News in brief

Army GPs given pay rise

GPs in the armed forces have been awarded a 3.7 per cent pay rise. It was accompanied by a 1 per cent rise in the x-factor, a basic wage that everyone in the armed forces receives. In the UK, the average wage for armed forces GP's in 2005/6 was £84,000, compared with £49,905 for the average salaried GP.

MPs debate future of dispensing GPs
The future of dispensing doctors was debated in the House of Commons last week when Tony Baldry, Conservative MP for Banbury, raised concerns about a practice in his own village of Bloxham, Oxfordshire. Implementation of the Pharmacy White Paper would mean the practice will lose all dispensing rights. But health minister Ivan Lewis said: 'If a patient wishes to receive the services of a dispensing doctor they need to live in a designated controlled locality.'

Benefits advice for elderly
GPs should give elderly patients welfare advice, says Age Concern. The report Just what the doctor ordered shows that number of GP-linked benefits advice services provided by the Citizens advice has dropped by a third since 2005 to 523 (www.ageconcern.org.uk).

24-week termination limit kept
MPs rejected attempts to reduce the current UK time limit for pregnancy terminations for 24 to 22 weeks' gestation last week. RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field, said the decision was 'sensible and correct.' He also warned GPs to 'not make moral judgments' and support women in their decision.

Dr Ann McPherson retires
The GP who co-wrote Diary of a Teenage Health Freak, has retired due to illness. A fellow of the RCGP, Dr McPherson is best known for her research on adolescent health issues. She has practiced as a GP in Oxford since 1979. Diagnosed with cancer, she left work to spend time with her family.

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