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#GPnews: Hope for NHS pay rise as MPs back ‘fair pay’ motion

17:20 Responding to the fact that the Government decided not to oppose Labour’s motion on NHS pay, Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘It is welcome that the House of Commons has supported Labour’s call for fair pay in the NHS.

‘The real question is will the Government now ignore the clear will of the House or will it take action to end the pay cap in the NHS.

‘It’s extremely rare for the Government not to vote down an opposition motion and the only explanation is it avoided a vote because it knew it would lose it. The Labour Party is no longer just the official opposition, we are a government in waiting, ready to properly invest in our NHS and its staff and transform Britain for the many not the few.

‘So far the Tories’ warm words for NHS staff have proved nothing more than hot air. After the unanimous result of Labour’s Opposition Day Debate today it’s time the pay cap was ended for all public sector workers including our overstretched and undervalued NHS workforce.’

16:30 The House of Commons debate on NHS pay has concluded with MPs approving the motion that was brought by Labour, without division – which means the Government decided not to bring it to a vote.

You can read the full motion in the tweet below.

15:25 MPs in the House of Commons have spent the last couple of hours debating whether pay restraint should be lifted for NHS workers.

This follows yesterday’s announcement that police and prison officers would see the 1% public sector cap scrapped in their pay round.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said that scrapping the public sector pay cap ‘must mean giving NHS staff fair pay as well’.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was true that ‘right now it is very tough’ on the frontline for NHS staff but said depite this, patient outcomes in the NHS were improving.

He said that pay restraint had been ‘challenging’ and this was why the Treasury had given departments freedom to lift the cap where it was necessary to boost recruitment and retention, and where ‘productivity savings’ could be identified.

He added: ‘Before taking any decisions we will listen to the independent advice of the pay review bodies.’

14:40 London mayor Sadiq Khan has responded to a worrying analysis of plans to overhaul NHS services in the capital.

An analysis of London Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), carried out by leading health think-tank the King’s Fund, said ‘contentious’ proposals ‘to reduce the use of hospitals and cut the number of beds’ were not realistic.

The report said: ‘Our detailed assessment of these proposals concludes that even if additional investment is made in community services, cuts on the scale proposed are not credible. Indeed, with the population of London projected to increase in coming years, heroic efforts will be needed to manage rising demand with existing capacity.

‘Equally questionable are proposals to close an expected financial gap in the NHS in London of more than £4 billion by 2020/21. Our analysis found a worrying lack of detail on how this gap would be filled and unrealistic assumptions about the level of efficiency savings that could be delivered.’

Mr Khan said: ‘I want London to have a world-class health service and have promised to champion and challenge the NHS at all times to achieve this, and to make sure Londoners have access to excellent health and care services.

‘Any plans around the future of NHS services in London must be given proper investment, and must not have an adverse impact on health inequalities, social care or hospital capacity. I also want every assurance that our heroic doctors, nurses and health and care professionals get all the support they need to realise these plans, and that Londoners and patients are properly consulted. By working together, with a city-wide vision, we can ensure that Londoners get the best healthcare possible.’

13:50 GPs are ‘not bothering’ to encourage patients with lung cancer to quit smoking, according to an article in the Telegraph.

This comes as a University of Oxford study concluded GPs were ‘almost twice as likely’ to offer smoking cessation advice to people diagnosed with coronary heart disease.

The researchers said this comes as related data showed lung cancer patients who quit smoking when they were diagnosed lived an average of nearly two years, compared with just over one if they continued smoking.

‘Cancer patients who smoke would clearly benefit if GPs became more actively involved in offering support to quit smoking as they do with other smoking-related illnesses,’ said Professor Paul Aveyard, from Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Studies.

12:15 Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, has commented on the latest data on GP earnings.

He said: ‘The figures continue a near decade long financial squeeze on GP practices which is leaving many with a demotivated, understaffed workforce that is constantly struggling to deliver safe patient care on inadequate levels of funding. At a time when there is justified and rising anger at the government’s prolonged 1% pay cap policy, GPs have been given a further 1.2% pay cut. It’s no wonder young doctors are not choosing to become GPs, further impacting the workforce crisis in general practice.

‘As the cost of running a local GP service continues to rise well beyond the funding increases provided by the government, it leaves many practices with insufficient funding to cover staffing and building costs, which now account for almost two thirds of most GP practices’ budgets.

‘This situation is exacerbating the wider workforce and workload problems that are undermining general practice throughout England. It is unsurprising that in this climatefour out of ten GP practices in England told the BMA only last week that they were considering having to apply to NHS England to close their practice lists because of the unsustainable pressures they are under.

‘The Government needs to understand it cannot continue down this path and it must immediately implement a wide-ranging plan of investment in general practice before this vital part of the NHS falls further into crisis.’

12:00 Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has launched a new set of measures to tackle sepsis, the Department of Health has announced.

It says the measures, focused on helping care homes, pharmacists and other areas of the NHS which deal with frail and older people to prevent sepsis, follow a 2015 action plan that focused on hospitals and GPs.

The DH said the new measures will include ‘a clear definition of adult sepsis’ for clinicians, so sepsis ‘is identified and recorded more quickly’, as well as new education materials.

Mr Hunt said: ‘We want the NHS to be the safest healthcare system in the world, and our ability to diagnose and treat sepsis effectively is a key litmus test of progress. While the NHS has taken major steps in recent years to improve how it responds to sepsis – actions that have saved nearly 1,000 lives – there is still more work to do to protect the many thousands who develop this dangerous condition each year.

‘We need every part of our health system on the highest possible alert for sepsis, and this new plan will ensure more health professionals get the training, advice and targeted support to tackle this silent killer.’

09:30 A Pulse analysis of NHS England’s mental health ‘dashboard’ has revealed CCGs underspending their budgets by almost £50m.

This comes despite directives to increase spending on mental health in line with spending on physical health, achieving ‘parity of esteem’.