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Expert Witness : Medico Legal

BMI criterion for weight-loss surgery ‘too high’, say Swedish researchers

Aerial view of the Sahlgrenska Institute at the University of Gothenburg for Your Expert Witness storyThe criteria for weight-loss surgery need to be changed, according to health experts at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. In particular, a reduction in the body mass index (BMI) that obese patients must exceed in order to qualify for weight-loss – or bariatric – surgery could result in improvements to the health of many more people, reducing the prevalence of conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

The recommendations are based on the findings of the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study carried out at the university's Sahlgrenska Academy, involving 104 patients who were operated on despite their BMI being 'too low'. As a result, the risk of developing diabetes was reduced by 67%.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 14:41


NHS Continuing Healthcare: the deadline approaches

Picture of Norman Lamb for Your Expert Witness storyPeople who believe they should have an assessment of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding are being reminded that they should apply soon. The deadline is 31 March. Patients or the relatives of patients who received care that was paid for between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012 and were not assessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare but think they should be, have until 31st March to contact their PCT about, a statement from the Department of Health has explained.

Health Minister Norman Lamb (pictured) said: "The deadline to register for an assessment is approaching and we want everyone that should have been entitled to be assessed for a past period of care to be considered as soon as possible.

"In March 2012 we asked the NHS to communicate this deadline as quickly and effectively as possible to local people through whatever means necessary.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 January 2013 16:43


Cosmetic surgery responses published

Photo of breast implants for Your Expert Witness story - source US GovernmentThe responses to the call for evidence in the review of cosmetic surgery were published on 31 December. It allowed experts in the cosmetic interventions industry and patient groups to contribute to Sir Bruce Keogh's review of the regulation of cosmetic interventions.

According to a statement from the Department of Health, while there were a wide range of views on the future regulation of cosmetic interventions, some consistent key messages emerged from respondents. Recurrent themes were:

• The current regulatory framework was inconsistent and did not reflect the many changes and innovations in such a fast-growing and dynamic sector
• Training requirements were felt by many to be disproportionately weak compared to the potential risks of a procedure and more specialised training was welcomed
• Dermal fillers and intense pulsed light and laser procedures were highlighted by many as an area where there was insufficient legislation to protect the public

Last Updated on Monday, 07 January 2013 18:18


GMC launches helpline for doctors to raise patient safety concerns

Picture of telephone with tangled cable for Your Expert Witness storyThe General Medical Council (GMC) has launched a confidential helpline to enable doctors to seek advice on any issues they may be dealing with and to raise serious concerns about patient safety when they feel unable to do this at local level. At the same time, on 10 Dec, the GMC launched a new online decision aid to help doctors report patient safety concerns.

The new services are part of the GMC's on-going commitment to support doctors who raise concerns around patient safety and to foster a more open and transparent working culture in which all staff feel empowered to speak up. The launch of both services follows the publication of new GMC guidance for doctors, Raising and Acting on Concerns about Patient Safety, which was sent to every doctor in the UK earlier this year.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 December 2012 11:22


Doctors begin ‘revalidation’ process

Picture of stethoscope for Your Expert Witness storyRadical changes to the way doctors are checked to ensure they are safe to treat patients came into force on 3 December. The new system of checks, known as revalidation, will be run by the General Medical Council (GMC). It means the UK's 230,000 licensed doctors are now legally required to show they are keeping up to date and are fit to practise.

The UK is the first country in the world to introduce such a system across its whole healthcare system, covering GPs, hospital doctors, locums and those working in the independent sector. To keep their licence to practise, doctors will be required to revalidate on a regular basis, usually every five years.

The GMC began the new system by writing to 13,000 doctors telling them when they will revalidate. The rest of the UK's licensed doctors will be written to by the end of January. The GMC expects to revalidate the majority of licensed doctors by March 2016, with medical leaders expected to go first.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 December 2012 17:55