Intended for healthcare professionals


In brief

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 30 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:280

Patient confidentiality to be tightened: New positions are to be created in the NHS to safeguard and protect the handling of confidential patient information as it passes between computers. The appointees will be known as Caldicott guardians, after Dame Fiona Caldicott, principal of Somerville College, Oxford, who chaired a review on patient confidentiality which reported just over a year ago (BMJ 1997;315:1562).

More evidence for obesity drug's effectiveness: Orlistat (Xenical), a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor, blocks the absorption of about 30%of consumed fat and was found to be safe and effective in promoting and maintaining weight loss when combined with a low calorie diet during a two year research study involving 892 obese individuals (JAMA 1999;281:235). However, transient gastrointestinal side effects affected 80%of the subjects.

British people trust doctors: A MORI poll conducted for the BMA showed that out of 2000 people surveyed in Great Britain 91%trusted their doctors to tell the truth, 91%were satisfied with the way doctors do their jobs, and 25%felt that doctors were underpaid. About half thought that junior doctors should not be expected to work more than 48 hours a week, and only 2%thought that consultants did not take enough care when operating.

Mrs Clinton attacks violence against abortion doctors: In a speech marking the 26th anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision that recognised a constitutional right to abortion, the president's wife denounced violence against abortion doctors as “domestic terrorism.” She said the Clinton administration would propose spending $4.5m (£2.8m) in next year's federal budget to improve safety at abortion clinics.

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