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#GP news: BMA warns of ‘secret’ plans for severe cuts

14:35 Danish researchers have announced some great news for the weekend. A survey of more then 70,000 people has found that those who drink three or four times a week are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who never drink, with red wine being the most effective.

The five year study found that drinking a moderate amount, three or four times a week, lowered the risk of diabetes in women by 32% and men by 27%.

But experts have held back from giving free rein to drink more than is recommended. The lead researcher on the project Professor Janne Tolstrup, from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark, told the BBC: ‘We can see it’s a better effect to drink the alcohol in four portions rather than all at once.’


9:25 NHS managers are making plans for ’severe cuts that could extend waiting times, reduce access to services, cut down on prescriptions and treatments, and even merge or close hospitals and facilities’, the BMA has warned today. 

Under the ’Capped Expenditure Process (CEP)’, introduced in April, commissioners in the 13 areas in England with the largest budget deficits have been instructed to make ‘considerable’ cuts, says the BMA.

However, it claims that the plans are being ‘shrouded in secrecy’.

The BMA sent Freedom of Information requests to NHS Improvement and each of the 13 areas, ut only eight responded, and none provided full details.

Commenting, BMA council deputy chair, Dr David Wrigley, said: ’These plans could have serious consequences for doctors working on the frontline and for the care and treatment patients receive and can expect in hospitals and GP surgeries in these areas.

’It is bad enough that brutal cuts could threaten the services but it is totally unacceptable that proposals of this scale, which would affect large numbers of patients, are shrouded in such secrecy.

’Patients, the public and frontline staff – who have worked so hard to keep the health service afloat through years of underfunding in the face of rising demand – must be at the heart of any plans for the future of the health service but we are all frozen out of discussions, and local health managers are being asked to push forward despite being unwilling to share their decisions openly.’

Speaking anonymously the BMA, one trust chair with oversight of the process of drawing up the plans in his area, said: ’We were descended on and asked to think the unthinkable in no time at all. The NHS seems to go into a zone of secrecy as an automatic reaction. That’s the thing that really upsets me – the secrecy of it all and the ridiculous pace in which solutions are to be crafted and agreed. It’s the management culture too – it’s all hierarchical power and bullying. Even the most modest proposals would cause uproar.’