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Independents' Day

Cancer cash ‘wasted’ on manager salaries, Lansley’s perfect timing, and if the NHS ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Our round up of the health headlines on Thursday 24 November.

The front page of the Telegraph this morning claims that ‘cancer cash' is being ‘wasted on NHS salaries'. Don't worry, they're not saying that those selfish doctors and nurses should work for nothing to free up more funding for cancer treatment. But following  a report that shows survival rates for certain cancers in the UK are lower than the European average, health secretary Andrew Lansley has hit out at the previous government for wasting ‘billions' on ‘PFI schemes, bureaucracy and inflated salaries for managers'.

There's no doubt Mr Lansley cuts a divisive figure as health secretary, but what's indisputable is his sense of timing. After yesterday's high profile report claiming that elderly patients are ‘abused and neglected by carers in their own homes', the Daily Mail highlights that  the health secretary will today unveil plans to have more elderly people treated at home rather than in hospital. The Mail suggests the elderly seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, given a report by the CQC last month that revealed how a fifth of NHS hospitals were treating older patients ‘so appallingly they were breaking the law'.

The Independent reports that ministers are planning to lift the ban on HIV-positive doctors carrying out procedures that could potentially lead to blood contamination, as the risk of transfer of the disease is now ‘negligible' in these circumstances. Britain is lagging behind much of the rest of the world in the respect as the ban, which has been in place for 20 years in the UK, has already been lifted in most of Europe, Australia and America. Sources in the Independent argue that the policy is ‘clearly discriminatory' and can ‘no longer be justified on public health grounds'.

If the NHS isn't broke don't fix it. That's the message in Guardian this morning in the light of a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which recognises the NHS as one of the world's best health systems. The paper quotes Mark Pearson, head of health at the OECD who said: ‘No country reforms its health service as frequently as the UK... there's no big reform that will improve it'.



RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada will be answering your questions in a live webchat this afternoon. Click here to view the webchat and submit your questions from 2pm.

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