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News In Brief

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News In Brief

- Trusts are earning almost £100m a year from car parking. In 2005–2006, patients and visitors paid £98m to park outside hospitals and GP surgeries, a rise of 26% on the previous year, according to the Commons health select committee. Trusts charged up to £76 a day for parking, with rates varying from 30p to £4 per hour.

- Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust said it is back to normal after admitting last week it was unable to cope with patient demand due to a shortage of beds. Medically fit patients were taking up 50 beds last Wednesday. Patients were being treated in ambulances because of the unavailability of beds.

- An estimated 73,000 adults in the UK are living with HIV, according to Health Protection Agency figures. Of those, the HPA said, 21,600 were unaware of their HIV status. Data gathered so far suggests there were around 7,800 cases of HIV diagnosed in 2006, 100 fewer than the previous year.

- An in-depth course on treating black and minority ethnic patients has been launched by the DH. As part of its Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health programme, the DH has produced materials to raise diversity awareness among mental health staff.

- After three years as head of the RCN’s professional nursing department, Jill Jarvis will leave at the end of December to adopt a child. Ms Jarvis had previously served four years as council member for the South East region where she also served as chairperson and vice-chairperson.

- The Department of Health has chosen 38 PCT areas in which 100 new GP practices are to be set up over the next three years. Health secretary Alan Johnson said it was part of a commitment to improve service provision in areas which have too few doctors. Some places have as few as 43 GPs per 100,000 people compared with
88 GPs in other areas.

- Improving support and intervention in early life is essential if Scotland is to close the gap between affluent and deprived areas, according to Dr Harry Burns, the country’s chief medical officer. In his annual review, Dr Burns said he wanted to see more innovative methods used to combat depression, poverty and drug misuse.

- Edwina Hart, health minister for Wales, has asked officials to provide a cost analysis of improving kidney dialysis services over the next three years. Ms Hart wants to ensure renal patients are treated as near to their homes as possible. There are only five main centres providing dialysis in Wales.

- The age of sexual consent is to be reduced by a year in Northern Ireland, from 17 to 16, to bring it in line with the rest of the UK. The proposal is part of a range of new laws in the draft Sexual Offences (NI) Order 2007, which will be brought in next April.

- The British Heart Foundation has launched a website to advise young patients about their condition. The site, aimed at 11 to 19-year-olds, contains information on congenital heart conditions and provides a forum where young people with these conditions can share their views.

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