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#GPnews: STPs set to be renamed Planny McPlanfaces (maybe)

16:00 Here’s something for a Friday afternoon. A poll on NHS Networks is asking for alternative name suggestions for the sustainability and transformation plans (STPs). At the moment ‘Local health plan’ is leading ‘Care improvement scheme’ and ‘Our health and care choices’ for the secretive plans’ new name, but the most popular option by far is ‘Planny McPlan Face’. Cast your vote here

11:15 The chair of the Northern Irish GPC, Dr Tom Black, has warned that GPs are facing increasing threats from patients addicted to tramadol.

Dr Black told UTV that GPs are coming under pressure from patients who are either addicted to prescription drugs themselves, or who are being forced to get prescriptions for dealers.

He said: ‘You can see the same names popping up looking for appointments to come in and they won’t leave the room without them (prescriptions).

‘“Some of them threaten you, some of them threaten violence, and obviously that’s not acceptable and we won’t put up with that.’

He said that the police had been called to his practice. He added that the patients ‘ literally won’t leave the room and they face you down’ adding ‘this harassment is daily.’

09:35 The Government is apparently sending in ‘hit squads’ to go after NHS patients who are not UK residents and not eligible to use the service for free.

‘NHS hit squads to to collect payment from health tourists’, reads the Telegraph‘s rather menacing headline, going on to explain that this refers to debt collectors who will go into hospitals to collect money off so-called ‘health tourists’.

It says this comes as NHS hospital trusts collected only around half of what they spent on treating non-UK residents last year – £255m out of £500m, according to a National Audit Office report.

The report comes as the Government said last year that it would crack down on health tourism, including looking at the viability of GP practices asking all patients for European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC).