GPs stand accused of abusing power, just as they’re handed more
The health new headlines on Tuesday 18 October 2011
Today's Daily Mail online poll asks: ‘Do GPs have too much power?'
It accompanies their front-page story on the Health Ombudsman's report on how some GP practices have removed patients from their lists 'without fair warning or proper explanation'.
The ombudsman, Ann Abraham's report said that last year 2,581 complaints about GPs were made to her office, an average of seven a day. Of the 48 complaints deemed serious enough for the ombudsman to investigate fully, 10 - or 21% - concerned patients who felt they had been unfairly removed.
The Independent leads with the same story saying ‘the finding that some doctors are acting precipitately highlights the vulnerability of patients at a time when GPs are set to acquire major new powers under the Health and Social Care Bill currently going through the House of Lords.'
It quotes Ms Abraham as warning: ‘As GPs prepare to take on greater responsibility for commissioning patient services, some are failing to handle even the most basic complaints appropriately.'
Meanwhile the Guardian front-page reports on its investigation which finds that the £20bn ‘Nicholson challenge' is resulting in widespread cuts to frontline NHS services, including GPs restricting prescriptions of painkillers, not merely cutting out waste and inefficiency as the Government predicted.
‘Birth centres are closing, patients are being denied pain-relieving drugs and leaflets advising parents how to prevent cot death have been scrapped because of NHS cuts which are increasingly restricting services to patients', the Guardian says.
The NHS's £20bn savings drive also means new mothers receive fewer visits from health visitors, support for problem drinkers is being reduced and families are no longer being given an NHS advice book on bringing up their baby.
The Telegraph reports on Government adviser Lord Warner saying that care services for older people are being denied vital funding because ‘under-performing" NHS hospitals are soaking up public money.
The former Labour health minister claims that some failing hospitals must be closed to cut spending and pay for care of the elderly.
All things considered it is not a good day in the press for health professionals.