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#GPnews: Computers have made GPs ‘obsolete’, claims economy professor

14:00 The Government’s planned state-backed GP indemnity scheme will not be sufficient to solve the problem of costly NHS negligence claims, a Tory MP has said.

Speaking at an even organised by GP indemnity organisation MPS, Conservative MP for Cheltenham Alex Chalk said that although the scheme was welcome ‘we still… need to tackle the underlying issue of rising clinical negligence costs’.

He said: ‘Those who suffer as a result of clinical negligence must be properly compensated and we need to safeguard access to justice, but we must also consider what society and the NHS can afford.

‘I agree with MPS that legal reform to strike this important balance should be considered and I urge the Government to continue working with MPS to explore this further.’

Referring to the new GP indemnity scheme, chief executive at MPS Simon Kayll, said that it will not address the problem related to rising clinical negligence costs.

‘The cost of claims will always need to be paid for, and will continue to increase unless the root of the issue is tackled, through legal reform,’ said Mr Kayll.

Pulse has demanded that GPs are reimbursed in full for their indemnity costs, just as hospital consultants are. This included delivering a letter signed by 300 GPs on indemnity costs to the Department of Health in September.

10:20 GPs on Twitter are less than impressed with remarks claiming GPs have become ‘obsolete’.

Gerry Holtham Hodge, professor of regional economy at Cardiff Metropolitan University, was quoted in Wales Online saying: ‘Health is 50% of the Welsh budget and given the demographic trends and the way things are going, if you remain with producer capture it’s going to be 60% and you won’t be able to do anything.

‘I think we’ve got to say, “look, we don’t need GPs. GPs are obsolete”. A computer program, it’s been proven, will diagnose 98% of ailments better than a GP because, a) it’s up to date and b) it doesn’t forget anything.

‘So I would employ nurses in health centres, with a computer program and a phone line to a specialist.’

9:30 NHS England is to embark on a recruitment drive aiming to bring 5,500 nurses over from India and the Philippines, reports the Telegraph.

HEE chief executive Professor Ian Cumming told the House of Commons Health Committee yesterday: ‘We are currently aiming to bring somewhere in the region of 5,500 nurses into the country internationally on an ethically based “earn, learn and return” programme.’

The newspaper says this comes as health secretary Jeremy Hunt ‘sparked fury’ by suggesting he would introduce a new nurse contract emulating the junior doctor contract.

The new contract, imposed last year after a lengthy dispute with the BMA, saw junior doctors entitled to less extra payment for working weekends.

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