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#GPnews: GP practice warns service charge hike may push it to close doors

17:20 Plans to rent rooms in private homes for patients newly discharged from hospital (see post from 9.15 below) have been dropped, reports the Telegraph and others.

Tom Abell, deputy chief executive of Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Whilst we welcome and encourage new ideas and innovation, there is no intention and there never has been for the hospital to support this pilot at this time.

‘We will never compromise the safety and quality of care for patients and we will not support this pilot until the necessary safeguarding and quality arrangements are in place and there has been full engagement and discussion with our local communities on the proposal.’

The hospital had previously said it was ‘exploring’ the idea alongside NHS England.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘While it’s good to hear innovative ideas from NHS staff, this suggestion from an A&E doctor in Southend is a long way from being implemented and would first need to be very carefully assessed and tested.’

16:35 BBC North West reported last night on the problems with hikes in service charges for GP practices in rented premises, an issue frequently highlighted by Pulse.

The report said the hikes leave practices unable to pay the going rate for doctors, leaving them unable to attract new staff.

The BBC says one affected practice is the Ambleside Health Centre, which says running the services is becoming ‘financially impossible’. It says NHS Property Services has hiked costs from £21,000 to an ‘unaffordable’ £46,000 a year.

Dr Kaye Ward says next year it will need to replace a retiring GP, but ‘nobody’ wants to come and work at the centre ‘for the wages we can offer’. Unless service charges come down, they will have to ‘close down’, she adds.

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey is also interviewed in the clip, commenting: ‘This is a major problem affecting practices around the country, particularly in rural areas.’

He said it could be the ‘tipping point’, determining whether a practice could stay open.

NHS Property Services told the BBC it had not put up service charges, but rather it is all down to ‘revised local subsidy arrangements’ and it is working with practices to see how it can help them.

Pulse has previously reported on the plight of Ambleside Health Centre, which warned earlier this year that the cost hike was the equivalent of a staff member.

15:20 The GMC is consulting on what skills should be required of newly qualified doctors from UK medical schools.

Following the consultation, the GMC’s Outcomes for graduates,  which sets out the knowledge, skills and professional behaviours medical students need to have achieved by the time they graduate, will be updated for the first time since 2009.

The GMC said: ‘We want to hear your views on our updated requirements. We’ve made changes to reflect how medicine and healthcare has evolved since we last published the outcomes in 2009, and to anticipate future changes.

‘We’ve also put patients at the heart of our proposals by prioritising patient centred care and setting out requirements around raising and acting on issues of patient safety.’

Click here to take part in the consultation

11:05 The BBC have reported that 300,000 people are leaving their jobs each year due to mental illness.

The Thriving At Work report claims poor mental health costs the UK economy up to £99bn each year.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who commissioned the report, said it showed ’we need to take action’. 

Paul Farmer, co-author of the report and chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said: ’Opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure that employees who may be struggling get the support they need.

’In many instances employers simply don’t understand the crucial role they can play, or know where to go for advice and support.’

9:15: The story dominating the health news this morning is members of the public are being offered up to £1,000 a month to rent spare rooms to patients discharged from hospital in a scheme being piloted in Essex.

The plans, first revealed byHSJ, have been devised by NHS Southend CCG and is being run start-up company CareRooms.

Its website says: ’Earn up to £1,000 per month renting out your spare room. The role of a host is to welcome the patient, cook three microwave meals and drinks for them each day and offer conversation where appropriate. Everything else we arrange.’

It has been likened to ’AirBnB’ – which enables people to lease or rent short-term lodgings in other people’s properties.

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