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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of the news in brief

BMA rejects doctor regulation proposal
The British Medical Association (BMA) has reacted heatedly against the proposal by England's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, that the level of proof required for a doctor to be struck off be lowered. James Johnson, chairman of the BMA, stated it was in support of Sir Liam's proposals to support physicians with performance problems, but the BMA opposes outright the notion that a `criminal level' of proof be swept aside in preference of a `civil level' of proof needed to see a doctor stuck off. ìIt cannot be right, when a person's entire means of earning a living is at stake, to rely upon the balance of probabilities rather than proof beyond reasonable doubt,î James noted.

More competition for family doctors
GP services should be open to a greater degree of competition from the commercial sector, according to health minister Lord Warner. An article in the Financial Times noted his request to Primary Care Trusts to extend competition for family doctor services beyond `under-doctored' areas, yet it came in the face of ardent lobbying of the government by an alliance of 16 health service unions, including Unison, the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing, which opposed the threatened closure and relocation of some hospital services, job cuts, and the intensifying involvement of the private sector in NHS services. Expanding GP provision however, would enable patients, particularly those with long-term conditions, to enjoy a greater choice of practice, Lord Warner noted.

Supervision is key for trainee doctors
Results from a 25,000 respondent survey of the perceptions held by doctors undergoing postgraduate training revealed adequate educational supervision is essential to their satisfaction. Those trainees who thought their supervision was provided by someone who was not as competent as they should be, or where trainee medics did not know who was supposed to be supervising them, were less satisfied with their training overall. The survey, conducted jointly by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) and Conference of Postgraduate Medical Education Deans (COPMeD), was designed to provide evidence for ongoing quality assurance in postgraduate medical education. ìThe challenge for the Postgraduate Medical Deans is to make sure that good practice is shared and becomes the norm, and that pockets of poor practice are pinpointed and addressed,î said Elisabeth Paice, COPMeD chair.

30th September 2008

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