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#GPnews: Male GPs are being ‘corrupted by the feminisation’ of the profession, claims Conservative Woman editor

14:50 So here’s a bit of light-relief reading for your Friday afternoon – a hilariously poor piece by a Telegraph columnist asking ‘what it the point of a GP?’

The piece, by Kathy Gyngell – who is editor of The Conservative Woman website, and is a research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies – goes beyond the standard GP-bashing, and turns its guns on the ‘feminisation’ of general practice, which has even ‘corrupted their male counterparts’.

Her claims, which seem to be based on a misreading of every recent major policy study, include:

  • ‘We don’t like them and it seems that doctors don’t like us much either. They complain of the number of people they have seen, the intensity of their work and burn out.’
  • Most female GPs exercise their family-friendly part-time work entitlement. ‘Their patients are lucky indeed if they get the chance to get to know them.’
  • Male GPs have been ‘corrupted by their feminised work practices. They too only plan to work part time – in order to take up lucrative locum work as soon as they have qualified.’
  • Online doctors give patients ‘easy access to “trusted” doctors, an immediate diagnosis and a prescription waiting to be collected at their pharmacy of choice.’

Ms Gyngell has had ‘interesting’ points of view in the past, including claiming that Thought for the Day was ‘hugely biased against the free market’ and that the roots of the junior doctor strike lie in the ‘feminisation of the workplace’.

12:15 The BMJ has responded to study authors’ claims that their study was rejected. 

The BMJ spokesperson said: ‘We are unable to comment in detail on a specific article, even to confirm whether it was submitted to the journal as this is a confidential matter. However, we can say that in general articles are considered on matters of methodology, potential importance, interest to our broad readership and on what they add to the established literature.’

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11:05 If you haven’t yet seen it, we have a big exclusive. The GPC is launching a judicial review against CQC inspections. Read the full story here.

10:20 The ‘weekend effect’ study has gone big, dominating the health news headlines this morning.

The BMA has responded. Dr Mark Porter, BMA chair of council, said: ‘This huge and robust study confirms what doctors have been saying all along: there is a lack of evidence showing that the “weekend effect” is caused by the absence of senior doctors. It is a far more complicated picture than the one the government has tried to portray.

‘These academics are the latest in a long the line of health professionals and leading experts challenging the government on its misleading use of figures.’

‘The BMA believes patients should have access to the same high quality of care, seven days a week. If the government want to make more services available across seven days, then it needs to explain how it will staff and pay for them at a time when existing services are struggling to keep up with demand.’

9:30 Our top story this morning is on a major new study that found that the basis of the health secretary’s seven-day NHS policy – the ‘weekend effect’ – is a ‘statistical artefact’.

In fact, the researchers found, there are fewer deaths of patients who attend A&E at the weekend.

Another interesting line is that the study was rejected by the BMJ, after being peer reviewed by Professor Nick Freemantle – who conducted the study cited by Jeremy Hunt when making his claim that understaffing at weekends led to 6,000 more deaths.

Read the full story here.

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