalities. Six countries have opted out of the new arrangements for oncology and nine from those for genetics.

US is to look into ethics lapse in Guatemalan study: The US Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has announced the formation of a 12 member international research panel to investigate the intentional infection of Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases in the 1940s (BMJ 2010;341:c5494, doi:10.1136/bmj.c5494) and to make recommendations. Eight of the panel members come from outside the US.

Dutch doctors with addictions get help: The estimated one in 10 Dutch doctors who have an addiction can now seek help through an organisation launched by Radboud University Nijmegen and the Dutch Medical Association. ABS-Artsen (Abstinence-Doctors, email draws on the work of the Canadian doctor Michael Kaufmann in offering support, referral to an addiction clinic, and long term monitoring.

Portugal makes it easier for transsexuals to change sex and first name: Portugal’s president has announced a bill that enables people with a clinical diagnosis of gender identity disorder, confirmed by a clinical sexology team, to change their sex and first name in the civil registry. Until now the change required court action.

BNF calls for improved wordings on labels: The British National Formulary has recommended that labels of medicines should be improved to ensure that the wording used is better understood by patients, after extensive research among users. For example, the word “sleepy” should be used instead of “drowsiness,” and “Do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine” should be used instead of “Avoid alcoholic drink.”

Schizophrenia relapses incur large costs: The average cost of treating a relapse of schizophrenia among 71 patients discharged from a London hospital in 2004 and 2005 was £25 852 (€30 000; $42 000) (range £1270 to £120 000), a study has found (Psychiatrist 2011;35:95-100, doi:10.1192/pb.bp.109.027714). Nearly all costs (97%) were hospital costs, with less than 3% being drug costs. Non-adherence with treatment was implicated in 76% of relapses.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1465

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