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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

Seven-day opening 'trade-off' for hospitals shutting, the discredited 'fat pledge' and why new male fertility kits could be the end to marital bliss

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Monday 28 October.

The front page of the Times this morning reports that seven-day opening will be a trade-off for more hospital closures and mergers that both the public and health service staff must accept, according to Professor Norman Williams, who is leading efforts by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to create a seven-day service.

The report by Professor Williams suggests that rural areas may give up a full GP service to keep their hospital open, but those in the city could choose to close some units to free up funds for specialist primary care at weekends for those leaving hospital.

He said: ‘There’s no question: for a smaller hospital at the moment, it will be very difficult to deliver that all-singing, all-dancing seven-day care. That’s why you have to take into consideration a degree of centralisation. We’re probably not being bold enough’.

Professor Williams claims local doctors would have to stop ‘obstructing change’ when it would benefit patients and that he has suggested reforms going ‘well beyond the current round of centralisations would be required’.

The BBC reports that the Department of Health’s announcement that a new ‘fat pledge’ amongst food manufacturers in the UK has been criticisedby the president of the Faculty of Public Health and the National Obesity Forum due to its voluntary status.

Professor John Ashton claims that the pledge, which sees food manufacturers such as Morrisons, Nestle and Subway promise to lower levels of saturated fat in their produce, is a ‘drop in the ocean.’

Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum, has called for regulation, stating that, ‘the much-vaunted voluntary responsibility deal will never succeed until the Government takes a grip and makes everybody sign up to it.’

The Times also reports that a cap on the number of managers earning more than £100,000 has been planned by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, along with stricter redundancy rules that will claw back money if bosses are re-employed by the NHS.

In a letter sent to NHS England, Monitor, Public Health England and the CQC on Friday, the health secretary stated that salaries over £100,000 will now need approval from the Department of Health.

Mr Hunt wrote that managers needed a ‘collective reality check’ after announcements that 48 staff members within the NHS earn more than David Cameron. He added that the NHS risks losing public support due to ‘excessive’ payoffs he likened to the recent payoff scandal in the BBC.

On a brighter note, The Daily Mail reported on the unveiling of a take-home instant male fertility kit that reveals a high, or low, sperm count over the weekend. The kits can be used at home and are 98% accurate. It isn’t all good news as sex therapist Michelle Bassam claims the new product could ‘spark a row’ amongst couples.

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