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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round up of NHS and healthcare stories.

24-hour drinking warning

From next month, pubs, clubs and bars will be able to apply to local councils to extend opening hours, yet such venues should not be allowed to open for 24-hour drinking, the Royal College of Physicians has warned. Professor Ian Gilmour, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians alcohol committee, said that extended hours would lead to more violence and illness. ìWe are facing an epidemic of alcohol-related harm and to extend the licensing hours flies in the face of commonsense, as well as the evidence from other countries,î he noted.

Foundation trusts seek financial experts

University College London Hospitals (ULCH), Guy's, and St Thomas' have become the first Foundation trusts to advertise for high-flying business people with financial expertise to join their boards as non-executive directors. Over the past few weeks, Guy's has advertised for a non-executive director for its audit and finance committee, while ULCH is searching for a chairman of audit and risk and a chairman for its finance and contracting committee. The move, which follows news of Foundation hospitals running into financial difficulties, also reflects a growing realisation that Foundation trusts are free-standing businesses.

Lung disease warning

The government is not doing enough to tackle lung disease, according to the British Thoracic Society. The warning follows the publication of a report which found that the UK's death rate for lung cancer was 126.1 per 100,000 people, while the European Union average was only 73.6. More than 70,000 people in the UK die from respiratory diseases including emphysema, bronchitis and asthma each year.

Diamorphine runs low

Stocks of the painkiller diamorphine could run out within the next few weeks, the government has warned. The shortages follow the suspension of production by Chiron, the government's main supplier of the drug. The government, which said that the shortage had been unforeseeable, has asked doctors to ration the drug to those who need it most. Wockhardt UK, the government's second supplier of diamorphine after Chiron, has been contacted to provide extra supplies.

30th September 2008

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