News in brief 161107

Family Doctor Association launched
The Small Practices Association relaunched itself this week as the Family Doctor Association. It aims to unite 1,000 UK practices offering patients access to their own GP. Chief executive Moira Auchterlonie said: 'We have concerns that the traditional core values of general practice, in particular continuity of care, risk being lost as the government encourages private sector involvement.'

Conservatives would allow GPs to sell OTC medicines
The Conservative Party's shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley signalled that a Conservative government would allow dispensing GPs to sell over-the-counter medicines. Speaking at the annual conference of the Dispensing Doctors' Association in Bristol this month, he was asked why a dispensing doctor could not provide paracetamol, but a garage could. 'I have no idea,' he said. 'It's something we're definitely going to change.'- Pharmacist as a partner, page 11

Appeal Court ruling on government guidance
The Court of Appeal last week ruled that government guidance making it harder for doctors on the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme to take up training posts in the NHS was unlawful. The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin also appealed against a High Court ruling that the government did not have a legal duty to consult overseas doctors before tightening immigration rules in 2006. This was unsuccessful.

GPs advice for diabetic patients' use of insulin
GPs should advise diabetic patients who use pork insulin that there is no need to switch to human insulin when Novo Nordisk withdraws its porcine insulins in December. Pharmaceutical company Wockhardt UK will continue to supply Hypurin porcine and bovine insulin, allowing diabetics the opportunity to continue using porcine insulin. The DoH has stated that some diabetics are better suited to these and that they should continue to be available.

Alcohol price must increase
Anti-alcohol campaigners have come together to urge the government to increase the cost of alcohol and tighten restrictions on it. Twenty-four health organisations have come together under the umbrella of the Health Alcohol Alliance to put pressure on the government to take action against binge drinking. Increasing tax on alcohol by 10 per cent could cut the number of alcohol-related deaths by 10-30 per cent, claims the Alliance.

UK doctor wanted for Spanish exchange
A Spanish doctor is looking for a UK GP to take part in an exchange. Dr Daniel Suarez Hernandez is seeking someone to work in his five-GP practice, based in Alicante, where patients are from all over Europe and over a third are British. Anyone interested can contact Dr Suarez at

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