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#GPnews: GPs ‘increasingly approached by young patients seeking labiaplasty’

16:40 GPs are being approached by a rising number of young girls who wish to be referred for labiaplasty, according to a report on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Paquita de Zulueta, who has been a GP for more than 30 years, said girls had only been coming to her for the past couple of years with concerns about the apperance of their labia.

She told the programme: ‘I’m seeing young girls around 11, 12, 13 thinking there’s something wrong with their vulva – that they’re the wrong shape, the wrong size, and really expressing almost disgust.

‘Their perception is that the inner lips should be invisible, almost like a Barbie, but the reality is that there is a huge variation. It’s very normal for the lips to protrude.’

NHS England said it did not perform the surgery for cosmetic reasons, only where there was a genuine medical reason.

But Dr Naomi Crouch, a leading adolescent gynaecologist, said she was seeing an increase in referrals from GPs.

She said: ‘Over the last few years where I might have seen one or two patients every few months, I am now seeing patients every week.’

14:00 First-year medical students from the University of Aberdeen have been taken on a two-day excursion to rural Scotland as part of a bid to solve a severe GP shortage.

Student Alice Jones said: ‘It was great to do all these activities like mountain biking and canoeing. Things you couldn’t do that easily if you work in a city. Here, it’s right on your doorstep. Having that access to the outdoors is definitely a big plus.

‘I also learned that there’s much more to being a rural GP than I realised. The facilities were bigger and better than I’d anticipated and the role seems very varied.’

Dr Linzi Lumsden, a GP and senior clinical Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, said: ‘Currently there are fewer medical students choosing to become GPs than we require and even fewer are joining practices in rural areas.

‘We know there’s a few key things students feel are important such as early exposure to specialties so we’re trying to show them the benefits of choosing this path.

‘Many of them won’t know there are these practices out there and that there’s an opportunity to manage patients in a ward setting.

‘I think they really valued the one-to-one chance to speak to the GPs and hear what life is like living and working here and as the trip went on, people who were a bit unsure, or more on the fence had certainly warmed up to the idea of General Practice and the possibility of doing it in a remote location.’

12:30 Deputy GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey is urging the Government to move to an opt-out organ donation system in England.

Tweeting the news that Scotland is to follow Wales and introduce the system, whereby patients’ organs are donated unless they’ve specifically said they don’t want this, Dr Vautrey said it was ‘time for England to follow’.

It comes as a recent BMA survey showed two thirds of people across the UK supported an opt-out organ donation system.

12:15 Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has responded to the news that nurse and midwife numbers are falling.

He said that ‘the Conservative Government’s approach to workforce management in the NHS has been catastrophic’, adding that ‘now the number of registered nurses and midwives in the UK is falling for the first time in memory’.

Although this may say more about Mr Ashworth’s memory, as it last fell in 2008(…), Mr Ashworth went onto say it should ‘be a badge of shame for Theresa May’s weak and unstable Government’.

He added: ‘Their neglect of the NHS workforce, combined with the endless pay restraint, is driving people out of health professions.’

‘The Government need a sustainable, long term approach to NHS staffing, starting with the long overdue pay rise for NHS workers which Labour argued for at the election.’

On that part, we believe, GPs will agree.

10:35 Boris Johnson has joined calls to end the public sector pay cap, reports the Guardian.

‘The foreign secretary supports the idea of public-sector workers getting a better pay deal and believes the findings of the pay review bodies should be respected,’ a ‘senior Government source’ told the paper.

The Independent writes that Mr Johnson’s standpoint, which aligns with several other senior Tory MPs, means that ‘the end of the public sector pay cap looks inevitable’.

09:50  For the first time since 2008 more nurses and midwives are leaving the NHS than joining, new figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have revealed.

During 2016/17, the total number fell by 1,783 to 690,773, reports the BBC.

Working conditions, including staffing levels and workload, were cited as one of the main reasons for leaving the NHS.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) called on the Government to scrap the 1% pay cap to help retain nurses and midwives.

But a Department of Health spokesperson said there were ’almost 13,100 more on our wards since May 2010 and 52,000 in training’.

However they added: ‘We also know we need to retain our excellent nurses and earlier this week we launched a national programme to ensure nurses have the support they need to continue their vital work.’