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#GPnews: Health tourism clampdown could fund ‘5,000 GPs’, says Jeremy Hunt

13:00 The GP contract is out – check our dedicated 2017/18 GP contracts page for updates throughout the afternoon.

Also for an at-a-glance view of what’s in the contract, click here.

For the main news story, click here.

11:40 Taking health questions in Parliament right now, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was disappointed with the response to his announcement on health tourism yesterday.

As reported, Mr Hunt is planning to have hospital trusts charge patients upfront rather than afterwards if they are ineligible for NHS treatment free of charge.

The announcement came after the Public Accounts Committee had said the NHS could be better at collecting unpaid fees for overseas patients.

Mr Hunt said the opposition’s suggestion the money the new policy would raise was ‘a drop in the ocean’ was wrong because the £500m they are hoping to raise ‘could pay for 5,000 new GPs’.

Or perhaps it could be used to fund GP practices checking patients’ immigration status?

9:30 The BBC are continuing their week long ‘Health Check’ of the NHS, and today they are concentrating on GPs.

They have spoken to GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, and RCGP chair Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard about 10-minute appointments, which they say are ‘among the shortest in the developed world’.

Meanwhile, polling by Ipsos Mori of 1,033 UK adults found that seven in 10 said charging people for missed appointments would be acceptable, while one in five said they would be willing to pay more than £10 for a guaranteed appointment within 24 hours.

11:15 It is tinnitus awareness week, and the British Tinnitus Association has marked this by releasing some advice for GPs.

A patient survey carried out by the group showed that over half of patients were left feeling unhappy with their GP’s advice. 

When these patients were asked what they felt was lacking, 92% said their GP was ‘dismissive or unsympathetic, or ‘didn’t have enough knowledge’.

The survey of 928 people with tinnitus also found that of those referred to ENT or audiology, 88% waited up to four months for an appointment.

The full guidance can be found here

David Stockdale, chief executive of the British Tinnitus Association, said: ‘It is clear from our recent patient survey that people with tinnitus feel they aren’t getting the best possible help when first diagnosed with the condition.

‘There is a knowledge gap within the medical community about the impact tinnitus can have and many patients don’t feel listened to or supported enough. This is having an unnecessary impact on their quality of life and on the NHS as they make repeat visits to their GP.’

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