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Seven days in medicine: 16-22 May 2018

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2237 (Published 24 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2237

Gambling

Government cuts maximum stake on betting machines

The UK government announced plans to cut the maximum stake at fixed odds betting terminals from £100 (€114; $134) to £2 to reduce the risk of gambling related harm. These machines, located mainly in betting shops, enable users to bet on digital versions of games such as roulette. They are considered to be particularly addictive, allowing people to bet as frequently as every 20 seconds. Reducing the maximum stake aims to reduce extreme losses. (See Five minutes with Henrietta Bowden-Jones, doi:10.1136/bmj.k2240.)

Emergency departments

Scheme to reduce “frequent callers” is rolled out in England

Clinical commissioning groups that have not yet done so were asked to adopt the High Intensity User programme to reduce the number of frequent attenders at emergency departments. The programme follows a scheme created by Rhian Monteith, who noticed that a very small group of people took up a lot of NHS resources when she worked as an advanced paramedic in Blackpool. Through personal mentoring she reduced emergency calls and hospital admissions among 23 patients by 90%. Around 500 people attend emergency departments over 20 times a year and in 2016 accounted for £53m (€60.5m: $71.2m), said NHS England.

Last winter was “worst on record” for NHS, says BMA

NHS patients in England endured the worst winter on record this year and performance against all major targets dropped, an analysis by the BMA found. Emergency department attendances, waiting times, trolley waits, and bed occupancy levels all rose this year, …

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