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#GPnews: GPs urged to refer mentally unwell patients to leisure centre

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16:10 Councillors in one area of England were reportedly ‘shocked’ to see how little use was made of its exercise-on-referral scheme for patients with mental health conditions.

According to Fenland Citizen, just 1% of 151 referrals by doctors for discounted memberships at leisure centres in Wisbech, March and Whittlesey were made for people with mental health issues.

Councillor Mike Cornwell, portfolio holder for health and well-being, said: ‘I have to admit it is a bit of a mystery as to why GPs are not making greater use of the system especially for conditions like mental health where there has been clear evidence that exercise has real benefits for the patient.

‘[We] are going to have a real discussion on what we can do to drive up use of the system. It could even mean us sitting down and physically contacting the area’s doctors and asking them why they are not using the system and what we can do to encourage a greater take up.’

14:55 Jersey could be heading for a shortage of GPs, it has been warned.

According to Jersey Evening Post, an extra 33 GPs will be required by 2036 to handle an extra 143,000 consultations.

There are currently 100 GPs on the island, giving around 432,000 consultations per year.

Although it may not seem unusual to practices in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, one local GP reported having had just one applicant for a recent opening.

He told the paper: ‘When I came here more than 20 years ago there were 50 applicants for that job.’

12:30 Norman Lamb MP, a former shadow health secretary, has announced plans to step down as the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesperson.

The MP for North Norfolk said he would be giving up the role when the party’s new leader Vince Cable announces a cabinet reshuffle later this month.

He said in the Eastern Daily Press that the decision was as a result of him being made chair the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee in July.

He said: ‘Taking on that role (on the select committee) was a very substantial undertaking, so when Vince Cable reshuffles after the conference as I think he probably will, I will step down as the party’s health spokesman.

‘I can’t do both and give both proper justice.’

Mr Lamb has been the party’s health spokesperson since 2006.

The Liberal Democrats are currently holding their autumn party conference in Bournemouth.

09:45 Just two junior doctors were on shift overnight to care for over 400 patients in an understaffed hospital, report several national newspapers today.

The news, unveiled by the Plymouth Herald, was laid bare in board papers published by Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and related to Derriford Hospital.

The NHS trust said: ‘Patient safety is of paramount importance to us and so too is the safety of our staff, which is why we have measures in place to safeguard their working hours.

‘We continually monitor our vacancies and will explore other options, where we can. For example, we have appointed into a number of support roles, such as doctors’ assistants, who support the work of our medical staff and teams. This is an area that we are expanding.

‘As a Trust we review on a daily and weekly basis, the numbers of staff, including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, needed on our wards, providing additional support, through temporary staff, where necessary.’

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