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GP contract blamed for rising elderly 999 trips, NHS payoffs condemned and evidence short man syndrome may exist

The number of ambulance trips by the very elderly has risen by 81% in the past three years, show figures reported by the BBC this morning. The figures show 999 trips to A&Es rose by 11% over the period to just under 4.4 million, but by far the largest rise was in the eldest age group, the analysis from the Labour Party shows.

But health secretary Jeremy Hunt blamed the rise on Labour’s ‘disastrous 2004 GP contract’. He said: ‘It’s rank hypocrisy for them now to complain about the consequences of their historic mistake.

We have ripped up that contract and are bringing back proper family doctoring, with named GPs for older people to help relieve A&E pressures.’

The NHS is also under fire (when isn’t it?) in the Telegraph for six-figure pay-offs given to managers who then subsequently came back to work for the health service. There is no suggestion that any of the managers have broken any rules, but MPs condemned the way the NHS handled the redundancies.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee said: ‘It also looks as if the NHS has misled both the National Audit Office and the taxpayer to the tune of over one million pounds. It is not acceptable.’

And finally, a bit of light relief, unless you are short of stature. Researchers from the University of Oxford appear to have proof that short man syndrome exists.

The study used virtual reality technology to reduce the height of volunteers travelling on a computer-simulated Tube train by 25cm, and apparently the experience of being shorter increased reports of ‘negative feelings, such as being incompetent, dislikeable or inferior’. Daily Digest gets that most days on his commute into work, but that has nothing to do with his height.