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Up to 10,000 GP patients affected by data breaches, no more tummy-tucks on the NHS, and health service should be run like supermarket

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Wednesday 18 June

The BBC reports that up to 10,000 GP patients may be affected by a series of data protection breaches committed by a Birmingham-based ultrasound provider.

The Information Commissioner’s Office investigated Diagnostic Health Systems Ltd – who provided scans in several GP surgeries across Staffordshire, The Wirral, Kent and Medway, Berkshire and West Yorkshire.

An audit found that GP referrals were being emailed directly in to staff inboxes, with no audit trail, staff were sharing passwords to access a web-based records account, and a stolen company laptop had not been reported.

Working with commissioners, the company is now thought to be compliant.

The Independent reports that the health secretary has said ‘purely’ cosmetic surgery should only be available on the NHS in severe cases - for example where there is a serious mental health need.

Official figures show that 8,000 tummy tucks have been funded by the state in the last 6 years, at a cost of more than £50 million. Jeremy Hunt told a Westminster lunch: ‘The decisions are taken on the basis of clinical need, but I have made it very clear that I am against purely cosmetic work.’

Finally, and also in the Independent, the NHS should be run more like Tesco: supporting small-scale community hospitals with larger specialist ones, according to a new report by the REFORM think-tank.

The report, by a former Tony Blair advisor, Professor Paul Corrigan, also suggests NHS bosses should adopt the ‘zero error’ approach to quality that car manufacturers like Volkswagen and BMW employ.

Pulse has been unable to verify rumours that  other great ideas in line to be implemented could include BOGOFs on barium enemas, a £1 deposit to unshackle your rudderless wheelchair, and an ‘automatic’ prescribing desk that leaves you aimlessly staring into space while you wait for an NHS manager to verify your credentials.

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