Top headlines today
15:00 An enterprising GP from Epsom has started a petition calling on politicians – including the health secretary – to work Saturdays as part of the ’normal working week’. It comes in response to the Government’s plans to change the definition of ‘sociable hours’ for junior doctors to include Saturday working, and the push for GPs to provide seven-day services.
Dr Ivan Ratnayake has already attracted 13,000 signatures for the petition, which reads:
’Doctors have been told that Saturdays are part of the “normal working” week so that the Government can avoid paying them extra to do so. MPs should lead by example and meet on a Saturday too. With their new 6 day week MPs would get more Parliamentary work done. There should be no extra pay for this.’
13:25 Following on from the article by Dr Max Pemberton, we have a response by our columnist Dr Pete Deveson, who points out that GPs are asking for what Dr Pemberton is calling for.
Our columnist says Dr Pemberton ’finishes by stating that GPs should advocate for more funding to look after care home patients, which (cue your Le Fort level III facepalm, basic journalistic research fans!) is the precise point of the LMC motion that launched his tirade in the first place’.
11:00 Another day, another columnist criticising GPs. This time, it is Dr Max Pemberton – a psychiatrist – in the Mail. In fairness to him, he says he does not go in for GP-bashing. But he does criticise the decision for GPs to call for a separate contract for care home visits at the Special LMC Conference.
He says: ’I don’t go in for GP-bashing. I think they have an incredibly difficult job and provide an amazing service.
’But this vote is a betrayal of everything that their profession stands for. They are trying to turn their backs on the very people who need their help most… Residents of these homes desperately need GPs on their side — not just because they have multiple, often complex, medical problems, but because visits by doctors are our best hope of preventing neglect and abuse.’
We will have a full retort to the piece on PulseToday shortly.
9:30 The big news this weekend was Jeremy Hunt’s appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. He told the broadcaster that the BMA had been ‘totally irresponsible’ in their actions around the junior doctors’ strike, as they had apparently spread ‘misinformation’.
In response, Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: ’The BMA has been clear throughout this process that we want to reach a negotiated agreement – no doctor wants to take industrial action, and our door has always been open to talks. But the government is putting politics before reason, and their continued threat to impose a contract that junior doctors have roundly rejected leaves us with no option.’
We’ll have more on that story later.