News in brief

GPs options are limited
The BMA has accused the government of taking advantage of GPs' commitment to caring for their patients in order to push through extended hours.  BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said GPs options in contract negotiations are limited by their desire not to harm their patients, while past governments took account of this fact, 'the government is now taking advantage of it to pull back on agreements.'

HIV drug
A new class of HIV drugs has become available in the UK for patients who have built up resistance to existing drugs. Isentress (raltegravir), an integrase inhibitor, functions by blocking an enzyme essential for HIV replication. The drug been approved for use in combination with other antiretroviral products in the treatment of HIV-1 infection.

The fate of the GP
Three quarters of practices believe polyclinics mean the end of family doctors, according to a poll by the National Association of Primary Care. The majority of the 135 practices that took part thought that general practice was facing its demise. Health minister Lord Ara Darzi advocates the introduction of 150 GP-led super surgeries in England.

Brown defends Johnson
The prime minister has defended Alan Johnson against claims that the health secretary's deputy leadership campaign received £3,000 from a foreign 'proxy' donor. Gordon Brown told GMTV this week that: 'I think he has answered all the questions and he has done nothing that is corrupt.'

Petition against extended hours
Staffordshire GP Dr Mark Oliver is urging GPs to sign a petition on the Number 10 website against the government plan to impose contract change on the profession. Sign the petition at

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