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#GPnews: Relax ‘mission impossible’ targets, NHS leaders tell Government

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16:35 NHS Providers, the organisation that represents hospital trusts, has warned the Government that it must relax its expectations on the sector or face up to the fact that targets will be missed.

It has warned that unless there’s more funding, next year double the number of patients will be forced to wait longer than four months for routine operations, reports the Telegraph.

NHS Providers CEO Chris Hopson said under current circumstances, to meet targets next year will be ‘mission impossible’ for NHS trusts.

He added: ‘It is unprecedented for us to warn the NHS will not be able to deliver on its commitments before the financial year has even started.

13:40 The Government has announced new protections for NHS whistleblowers today.

Staff have claimed to struggle to find new employment in the NHS after having previously spoken out about mistakes. But under the new plans, they can take NHS employers to tribunal if they feel they are being discriminated against.

If found to be right, they will be eligible for compensation.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘Today we move another step closer to creating a culture of openness in the NHS, where people who have the courage to speak up about patient safety concerns are listened to, not vilified.

‘These welcome changes will prohibit whistleblowers being discriminated against when they seek re-employment in the NHS, ultimately ensuring staff feel they are protected with the law on their side.’

12:25 Drinking chocolate powders can sometimes be ‘as salty as seawater’, health campaigners have warned.

The Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) group has called for new limits to be set, after teaming up with Queen Mary University to look at the salt content of various food products, reports the Telegraph.

10:30 Government plans to introduce an ‘army style’ minimum term for new medical students working in the NHS will reduce staff numbers and could worsen the health service recruitment crisis, the BMA has warned.

The comments follow the Government’s consultation document, published last week, which confirmed that 1,500 more places would be created for students to begin training in 2018/19 in a bid to reduce reliance on foreign doctors.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that making doctors serve patients in the NHS for a ‘minimum term’ would ‘ensure that taxpayer investment in the NHS is returned’.

The BMA said that the move – part of Jeremy Hunt’s plans to increase number of ‘homegrown’ doctors working in the NHS by 25% – failed to address the underlying issues affecting the NHS’s ability to recruit and retain staff.

Harrison Carter, BMA medical students committee co-chair said: ‘The Government has argued that these plans mirror the system already in place for medical students in the armed forces, but has failed to acknowledge the £10,000 a year bursary and £45,000 lump sum that students receive in recognition of their commitment to the military.’

‘Rather than forcing doctors to work in a health service in which they can see no future, the Government must urgently address the reasons why, after years of training to become doctors, fewer people are choosing to apply to or remain in the NHS.’

The consultation, which closes on 2 June 2017, asks whether the minimum term is a ‘fair mechanism’. It also proposes that GP-focused medical schools get more funding.

The move comes as the future of around 30,000 doctors working in the NHS from other EU countries is called into question following last year’s Brexit vote.

09:40 Skin creams commonly prescribed for conditions like eczema and psoriasis have been linked to a number of deaths, reports the BBC.

This is because they contained parrafin, which is highly flammable and collects over time in fabrics such as clothes and bedding.

Manufacturers have now been asked to add warning labels to their products.

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