Top headlines today
15:50 Responding to today’s GP recruitment figures from Health Education England – which showed 30% of GP training places remained unfilled – Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP chair, said: ’This is a vote of confidence in GPs and the future of general practice – and excellent news for our patients who will ultimately benefit.
’We hope this will be the start of a turning tide. It is a testament to the sterling work of our faculties, practising GPs and university GP Societies who are going all out to promote our fantastic profession and illustrate to future generations what an exciting, challenging and stimulating career being a GP can be.
’Today’s announcement also shows that the 10 point plan launched last year by the College, NHS England, Health Education England and the BMA is having a positive and very tangible impact.
’Creating the number of GPs we need is a challenging task, so this increase in GP numbers is a fantastic step in the right direction.
’I have already written to all foundation doctors encouraging them to consider a career in general practice, and we hope that many more medical students will be encouraged to join our profession.
’We now need to ensure that general practice is fully supported. General practice is the cornerstone of the health service. We keep the NHS sustainable and our patients safe – but we desperately need more resources and more GPs so that we can continue to provide excellent patient care.
’We hope that today’s vote of confidence in the future of general practice will add further weight to our call on ministers to increase funding for general practice to 11% of the NHS budget so that we can deliver the safe care our patients need and deserve for years to come.’
14:25 The CQC continues to face strong opposition on its move to push ahead with proposals to increase fees.
Yesterday the regulator announced that it would bring in the fee hikes over the next two years – which will see practices paying an average of £1,839 more in CQC fees from April, after the regulator chose to bring its six-fold fee increase in over two years rather than spread it over four, as previously proposed.
Dr Rosemary Leonard, a GP and well-known health commentator has joined many others in lambasting the CQC’s move to increase the fees.
CQC have just sent bill with 3x increase in fees. Outrageous when their service is so poor. #notpaying. Hope other practices do same.
— Dr Rosemary Leonard (@DrRosemaryL) March 31, 2016
12:30 A brilliant YouTube video has been doing the rounds on Twitter today, featuring GP, Dr John Cormack, who has created a blues song addressing the current struggles that GP practices across the country are dealing with. Well worth a listen over your lunch break!
— Dr John G Hughes (@johnghughes3) March 30, 2016
11:15 It is the NHS England board meeting today. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said that the GP ’roadmap’ – through which health secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce an emergency package for general practice – will be announced ‘very shortly’.
NHS England has also published its guide for CCGs to manage conflicts of interest. More on that to follow.
10:55 Elsewhere, the Guardian reports this morning that senior doctors are calling for patients to have round the clock access to end of life care.
It comes after a recent report into the care of people dying in hospital found that patients who die overnight or at the weekend may not have access to the right care – because only 11% of hospital trusts are providing specialist palliative services 24/7.
Amanda Cheesley, the Royal College of Nursing’s lead on end of life care, said hospitals should be providing end of life care at all times.
9:30 Pulse’s investigation on vitamin D has revealed that prescriptions have increased 40% since the start of a Government drive to get more people taking supplements, which has in turn substantially increased costs.
It also revealed that trusts are spending far more on testing.
This is despite doubts about the effectiveness of vitamin D, and amid claims that the push is overmedicalising the population.