News in brief

A round-up of news from the week.

Extended hours spread
Over half of practices in 21 PCTs are offering extended hours, says the DoH. Across England, 20 per cent of practices are opening on evenings or weekends, up from 12 per cent in April.

GPs 'need more competition'
A King's Fund report this week calls for more competition in general practice. Its expert working group says GP services should be commissioned like other NHS providers.

Lipid guidance criticised
NICE guidance on lipid modification has been criticised this week in the BMJ. Two letters warn that it could promote statin use instead of encouraging healthier lifestyles, and that cholesterol targets will not be met using simvastatin 40mg (BMJ 2008; 336: 1323-4). NICE guidance

Call for GMS-PMS merger
GMS and PMS contracts should be merged into a single national contract, GPs agreed last week at LMCs London conference, as a way of protecting PMS practices from sudden funding cuts.

Cancer patients missed
One patient in five with cancer is not being identified in electronic records, UK research suggests. In a 10-year study at five Leeds practices, 1,741 patients were diagnosed with cancer, but only 81.7 per cent of their records contained a diagnosis of cancer (Fam Prac Online 2008). Full report

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