NEWS IN BRIEF

Female doctors referring more patients
Female GPs working out-of-hours refer a higher proportion of patients to hospital than their male colleagues, according to a study by GPs and academics in Bristol. They looked at the out-of-hours referrals of 149 GPs over three years and found female GPs referred 11.2 per cent of patients compared to 8.6 per cent for male GPs. BJGP 2007; 57: 152-7.

Five GPs arrested over Trident nuclear demo
Five GPs were arrested on Friday during protests against the replacement of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system. They blocked the entrance to the Trident submarine base at Faslane, near Glasgow. They were arrested, but will not face further action. The five were Dr Trevor Trueman (pictured) from Worcestershire, Dr Diana Warner and Dr Sue Black, both from Bristol, Dr John Anderson from Somerset and Dr Lesley Morrison from Peebles, Scottish Borders.

DoH reaches its PBC target
The DoH hit its target for 100 per cent coverage of practice-based commissioning (PBC) for December 2006. However, so far no practices have signed up for the PBC enhanced service in the Blackburn or Warrington areas, while uptake in Sefton, Sunderland and Telford and Wrekin PCTs is at 50 per cent or below.

Patient choice is on schedule
The DoH has confirmed its target give patients in England a choice of any NHS-approved hospital in England by the end of the year. At present GPs are required to offer a choice of at least four local hospitals, 34 Foundation Trusts and 15 independent-sector providers. The DoH intends to add 172 further sites by July.

Social enterprise schemes net £73million
A social enterprise fund worth £73 million over four years has been set up for England by the DoH. Funds will support the development of social enterprises. More details at www.dh.gov.uk/socialenterprise

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