Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 05 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:390

The United Kingdom's dead citizens charter was established last year to improve end of life experiences and promote better funeral practices. It identifies 30 areas that need an overhaul, including the availability of information for relatives organising a funeral. Institutions such as hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes need funeral advisers, says the National Funerals College, to guide relatives rationally through a choice of funeral directors and disposal options. A pilot study is planned.

Many general practitioners dream of paperless surgeries, where piles of patient records, BMJs, and guidelines no longer litter the carpet tiles. For now, however, 96% of practices are stuck with paper, according to a recent British survey (British Journal of General Practice2000;50:46-7). Most respondents blamed high costs for slow progress with computerisation. Others were worried about the legal status of purely electronic records. The NHS Executive's plans to convert all practices to electronic records by 2005 are beginning to look overoptimistic.

Seasonal mood changes are common in western Europe, and they tend to occur over winter. Chinese medical students, however, go gloomy in the summer (American Journal of Psychiatry2000;157:133-5). Researchers suggest that …

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