Intended for healthcare professionals


In brief

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 06 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5307

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Oxford University Hospitals gains foundation trust status: Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, one of the largest teaching trusts with acute care services, has been authorised by Monitor to become a foundation trust, effective from 1 October 2015. The healthcare regulator has specifically asked the trust to continue cutting patient waiting times in its emergency services and for cancer care. The trust runs four hospitals in and around Oxford.

TB incidence in people born abroad continues to fall in England: A total of 6520 cases of tuberculosis were notified in England in 2014, down from 7257 in 2013, shows a report from Public Health England.1 The latest figures give an incidence of 12.0 cases per 100 000 people in England, down from the 2011 peak of 15.6 per 100 000. The decrease is mainly due to fewer cases in the non-UK born population, which accounts for nearly three quarters of all cases in England.

Nursing assistant sentenced for fraud: A nursing assistant who exaggerated a work injury to claim over £10 000 (€13 500; $15 200) in extra payment from the NHS has received a 24 month suspended prison sentence and been ordered to pay £1500 in compensation to her employer. Joanna Maria Heys, 43, of Blackburn, was injured while working at a learning disabilities and mental health facility in Lancashire in January 2013. She was awarded an NHS temporary injury allowance for extended leave from her NHS job while working part time as a teaching assistant, costing “the NHS over £10 000—money which should have been spent on caring for patients,” said Pauline Smith, area antifraud specialist at NHS Protect.

Injuries from zip wires soar: Injuries from zip wires have risen along with the popularity of an activity that hurtles riders through the air along a wire, a study of US emergency department attendances has shown. Over 16 years nearly 17 000 people were treated for injuries related to zip wire use, including broken bones, cuts, and sprains, found the study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.2 Most injuries occurred in the last four years of the 1997-2012 study.

Women in Portugal must pay for abortions: Women who want an abortion in Portugal, where abortion has been legal and free of charge up to 10 weeks of pregnancy since 2007, will have to pay €775 (£570; $870) from 1 October, after a bill was adopted that makes several amendments to the abortion law. The new legislation also requires women wishing to have an abortion to attend psychological and social counselling, as well as family planning consultations.

Maternal and neonatal mortality rose during Ebola epidemic: Fear of being infected with the Ebola virus made pregnant women avoid giving birth in hospital, a report commissioned by Voluntary Services Overseas has found.3 Research conducted in 76 healthcare facilities in Sierra Leone found that during the epidemic there was a 30% rise in maternal deaths and a 24% rise in newborn deaths. The researchers also found an 18% decrease in the number of women accessing antenatal care and a 22% decrease in the number of women accessing postnatal care.

BMA sees surge in junior doctor members: An extra 5451 doctors joined the BMA in the week since 26 September, when the association’s Junior Doctors Committee said that it would ballot its members in England over whether to take industrial action over the government’s plans to impose a new contract from next August. The surge of new recruits is a sign of the anger among trainees, said Mark Porter, the BMA’s chair of council.

Hunt rules out sugar tax: England’s health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said in an interview with the Independent newspaper that he is opposed to a sugar tax. A tax on sugar would be unfair because it would mostly affect people on low incomes, he said.

UK is best place to die: The United Kingdom was rated as the world’s best place in which to die in a study that compared care at the end of life in 80 countries. The Economist Intelligence Unit cited the integration of palliative care into the NHS, a strong hospice movement, specialised staff, and deep community engagement as reasons for the top ranking.

Sales from plastic bags will fund dementia centre: The UK supermarkets Iceland, Asda, Morrisons, and Waitrose have pledged to use the funds raised from the new levy on single use plastic carrier bags for the construction of the Dementia Research Institute, a new world class dementia research centre at University College London. The £350m (€475m; $530m) project has a shortfall of £100m, and plastic bag sales could raise £20m in the first year.


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5307


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