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Jeremy Hunt ‘wants to boost GP morale by awarding more gongs’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt wants to prioritise the recognition of senior doctors through the honours list and the proliferation of award ceremonies for outstanding achievement in the health service, according to his second in command at the Department of Health.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Monday, health minister Philip Dunne MP said recognition of this sort could provide ‘self-motivation’ for staff.

Mr Dunne told delegates at the UK2020 panel discussion on building an NHS fit for an independent UK: ’I do think we need to try to recognise outstanding achievement within the health service, as I understand it that’s another priority of the secretary of state. He wants to see more senior clinicians recognised through all sorts of different systems, through the honours system.

’I was at our local hospital on Friday, and the new chief exec of the hospital trust had arranged an awards ceremony for the staff, that’s the first time that had ever happened in that trust.

‘It seems extraordinary, it’s absolutely standard practice across most other industries: people’s achievement is recognised. We need to do more of that to raise the status, and self motivation of the staff.’

The idea was criticised by Dr Fiona Payne, a former NHS GP turned private doctor and CQC specialist advisor, who said GPs’ reward was ‘getting our patients better and treated quickly.’

At the same event, Mr Dunne also said that politicians should defend the changes and losses of ‘cherished facilities’ being proposed by the ’Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, the blueprints for the future of the health service being developed across England

Mr Dunne said: ’Politicians will recognise that this is a good idea, where proposals are to change bricks and mortar, inevitably it’s likely to concern the public that they’re losing a cherished facility.

‘I’ve been in plenty of buildings in the last three months that were constructed over 100 years ago, and I’m not sure they’re necessarily the ideal way to provide care in the future.’