In brief

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 04 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:592

Waits for outpatient appointments rise: The number of patients waiting more than threemonths for their first outpatient appointment in England rose by 6% in the second quarterof this year, from 456000 to 485000. The government announced a £30m ($48m) fund to tackle outpatient waiting lists.

Billie Jean King joins Philip Morris: The former tennis star Billie Jean King has joined the board of the cigarette company, Philip Morris. She has been criticised by health campaigners in the United States for giving the wrong message to young people.

New UK guidelines for asthma: In Britain the Royal College of Physicians and the National Asthma Campaign have issued joint guidelines for measuring the outcome of asthma care. Measuring Clinical Outcome in Asthma: a Patient-Focused Approach is available from the Publications Department, Royal College of Physicians (tel: 0171 935 1174, ext 358), price £15.

Afghans undertake house to house polio immunisation: An outbreak of poliomyelitis in Kunduz province, in Afghanistan, has forced health experts to rethink ways of eradicating the disease there. Of 26 cases of acute flaccid paralysis reported since early May, 14 have been confirmed as polio. A house to house immunisation campaign, targeting more than 130000 children aged over 5 years was completed last week by the government, the United Nations, and non-governmental organisations.

Lung cancer deaths in women continue to rise: Death rates for lung cancer among women in the European Union continue to rise. Among women aged 35 to 64, mortality has almost doubled since 1955 and is now approaching the levels for intestinal cancer (Lancet 1999:354;742-3). An extended report is available in News extra on the BMJ's website.

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