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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 December 1; 335(7630): 1114.
PMCID: PMC2099567
In Brief


US health costs face major increase: The Congressional Budget Office said that federal spending on the Medicare health insurance programme for elderly people and on Medicaid for poor people will rise, within 75 years, to 19% of the gross domestic product (GDP) from the current 4%. Total US spending on health care will rise from the current 16% of GDP to 49%. The problem is not an ageing population, the office said, but greater health costs per person, often on unproved treatments.

Israeli doctors back bill that would postpone treatment for violent patients: A parliamentary bill backed by the Israel Medical Association would allow Israeli hospitals and clinics to refuse medical treatment for up to six months to patients who have attacked medical staff. Three quarters of emergency room staff have witnessed physical or verbal violence in the past year.

Hospital food and cleanliness in England are better: The latest figures from the National Patient Safety Agency show that 99.5% of hospitals in England were rated as “acceptable” or better for the food they provide and 98% were similarly rated for their patient environment, which includes cleanliness. The results show a steady improvement over the last three years.

Rift Valley fever spreads in Sudan: Cases in humans of Rift Valley fever continue to occur in Sudan, with more than 221 cases reported in the past two weeks. By 21 November a total of 436 cases of the disease, including 161 deaths, have been reported from White Nile, Sennar, and Gazeera states. Most infections in humans result from contact with the blood or organs of infected animals.

New body approves 40 UK trial units: Forty clinical trials units in the UK have been approved for registration with the new UK Clinical Research Collaboration (for a list see To be registered, units have to show they have the expertise to conduct trials in line with appropriate standards and regulations or that they are working towards these.

UK steps up measures against flu pandemic: The UK government has increased its flu treatment and protection strategies in a new plan to increase preparedness against a possible pandemic. The new measures include doubling the stock of antivirals to cover at least 50% of the population and buying 14.7 million courses of antibiotics to cover people at risk. The national framework for responding to a flu pandemic is available at

Articles from The BMJ are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group