15:10 A leading doctor in Northern Ireland has said that GP morale is at a ’30 year low’, but says mass resignation can still be avoided.
Chair of the Northern Ireland RCGP, Dr John O’Kelly, told the Stormont Health Committee that the GPC and health minister Michelle O’Neill can come to an agreement on how to adequately reduce pressures on GP practices, the Derry Journal reports.
Dr O’Kelly added: ‘My hope is that the GPC will sit down with the Department and get that sorted out. I do not think that resignation is really what any of us wants. I am hopeful that it will not come to that, to be honest. It reflects the fact that morale in general practice is probably at the lowest that it has been for the last 30 years that I have been a GP.’
But despite Dr O’Kelly’s optimism, GPs across Belfast have today overwhelmingly thrown their support behind the BMA’s call for undated resignations to force the government to act and save general practice.
11:45 Elsewhere today, an inquiry has been launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the ‘excessive prices’ that drugs companies charge the NHS for their products, Sky News reports.
The CMA’s inquiry will look at ‘suspected breaches of competition law by pharmaceutical firms’ – who could potentially face fines of up to 10% of their turnover if they are found to have broken the law.
In a statement today, the CMA said: ’The investigation relates to suspected unfair pricing by way of charging excessive prices in the supply of certain pharmaceutical products, including to the NHS.’
9:30 The big health news story this morning is a new report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that reveals three in four labour wards have no consultants overnight.
The Mail splashes with the report, which also reveals that almost half of hospitals lack senior specialists at weekends, while just two out of 165 maternity units had a consultant present round the clock.
The royal college issued guidelines in 2009 stating that consultants in maternity units should be present 24/7, and trusts should work towards this.