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#GPnews: Stephen Hawking and Jeremy Hunt row continues

12:45 Professor Stephen Hawking has hit back at claims by health secretary Jeremy Hunt that he was spreading ’pernicious falsehoods’ that the NHS was heading towards privatisation.

He wrote in the Guardian: ’Hunt misquoted me, saying that I claimed the government wants a US-style insurance system. What I said was that the direction is towards a US-style insurance system, run by private companies. The increasing involvement of private health companies in the NHS is evidence for this… The amount of private health insurance has fallen since 2009 as Hunt said, but that is because of the financial crash. We can conclude nothing about health policy from this and in any case, it is now increasing again.’

Professor Hawking added: ’As waiting times increase, private companies report an increase in self-pay where patients pay directly for care such as hip and knee replacements.’ Of course, as a loyal Pulse reader, you already knew this…

9:15: NHS England has appointed a new director of primary care delivery to take responsibility for key projects, including expanding the GP workforce and delivering the commitments in the General Practice Forward View.

Dominic Hardy, who currently works for NHS England in Wessex will take on the role in October, said he was ‘delighted’ to be appointed and is taking over from NHS England director of commissioning Rosamund Roughton who is taking a career break until 2019.

RCGP chair Helen Stokes-Lampard said of change: ‘Ros [Roughton] has been a sound, critical friend of the College during her time at NHS England – challenging but supportive, and always a champion of the vital role played by general practitioners in the modern NHS. I have admired her efficiency and her ability to get things done.

’I’d personally like to thank her for her support, particularly in developing and launching the GP Forward View and monitoring its profess. All of us at the College wish Ros all the best for the future, and we look forward to working with her successor Dominic in ensuring that the GPFV is delivered in full.’