Intended for healthcare professionals


Seven days in medicine: 10-16 May 2017

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 18 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2363


Tax sweets and chocolate too, charity urges

Confectionery makers should be forced, like soft drink manufacturers, to reduce the sugar in their products to help tackle childhood obesity and diabetes, Action on Sugar said. The soft drinks levy will take effect next April, but the charity said that other voluntary action to reduce sugar in nine food categories by 20% by 2020, as urged by the UK government, was unlikely. Chocolate and sweets sold in coffee shops and restaurants should be included in the new levy, the charity said, as they are often highly calorific.

Medical defence

Negligence payouts are “too high”

A legal change last March that increased the cost of UK clinical negligence claims is not fit for purpose, said Christine Tomkins, Medical Defence Union chief executive. “The lord chancellor’s decision to lower the discount rate has added billions of pounds to the cost of clinical negligence and other personal injury claims overnight. For example, a claim that we would have paid on behalf of a GP for £8.4m [€9.8m; $10.9m], is now likely to settle for £17.5m,” she said. “The law must change to require whoever makes the decision to take into account the effect on public services like the NHS and on every citizen.”

Waiting times are “worst,” but quality holds up

Waiting times for many NHS urgent and emergency services in England were at their worst for five years in 2016-17 but no evidence yet shows that patient care has worsened, an analysis by the Health Foundation found. Its analysis of NHS England data showed that only 89.1% of patients attending …

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