15:15 On the topic of the health secretary, Mr Hunt was apparently a bit reckless with his paperwork whilst on the way over to a Cabinet meeting at Number 10 this morning.
Photographers snapped a picture of notes he was carrying on the Brexit effect on the NHS, which said: ‘Hard Brexit means people fleeing UK.’
But the Independent was among those to suggest that showing off the notes, which were in a very large font indeed, may not have been without purpose on the Brexit-opposed health secretary’s part.
And the photographer who took the picture, tweeting from @PoliticalPics later said: ‘Trust me it was no accident.’
— Derek Momodu (@DelMody) July 4, 2017
12:10 Health secretary Jeremy Hunt and his ministers have been taking questions on health in the House of Commons in the last half hour.
One of the questions focused on GP numbers and the Government’s target to have an extra 5,000 GPs in 2020 compared to 2015.
MPs pointed out it’s not looking so promising, but general practice minister Steve Brine – answering his first-ever health question – said the Government remained ‘committed’ to the target.
Julie Cooper, the MP for Burnley said she spoke to a GP who, due to recruitment problems, had been able to take just one week’s leave ‘in the past three years’.
She asked how, when it takes 10 years to train a GP, the 5,000 target could realistically be met.
Mr Brine said: ‘The good news is that more people are coming into general practice, and we want to continue to encourage that, but of course we also have to take action to prevent the early retirements and to bring people back to general practice, and we are indeed doing that.’
The health team was also asked about rising GP indemnity, to which Mr Brine repeated the commitment to provide ‘appropriate’ funding to mitigate inflation to indemnity in the short term, while working on longer term solutions.
— @NHS / Abbie (@NHS) July 3, 2017
10:50 The MDU has issued advice to GPs who may find themselves in a ‘good samaritan’ situation, having to help in a medical emergency whilst off duty.
They said to take into account:
- your safety – don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk;
- your competence – don’t try to work outside your abilities, or whilst under the influence of alcohol;
- the availability of other options – are more qualified or able people on the scene?
They added that where possible, doctors should also:
- make a detailed record of the incident and your involvement;
- obtain consent from the patient;
- explain your actions and treatment to the patient;
- have a witness or chaperone present, with the patient’s consent where appropriate, particularly if you intend to conduct a physical examination.
Dr Beverley Ward, MDU medico-legal adviser said: ‘In our experience, doctors frequently come forward to help in off-duty emergencies and they have an ethical duty to do so.
‘In a survey about Good Samaritan Acts answered by 117 MDU members, the vast majority (88%) had experienced at least one incident where they had been called upon to help a person in distress.
‘However, in 60 cases over the last five years, doctors have needed our help following the incident. Some have had to give a statement to the police or if the person died, to the coroner, while in three cases there was a complaint.
‘Fortunately, complaints are rare and we are not aware of any doctor being sued. Additionally, the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015 helps to protect those acting in an emergency in England and Wales from legal action. The MDU also provides worldwide Good Samaritan act indemnity for our members.’
09:30 The chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies has said DNA tests should become routine within the NHS.
The CMO said this should begin with cancer and rare diseases but eventually become as commonly used as blood tests, reports the Guardian.
Acknowledging that some patients may be hesitant to hand over their genome for science, Dame Sally said: ‘The age of precision medicine is now and the NHS must act fast to keep its place at the forefront of global science.
‘This technology has the potential to change medicine forever – but we need all NHS staff, patients and the public to recognise and embrace its huge potential.
‘Genomic medicine has huge implications for the understanding and treatment of rare diseases, cancer and infections.’