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#GPnews: NHS 'will still be around' in 50 years, says Simon Stevens

16:10 A plan subject to consultation and NHS approval would form one of the largest GP practices in Greater Manchester, reports the BBC.

Under the plan, Tower Family Healthcare will be created via the merger of seven existing practices.

The new practice, which is planned to form by next April, would have over 30 GPs and up to 50,000 patients.

A GP at one of the practices, Spring Lane Surgery, Dr Ajay Kotegaonkar, said the merger would make the practices 'more stable'.

He added: 'What patients will notice is if we can free ourselves up from some of the bureaucracy, doctors will have more time for patients.'

The seven GP practices involved are:

  • Greenmount Medical Centre in Brandlesholme Road;
  • Minden Family Practices in Derby Way, Bury which incorporates three practices - Yacht, Waves and Anchor;
  • Spring Lane Surgery, Radcliffe;
  • The Uplands Medical Practice, Bury New Road, Whitefield;
  • Tottington Medical Practice in Market Street.

15:55 Despite well-reported pressures on the NHS, the man in charge of running the NHS in England is sure it will still be around in 50 years.

In a live chat on Mumsnet today, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens was asked by enquirer 'DontTellTheBride': 'Do you think the NHS will still be here in 50 years' time?'

To which Mr Stevens responded: 'Yes, I do. Next year the NHS turns 70 and the commitment of both the public and the staff to it's future is as strong as ever.'

Pressures on services was a key theme of questioning in the chat, including CCG cuts to IVF treatment.

And although Mr Stevens admitted fertility problems were 'distressing and stressful', he added: 'As it happens, the NHS is spending about £100m per year on IVF, and actually the number of IVF cycles we've been funding has been going up over the last three years., but there's absolutely no disputing the fact that the NHS cannot currently afford to do all the IVF that people would like.'

As Pulse reports today, the latest area to be hit with an IVF rationing decision is Cambridge and Peterborough.

But Mr Stevens added that NHS England is looking at how IVF treatment can be more cost effective.

He said: 'There is a difficult balance between the number of cycles per person that we're able to fund within that £100m, versus the number of couples that can be helped, but there are also quite big differences in the cost of IVF services across the country, so we're looking at whether we can free up money from that to expand services in some areas.'

15:25 A third of parents don't know how to give first aid to a choking baby, according to a British Red Cross survey.

Just 24% had the skills and confidence to help a newborn or small child, reports ITV.

The aid organisation is now calling for parents to educate themselves.

Joe Mulligan, head of first aid at British Red Cross, said: 'Babies can be very curious and love to explore their surroundings by putting things in their mouths, especially when they’re teething.

'No parent wants to be in the situation where their baby is choking and they don’t know what to do, but helping is easy when you know how.

'If every parent in the UK knew just a few simple first aid skills, they could be empowered to deal with the everyday injuries and illnesses that their baby may face.'

11:35 Green spaces may be part of the solution to help kids with asthma. Inner-city children with asthma suffer fewer days with asthma symptoms if they live near a park, researchers in the US have found.

'This is only a small study looking at children with asthma, aged between three and 12, who live in the inner-city of Baltimore in the US. So, what’s needed now is research with more participants to see if the findings hold true in different populations, in different parts of the world and in different age groups,' said Asthma UK in response.

The charity said that in the meantime parents who live in high-pollution areas can make sure their children take preventer medicine daily and avoid traffic-clogged main roads when out and out.

09:50 Local politicians are campaigning to save a GP service at a health centre in Newcastle, reports Pulse sister title Management in Practice.

City Councillor Stephen Lambert said: 'Removing GPs in the well-used Ponteland Health Centre makes no sense. A health centre without GPs is like a fire station without firefighters.'

Losing GPs would worsen health inequalities in a deprived area, he added. '[NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG] must listen to local patients and think again.'

The surgery is currently run on an APMS contract by the Freeman Clinics, a partnership between Newcastle Hospitals FT and GPs.

It has previously been extended and cannot be lengthened any further, the CCG said.

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