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#GPnews: Chief executive of troubled NHS 111 provider quits

Top headlines

Hunt softens stance on Sunday GP opening 

Jeremy Hunt interview: ‘This is putting money where our mouth is’

16:55 The RCGP has announced the new members sitting on its governing council following an election. 

From the six seats up for grabs, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey, along with Dr Margaret McCartney and Dr Greg Irving were elected to the RCGP council. 

Meanwhile, Dr Dominic Patterson, Dr Kirsty Alexander and Dr Joanne Reeve were also elected. 

RCGP chief executive and council returning officer, Neil Hunt, said: ‘Congratulations to all successful candidates, and thank you to everyone who put themselves forward. All of the candidates had excellent credentials and valuable experience. 

‘I’d also like to thank all members who voted – including, for the first time this year our Associates in Training – for doing their bit to ensure the College is as diverse and democratic as possible.

‘Finally, many thanks to those Nationally Elected Members who will be stepping down in November for the contribution they have made to the College, primary care and the lives of patients over the past three years.’ 

14:00 The chief executive of the troubled NHS 111 provider South East Coast Ambulance Trust has quit over allegations that he ordered a scheme to delay responses to calls from the helpline, the Telegraph reports.

In a statement, the trust said on Tuesday: ’South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust announces that chief executive Paul Sutton has now left the Trust to pursue other interests.’

The Telegraph had reported that up to 20,000 patients were subject to deliberate delays under the covert operation, which forced high-risk cases in the South East to automatically wait up to twice as long if their call was referred from the helpline.

12:15 Also from the Daily Mail, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveal that there are 2.5 million more patients registered on GP lists in England than the official population.

The official population of England stands at 55.1 million, while there are 57.6 million patients listed with GP practices.

Pulse has repeatedly shown the problems with patient list numbers, revealing that when NHS managers do try to rectify the situation, they almost invariably take off real patients. 

However, the Mail seems to have found the real reason this is happening – they claim that GPs are doing this deliberately to maximise their income. Surprise surprise!

11:20 A council is considering offering free gym memberships to overweight residents on benefits, the Daily Mail reports. Worcestershire County Council is considering the scheme as part of plans to tackle a widespread obesity problem.

A report to the council also recommends that GPs prescribe fitness classes.   

Unsurprisingly, the Mail takes a negative view on the scheme, quoting one resident who says: ‘It’s essentially our money that could just fund them having a nice dip in a swimming pool and jacuzzi, or chilling out in the sauna. That is just not on.’

9:30 Our top story today is an exclusive Q&A with health secretary Jeremy Hunt. He tells Pulse that he recognises there is not as much demand for Sunday opening as Saturday opening, representing a softening of his stance.

He also says that the GMC’s review of revalidation may be an ‘opportunity’ to reduce the burdens on GPs.

He says: ’I’m always keen to listen to ideas about how we can reduce burdens in general practice, and the current GMC review of medical revalidation is an important opportunity to consider this. But I’m clear that this needs to be balanced with ensuring that doctors are up to date with their practice and able to give patients the best-possible care.’

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