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NMC CHIEF RESIGNS Chief executive of the NMC Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes (pictured), has resigned from his role, citing 'personal reasons' for his decision. He had been on sick leave since 16 December. NMC chair, Professor Tony Hazell said: 'We would like to express our thanks for his contribution to the NMC and wish him well for the future.' Jackie Smith, director of fitness to practise, has been acting chief executive during Prof Weir-Hughes's leave, and will continue in the role until future arrangements are put in place.

LGB CARE A benchmark to encourage GP practices to ensure lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) patients are treated fairly is to be launched in February by national charity the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. The voluntary 'Pride in Practice' benchmark challenges practices to create a welcoming environment for LGB patients by using inclusive language in consultations, training staff on LGB issues, and by getting involved with health promotion and outreach initiatives. For more information, visit www.lgf.org.uk/prideinpractice

N IRELAND A ban on vending machines selling cigarettes in Northern Ireland will come into force on 1 March after plans were approved by Stormont. It is hoped this will cut the number of young people who smoke after purchasing cigarettes unsupervised. The change brings Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK. Health minister Edwin Poots said: 'Children and young people are particularly vulnerable consumers in that they are generally unaware of the long-term health implications of tobacco use.'

HOME DEATHS More people are able to die at home, according to research by King's College, London. Using figures from the Office for National Statistics, researchers found that in 2010, 102,416 deaths in England and Wales (20.8 per cent of the total number of deaths) took place at home, compared to 93,907 (18.3 per cent of the total) in 2004. Lead author, Barbara Gomes, said: 'What seemed to be an enormous task has happened: the reversal of the British long-standing trend towards an institutionalised dying.'

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