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New NHS England boss off to rough start, Jeremy Hunt sets stance on Chinese medicine and managers reap reward of NHS reshuffle

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Wednesday 2 April.

NHS England’s new chief, Simon Stevens, has been in the position less than 24 hours but has already earned the ire of workers unions after hinting at ambitions to further open the NHS to private providers.

The Guardian reports that Mr Stephens gave a speech to 300 health professionals in Newcastle and outlined key elements of other national health services including ‘the critical role of the third sector, and the innovation value of new providers’.

Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison – represent over 400,000 NHS staff – said his speech ‘seems suspiciously like another way of saying NHS privatisation. He needs to bear in mind the overwhelming popularity of the NHS and privatisation is not supported by the electorate.’

The Telegraph reports Jeremy Hunt as saying that any funding of Chinese or herbal medicine in the NHS would only occur where there was ‘good evidence’ of its benefits.

Speaking in response to health committee member David Tredinnick MP – a long-term advocate of complementary medicines – who asked the health secretary what his time in China had taught him about traditional remedies.

Mr Hunt replied: ‘The most important thing is to follow the scientific evidence and where there is good evidence for the impact of Chinese medicine then we should look at that but where there isn’t we shouldn’t spend NHS money on it.’

And finally, the eye of The Daily Mail flicks from GP pay to its second scourge - ‘NHS managers’ - with new revelations that several managers received significant pay rises following the establishment of NHS England.

The news came from a series of parliamentary answers and The Mail was quick to point out the scandal was breaking at a time when doctors and nurses would be accepting a real terms pay cut.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘The scandalous waste caused by David Cameron’s NHS re-organisation gets worse the more we find out about it.’

‘Nurses and midwives, who have been told that they will not receive even a 1% pay increase this year, will find these revelations utterly galling.’

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