Seven days in medicine: 20-27 February

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 25 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1110

NHS finance

NHS overspend reaches £2.3bn

The NHS in England overspent by £2.26bn (€2.9bn; $3.2bn) in the first three quarters of this financial year (April to December 2015), figures from the healthcare regulator Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority show, and the overspend is forecast to reach £2.37bn by the end of March. Three quarters of providers are in deficit, including 132 acute care trusts. The regulators blamed use of agency staff, delayed transfers of care, and “failure to deliver the level of cost improvement schemes planned at the start of the year.” (See The BMJ’s full story doi:10.1136/bmj.i1072.)


Feedback to GPs cuts antibiotic prescribing

Sending a letter to GPs in England with above-average antibiotic prescribing rates reduced their antibiotic prescribing by just over 3% in six months, showed a nationwide trial. The researchers randomly allocated GPs in 1581 general practices with the top 20% antibiotic prescribing rates in their local areas to receive a letter from England’s chief medical officer about their antibiotic prescribing or to a control …

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