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Junior doctors strike 'betraying Hippocratic Oath', NHS feels the squeeze, and GPs to get robo-doc assistants?

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

BMA plans for a full walk out, including emergency services, if junior doctors ballot in favour of industrial action in December could be interpreted as a ‘betrayal’ of the Hippocratic Oath according to the Telegraph.

In an editorial today, the pro-Conservative Party paper has chimed in on the side of Jeremy Hunt – who labelled doctors voting in protest of unsafe working hours as ‘militants’ this week - after the BMA released plans for three days of industrial action before Christmas.

The piece lays blame with the BMA and says it is ‘darkly ironic’ that they will jeopardise patient care, while accusing the Government of imposing a contract that does the same. But in a similar ironic twist, a poll on the Telegraph’s own story was showing 72% of 1,600 readers supported the strike action.

The NHS is increasingly feeling the strain of squeezed budgets and over stretched workforce in the run up to winter, manifesting in several key performance targets being missed.

According to the BBC ‘on almost every measure’ the NHS is in a worse position than this time in 2014, a year when waiting times in A&E hit their highest levels since targets were introduced in 2004.

With waiting lists to admit and discharge patients growing, it came as a grim reasurement that on BBC’s Question Time last night Tory minister Sajid Javid said he did not expect the NHS to fail this year, in the next breath saying the NHS did not have a financial problem at present. Rest easy folks.

And finally, GPs could in future find themselves assisted in simple diagnoses and prescribing by a robotic assistant according to the Guardian after the bank of England’s chief economist warned automation is threatening 15m skilled roles.

Despite what health secretary Jeremy Hunt may think, the piece says medical roles will be most resilient against a growing robotic workforce, with diagnosis relying on complex factors beyond simple biological markers. But they are already featuring as important tools in surgery and other roles.

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