Commenting on the Chief Medical Officer's annual report, Dr Brian Keighley, Chairman of the BMA in Scotland said: "This report shows that we are making good progress on tackling some of Scotland's biggest killers. This is, in part, due to the introduction of the new GP contract in 2004 and focuses on disease prevention and management of patients at risk of conditions such as CHD and stroke*. The contribution of general practice is often undervalued and I hope that government can recognise and value the potential for GPs and their teams to further reduce the death toll from these killer diseases. "Across Scotland as a whole life expectancy is increasing.
The Alabama Department of Public Health is returning 5, 200 doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine because of a voluntary recall from the manufacturer. The recall was issued for reasons unrelated to vaccine safety. These lots of vaccine were manufactured for infants and children 6 to 35 months of age, so this recall does not affect the nasal mist vaccine now being used in school clinics or injected doses administered to older children and adults. Doses of H1N1 vaccine for infants 6 months to 35 months of age were recalled because the potency in one batch (called a "lot") of pediatric syringes that had been distributed was later found to have dropped below a pre-specified limit.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the least urbanized region in the world. Only 39.1% of the region's population lives in cities.1 However, the region's urban population is projected to more than double to 760 million by 2030.1 The rate of urbanization makes it very challenging to manage. A recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine argued that urbanization is a "health hazard for certain vulnerable populations, and this demographic shift threatens to create a humanitarian disaster."2 Urbanization in Africa is linked to poverty. Globally, nearly 1 billion people live in slums, and this number is projected to double to 2 billion in the next 30 years.
Although public opinion in the United States on physician-assisted suicide is evenly divided, about half of states have either defeated bills to legalize assisted suicide or have passed laws explicitly banning it and only two states (Oregon and Washington) have legalized it. In this environment, A Disability Perspective on the Issue of Physician-Assisted Suicide, a special issue of Disability and Health Journal: The Official Journal of the American Association on Health and Disability, published by Elsevier, examines the issues related to assisted suicide and disability, the legal considerations and the Oregon and Washington experiences.
The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reports on budget cuts in Louisiana: "Obligated to close a $247.9 million gap in the current-year state budget, Gov. Bobby Jindal announced cuts across all agencies Tuesday, including $108.1 million in health dollars and $84 million from higher education. ... Slack tax revenue during the recession is leaving state coffers short of anticipated spending money for this year. ... The $108.1 million hit to the Department of Health and Hospitals will come partly from reductions in medical provider rates under Medicaid, Jindal said. The cut for higher education comes after a similar painful reduction for colleges during the budget-making process last spring" (Scott, 12/23).
End-of-life care has become a target for critics who allege many hospitals and physicians order unnecessary and expensive procedures, but it often involves difficult and complex decision-making. The New York Times reports on one hospital with large end-of-life care bills: "The Ronald Reagan U.C.L.A. Medical Center, one of the nation's most highly regarded academic hospitals, has earned a reputation as a place where doctors will go to virtually any length and expense to try to save a patient's life." The center spends significant money "on needless tests and futile procedures" and "is perennially near the top of widely cited data, compiled by researchers at Dartmouth, ranking medical centers that spend the most on end-of-life care but seem to have no better results than hospitals spending much less.