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#GPnews: BMA warns immigration charge could cost NHS millions

15:20 The RCGP has responded to the warnings that lesbian women may be missed in the cervical cancer screening programme.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: 'Millions of women every year are appropriately screened for cervical cancer – and it’s safe to say that this national programme is one of the great successes of the modern NHS...

'GPs and many members of the practice team – as well as other sexual health professionals – are trained to conduct cervical screening tests. And advising when a test is and isn’t necessary is part of the GP curriculum, which all family doctors must demonstrate competence of in order to practise independently in the UK.

'Cancer is an enduring priority for the RCGP and we have worked with a number of partners, including Cancer Research UK, to develop resources to support GPs and our teams in the early identification, prevention, and treatment of cancer.’

14:15 LGBT groups have warned that lesbian women are often being wrongly told they don’t need screening for cervical cancer.

But they highlighted that the HPV virus, which causes most cervical cancers, can be transmitted also via lesbian sex, reports the BBC.

Other issues highlighted by the the National LGBT Partnership included health professionals wrongly assuming lesbian women are heterosexual.

10:40 The BMA has warned that a new immigration charge being introduced by the Government could lead to the NHS missing out on millions if health and social care professionals are not exempt.

The BMA and Royal College of Nursing has sent home secretary Amber Rudd a letter about the Government’s immigration skills charge – which applies a £1,000 charge per year of visa to overseas staff coming to the UK on a Tier 2 visa.

It says: ‘Given the ongoing pressures on both NHS and social care finances, the sustainability of services and the recruitment and retention of staff, we are asking you to exempt the NHS and the wider health and social care system from the ISC [immigration skills charge].

‘It cannot be appropriate to divert funding away from the budget for frontline health services and the training of health professionals in this way.

‘While the Government has suggested that funds raised from the charge would be reinvested back into the UK workforce and health system, we have been given no guarantees to that effect.’

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