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#GPnews: Doctors’ income has not significantly decreased, says DH

15:10 A charity has called for emergency contraception to be reclassified as a General Sales List drug to enable it to be sold straight off the shelf without consultation, reports the Express.

BPAS, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said women in the UK pay up to £30 for the ‘morning after pill’ and that this was up to five times more than in other European countries.

One of the reasons for the cost was a mandatory ’embarrassing consultation’ with a pharmacist which ‘most women must endure’ before being sold the drug, said the article.

14:50 The Department of Health disagrees with the BMA that doctors have seen their income decline significantly.

The Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) posed the question to the DH on whether they ‘agree with BMA analysis that real terms doctors’ incomes have dropped significantly over past five years’.

To which the DH responded: ’No.’

It said that although average earnings were down, it believed promotions and other progressions would have meant doctors’ pay increased.

Its supplementary evidence to the DDRB for next year’s pay round said: ‘We estimate that real average earnings of Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) doctors have decreased by 3.5% in the last five years between 2010/11 and 2015/16. This is based on using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Deflator: using the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) gives a decrease of 6.7%.

‘However our recent longitudinal study shows that while average earnings increased by 2.4% between March 2010 and March 2015 (a real terms decrease of 5.0%), the experience of doctors, including incremental progression and promotion, was a much higher increase. The earnings of doctors with a record of payment in both March 2010 and March 2015 increased by 16.6% over the 5 years, 17.6% after adjustment for full time equivalent (FTE) changes (in real terms, growth of 8.1%, and 9.1% after adjustment for FTE change).’

The DH added that ‘although doctors’ average earnings have grown less than other high-earning occupations, they remain one of the very highest-earning groups’.

11:50 More people are surviving strokes in Wales – according to a new report from the Welsh Government.

The Stroke Annual Report, published yesterday, showed that over the last 10 years, survival rates following a stroke for people aged 74 and under have improved by 5.7% – from 87% in 2006/07 to 92.7% in 2015/16.

For people aged 75 and over the rate has improved by 7.3% – from 71.5% in 2006/07 to 78.8% in 2015/16.

Each year around 7,400 people will have a stroke in Wales, but deaths from strokes have fallen by 623 (22%) since 2010, from 2,795 to 2,172 in 2015.

Health secretary Vaughan Gething said: ‘The improvements made over the last 10 years is testament to the good, collaborative work taking place across the NHS, through our Stroke Implementation Group, to not only treat people who’ve suffered from a stroke, but also to support them with their rehabilitation.

‘We want anyone who’s suffered a stroke to be able to access the best possible care, regardless of where they live. The progress we’ve made would not have been possible without the skilled and committed teams we have throughout the NHS – in our GP surgeries, ambulance service, NHS hospitals, community teams and the voluntary sector.’

But he added that ‘a number of all strokes could be avoided if people adopted healthier lifestyles’ and he would therefore ‘encourage everyone to make the right life choices’.

‘We want to see the numbers of people having a stroke continue to fall and the public have an important role to play in achieving this,’ he said.

11.05 Mr Hopson (see below) was commenting in light of an NHS Providers report, published today, which found only one in four leaders at NHS trusts (27%) are confident they have enough staff.

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said: ‘It is no secret that the NHS has been under enormous pressure for some time, but this report shows that things are getting worse and that financial pressures, staff shortages, and a lack of long-term planning have hit access to NHS services and the quality of patient care.

‘Rota gaps and staff shortages across the NHS mean our patients are waiting longer for the appointments and treatment they need. The NHS desperately needs more doctors and cannot afford to stop recruiting from overseas as the Government has proposed.’

Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said the results of NHS Providers’ survey were ‘very worrying’,

He said that ‘in particular, the current combined pressures of increasing patient demand and strained finances are making it very difficult to recruit into areas such as general practice and A&E departments in some parts of the country’ and that ‘anecdotally, Brexit is making the problem worse’.

09:30 The NHS will be less able than usual this winter to cope with outbreaks of flu, or retirements of experienced GPs, leaders of acute, ambulance, community and mental health services have warned.

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson was due to tell the NHS Providers Annual Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham today that ’the service is becoming much less resilient’ and unable to absorb ’small shocks’ such as these, reports the Daily Mail.

He will say: ‘When you run a system under as much pressure for as long as we have been running the NHS, it becomes much less able to absorb the shocks that any health system has to absorb; the winter flu outbreak, the closure of a couple of local care homes due to a CQC inspection or a provider going out of business, a few experienced GPs retiring and being replaced by more risk averse locums or new partners leading to sharply higher referral rates.

‘Given the capacity levels at which we are now permanently running our hospital, ambulance, community and mental health services – capacity levels unheard of in Germany, France, Spain and Italy – these small shocks now risk destabilising local health services.’

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