This site is intended for health professionals only

#GPnews: Labour Party responds to Pulse child mental health investigation

Top stories

Two-thirds of GP referrals for child mental health lead to no treatment

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard elected next RCGP chair

17:11 A row is raging among scientists and doctors over a suggested link between paracetamol ingestion during pregnancy and children being born with autism.

It was sparked by a Spanish study suggesting prenatal exposure to paracetamol meant that 30% of males were more likely to be on the autistic spectrum.

But it has come under heavy criticism from scientists and doctors in the UK.

For example, Dr James Cusack, director of science at autism charity Autistica, told the Independent: ‘This paper does not provide sufficient evidence to support the claim that there is a strong association between paracetamol use and the presentation of symptoms of autism. The results presented are preliminary in their nature, and so should not concern families or pregnant women.’

And Dr Helen Webberley, GP for, told the Huffington Post UK: ‘Research such as this is very alarming for pregnant women, so many of whom already suffer in silence out of fear that over-the-counter drugs could harm their unborn babies…

‘Paracetamol is generally considered safe to take as there is no clear evidence that it has any harmful effects on an unborn baby.’

But Dr Webberley added that she welcomed further studies into the subject.

15:20 The Government has rejected a BMA request for an increase to budgeted spend on NHS in light of the Brexit vote, reports the Guardian.

The paper says the BMA had asked for the £350m pledged by the Leave campaign to be added onto existing funding commitments.

But the paper quotes health secretary Jeremy Hunt as saying: ‘This Government has prioritised health and invested an extra £10bn in the NHS’s own plan for the future. We recognise parts of the NHS are under pressure as demand rises due to our ageing population, so we are providing intensive support to improve performance, boost efficiency and reduce the use of expensive agency staff.

‘Any future decisions on further funding for the NHS are a matter for the next Prime Minister.’

12:47 Newly appointed shadow health secretary Diane Abbott has issued a response to Pulse’s investigation into child mental health services.

Ms Abbott, who replaced Heidi Alexander in the role when she resigned last month, said: ‘These figures are yet more evidence of the Tory Government’s failure to properly fund mental health services in England. It is indefensible that over half of young people needing treatment are unable to access the care they need.

‘The Tories need to understand that the solution to the crisis across our health service is not a tax cut for multinational companies as George Osborne has proposed today, but the proper investment our NHS needs.’

12:22 Two thirds of people in the UK think that immigration has a negative impact on the NHS, reports the BBC.

By contrast, the 2015 British Social Attitudes Survey found only 35% of the public think immigration is actually bad for the economy.

Professor John Curtice, senior research fellow at NatCen, which carried out the survey, said: ‘Even during a period where the public appeared less concerned about the economic and cultural consequences of immigration, substantial majorities still said that migrants were having a net negative effect on British schools and the NHS.’

He said the next Prime Minister had to ‘assuage this concern’ as a key priority.

11:28  The BBC’s health correspondent Nick Triggle suggests that Brexit has quietly put an end to the junior doctor contract dispute.

As the result of the vote of BMA junior doctor members on whether to accept or reject the compromise that has been negotiated is expected later this week, the BBC suggests that the contract is already being implemented and the outcome of the vote will be ‘pretty academic’.

‘Several influential voices in the organisation have told me there is nowhere to go regardless of the result – with one saying any more industrial action at the current time would be “just ridiculous” given what is happening in the country,’ writes Mr Triggle.

09:35 Several newspapers, including the Guardian and the Mirror are reporting on Pulse’s investigation revealing the lack of mental health referral options available to GPs treating vulnerable children.

Today we could reveal that 60% of GP referrals to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) lead to no treatment and a third are not even assessed.

GPs told Pulse that CAMHS were refusing to treat patients unless they had attempted suicide or self-harmed.

Click here to read the feature in full


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.