Crackdown on migrants forces NHS doctors to ‘act as border guards’

The Guardian, 20 April 2017
Author: Amelia Gentleman
“A medical charity has launched a campaign against government guidance that “makes border guards of doctors” by allowing the Home Office to access details of undocumented migrants who seek NHS treatment. Doctors of the World runs clinics for undocumented migrants who are afraid of accessing NHS healthcare due to concerns that a visit to the doctor could lead to deportation. The organisation wants the government to “stop using NHS patients’ personal information to carry out immigration enforcement”.”
Find article here.

Conscientious refusal in healthcare: the Swedish solution

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017; 43:257-259.
Author: Munthe C
“The Swedish solution to the legal handling of professional conscientious refusal in healthcare is described. No legal right to conscientious refusal for any profession or class of professional tasks exists in Sweden, regardless of the religious or moral background of the objection. The background of this can be found in strong convictions about the importance of public service provision and related civic duties, and ideals about rule of law, equality and non-discrimination.”
Find article here.

Medical devices face tougher premarket testing under new EU laws

BMJ 2017; 357: j1870
Author: Deborah Cohen
“The European Parliament has passed new legislation to tighten regulation of medical devices that will require high risk devices, such as hip implants, to undergo more premarket testing and assessment. European device regulation has come in for criticism after a series of high profile failures—including hip replacements, breast implants, and pelvic meshes—that have resulted in harm to patients.”
Find article here.

Record number of GP closures force 265,000 to find new doctors

The Guardian, 7 April 2017
Author: Sarah Marsh
“A record number of GP practices closed last year, forcing thousands of patients to find a new surgery. NHS England data showed nearly a hundred practices closed in 2016, a 114% increase in GP closures compared with figures from 2014. Of the 92 practices that shut, 58 did so completely, while 34 merged with other local surgeries in order to pool resources. The new data has renewed fears that family doctors are not coping with increased demand and need an urgent cash injection to survive.”
Find article here.

Mother wins right to challenge prosecution for buying abortion pills in Northern Ireland

BMJ 2017; 356:j527
Author: Clare Dyer
“A mother who faces criminal charges in Northern Ireland for procuring abortion pills over the internet for her 15 year old daughter has won permission from the High Court to challenge the prosecution as a breach of human rights.”
Find article here.

Let’s talk about the right to food

The BMJ Blog,10 January 2017
Authors: Jose Luis Vivero-Pol, Tomaso Ferrando
“Legal recognition of the right to food and nutrition can create the grounds for effective and systemic solutions for hunger and malnutrition. Recently, the media was abuzz with news of plans by the Scottish Equalities Secretary to legislate the right to food within Scottish law. This would be a step towards tackling food poverty in Scotland. This potential legislation will be historic, as Scotland will be the first country in the European Union (EU) to expressly recognize the right to food.”
Find article here.

Novartis is under investigation for allegedly bribing thousands of Greek doctors

BMJ 2017; 356:j130
Author: Owen Dyer
“Greece’s financial police have raided the Athens headquarters of Novartis, and a team of agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation have flown in to study seized company records, as part of an expanding probe into claims that the drug company has bribed over 4000 Greek doctors to prescribe or support the reimbursement of its drugs.”
Find article here.

Mitochondrial Donation — Clearing the Final Regulatory Hurdle in the United Kingdom

NEJM, 28 December 2016
Authors: Mary Herbert, Doug Turnbull
“No other IVF-based technique has undergone the intense scrutiny that has been applied to mitochondrial donation. This is, in part, because of the ethical and regulatory issues that are unique to this technique. In the United Kingdom, mitochondrial donation — which is both critical and central to this IVF-based technique — required a change in the law. Scientific progress in this area has also been a focus of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine at the request of the Food and Drug Administration.”
Find article here.

France introduces opt-out policy on organ donation

The Guardian, 3 January 2017
Author: Kim Willsher
“France has reversed its policy on organ donations so that all people could become donors on their death unless they join an official register to opt out. The new law presumes consent for organs to be removed, even if it goes against the wishes of the family. Until 1 January, when the legislation took effect, unless the person who had died had previously expressed a clear wish for or against donation, doctors were required to consult relatives who, in almost a third of cases, refused.”
Find article here.