NHS accused of waving white flag as it axes 18-week operation target

The Guardian, 31 March 2017
Author: Denis Campbell
“Patients will face longer delays for operations after the NHS decided to shelve one of its most important waiting time targets as part of its ambitious survival plan, which will also result in hundreds of thousands of people being denied surgery. The NHS England’s chief executive, has announced that the NHS is significantly relaxing the requirement on hospitals to treat, within 18 weeks, 92% of all patients in England who are waiting for a hip or knee replacement, cataract removal, hernia repair or other non-urgent operation.”
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Global systematic review of Indigenous community-led legal interventions to control alcohol

BMJ Open 2017; 7:e013932.
Authors: Muhunthan J, Angell B, Hackett ML, et al
“The national and subnational governments of most developed nations have adopted cost-effective regulatory and legislative controls over alcohol supply and consumption with great success. However, there has been a lack of scrutiny of the effectiveness and appropriateness of these laws in shaping the health-related behaviours of Indigenous communities, who disproportionately experience alcohol-related harm. Further, such controls imposed unilaterally without Indigenous consultation have often been discriminatory and harmful in practice.”
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“I’m Willing To Try Anything”: Compassionate Use Access To Experimental Drugs And The Misguided Mission Of Right-To-Try Laws

Health Affairs Blog, 27 March 2017
Authors: Amy Scharf, Elizabeth Dzeng
“Beneath its seemingly altruistic and uncontroversial veneer, the Compassionate Use program has been a lightning rod for intense legal, legislative, and public policy controversies, many of which have been framed as ‘libertarian vs. regulatory’ battles between those who wish to allow patients freer, even unrestricted, access to experimental drugs (often by changing or limiting the role of the FDA), and those who prefer a more measured, rigorous approach to dispensing unproven and potentially dangerous therapies.”
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WHO issues ethics guidance to protect rights of TB patients

WHO, 22 March 2017
“New tuberculosis (TB) ethics guidance, launched today by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to help ensure that countries implementing the End TB Strategy adhere to sound ethical standards to protect the rights of all those affected.”
Find news release here.

What Can US Policymakers Learn About Essential Health Benefits From Israel?

Health Affairs Blog, 23 March 2017
Authors: Rachel Nisanhotz, David Chinitz, Sara Rosenbaum
“US policymakers confronting these complex questions could benefit from a close look at how other health systems approach them. In particular, it may surprise readers to know that Israel has a system very much in line with many US policymakers’ goals of fostering a competitive private insurance market. The Israeli system rests on the concept of competing private health plans selling care in a market of empowered consumers. But one crucial difference is how Israel approaches the question of what it means to be covered.”
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Prescription Drug Regulation, Promotion, And Advocacy Has Gotten More Vexing In 2017

Health Affairs Blog, 23 March 2017
Author: Jerry Avorn
“Early 2017 has been one of the most interesting and challenging times for anyone concerned with medication regulation and evidence-based prescribing — as well as for the patients and health care professionals who will be so heavily impacted recent policy changes.”
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Scope of practice largely undefined

MJA Insight, 20 March 2017
Author: Sue Ieraci
“Most people working in medicine are familiar with the term “scope of practice”, but many of us may not have thought much about how guidelines are developed or regulated. As more intra- and inter-professional problems occur, however, we may find that the structures for doing so are not as robust as we may hope.”
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Push for unity on vaccination laws is just common sense

The Canberra Times, 13 March 2017
Author: David Ellery
“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s call for all states and territories to adopt a uniform stance on barring unvaccinated? children from childcare and preschool facilities makes a great deal of sense. Under current legislation unvaccinated? children in the ACT, along with those in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, can be enrolled at these centres.”
Find article here.