PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT: From Obesity to West Nile Fever: Measures to Improve a Nation's Health
THE NATIONAL Health Service has spent more than pounds 50m over the past three years paying doctors to do nothing.
The money paid the salaries of doctors who were suspended while their performance was investigated, and costs.
A total of 514 doctors were suspended between 1998 and 2002. The number doubled in 1999, after the Bristol heart babies disaster, from 15 per quarter, on average, to about 30 per quarter. The costs rose from almost pounds 13.5m in 2000 to pounds 20m in 2002, but there are signs of a fall.
Suspensions lasting years were costly and unfair, Sir Liam Donaldson said. In new guidance, he said doctors should be suspended for a month, and that should be reviewed each time it was extended. "That would put pressure on everyone, especially the lawyers."
The National Clinical Assessment Authority was set up last year to deal with the problem. In its first 21 months it received 446 referrals, mainly of surgeons and psychiatrists.
WEST NILE FEVER
WEST NILE fever was a disease of the Middle East, Africa and India until an outbreak in New York in 1999, spread by crows, infected 62 people and caused seven deaths
In the four years since then it has swept across the United States, infecting 4,161 people in 44 states and killing 277. Now there is a threat that, with the right climatic conditions, it could come to Britain.
Sir Liam Donaldson said the risk was low but there was a need for vigilance. Studies at Oxford University suggest that the risk of the virus spreading to the UK is highest in the North-west and Wales, where the environment is best for transmission of the disease.
In the UK, it is most likely that it would be introduced by birds and then spread to humans by mosquitoes. Most people infected do not become ill but in some it can cause encephalitis, a potentially fatal swelling of the brain. It is not infectious and cannot …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT: From Obesity to West Nile Fever: Measures to Improve a Nation's Health. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 4, 2003. Page number: 3. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.