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Health Insight May 2001: Health in the news

  Health in the news Britain has been responsible for many of the key breakthroughs in genetics research and, in a major speech, the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Milburn, has made it clear that the government wants the country to benefit from the developments rapidly taking place in this area – see ‘NHS should prepare for the genetics revolution’.

Another high-profile speech from Mr Milburn has also been much in the news – see ‘Major structural changes for the NHS’.

For further news on NHS reforms during the last month see also the following stories: ‘Modernisation Agency up and running’, ‘Matron gets a mixed reception’, and ‘Errors will all be logged’. And even more reforms may well be in the pipeline, as witnessed for example by Mr Milburn’s support for a new proposal from the NHS Confederation – see ‘Outpatient changes needed’.

However, the pressures imposed by the unrelenting pace of change is causing growing resentment and ‘reform fatigue’ within the health service. Doctors in particular are feeling stressed – see ‘The pressures on doctors’.

The possible consequences to human health of the foot and mouth epidemic have been much discussed by the media. Despite some false alarms, no one has actually contracted the disease but the disposal of carcasses does undoubtedly create a pollution problem – see ‘Foot and mouth: human risks?’ Nevertheless, the stresses the disease is imposing on the mental health of farmers has probably been the greatest human impact of this epidemic – ‘NHS helpline for farmers’.

Another infection in the headlines has been tuberculosis. There has been a disturbing outbreak of the disease focused on a school in Leicester – see ‘Tuberculosis outbreak hits the UK’.

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