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Reviews Minerva


BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 13 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:746

Many British general practitioners have responded to increasing patient demands for out of hours care by setting up large cooperatives to manage the workload. General practitioners prefer them to more traditional “on call” rotas, and so do their families according to a small before and after study from Chester (British Journal of General Practice 1999;49:215-6). The researchers, who surveyed the doctors‘ families before and after the cooperative was set up, were surprised to get no complaints at all in the free text section of their questionnaire. It would be useful to know why cooperative working is so popular.

Minerva is always pleased to come across cheap simple remedies that work (who isn‘t?). The Lancet (1999;353:712-6)reports that iron cooking pots can reduce anaemia and improve growth in Ethiopian children. In a randomised controlled trial, children in households given an iron cooking pot had more substantial improvements in serum haemoglobin concentration and growth than children fed from aluminium cooking pots. The authors claim that $5000 would buy enough pots for 10 000 people, a price that compares favourably with more traditional supplementation schedules.

Accident and emergency doctors in Glasgow have found a new use for metal detectors—finding swallowed foreign bodies in children (Journal of Accident …

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