News in brief 250108

Weekly roundup of news from across the sector.

Nurse pay settlement
Unions fear that the DoH will seek to impose a three-year pay settlement for nurses before the pay review body makes its recommendations next month. But, a three-year deal offered to teachers last week, which exceeds the government's 2 per cent inflation target, has fuelled optimism that the DoH may also be open to above-inflation increases.

Resistance to aspirin
Up to 30 per cent of patients may be 'resistant' to aspirin, increasing their risk of a vascular event almost four-fold, claim Canadian researchers. A meta-analysis of 20 studies including 2,930 patients showed that 28 per cent were classified as being non-responsive to aspirin (BMJ Online).

Embryos research
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has approved research on hybrid embryos. UK scientists were concerned that plans to mix human and animal cells in order to research cures for degenerative diseases would be halted due to government pressure. But the HFEA has now accepted two applications, from Kings College London and Newcastle University, to carry out research using human-animal cytoplasmic embryos.

Contractors overcharge
Millions of pounds have been diverted from patient care because contractors overcharge for changes to private finance initiative (PFI) hospitals. A National Audit Office investigation found that £180 million of public money was spent on changing operational PFI projects in 2006. This includes £6 million in management fees 'not justified' in terms of the work needed (www.nao.org.uk).

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