In brief

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 13 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7702

Babies to get vaccine against rotavirus: About 840 000 UK infants under 4 months old will be given a vaccine against rotavirus from next September after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded that the cost of £25m (€31m; $40m) a year was value for money. The vaccine will be given orally as two separate doses of drops. The programme is expected to save the NHS in England around £20m a year through 70% fewer stays in hospital, fewer visits to GPs and emergency departments, and fewer calls to NHS Direct.

All CCGs have applied for authorisation: All of the 211 emerging clinical commissioning groups in England have now applied for authorisation to take on their commissioning responsibilities after the final 46 groups submitted their applications to the NHS Commissioning Board last week. The authorisation process is designed to ensure that CCGs are able to commission safely, use their budgets responsibly, improve quality and outcomes, and reduce inequality. CCGs take on their role in April 2013.

Deaths from “legal highs” rose in 2010: A total of 43 UK people died after taking drugs in the methcathinone group in 2010, up from five in 2009, says a report from the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths.1 The group includes mephedrone or “meow meow,” which was banned in 2010.2 Overall, deaths related to drugs in the UK fell by just under 14%, from 2182 in 2009 to 1883 in 2010. Deaths from heroin fell from 53% of the total in 2009 to 41% in 2010.

UK’s aid to India will cease in 2015: The United Kingdom’s financial aid to India, which is worth about £200m ($319m) a year, will be phased out between now and 2015, the international development secretary, Justine Greening, has said. Instead the UK’s focus will shift to offering technical assistance. The move reflected India’s economic progress, but charities have said that the move was premature and would hit the poorest people most.

Germany gets new rules to rebuild confidence in transplant service: The German Medical Association has appointed an independent ombudsman, a former High Court judge, who can be informed anonymously about irregularities in the German transplant service. In addition, new rules mean that patients can be registered for transplantation only with the consent of a transplant board, which must include one person from outside the transplant team. The moves comes after allegations of manipulation of data concerning several patients waiting for a transplant, to make them seem sicker than they were.3

WHO agrees plan to combat non-communicable disease: World Health Organization member states have agreed eight more global targets to help in the fight against non-communicable diseases. The first target, a 25% reduction in deaths from the diseases by 2025, was agreed by the World Health Assembly in May. Others include reductions in alcohol, fat, and sodium intake; a cut in tobacco use; halving the prevalence of obesity; and cutting numbers of physically inactive people and people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.4

Flu vaccines have been reinstated in Italy: The four flu vaccines produced by Novartis that were banned in Italy on 24 October5 have been reintroduced in the market after tests by the health ministry. Health authorities in Canada and Switzerland, where the vaccines were also pulled from the market, have reintroduced them.

UK agency asks for comment on new EU law on devices: The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is asking for comments on the new draft European Union law for regulating medical devices, such as breast and hip implants, and hospital equipment, such as dialysis machines.6 The European Commission’s proposals would increase transparency, simplification, and cooperation among member states. They would also improve traceability, tighten controls on the bodies that assess the safety of devices, and set out clearer requirements for clinical evidence.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7702