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#GPnews: Jeremy Hunt set for ‘awkward’ £15m windfall

15:12 The number of people with private health insurance has increased significantly for the first time since 2008, reports the Guardian.

This number fell sharply between 2008 and 2011 and has stayed flat since then, until this year, when it rose by 2.1% in 2015 (to just over 4 million people), according to figures from healthcare consultancy LaingBuisson.

This comes amid an NHS crisis in hospitals and general practice. However, the rise is solely from an increased number of people covered by company schemes, which accounts for 76.3% of the total and rose by 3.4%.

The number of individual subscribers continued declining, dropping 1.7% to 952,000. This could mean that the rise is due to a boost in the economy and companies taking on more staff, rather than the NHS crisis.

This rise is occurring despite increases in insurance premium tax making policies more expensive.

13:45 The Daily Mail has visited the campus (or the website) of a Polish recruitment firm that has a deal to supply the NHS with GPs from the EU.

The article is a follow-up on Pulse’s revelation that the NHS is offering GPs from the EU a guaranteed annual salary of £90,000 and a ‘generous relocation package’ to move to England to work, in a bid to solve the recruitment crisis in Lincolnshire practices.

‘Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has promised to train more British doctors, but the lack of GPs is now so desperate that NHS England has been forced to look abroad to bring in 500 more by 2020,’ says the Mail’s article.

It fails to mention that they will likely be put to good use as the Mail (and others) reported that GPs will be opening 8am to 8pm seven days a week from now on.

11:35 Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is about to benefit from the sale of a company he helped set up – to the tune of over £15m, reports Sky News.

The news channel says it has learnt that Mr Hunt’s listings service Hotcourses is due to announce it has been sold for £30-35m this week. Mr Hunt owns 48% of the shares in the business.

The report points out that ’the intense political debate about the NHS will make the timing of the sale awkward for Mr Hunt’.

10:25 In case you missed it over the weekend, the papers were full of scapegoating of GPs for not opening 8am-8pm seven days a week.

The source of the claims was no one less than Prime Minister Theresa May, according to the papers.

But, as we report this morning, the comments came with a backlash and calls for Downing Street to apologise.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, health committee chair, warned that the comments would backfire.