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#GPnews: Government making ‘£650m stealth cut’ to NHS budget

17:15 A primary school in Scotland is making all of its pupils run a mile every day, reports the Guardian.

In an online poll posted via Twitter, some 66% of readers are currently agreeing that this is a good idea which should be rolled out to all schools.

Proponents said running was a cheap, easy and effective way of getting exercise while also working to combat the UK’s child obesity epidemic, while opponents likened it to child torture.

We’ll leave you to mull on that one for the weekend.

15:31 People with autism are dying 16 years earlier than the rest of the population, new data has revealed.

The Telegraph reports that ‘bullying, social issues and side effects from medication could be contributing factors’.

The statistics were provided by autism charity Autistica, which is launching a five-year £10m research programme investigating why people with autism die earlier than others.

Its chief executive Jon Spiers said the ‘shameful’ new figures had confirmed ‘the true scale of the hidden mortality crisis in autism’, which see some people dying 30 years earlier than expected.

He said: ‘We cannot accept a situation where many autistic people will never see their 40th birthday. Everyone involved in supporting people on the autism spectrum from the Government right down to local care providers has a responsibility to step up and start saving lives as soon as possible.’

14:10 The new opt-out organ donation system rolled out in Wales in December last year has ‘already saved lives’, according to ministers.

Read the full story here.

12:23 The Government has been accused of making hundreds of millions worth of ‘stealth cuts’ to the NHS, reports the Independent.

The analysis from the Liberal Democrats said the Chancellor’s spring budget introduction of future higher pension contributions for public sector employers would cost the NHS an extra £650m.

Party leader Tim Farron said the Government was ‘trying to pull the wool’ over people’s eyes but the Government said employers would have time to prepare for the change.

The Liberal Democrats’ argument was supported by Nuffield Trust senior policy analyst Sally Gainsbury, who said via Twitter: ‘If it is £650m or more, that would wipe out the “real terms” increase currently set out for NHS England.

‘It is a stealth cut, because there is no NHS pension “fund”. Current payments to pensioners are made by HMT. This change asks NHS England to pay, so HMT doesn’t have to. HMT giving with one hand, and rapidly taking with the other.’

11:20 Elsewhere, the The Independent reports that introducing a sugar tax will not combat child obesity on its own, according to a report published by Public Health England (PHE). 

Sugar cubes 180x135

Sugar cubes 180×135

On Wednesday, the Government announced that it would introduce a ‘sugar tax’ on sweetened soft drinks from 2018 in a bid to curb the childhood obesity epidemic.

But PHE’s Sugar Reduction report, which was initially published in October last year, said although price rises on some high sugar based drinks through measures like a tax or a levy, could reduce the sales of such drinks – ‘reducing levels of sugar in foods through reformulation may have the biggest effect’ in combating obesity. 

9:45 GPs would benefit from having physiotherapists working in surgeries, as it would allow them to spend longer with patients, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has said. 

The body claimed that if patients with back pain, for example, were directed to a physio instead of a GP, an extra five minutes could be spent with other patients, the BBC reports

Currently, physios are working in a small number of practices across the country, and GP leaders welcomed the move, but said it was imperative that the staff were trained to the highest standard. 

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, told the BBC: ‘Whilst the services GPs and physiotherapists provide complement each other, they are very different, so whilst we would welcome better integration between the two we would recommend that any self-referral schemes reflect local needs and are continuously evaluated.

‘We would also need assurances that patients do not fall prey to providers who are not accredited by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, whose members are trained to the highest standards and have the skills to identify health problems that go beyond musculoskeletal conditions.’