16:00 The Daily Mail’s take on the new GP contract is… unexpected. ’Workshy GPs could lose £15,000’, says the report, referring back to its article last month which said ‘thousands’ of GP practices close on weekday afternoons while GPs take ‘three hour lunches’.
The Times, which alongside the Sun and the Mail was also briefed by the Prime Minister’s office on plans to punish in-hours closing while contract negotiations were still ongoing, is also focusing on this aspect of the GP contract.
12:30 Theresa May seems to have taken a leaf out of Jeremy Hunt’s book.
At today’s Prime Minister’s question time she is batting away all of the opposition’s NHS questions by giving thanks to NHS staff for the amazing work that they do. No promises to increase funding for social care though.
11:40 GP defence organisation MDDUS has criticised comments made by health secretary Jeremy Hunt when taking questions on health in the House of Commons yesterday.
Commenting on the exchange between Mr Hunt and John Pugh MP, MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said:
’The Secretary of State’s claim today that all that is needed to reduce NHS litigation costs is safer care is no more than half the story. Around three-quarters of claims against GPs are rebutted without damages being paid and claimant lawyers’ costs in paid claims regularly run at six or more times that spent by defenders.
’So, it is clear that action is also needed to control legal costs beyond the Government’s current welcome but mild proposals, but also to reform tort law and to avoid precipitate changes to the discount rate based on a seriously out-of-date consultation and much-changed economic circumstances. It is time for comprehensive, joined-up thinking in this area.’
9:30 Good morning. There’s a bit of a contract extravaganza on the Pulse website at the moment. We hope you read it all and find it useful.
Elsewhere though, people still care about non-GP contract news. For example a National Audit Office analysis of the impact of the Better Care Fund – the pooled funding pot earmarked for health and social care integration, by moving care out of hospitals and into the community.
The auditors found that although the fund – which grew from the Government’s pledged £3.8bn to £5.3bn in 2015/16 after local areas added to it – has led to care integration, it has failed to deliver the expected saving in workload and money for hospitals, reports the BBC.
NAO director Ashley McDougall told the BBC Radio Four’s today programme that the findings meant people should lower their expectations on the savings that could be achieved by integrating health and social care services, but it wasn’t necessarily wasted money.
And a spokesperson for NHS England admitted: ‘Joining up local NHS and council services may be worthwhile, but is not by itself a silver-bullet solution to wider pressures on health and social care.’