Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 07 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:906

Earlier this year an expert group reporting on medical errors in the NHS said “blame cultures … can encourage people to cover up errors for fear of retribution”—a masterful understatement, according to an editorial in Quality in Health Care (2000;9:144-5). The author blames the “punitive environment” of United Kingdom's medical institutions for their failure to develop the recommended national reporting system of errors, and urges hospitals to monitor their own clinical incidents and make changes to reduce them.

Children spend more time in front of the television than they do in the classroom. Programmes for toddlers are often educational, but the rest send out all the wrong messages on violence, sex, smoking, drinking, and body shape, says a review in Archives of Diseases in Childhood (2000;83:289-92). Parents must take note and take action, it says, by monitoring their children's viewing, watching with them, turning the television off whenever possible, and banning television in bedrooms.

To help Australian doctors counsel their patients about the risk of breast cancer, researchers from Sydney have computed a set of lifetime risks for Australian women (Australia and New Zealand Journal of Surgery 2000;70:725-31). For the general population, lifetime risk is 8.6% (one in 12), increasing to 1 in 6-8 …

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