In brief

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 25 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1214

MRSA rates in NHS drop again: The number of patients in England infected with meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus fell for the fourth consecutive quarter, the Healthcare Commission has said. The number of cases reported to the Health Protection Agency in October to December 2008 was 7% lower than in the previous quarter and 38% lower than the corresponding quarter of 2007.

Help is offered to NHS staff to reduce carbon footprint: The Faculty of Public Health of the three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians is publishing a new guide on sustainable development to help NHS organisations reduce their carbon footprint ( The guide provides up-to-date evidence to demonstrate the benefits to public health of taking action and practical guidance on how to act.

“Green nephrology” fellowship is established: NHS Kidney Care is funding a one year “green nephrology fellowship”(, an “out of programme experience” for specialist trainees in renal medicine. The successful candidate will receive training in clinical systems improvement and will work with the Campaign for Greener Healthcare and the Renal Association to develop sustainable models of kidney care.

Netherlands releases shipment of HIV drugs: Dutch customs officials last week released a shipment of antiretrovirals destined for Nigeria after protests from aid organisations. The consignment of abacavir was seized at Schiphol airport in November en route from India (BMJ 2009;338:b1002, doi:10.1136/bmj.b1002). The Dutch group Health Action International said that the drugs were not counterfeit, breached no intellectual property rights, and should never have been confiscated.

Doctors back alcohol price tariff: The government’s “peremptory and negative response” to the call by Liam Donaldson, England’s chief medical officer, to set a minimum price for a unit of alcohol was criticised by the BMA’s public health committee at the BMA annual conference last week of public health doctors. The conference also lent its support to the Scottish parliament’s move to abolish binge drinking through fixing alcohol prices.

Food control in schools helps reduce overweight: Eliminating all sweets and sweetened drinks and promoting low fat dairy products and wholegrain bread in schools can reduce overweight and obesity in 6 to 10 year olds, a study shows. The prevalence of overweight and obesity fell by 3.2 percentage points (from 20.3% to 17.1%) in intervention schools in the Stockholm area, whereas it rose by 2.8 percentage points (from 16.1% to 18.9%) in control schools (International Journal of Obesity doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.38).

Walmart is to offer doctors an electronic records system: The giant US retailer Walmart has teamed up with Dell and eClinicalWorks to offer doctors a programme to make their patient records available electronically. The cost will be $25 000 (£17 000; €18 000) for the first doctor in a practice, about $10 000 for each additional doctor, and $4000 to $6500 a year for maintenance and support. Few US doctors use electronic medical records, and the Obama administration has encouraged their adoption.


Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1214

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