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GPs go forth

Daily Digest 15 September 2009

By Ian Quinn

Today's round-up of the GP and other health stories making the headlines.

The national newspapers could not agree on their figures in today's editions but they were united on one thing - GPs are set to make huge ‘bonuses' from the swine flu vaccination programme.

After the announcement last night that GP practices will receive £5.25 for each person vaccinated, today's edition of the Daily Mail declared it would mean the average GP getting a ‘£4,000 bonus'.

It went on: ‘Despite having seen their pay soar in recent years, they will be given more cash from the hard-up NHS to carry out the nationwide vaccination programme.'

However, for once the Mail was outdone, by none other than the Independent, which claimed GPs could earn a mighty ‘£20,000 each', as well as being given ‘extra flexibility over access targets.'

The Guardian settled for a total figure, suggesting GPs 'stand to gain more than 42m' from the deal.

Eyeboggling indeed, except the true figure is ‘more than £100m', according to The Times.

Oh well, what's a few million between friends?

The Daily Telegraph stays on the general theme of swine flu over-indulgence but this time its focus is not GPs' pay packets but the fact that it reckons Britain could be left with 'millions of surplus doses' if it proves that one, rather than two, swine flu vaccination jabs is sufficient to do the job.

The Times, however, turns to deficits, rather than surplus, predicting there is a 40% likelihood of doctors' pay being cut by either Labour or the Conservatives, to help balance the national books.

It says ‘cutting rather than just freezing pay in the NHS would be a bold step indeed' and could save the taxpayer £1.3bn a year.

Good news in the paper, however, in the form of a story that GPs could soon be offered cut price scans of their own DNA in a bid from a Google-backed company to get them to begin using its technology to interpret genomic information on behalf of patients.

Anne Wojcicki, the glamorous co-founder of consumer genetics service 23andMe, tells the paper: ‘Clearly we need to engage with physicians to help them understand the information. We'd love to get physicians comfortable with their own genomes first.'

Even if the national newspapers aren't.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day…

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