Intended for healthcare professionals


In brief

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 07 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1454

UN appoints committee to investigate Gaza war crimes: The United Nations has appointed Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa, a director of Physicians for Human Rights, to lead an independent fact finding mission to investigate allegations of war crimes and serious human rights violations on both sides during Israel’s recent offensive in the Gaza Strip. Christine Chinkin, international law professor at the University of London, Hina Jilani, an advocate at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and Desmond Travers, a retired Irish army colonel, will assist.

Conference calls for eradication of cervical cancer in Africa: Delegates at a conference organised by Oxford University’s Africa-Oxford Cancer Consortium and Cardiff University have issued a declaration calling for collective action to combat and prevent cervical cancer in Africa, the most common cancer affecting women in the continent. “The Oxford declaration” calls for global support to provide the funds and expertise to eradicate cervical cancer in the developing world.

A tenth of health professionals in Spain have been assaulted: A survey of 1826 health professionals by Zaragoza University has found that 11% have endured physical aggression from patients, 5% on more than one occasion, and that 64% have been victims of threats, intimidation, or insults. Staff in emergency and psychiatry services were the most affected.

MPs call for public inquiry at Stafford Hospital: The UK health secretary, Alan Johnson, faces a legal challenge over his refusal to hold a public inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital, which has been at the centre of an investigation over high death rates and poor care. Two patients who lost relatives have instructed the law firm Leigh Day & Co to apply for a judicial review of his decision not to set up an inquiry, and more than 150 MPs have signed an early day motion calling for a full public inquiry.

Television food advertisements help promote obesity in children: Preventing children aged 6 to 12 years from viewing food advertisements on television could lead to a major reduction in obesity, says a new study (European Journal of Public Health doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckp039). “From one in seven up to one in three obese children in the USA might not have been obese in the absence of advertising for unhealthy food on TV,” it says. Limiting children’s exposure to such advertising “could be part of a broader effort to make children’s diets healthier,” the authors say.

Pfizer settles over tests on Nigerian children: A multibillion dollar lawsuit filed against Pfizer by Nigerian authorities has been settled out of court. The suit was filed over Pfizer’s test of an experimental drug on children in Kano during an outbreak of meningitis. Pfizer’s lead counsel in the case, Anthony Idigbe, said that a “broad and principal fundamental agreement has been reached between Kano’s state government and Pfizer.”

Peter Rubin is new chair of GMC: Peter Rubin will succeed Graeme Catto as chairman of the UK General Medical Council on 20 April. A professor of therapeutics and honorary consultant physician at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, he has spent much of his career specialising in the medical disorders of pregnancy and continues to be involved in frontline medicine. He chaired the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board for three years and is a former dean of the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Newer drugs may be better than old: A study in Quebec of more than 100 000 elderly people and their prescriptions shows that using newer rather than old drugs was associated with a reduction in the risk of mortality (hazard ratio 0.52 (95% confidence interval 0.48 to 0.57)). “This analysis showed that recent drug innovation has had a significant beneficial impact on the longevity of elderly patients,” says the report (Value in Health, doi:10.1111/j.1524-4733.2009.00532.x).


Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1454

View Abstract

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription