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Health: News In Brief

Wednesday, October 20, 1999 Published at 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK

World experts condemn medical patenting

The patenting of medical procedures could limit the availability of new treatments to patients, says the World Medical Association.

At its annual general assembly meeting in Tel Aviv at the weekend, the association adopted a statement declaring the patenting of medical procedures to be "unethical" and against the professional guidelines under which doctors should operate.

It said patents could increase the cost of medical practice through licensing fees, restrict the number of doctors who could obtain licences to perform new operations, discourage doctors from even trying to do new operations which they feel might infringe patents, undermine their duty to pass their skills to their colleagues and lead to a delay in the publication of new results.

Flu vaccines on high street

Anyone will be able to get a flu vaccination for £20 on the high street in a government-backed scheme being run by Boots the Chemist.

At the moment the vaccinations are limited on the NHS to those in high-risk groups such as the elderly.

Local GPs will offer the jabs from one of 72 mobile vaccination units set up outside the stores.

Janice Churton, spokeswoman for Boots, said: "Customers can register for a vaccination from Monday until the end of October. The jabs will then be carried during two weeks in November."

Doctor 'supplied out-of-date blood'

A Harley Street doctor supplied out-of-date blood to abortion clinics, the General Medical Council, the regulatory body for doctors, has heard.

Dr Firiad Shafik Hiwaizi of IS Pathology Services faces charges of failing to maintain standards at his laboratories after it was emerged at least one patient had been given blood that was past its expiry date.

Dr Sue Knowles of the National Blood Service said an audit of the laboratory had revealed poor record-keeping and storage facilities.

"There were several across-the-board and fundamental errors in cross matching blood. Techniques were being employed that were not efficient," she said.

Dr Hiwaizi admits responsibility for the blood stocks in his capacity as clinical director of the company but denies serious professional misconduct. The case continues.

Al Fayed acts to aid hospice

Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed has donated £120,000 to a children's hospice that was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Francis House Hospice in Didsbury, Greater Manchester, was opened in 1991 but is now facing closure unless it can raise £5m.

Susie Mathis, who is co-ordinating the hospice fund, said: "I think he offered the money for a number of reasons, Diana opened the hospice and that had something to do with it, and he was touched by the picture of the little girl who we chose to front our campaign."

Mr Al Fayed said: "There can be no greater heartache than knowing your child is going to die before you. Making the most of the precious time remaining is so important."

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