#GPnews: 'NHS spending millions on prescriptions for widely available items'
17:00 The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has published a statement today on the escalation of industrial action by junior doctors.
President of the College, Dr David Richmond, said he is confident that 'emergency care will be provided' by consultants and 'the considerable number of non-training doctors we rely on to run a safe service.'
The statement went on to add that the escalation of industrial action is the last resort of an 'increasingly disillusioned' workforce who feel undervalued and ignored by the Department of Health.
Junior doctors recently announced they would be fully withdrawing their labour, including emergency care, in an escalation of their industrial action over the imposition of the new junior doctor contract.
14:30 The NHS is reportedly spending millions of pounds each year on handing out toothpaste, Calpol and vitamins, a Mail Online investigation has found.
The investigation has revealed that patients are being routinely prescribed items including Bonjela, Stepsils, and Rennies tablets – which is costing the NHS tens of millions of pounds for products that are already 'widely available'.
According to the Mail's analysis of data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre for last year, 1.1 million prescriptions were written for toothpaste – including Colgate and Sensodyne – at an approximate cost of £17.5m.
12:42 The RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker was involved in a Twitter spat at the weekend with the campaign group GP Surival.
GP Survival started the Twitter feud after it tweeted the RCGP – an arguably sarcastic tweet – congratulating it on the launch of its new poster campaign urging GPs to take breaks.
But Dr Baker hit back saying: 'I haven't seen any impact from you on making these statements', and later suggesting GP Survival's campaigning for the profession on Facebook struggles to get 'national media coverage and public support.'
11:30 Elsewhere, NHS England has today announced a £1.75m investment in an 'innovative family-based initiative' to help more people to be cared for in a home, not a hospital.
It said the 'Shared Lives' model will support people who have needs which make it hard for them to live on their own – by matching them with a carer to share their family and lives, giving care and support in the community.
Patients using the scheme may have learning disabilities, dementia, mental health problems or other needs which require long or short term support.
10:00 Professor Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, has said that junior doctors risk ‘crossing the line’ by withdrawing emergency cover from every hospital in the country, and 'irreparably damaging its position as the most trusted profession in society.’
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh
His comment come after junior doctors recently announced they would be fully withdrawing their labour, including emergency care, in an escalation of their industrial action over the imposition of the new junior doctor contract – the first instance of this ever happening in the NHS.
The BMA said that the full withdrawal of labour will take place between 8am and 5pm on 26 and 27 April.
Junior doctor contract protest square
Writing for the Guardian, Professor Keogh said: 'Junior doctors will be grappling with their consciences as they consider withdrawing emergency cover from every hospital in England. This is a watershed moment for the NHS – and a difficult time for the medical profession.
'Doctors are the most trusted profession. This trust is a privileged gift bestowed on us by society, but it brings responsibilities and expectations. One of these expectations is that we are there when people need us most. By withdrawing emergency cover, we risk crossing a line, which will irreparably damage this trust and the reputation of our profession.'
Good morning and welcome to the live blog – we will keep you up to date with all the top health news relevant to GPs.