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#GPnews: BMA calls off junior doctor strike threat by ending mandate

15:40 The BMA has called off all threat of further strikes over the junior doctor contract.

In a meeting on Saturday, the Junior Doctors Committee decided to end its mandate for industrial action, meaning another ballot would have to take place to resurrect strikes.

Interim committee chair Dr Peter Campbell said: ‘With the contract being introduced as existing contracts expire, we believe the best way of achieving the best outcome for all our members is to work with the Government and NHS Employers to monitor the implementation of the contract and raise additional issues.’

But the Junior Doctors’ Alliance pressure group said in a statement: ‘This was done without any discussion with the mass membership of thousands of junior doctors who voted overwhelmingly to reject the deal the BMA had negotiated earlier this year – and without any openness about how it reached this decision.’

14:55 And elsewhere this afternoon, the Court of Appeal has ruled that NHS England does have the power to fund a drug which prevents HIV infection in people that are at the highest risk of contracting the virus.

The ruling comes after NHS England previously said that it should be local authorities who provide the pre-exposure prophylaxis drug, known as Prep, claiming this was because they are responsible for preventative health, the BBC reports

But the Court of Appeal has today decided that NHS England does have the power. 

An NHS spokesman said it would now formally consider whether to fund the drug.

‘Second, we will discuss with local authorities how NHS-funded Prep medication could be administered by the sexual health teams they commission.

‘Third, we will immediately ask the drug manufacturer to reconsider its currently proposed excessively high pricing, and will also explore options for using generics.’

13:08 RCGP Wales has launched a competition for students to make videos or posters to promote Wales as a ‘great place for GPs to live and work’.

The competition, open to anyone aged 16 or over in full time education, comes with a top prize of £300 for the best video and £200 for the best poster.

Entries are being accepted between 1 January and 31 March 2017. Check out the poster here.

11:35 Complaints about home care increased by one quarter over the last year, reports the Guardian.

Issues brought to the local government ombudsman included staff failing to turn up, being late, not staying long enough and cancelling visits, as well as people receiving visits from too many different carers and poor record keeping by staff.

The LGO suggested the increase in the number of complaints may be linked to financial pressure on the social care sector.

Their report said: ‘We know that there are significant and increasing pressures on all areas of adult social care, and not least the home care market.

‘Problems with recruitment and retention of staff, the introduction of the national living wage, and underfunded and overstretched services have been well documented.’

But they added these pressures ‘do not excuse poor practice’ which led to people suffering.

09:50 In somewhat surprising news this morning, a study has found that people who were in the scouts or guides in their youth have better mental health throughout their life.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow gathered their findings from the National Child Development Study, which tracks almost 10,000 people from the UK born in November 1958.

Their theories as to the reasons why this may be included the scouts building self-reliance and teamwork skills, encouaraging an active outdoors lifestyle, and buildiung up resilience against stresses, reports the BBC.

Lead researcher Professor Chris Dibben, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences, said: ‘It is quite startling that this benefit is found in people so many years after they have attended guides or scouts.

‘We expect the same principles would apply to the scouts and guides of today and so, given the high costs of mental ill-health to individuals and society, a focus on voluntary youth programmes such as the guides and scouts might be very sensible.’