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Independents' Day

#GPnews: Jeremy Hunt's approval ratings lowest of all the top ministers

16:30 Fascinating update from Professor Louis Appleby, who is leading the GMC-commissioned investigation into the fitness-to-practise process. You can read our earlier interview with him here. He has told Pulse that he thinks too many doctors are being investigated.

15:40 A new YouGov poll makes poor reading for health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Overall, 17% of voters think he is doing a good job, compared with 65% who think he is doing a poor job - worse than Prime Minister David Cameron, chancellor George Osborne, home secretary Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Even Conservative Party voters were unimpressed with Mr Hunt - 35% thought he was doing a good job, compared with 49% who think he is doing a poor job.

It also found that most of the public thought junior doctors were right to strike - 52%, with 32% of people against.

Finally, 45% of people said they blamed the Government for the strike action - compared with 17% who blamed the BMA, and 30% who said they were equally to blame.

13:10 There is some doubt emerging whether the £1bn per year additional funding for the implementation of the mental health taskforce report is genuinely new money or not. Here is the best ‘explanation’ (inverted commas here are deliberate) that we could find thus far from NHS England.

11:40 A city council is organising a ‘high level’ summit to discuss the growing numbers of GP practices closing.

The Leicester Mercury reports that Leicester deputy city mayor Councillor Rory Palmer has invited DH officials to discuss the problems with practices closing in the city. 

It follows growing patient concern over the closure of surgeries and the state of primary care in Leicester.

Councillor Palmer told the paper: “The overall challenge will be discussed but more importantly the event will be focussed on solutions and ensuring all parts of the health system are working collaboratively to strengthen primary care in Leicester.

’I will also be inviting national decision makers from the Department of Health because we need to ensure Ministers in Whitehall understand the challenges facing GPs and that primary care is properly funded.

’GPs are feeling under real pressure and resolving that has to be a priority nationally.’

9:25 An interestinginterview with the health secretary in the Guardian this morning, in which Jeremy Hunt says he has always had ‘admiration’ for the NHS “and the NHS ’remains the single biggest reason why most people are proud to be British’.

On the junior doctors’ contract row, he says that  one of the reasons for younger medics having low morale is the problems coming from lack of staffing at weekends.

He says: ’I think one of the reasons morale is low in junior doctors is because if you go and work at weekends now as a junior doctor – which they do in abundance – it is very tough. There are half the number of consultants working in A&E departments on a Sunday as there are in the rest of the week, despite it being one of the busiest days of the week.’

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Readers' comments (6)

  • "There are half the number of consultants working in A&E departments on a Sunday as there are in the rest of the week, despite it being one of the busiest days of the week.’"

    He's nailed the juniors, consultants - now it's your turn. Bend over. This may hurt a little.

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  • ... and who do think will be next once the consultants and juniors have been forced to give up their families for servitude to the NHS?

    GP are next in the firing line.

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  • When I worked in A+E 15 years ago there were 2 consultants - certainly they were not in at the weekend. Moral was high. Now looking at that same dept. there are 10 consultants ( notice no increase in the number of local GPs) and moral is low.

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  • The NHS is effectively a monopoly.

    They control essentially all healthcare jobs in the UK.

    As the NHS is a monopoly and the boss (the health secretary) is a totalitarian leader, he feels that he has carte blanche to do whatever he likes with his slaves.

    Over the years doctors have been repeatedly denigrated by the politicians and the press.

    This applies to all medical professionals but has been particularly savage on GP’s.

    NHS managers feel that they are superior to the medical staff that they employ as is evidenced by the number one measure in the world that they live in - salary payments.

    The pay of senior NHS management now significantly outstrips that of the working clinicians.

    Unfortunately some clinicians have sold their souls to the devil and have made a Faustian pact taking up management roles (usually at the tail end of their careers to boost their pensions) and selling their peers into slavery.

    NHS managers see their job as controlling a group of lazy, indolent, stupid individuals who just won’t cooperate and get on with the important job of massaging the figures.

    Patent care has become a secondary activity subservient to the needs of the great bureaucratic machine itself as was evidenced by the Mid Staffs fiasco (no one in senior management was ever held accountable).

    Management see clinicians as worker drones whose role is to turn up, shut up and do what they are told.

    Politicians are cut from the same fine cloth as NHS managers and take the same view towards troublesome doctors.

    Someone needs to remind both groups that slavery was abolished in the UK 1833.

    We are not slaves and we are not tied labour.

    The government is very keen to talk up market forces when it suits them.

    What they have failed to recognise or acknowledge up until this point is the there is a global market for health care workers.

    This is a very painful lesson that they are just about to learn.

    What worries me is what is left after this cabal has destroyed the NHS.

    What happens to the people once the sacred cow of the NHS exsanguinates?

    Jeremy Hunt and his friends in the press seem determined to bleed it to death.

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  • Spot on with sacred cow analogy, which bedevils all healthcare planning.
    If we could only break free from this fixation with "free at the point of delivery" (a concept which no other country in the world, with the possible exception of Cuba has followed)we could consider alternative systems, which put quality first.
    Why not consider "chambers" of consultants? GPs taking the federation concept further and setting themselves up as Health Maintainance Organisations including control of community contracts? We could even employ Health Visitors (remember them?).There are so many positive proposals we could be considering instead of being trapped in the sterile and vaccuous whingeing about "evil Tory plots".

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  • So what? He is considered a 'crown jewel' and of highest esteem by the PM and that is why he's bullying NHS staff without consequences.

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