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#GPnews: Seven-day plans will add ‘£900m’ to annual cost of NHS

13:45 Across news outlets, excitement has erupted over a new cancer treatment which supposedly uses the body’s own immune system to combat the disease – even though the clinical paper has not even been published.

The treatment saw 90% of terminally ill cancer patients going into remission, according to lead scientist Professor Stanley Riddell from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle. Prior to the trial, these patients had been given just two-to-five months left to live, reports the BBC.

It had worked by taking white blood cells from patients with leukaemia, genetically modifying them and putting them back into the body, Professor Riddell explained.

The data from the study has not yet been published or reviewed, with other experts saying that although interesting, they represented merely ‘baby steps’.

12:40  Today’s must-read has to be our exclusive interview with Labour’s shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander. It is her first interview on primary care, and perhaps we got a bit too technical with our questioning, but she seems impressively open-minded on many areas of policy affecting GPs. Here are some key quotes:

  • ‘What has become quite clear to me is that the whole of primary care is understaffed, underfunded and under prioritised’
  • ‘It’s certainly an aspiration that I would have to increase the proportion of NHS spend that goes into primary care’
  • ‘I’m not totally convinced that people want to be seeing GPs at teatime on a Sunday’

Heidi Alexander 3x2

Heidi Alexander 3×2

11:00 Just passing this new offer onto any music-loving GP trainees out there. You are welcome.

10.06 The Guardian has got its hands on a leaked report from the Department of Health which it says calls into question health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s key argument supporting his demands for a seven-day NHS.

According to the paper, the report reveals that:

  • the DH ‘cannot evidence the mechanism by which increased consultant presence and diagnostic tests at weekends will translate into lower mortality and reduced length of stay’
  • the seven-day plan will likely cost an extra £900m per year
  • 11,000 new staff will be needed to run a seven-day hospital service, including 4,000 doctors and 3,000 nurses
  • it will be ‘challenging’ to meet the Government’s pledge of 5,000 more GPs by 2020

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said the report ‘echoes the BMA’s concerns around the Government’s recruitment target for GPs, at a time when one in three GPs are considering retiring in the next five years and hundreds of GP trainee posts were left vacant this year’, adding that if the Government is to push ahead with plans ‘it owes it to patients to convincingly explain how it will finance and staff it’.

09:54 Here is GPC clinical subcommittee chair Dr Andrew Green’s response to the announcement

9:20 According to various reports, the CQC is set to launch an investigation into NHS 111 after several stories in the Daily Mail. According to the Telegraph, among others, the CQC said it would probe the allegations raised by a former call handler-turned whistleblower.

Deputy chief inspector Ruth Rankine said: ’These allegations are unacceptable. We take them extremely seriously and are planning to carry out an early inspection to investigate.

’We have also been working closely with commissioners and local partners to make sure patients are safe.’