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#GPnews: RCGP: ‘Opportunities in general practice have never been more exciting’

17:20 Finally for today, health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s dispute with junior doctors has made it into the Green Party’s somewhat viral new party political broadcast in which it promotes its so-called #GrownUpPolitics.

In the ingenious clip, where five year olds (hilariously) depict Prime Minister-wannabe Boris on a tricycle, a fracking-mad David Cameron and a bullied anti-rocket games Jeremy Corbyn, the health secretary is using a periscope to peer out from behind the Wendy house, where he is hiding from the junior doctors.

You can watch the whole thing here (or just stop when the grown-up starts talking).

17:15 Here’s more on the BMA and RCGP responses to our story on Indian doctors being brought to England.

16:55 Another massive story for the medical profession. The GMC has just announced that it will be proposing that doctors with mental health problems should be spared an investigation ‘wherever possible’ and instead be given treatment immediately. It was a long time coming, but a major move indeed from the regulator. More details are here

14:00 RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker has written to F2 doctors espousing a career in general practice. 

She said: ’Although the challenges of being a GP in the current climate have been well documented, the opportunities offered by a future career in general practice have never looked more exciting. We are seeing more applicants choose to become GPs each year, with over 2,700 new GP places filled in 2015.

’NHS England’s document, the Five Year Forward View sets out a way forward for primary care that places general practice at the heart of thefuture health service and calls for a shift in investment from acute to primary and community services.

‘Last year an additional £750 million was announced for general practiceandwe continue to campaign for a stronger financial footing for our service and for an extended workforce of GPs and other primary care professionals.’

12:30 Dr David Warriner, who is a cardiology specialist, just tweeted a letter given to picketing junior doctors – from a lady who was ‘too ill to stand with them at the picket’ today. 

12:05 Pulse news editor Jaimie Kaffash is going to be on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme shortly, speaking about the Government’s struggle to recruit 5,000 new GPs and HEE plans to hire GPs from India.

Click here to listen live from 12.15pm.

11:15 The BMA have responded to our story on Indian doctors.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC chair, said: ’Doctors from overseas have always provided a valuable contribution to this country’s health system, especially as they undergo a rigorous assessment process to ensure they have the right skills for the NHS. However, it is clearly an admission of failure that the government seems to have launched a new recruitment scheme overseas to plug what is clearly a widening gap in the number of homegrown GPs in our workforce.

’The government’s pledge to recruit 5,000 extra GPs by 2020 is clearly collapsing into chaos. Ministers need to stop the short term fixes and launch an urgent support package for general practice that addresses the huge pressures on GP services including staff shortages, underfunding and a service unable to cope with rising patient demand.’

11:00 Some patients with eating disorders have waited a year for mental health treatment in England, an investigation has revealed.

Average waiting times at trusts vary from 20 days in Dorset, Dudley and northeast London to 182 days in Manchester, BBC Breakfast found.

But it also found almost 100 people have waited a whole year to see a specialist in the last four years.

And the data, obtained from 41 out of 55 trusts, showed there was a deterioration in many areas, including Humber NHS Trust seeing a 165% increase in waiting times since 2012.

Five mental health trusts responded saying they don’t even provide eating disorder treatment.

Manchester Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust acknowledged that ‘waiting times for therapy are longer than we would wish’ but said in urgent cases, patients were seen within two weeks. It called on commissioners to pay for more services.

The Department of Health said it was developing a new pathway for adult eating disorder treatment, with a new target for 95% of patients to be seen within four weeks to be rolled out by 2020.

10:30 Lots of activity on twitter following this morning’s exclusive:

9:30 Our top story this morning is a big one – Health Education England are looking tobring hundreds of doctors over from India in a bid to alleviate the recruitment crisis.

International doctors have warned that this could endanger patient safety.

Read the full story here. There will be more on this as it develops throughout the day. 

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