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Leading doctors say NHS is at 'breaking point', GPs offering 'inadequate' post-natal checks and £75 a night hospital stays

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines.

A group of leading doctors have written to the Independent, warning that the NHS is at ‘breaking point’.

The leaders - including BMA chair Dr Mark Porter, RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker and Dr Peter Swinyard, the chair of the Family Doctor Association - have drawn attention to the crisis hitting general practice, among other areas.

They wrote: ‘Signs of a system buckling under the twin crises of rising demand and flatlining budgets are everywhere. A shortage of GPs means that patients are struggling to get an appointment to see their doctor. Pressures on maternity services mean that many women are not getting the high quality care they deserve. Major accident and emergency departments in England have failed to meet their waiting times targets for an entire year.’

They conclude: ‘We need a comprehensive, fully costed, long-term spending plan if an NHS true to its founding principles of universal healthcare, provided according to need not ability to pay, is secured for future generations.’

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail - recovering from the blow of losing a case where they bashed a GP - console themselves by, er, bashing GPs.

It reports that thousands of new mothers are being ‘let down’ by ‘inadequate’ GP appointments.

A study of 4,000 new mothers by the National Childbirth Trust found 45% thought the checks following their pregancy by GPs were substandard, with half claiming their six-week post-natal check was not thorough enough.

Finally, the Guardian reports that hospital patients could be asked to pay for their ‘bed and board’ if funding does not match increasing demand.

It reports that Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS commissioners and providers, said the health service would have to make ‘tough choices’ - which, if a source is to be believed, could mean patients paying £75 a night for the privilege of staying in a hospital. Not sure how that would score on the ‘value-for-money’ section of TripAdvisor.

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