In brief

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 04 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2

Judges rule out new inquest into death of David Kelly: A retired orthopaedic surgeon, David Halpin, has lost a High Court challenge to a decision by the attorney general for England and Wales, Dominic Grieve, not to ask the court to order a new inquest into the death of the UK government scientist David Kelly. The Hutton inquiry concluded that Dr Kelly killed himself after being revealed as the source of a BBC report that the UK government had exaggerated the case for the Iraq war, but a group of doctors disputes the suicide finding.

Experimental cancer trials network gets extra funding: The Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres network has been awarded a second wave of £35m (€42m; $55m) funding for the next five years. The grants were awarded to 18 centres across the United Kingdom on the basis of their scientific and clinical excellence. Two existing centres, those at Barts and the London and in Edinburgh, were awarded joint grants to allow them to team up with newly created centres at Brighton and Dundee, broadening the scope of the network and expanding patients’ access to experimental new treatments.

Public health programmes for poor US children get almost $300m: The US government has awarded $296.5m (£190m; €230m) in bonus payments to 23 states for encouraging families on low incomes to enrol their children in public health programmes. To qualify, states had to surpass specified enrolment targets under the Medicaid programme for poor people and adopt procedures making it easier for children younger than 19 from low income households to enrol and retain coverage under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Blood donors may stay at home because of Olympics and extra bank holidays: The London Olympics and extra bank holidays to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee could severely affect blood donation levels this year, NHS Blood and Transplant has warned. In 2011 extra bank holidays around Easter and the royal wedding week resulted in thousands fewer donations, and donations dropped by 12% on the day that the football World Cup quarter final and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon semifinal coincided.

Spain sees 600 000 smokers quit after smoking ban: In the first year after Spain introduced its ban on smoking in public places, 569 million fewer cigarette packages were sold and 600 000 smokers quit, says the National Committee to Prevent Smoking. Hospital admissions for heart attacks at the Hospital La Paz in Madrid fell by 10%, and children’s admissions for asthma fell by 15%. Despite concerns that the ban would have an adverse effect on bars and restaurants, business in the sector rose by 7%, and indoor pollution in their premises fell by 90%.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2

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