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#GPnews: NHS waiting times are postcode lottery, warns new study

15:00 The Guardian has run a powerful piece from columnist Dr Zara Aziz on the limits of GP treatment for gender dysphoria patients.

She writes: ’As clinicians we have always been taught to work within our competencies. Yet GMC advice (despite its best intentions) seems to gloss over this fact. To prescribe hormone treatment as part of a harm-reducing strategy to this group of patients makes sense – but are GPs really best placed to take this on?

’And if GPs do take on this role, there is a possibility that it could set a precedent for us to bridge the gap in other areas of healthcare where there are increasing gaps in the specialised commissioning (as there invariably continues to be) of treatment. Other examples where specialist work has been “handed over” to already overstretched primary care include child and adult mental health.’

12:20 Drugs deaths in Scotland have hit a record high, official statistics from the National Records of Scotland (NTS) have revealed.

STV reports that they rose 23% in a single year, from 706 in 2015 to 867 in 2016. This is also double the number recorded a decade ago.

Scottish Drugs Forum chief executive Dave Liddell said: ’Fatal drug overdose deaths are personal tragedies for the individuals and their families, and clearly of a scale which is a national tragedy that requires a fundamental rethink of our approach.’

9:40 A new study has found wide disparities between CCGs in waiting times and referral rates across a host of different treatments, including hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery, the Guardian reports.

The report by non profit organisation the Medical Technology Group (MTG) warns: ’Whilst the ambition is to deliver world class healthcare wherever you are, the reality is that many patients in different parts of the country will receive very different treatment.’

It found that those in the east and south-east face the poorest service in terms of 18-week waiting times between referral and treatment, and the lowest overall rates of procedures carried out.