Intended for healthcare professionals


In brief

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 09 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1054

Nurses join yellow card scheme: The UK Medicines Control Agency (MCA) extended its yellow card scheme (for reporting drugs' side effects) to nurses last week. It also announced that health professionals will now be able to send in reports online.

Dutch doctors want postgraduate training shortened: Medical education in the Netherlands needs to be shortened, according to an advisory report produced by the Royal Dutch Medical Association, the university hospitals, and the hospitals' association. Doctors should be enabled to complete their specialist training by the age of 30. At present many doctors do not finish before the age of 37. More information can be accessed at

NHS launches appraisal service: The Department of Health has unveiled its free online service that it says will support the appraisal process, which is now mandatory for UK doctors. Launched last week, the NHS Appraisal Toolkit was developed by the Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics in Newcastle and will allow appraisers and appraisees to complete appraisal documentation electronically (see

European Commission files civil action against R J Reynolds: The European Commission has filed a multimillion pound civil action in New York against the multinational cigarette manufacturer R J Reynolds, alleging that the American company is involved in money laundering. It claims that the financial proceeds of organised crime are used, via a complex network of intermediaries, to buy the company's cigarettes.

Charities launch appeal for cash for meningitis vaccine: The International Federation of the Red Cross, Unicef, the World Health Organization, and Médecins Sans Frontiàres are appealing to donors for €10m (£6.4m; $10m) to rebuild a stockpile of vaccine and drugs to prepare for the next meningitis outbreak in Africa, which they say could be in less than two months.

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