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​#GPnews: NHS ‘desperate’ to seek loans from hedge funds, doctors say



16:15 Scotland will become the first country in the UK to routinely fund HIV preventative drug Truvada, pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep), to eligible patients, reports the BBC.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium expects around 1,900 patients could benefit from the £450-per-month drug.

NHS England can fund Prep, it was ruled last year, but can still choose not to.

13:50 Doctor leaders have called the NHS’s bid to borrow money from hedge funds ‘desperate’, reports the Independent.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA chair, said the move ‘shows how desperately the health service needs more funding’.

National Health Action Party co-founder and consultant clinical oncologist Dr Clive Peedell said: ‘How can it be cheaper to borrow from hedge funds rather than fund directly from Treasury? NHS finances are desperate.’

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the fact NHS bosses were having talks with hedge funds was ‘shocking’, adding: ‘Theresa May has refused to respond to the needs of crumbling hospitals, ageing equipment or provide the necessary investment in community facilities.’

Click here for the full story on NHS Improvement’s plans

11:30 The number of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for surgery will double by 2020, reports the Telegraph.

Analysis by the NHS Partners Network found more than 800,000 patients will experience waits that breach targets in three years’ time, up from 360,000 today.

The organisation, which represents independent providers of NHS care, advised patients to be more ‘sharp elbowed’ when seeking treatment, including requesting surgery at private hospitals paid for by the NHS.

09:45 NHS bosses are seeking Government sign-off to borrow money in the private sector in order to finance services, reports the Times.

According to the paper, NHS Improvement chief Jim Mackey is to meet with the Treasury today to urge them to sign off plans so they can set up ‘a central NHS infrastructure fund to which local services can apply’.

It says this comes as the NHS has ‘reached the outline of an agreement’ with ‘one or two hedge funds, as well as other investment companies’, for which it requires Treasury approval to go ahead.

According to the Times, the money could be used to ‘beef up’ GP care, for example.

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