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BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7277.8 (Published 06 January 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:8

Abolition of UK health councils attacked: The UK government has been urged to rethink its plans to scrap Community Health Councils, the independent bodies that represent patients. David Hinchliffe, chairman of the Commons' health select committee, said the alternatives proposed by ministers would not address the “democratic deficit” in the NHS.

WHO issues malaria warning: Increasing numbers of holiday makers travelling on package tours from Europe to Africa are contracting malaria because they are failing to take simple precautions against the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

Judge to head Harold Shipman inquiry: Dame Janet Smith, a High Court judge, is to head the official inquiry into the serial killer Dr Harold Shipman. The scope of the inquiry is to be wider than originally envisaged, looking at up to 200 suspicious deaths instead of the 38 planned.

Most smokers intend to quit: More than half of smokers in the United Kingdom intend to give up in the coming year, but only half of these think that they will succeed, according a survey by the Office for National Statistics.

Charter for health launched: A People's Charter for Health was agreed at the People's Health Assembly in Bangladesh last month. It calls for radical action to address global health inequalities. The text is available at http://www.pha2000.org/

UK women must wait for morning after pill: The morning after pill is likely to be in short supply in UK pharmacies until the end of January, even though it was cleared for sale to women aged 16 and over from 1 January.

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